Industry reacts to FAA missing the UAS integration deadline, lasers on drones, UAS testing at Wallops Island, a million drones for the holidays, and interviews from UAS Industry Days 2015.
Predator and Reaper manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is looking at mounting a 150-kilowatt solid-state laser onto its Avenger drone, also known as the Predator-C. This could be ready in 2017.
NASA and the state of Virginia are working together on a plan to build a 3,000 foot runway for drones on Wallops Island. This UAS test range is envisioned to support commercial, government, and academic users.
According to Aviation Week, the FAA’s Rich Swayze says the Agency expects as many as one million UAVs to be sold during this year’s holiday season. That’s a lot of opportunity for misuse of unmanned aircraft.
The congressionally mandated deadline for the FAA to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System was Sept. 30, 2015. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and 28 others sent a letter [PDF] to the FAA, stating in part:
“While the FAA has hit some milestones in the integration process, it has yet to finalize small UAS rules, let alone facilitate the full integration of UAS that Congress contemplated in 2012. The increasing number of businesses applying for Section 333 exemptions demonstrates the pent-up demand for commercial UAS operations and the immediate need for a regulatory framework.”
“In the absence of regulations, American businesses and innovators are left sitting on the sidelines or operating under a restrictive exemption process.”
“On behalf of businesses across a wide range of industry sectors in the United States, we urge the FAA to use all available means to finalize the small UAS rules immediately without any further delays and move ahead with the next regulatory steps on the path for integrating all UAS into the NAS. Once this happens, we will have an established framework for UAS operations that will do away with the case-by-case system of approvals, reducing the barriers to commercial UAS operations. And importantly, having more trained commercial operators will create a culture of safety that helps deter careless and reckless behavior.”
Interviews from UAS Industry Days
We recorded a number of interviews at the NUAIR Alliance UAS Test Site, including these two about testing done at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York:
Manager of Flight Test Operations, Aurora Flight Sciences. The Centaur (DA 42) optionally piloted aircraft was tested previously at Griffiss for their unmanned flight test campaign.
A computer scientist at Quanterion working with AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) and two Desert Hawk III UAVs from Lockheed Martin doing collision avoidance testing in the “triangle” at Griffiss. Quanterion has also developed simulation software that evaluates the interactions of manned and unmanned aircraft in shared airspace.
Videos of the Week
The Firecopter is a custom-made Y-6 multi-rotor equipped with a fire extinguisher for fighting fires from the air. From Flite Test.
Beautiful footage of amazing marine mammals, but before you try this, review Approaching whales and dolphins in NSW and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Marine Mammals) Regulation 2006.