Tag Archives: AUVSI

UAV036 No Fly Zones for UAVs

DJI: No FLY Zones

Phantom firmware update addresses safety concerns, FAA files appeal brief in Trappy case, a search and rescue team fights to use quadcopters, 33 organizations appeal to the FAA, machine guns versus drones, Google beats out Facebook for atmospheric satellites, and a drone pilot is charged with a felony.

The News:

Chinese manufacturer programs Phantom drones with no-fly zones to protect Australian airports

DJI Innovations is introducing a firmware update to the Phantom 2 quadcopter “to increase flight safety and prevent accidental flights” in around 350 “No Fly Zones” world-wide. The update downloads a global GPS database of restricted locations. If the Phantom has a sufficient GPS signal, it will not fly into the restricted area.

The airport list includes Category A for large international airports with a 5 mile safety zone. In the first 1.5 mile radius, you will be unable to take off. From 1.5 miles to 5 miles from the airport, there is an increasing height limitation – 35 feet at 1.5 miles to 400 feet at 5 miles.

Category B features a 0.6 mile safety zone radius, and is intended for smaller airports. Inside that zone, you will be unable to take off.

If you approach a safety zone from outside the radius, you receive a warning. If you accidentally fly into a safety zone, and then your Phantom acquires a GPS signal the Phantom lands immediately inside the no-takeoff area, and descends to the specified maximum height in the height-restricted area.

FAA Files Appeal Brief In Closely-Watched Drone Pilot Case

The FAA has filed its appeal brief in their case against Raphael Pirker, which they lost in a ruling by an NTSB judge. Two issues are raised by the FAA in the brief:

1. The judge erred in determining that Pirker’s small drone was not an “aircraft,” as defined by the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

2. The judge erred in determining that the small drone’s operation was not subject to the FARs.

Search teams that rely on drones run afoul of FAA

The Vernon Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Office asked Texas EquuSearch for help in finding the missing James Stephens, and they put out a call for searchers on foot and ATV.

The group has used small drones for searches since 2005, and has located the bodies of 11 missing persons. Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, in referring to the FAA prohibition said, “We’ll go by some of their rules, but certainly not all of them. There is a possibility he (Stephens) could be still be alive out there, so yes we’re going to use it.”

AMA and AUVSI lead 33 organizations in calling on FAA to expedite rulemaking for Unmanned Aircraft Systems [PDF]

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and 31 other organizations sent a letter to the FAA “encouraging the agency to expedite the rulemaking process for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in the U.S. airspace. The letter also calls on the FAA to allow the limited use of small UAS for commercial purposes before the final rulemaking is completed.”

The letter states, “The time for resolution has come, and we cannot afford any further delays. The technology is advancing faster than the regulations to govern it. While the FAA has indicated its intention to appeal the Pirker decision to the full National Transportation Safety Board, we strongly encourage the FAA to simultaneously expedite its small UAS rulemaking and issue notice and public comment as soon as possible.”

Stunning video of machine guns shooting at target drones shows how difficult hitting a remotely piloted aircraft can be

When David Cenciotti posted images in The Aviationist of a small drone believed to be used by the U.S. Army in Pakistan and Iraq, some thought these UAVs would be an easy target for small arms fire. So a group at a shooting range in Arizona thought they’d test the theory with automatic weapons. They weren’t very successful.

Google Grabs Drone Company and Google Bought a Drone Company, Which Isn’t At All Creepy, Nope

We thought solar-powered UAV-maker Titan Aerospace was getting bought by Facebook. We were wrong and it now looks like Google is picking them up.

Titan UAVs can stay aloft for 5 years, making them a good platform to deliver Internet access to remote locations. Google already has its “Project Loon” which is balloon-based. And the Titan “atmospheric satellites” might also support Google Maps.

Police: Ohio Man’s Drone Hindered Medical Chopper

A hobbyist who flew his $4,000 hexacopter over a crash scene has been charged with a felony. Authorities say he was told to stand down but did not when a medical helicopter was about to land. He’s facing a felony charge of obstructing official business, and misdemeanor charges of misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct.

Video of the Week: Prototype Quadrotor with Machine Gun

Mentioned:

UAV 001 The D Word

Northrup Sandshark

The word “drone” has a negative connotation to some. What does it mean and can perception be changed?

This week’s event:

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems 2013 Conference
Aug 12 – 15, 2013 in Washington, DC

AUVSI is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. They have 7,500 members from government organizations, industry and academia. AUVSI members support defense, civil and commercial sectors.

The News:

DON’T SAY ‘DRONES,’ Beg Drone Makers

To the public, “drone” has a bad connotation: military, death, etc. Can the industry change the word and change perception?

Florida Keys turns to UAVs to take on mosquitos

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is set to begin testing August 26 a Condor Aerial Maveric fixed wing UAV. They’ll use infrared cameras to identify pools of water that can host mosquito larvae. Then the water would be treated with larvicide on the ground. The Maveric was originally developed for law enforcement.

Northrop Offers Rental Drones To Air Force, Customs Training

Northrop Grumman has a new idea for the Air Force and U.S. Customs and Border Protection: rather than train remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots on MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers or in expensive simulators, give them basic flying time on a small SandShark drone. They’d pay by the hour.

This would save $70M per year. Operators can control them over any 4G cellphone network or the Internet.

UAVs in the U.S. Coast Guard

Drug smugglers have something new to worry about: the ScanEagle UAS. In demonstration trials, the Coast Guard interdicted a half ton of cocaine. They want to roll out the ScanEagle across its national security cutter fleet, starting in fiscal 2017.

AUVSI: Insitu looks to widen civilian ScanEagle applications

Boeing subsidiary Insitu continues to make commercial headway with the ScanEagle. In addition to the Coast Guard application, an undisclosed oil company plans to perform ice flow monitoring and wildlife observation flights off the Alaska coast.

ScanEagle air vehicles have logged more than 730,000 operational flight hours, through more than 88,000 sorties.