Tag Archives: China

UAV222 Pipeline Inspection with SkyX

SkyX completes a data collection flight of a Mexican gas pipeline, Terra Drone uses the LTE network for unmanned traffic management, Europe moves toward drone standards, Maine law enforcement employs drones, China uses drones for monitoring forest fires, New Jersey tackles droning while drunk, and Airbus expands its investment in unmanned technology companies.

The SkyOne drone for pipeline inspection. Courtesy SkyX Systems Corporation.

The SkyOne. Courtesy SkyX Systems Corporation

UAV News

Canadian drone remotely monitors gas pipeline in Mexico

Canadian company SkyX Systems Corporation offers systems for monitoring long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines. Now they have successfully completed a 100 kilometer robotic data collection flight of a gas pipeline in Mexico. SkyX founder and CEO Didi Horn said, “More than $38 billion is spent annually monitoring oil and gas pipelines using less efficient means, which often identify problems only long after they’ve occurred.” The flight was programmed and monitored by SkyX at their Greater Toronto Area SkyCenter mission control center with a support crew of engineers on the ground in Mexico.

Video: SkyOne: From Concept to Completion

New UTM System Uses Cellular Network to Extend Flights BVLOS

Japanese UAV service provider Terra Drone Inc. and telecommunications operator LG U+ have developed a 4G LTE control system that gives operators the ability to remotely monitor their drones through the LTE network. This provides beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capability

Terra Drone is also working with UNIFLY on the “Terra UTM” unmanned traffic management system. They want to promote international standardization of the system.

IATA stresses need for UAV operation standards

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) and ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) are working together to develop standards for commercial use of UAVs. ICAO has sent a letter to its member countries asking them to protect manned aircraft operations from drones.

EU reaches initial agreement on UAV rules

The European Parliament and European Council negotiators have agreed to new regulations for civil use of UAVs by the EU member countries. “The design and manufacture of drones will have to comply with EU basic requirements on safety, security and personal data protection. Drones to be covered by the EU safety rules will be those that have an impact force of more than 80 joules if they hit a person.”

Brunswick police could be 1st in U.S. to use drones to spot railroad trespassers

The Brunswick (Maine) Police Department is concerned about trespassers along railroad tracks and they want to use drones to patrol the tracks. Desiree French, a spokeswoman for the Federal Railroad Administration says, “This device will only be used for detection, not enforcement.” They hope to have the program operating by early summer 2018.

The 9 best drones for generating some holiday buzz

New Atlas gives us their “picks for the best unmanned aircraft to get a loved one buzzing come Christmas morning.”

China’s CH-4 to be Deployed for Firefighting

The Chinese manufacturer of the CH-4 unmanned “rainbow drone” has made a deal with the regional forestry authority to monitor forest fires in northeast China. Previously, fire monitoring was performed by visual observation from fixed look-out posts and, occasionally from manned aircraft. The CH-4 is equipped with both visual and infrared sensors to allow it to see day and night and through fog.

New Jersey considers barring operating a drone while drunk

New Jersey lawmakers are working on legislation that would make it illegal to operate a drone while drunk.” The bill also bans using a drone to hunt wildlife and endanger people or property, and criminalizes using drones that endanger safety at correctional facilities as well as interfering with first responders.

Airbus Invests In Maker Of ADS-B For UAVs

Airbus is taking a stake in uAvionix, a Montana-based startup developing miniaturized ADS-B transceivers for detect-and-avoid in UAVs. Airbus previously invested in AirMap, AEye, BestMile, and Cognata.

UAV209 Drones for Disaster Relief

Using drones for disaster relief, a new marketplace for used drones, a drone park for a Florida county, unmanned aircraft replacing manned helicopters, bright career prospects for drone pilots, and fighting pollution with gas-sniffing drones.

UAV News

Amateur Drones Over Houston Endangering Rescue Choppers, Officials Say

The Texas Military Department representing the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard tweeted: “#ALERT: We are seeing civilian drones that pose EXTREME risks to our rescue pilots and crews in high need areas.”

Amid Warnings, Drones Respond to Hurricane Harvey Aftermath

FAA: “The FAA warns drone operators that flying an unauthorized drone could interfere with local, state and federal rescue and recovery missions. You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations”

And, “Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.”

Drones and their pilots get a closer look at havoc caused by Harvey

droneUp matches drone pilots with appropriate agencies for disaster relief.

Drones for disaster relief

People streamed into Texas with drones, trying to help. But how do we safely and effectively integrate drones with disaster relief efforts?

droneUp pulls qualified drone pilots together and coordinates with local authorities. droneUp says they are “about flying. It’s about building a community of enthusiasts who share a passion. droneUp was designed by pilots, for pilots to support our diverse needs and interests. We can scale to provide mission support for hundreds of thousands of pilots responding, reporting and communicating in real time. droneUp facilitates safety, fellowship, emergency assistance, and commerce for a network of pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles using a mobile application connected to cloud servers. You’re joining the central resource and community for drone pilots worldwide.”

To use droneUp, qualified pilots register for an account on a mobile app. When law enforcement or first responders need drone assistance, a mission is created and local pilots are alerted. Pilots acknowledge alerts on their app and take action.

Is DRONEFAX the New Craigslist for UAS?

New start-up DRONEFAX offers a marketplace for buying and selling used drones, as well as inspection and repair services by an FAA-licensed aviation maintenance technician. Discounts on drone insurance are available for drones purchased through the marketplace.

Drone park takes flight

Citrus County has the first designated drone park in Florida. Drone enthusiast and County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith responded to Lecanto High School student Catherine Schlabach’s request for help get a drone club up and running at the school. The Citrus Drone Racing Club now has 52 members and a place to fly.

Drones edging out helicopter film pilots, videographers

Some videographers are losing their jobs because major motion picture producers are using drones instead of helicopters. Drones are safer and significantly less expensive than helicopters.

UMaine Augusta’s new drone course training aces for a growing industry

Last year, the University of Maine at Augusta began offering Maine’s first university-level UAV course. The seven-week drone course prepares students for the FAA test for remote pilot operators. UMA says graduates are immediately in demand and can earn six figures working for large corporations.

Drones Are Helping a Massive Chinese Factory Town Fight Pollution

With more than 900,000 factories registered in the Chinese city of Dongguan, it is impossible for officials to inspect them all for safety and environmental compliance. Now drones with gas detecting sensors are assisting in the fight against pollution.

Videos of the Week

Drone Funny Footage Fail

My favorite drone fails compilation!

Feedback

Listener Steve captures the flight of an RC airplane with his DJI Mavic:

RC Flying with Richard

A week later the two aircraft met up again but with different results:

RC Flying with Richard – Part 2

 

UAV195 Drone Registration Struck Down

A court ruling halts recreational drone registration in the U.S. while China implements a new drone registration requirement. Also, a fast fixed-wing VTOL UAV, heavy-lift delivery drones, remote pilot training in Australia, a long-endurance solar powered unmanned sailplane, and some new drone swarming applications.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

The Marlyn VTOL mapping and surveying drone. Courtesy Atmos UAV.

UAV News

Court Strikes Down Drone Registration Requirement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has struck down the FAA’s drone registration requirement for recreational UAV operators. The three-judge panel agreed with John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist represented by attorney Jonathan Rupprecht, who argued that the FAA requirement violated the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act passed by Congress. Read the Court Opinion [PDF] and the Court Order [PDF]. Note that the ruling does not affect aircraft operated for commercial operations under Section 333 or Part 107. Rules for commercial operations remain the same. More details: Complete Guide to Taylor v. FAA (Drone Registration Lawsuit).

FAA Statement Regarding US Court of Appeals Decision

“We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations. The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

Atmos UAV Launches Marlyn

The Atmos UAV Marlyn is a fixed-wing, VTOL UAV designed for high-speed mapping applications like land surveying, mining, precision agriculture, and forestry. It can be deployed from any surface, can map up to 10 times faster than a multirotor, and can fly in a broad range of weather conditions.

Heavy Duty Delivery Drones Coming From JD.com

JD.com says they are China’s largest retailer, online or offline, and they plan to build China’s largest low-altitude drone package delivery network. The heavy-lift drones are expected to carry more than a ton, transport products to remote areas, and move agricultural produce to cities. JD.com will also establish an R&D campus in partnership with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base (XCAIB) where unmanned systems will be developed, manufactured and tested.

Changes to approved training

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Australia’s national aviation authority is changing the practical training requirements for receiving an Australian Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) effective 1 June 2017. RePL applicants will satisfy the training requirements by completing a RePL training course conducted by a person holding a RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) that authorized the training. Applicants can also apply to CASA for a flight test. CASA-approved training organisations are located across Australia, and a list of approved drone operators including those who can conduct training, is on the CASA website. More information about the advantages of holding a RePL can be found in Flying drones/remotely piloted aircraft in Australia.

Drone owners will now have to register with the government in China

Pilots of drones weighing 250 grams or more (0.55 pound) will be required to register with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This requirement is effective June 1, 2017. Registration is online and real names must be used.

FAA releases registered private drone owner database

The Federal Aviation Administration has made available a database of registered drone owners. The spreadsheet shows the city, state and zip code of each registered drone owner.

NRL Tests Autonomous ‘Soaring with Solar’ Concept

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is looking at long endurance unmanned sailplanes that use solar power. The Navy says, “The Solar Photovoltaic and Autonomous Soaring Base Program and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O) want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support 24-7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

DroneSeed Receives the First FAA Approval for Using Drone Swarming to Deliver Agricultural Payloads

DroneSeed has received approval from the FAA to deliver agricultural payloads with drone swarms. The company says, “We’re working with commercial foresters to make reforestation more efficient. Offering a one-stop solution, our team of drones plants tree seeds and sprays fertilizer and herbicides to keep trees healthy.”

Drone Swarms Could Spoof the Enemy

At the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, the vice president of science and technology at Cintel said a web of swarming unmanned aircraft systems that can spoof enemy drones could be a solution to the shot doctrine problem when exercising counter-UAS capabilities.

UAV Video of the Week

Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Lockheed Martin successfully launched a Vector Hawk UAV on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). At the same time, the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.

Read more: From Under the Sea to Up in the Air: Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Mentioned

Airplane Geeks episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.

 

 

 

UAV060 Searching for the Missing

MLB Super BatFAA grants an emergency COA, Reno is not just for manned aircraft anymore, Chinese inflatable UAVs, more UAS regulations, and more bad behavior with drones.

News

Drones Get Waiver to Search for Missing Texas Woman Christina Morris

The FAA granted an Emergency COA to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of Gaithersburg, MD in order to utilize an Unmanned Aircraft System in the search for a woman missing in Texas.

Under the Emergency COA, NIST was able to operate an unmanned aircraft through contractor Texas EquuSearch, a non-profit organization that assists with locating missing individuals.

The FAA issues COAs “on an emergency basis when: 1) a situation exists in which there is distress or urgency and there is an extreme possibility of a loss of life; 2) the proponent has determined that manned flight operations cannot be conducted efficiently; and 3) the proposed UAS is operating under a current approved COA for a different purpose or location.”

Texas EquuSearch used the NIST’s catapult-launched MLB Super Bat, but did not locate the woman. The search was subsequently suspended until more leads could be developed.

Reno air races draw new kind of aircraft: drones

This year’s National Championship Air Races in Reno included the Small UAS Challenge, designed to test speed, agility, and strength. Contestants navigated an obstacle course, and participated in a time trial and a dead lift. A “Drone Zone” gave event attendees an opportunity to learn more about unmanned aerial vehicles and systems.

Tianjin expo reveals Chinese UAV innovations, aspiration and Now that’s an AIRplane! Homemade inflatable drone reaches speeds of 120mph

The Chinese are actively seeking to develop their aviation industry, and that includes unmanned vehicles. At the Tianjin International UAV and Model Aircraft Technology Exhibition, a family of UAVs were shown that featured inflatable bodies. The  SF-1, SF-2 and SF-3 have wingspans of 2.5 m, 3 m and 4.3 m respectively, and a useful load of 25 kg. They can be inflated with either air, helium, or hydrogen.

This development reminds David of the experimental Goodyear Inflatoplane, produced in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.

Europe Outlines Action Plan For UAV Policymaking

Matthew Baldwin, the director of aviation and international transport affairs with the European Commission (EC) had some comments from the UAS 2014 conference held in London:

  • The task of creating a regulatory framework that promotes UAS but addresses safety and privacy concerns.
  • The current European framework is fragmented, and that’s a competitive disadvantage.
  • Thresholds based on UAV weight are inconsistent, absurd, and arbitrary.

Baldwin said, “We believe that EASA [the European Aviation Safety Agency] is best placed to develop rules, and we envisage an EC proposal early next year to cover safety, liability and insurance, security privacy and so on.”

This Dunkable Drone Will Suck Up Whale Snot for Science

Whales have blowhorns that are lined with mucus and researchers want to collect that mucus to determine the health of the whale. Obviously, whale mucus is not easy to collect. The Olin College of Engineering has tackled this problem by developing and testing a drone they call Snot Bot. They want the FAA to give them permission to use it on real whales.

Pilot spots drone flying near Nashville airport runway

On approach to Nashville International Airport, the pilot of an American Eagle flight spotted a hovering drone. ATC notified the police air unit and the FAA is investigating.

Drones snooping into homes

Residents in this town are complaining about drones snooping around. One woman says her son had friends over for a pool party, and suddenly a drone was hovering overhead.  Neighbors also report seeing a drone after dark with flashing red and green lights.

Videos of the Week

Keep an eye on battery life

Max Trescott sends in this close call where the pilot saves his DJI Phantom before it sinks into the water.

DJI Phantom and GoPro 3 Black go for a swim

Note:  This video contains some profanity

In this video passed to us by Neal, a Phantom is not so lucky. But the GoPro keeps recording underwater!

Feedback

Tethered UAS

Since the FAA excludes tethered aircraft from its unmanned aircraft policy, listener Eric wondered if a tethered UAS is likewise excluded. So he asked them, “does the FAA have any guidelines in regards to tethered aircraft?”  The FAA’s response:

“The short answer is no.  We had looked at tethered UAS a couple years ago or so.  The story is we thought they could be considered like a kite or moored balloon covered under 14 CFR Part 101.  There was an internal discussion and our lawyers weighed in and deemed them aircraft, tethered or not.  Tethering is merely a very good safety mitigation.  Since they are aircraft, they must comply with all civil 14 CFR rules in place.  That means the civil UAS must be certified by the FAA as airworthy.  Currently the industry & FAA standards to make that determination are not yet fixed.  This along with many other integration problems yet to be solved makes the current civil use of UAS extremely limited.  Governmental uses enjoy a bit more freedom to use UAS since each governmental entity self-certifies its aircraft.”

“An operator could petition the FAA for an exemption under 14 CFR Part 11.  Tethering would help in proving to the FAA the operator can meet an equivalent level of safety to the NAS [National Airspace System].”

LiPo Battery Safety Tips

Luke Harris sends along some good advice for LiPo batteries:

  • When charging, never leave your battery unattended.  NEVER!  This is the stage where if a fault is present the battery can could possibly catch fire.
  • Never charge a battery indoors.  Ideally charge on the concrete outside and keep the battery in a LiPo safety bag while charging.
  • Always use a balance charger and ensure you select the correct setting on your charger that matches the battery.  Avoid ‘fast charging’.  The most common model of charger in Australia is the ‘swallow charger’.
  • Know your batteries, purchase a battery checker than can read the total capacity of the battery as well as individual cells.  When you land your model, aim to have a total charge remaining of 40%.    Never fly until the battery is empty, this will lead to problems when trying to charge.
  • If you charge a battery it is safe to store them in your LiPo safety bag if the weather is not ideal for flying, for around one month.  If you plan to store your batteries for a long period of time, discharge them to 30-40%.
  • Any sign of puffing batteries, dispose of them immediately.  They are not expensive to replace and not worth risking a fire.  Dispose by dropping the battery into a bucket of salt water.

UAV049 UAV Privacy, Subpoenas, and Regulations

SectionalUAVs taking off in China, aerial video and privacy, a map showing UAS regs by State, FAA subpoenas realtors, FAA might not make their 2015 deadline, and drone poetry.

The News

Drone Hobbyists Taking off in China

Twenty-three-year old Jin Xing is representative of the enthusiasm for UAVs that is growing in China.  He’s created the Butterfly Aerial Photography Workshop, a business he operates from his home. Jin and his partner take aerial photographs for client companies using six helicopters.

Aerial Photo Company Gets Cops Called on Them After Drone Startles Naked Woman

Portland, Oregon firm Skyris Imaging was out taking panoramic video for a developer. But when the resident of a 26th floor apartment looked out the window and saw a hovering drone, she assumes she was the victim of a peeping tom. So she called the police. As you would expect, the media went crazy with the story.

Are drones illegal in your state? This map can tell you

This map of the U.S. lets you click on a State and see legislation, proposed legislation, a description of the legislation, and associated websites.

Drone rangers slap Realtors with subpoenas

Real estate is one of the industries that offers an immediate business use for UAVs. But the FAA is watching UAV users that it suspects are operating commercial operations. Now they’re issuing subpoenas to real estate brokerages that use UAVs to take photos of properties.

Clever copters can learn as they fly

University of Sheffield’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE), is researching quadcopters that learn from their environment. These “flying robots” use camera images to build up a 3D map of the environment. Other sensors detect barometric and ultrasonic information. All this is fed to the autopilot software for navigation within the environment.

The use case is for aerial robots that can enter an environment, learn to identify objects and other features of the environment, and make decisions. The research quadcopters can also detect and interact with each other.

FAA will not meet deadline for unmanned aircraft

According to a report from the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, FAA will not meet the Congressionally mandated September 2015 deadline to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

The report identifies four areas of concern and makes eleven recommendations.  These recommendations include the need for reports, milestones, timelines, clarification of responsibilities, process standards, more ATC study, definition of the data required from the six test sites, and metrics to measure performance to plan.

Video of the Week

Drone Captures Massive Yacht Fire As $24 Million Boat Is Engulfed In Flames 

Submitted by Paul Siebert: San Diego boat captain Kurt Roll was using a remote-controlled quadcopter drone to shoot aerial footage at a shipyard in Chula Vista, California on Thursday when he spotted a plume of smoke rising in the distance. Roll decided to use his device to get closer to what appeared to be a massive boat fire, and managed to capture some incredible, close-up footage of a yacht going up in flames.

Feedback

From Ben, a Laugh of the Week: “Stop saying ‘uh-oh’ while you’re flying”: Drone crash pilot quotes unveiled. Real recorded quotes from military drone pilots just before they crash.

Christian from Germany sent us two interesting links: SailDrone, for ocean science applications, and the Aerovel Flexrotor, a fixed-wing VTOL tail-sitter that is designed for autonomous operation in sites with restricted access.

DRONE: poems with found sound and video from Harry Giles, a poet and a performer who produces poetry through the eyes of a UAV!

New Sectionals that show UAV’s. This came from Tim Trott’s Southern Helicam website. (See image above.)

Airbus Wants To Take The Cockpit Out Of The Cockpit Of The Future. This Airbus patent applications describes airline pilots who are moved out of the front into an interior area of the airplane. They fly using first person view.

Airbus Cockpit Patent Application

 

UAV 004 Goosebusting by Hexacopter

Flamewheel 550

This Episode:

Using a hexacopter for wildlife management, airline pilots are concerned about UAVs, a copter goes into a crowd, wildfire fighting with a Predator, a sea-faring drone, building a ground station, and a Chinese attack UAV under development.

The News:

Canada plans to use hexacopter drones in war against geese

GOOSEBUSTER_600An Ottawa beach has been plagued by geese despite attempts to scare them off with trained dogs, loud noises, and other means. Along comes Steve Wambolt, the owner of Aerial Perspective, with a Flame Wheel 550 hexacopter and an idea, and he’s successfully used the craft to drive most of the geese away.

 

Pilot Group Expresses Concern Over Sharing the Sky With Drones

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representing over 59,000 airline pilots issued (in April 2011) a white paper, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Challenges for Safely Operating in the National Airspace System” which says, “The fundamental function of operating the aircraft in a safe manner must be maintained at the same level of safety regardless of the location of the pilot or the levels of automation.” Military UAS operations do not meet this criteria. 

When Drones fall from the Skies

At an event called the Great Bull Run at a racetrack in Virginia, a drone copter with a camera flying over the stands, suddenly veered downward and into the crowd. Five people suffered minor injuries. 

Predator UAV Provides Surveillance in Battle Against Yosemite Fire

The MQ-1 Predator is flown for 22 Hours in support of the RIM fire in Yosemite National Park. The 163rd Reconnaissance Wing of the California Air National Guard out of Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport used Infrared cameras to determine hot spots and contained areas, and provided real time images to people on the ground.

Transatlantic Drone Takes to the Sea

It’s not aerial, but it is a drone. It’s an unmanned robotic boat called the Scout designed by students in seven colleges to cross the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow the progress of the craft at the Scout Transatlantic website.

Tearing an old laptop apart to build a ground control station

Here, parts from an old broken laptop and some other components are assembled in a Pelican case as a ground station. The DIY community is very active in the unmanned vehicle arena. It’s a bit like the early days of the personal computer when the term “hacker” meant something positive that geeks aspired to.

China’s ‘Sharp Sword’ stealth UAV to make first flight one year later

China’s “Sharp Sword” attack unmanned aerial vehicle has been seen taxiing around and was captured on video. It looks a little like the X-47B. The report is that we will see a first flight in one year.