Tag Archives: drone legislation

UAV113 Think First, Launch Second

Think Before You LaunchLockheed Martin adds drone flight plans to pilot briefings, the AMA takes a closer look at FAA drone sightings data, Canadian farmers don’t want onerous regulations, California legislators want more drone laws, InterDrone product announcements, and the Reaper gets a long-range update package.

Think Before You Launch

Think Before You Launch (TBYL) is an awareness campaign that seeks to educate both manned and unmanned aircraft operators about the hazards in the low-altitude environment. This alliance of UAS and aviation stakeholders wants to improve aviation safety and educate users about the safe and responsible operation and integration of UAS. See the TBYL Infographic [PDF].

News

Graphical drone briefing developed

Lockheed Martin adds unmanned flight plans to the weather information, NOTAMs, TAFs, and METARs already in the Next Generation Briefings online flight planning tool.

Drone hobbyists find flaws in “close call” reports to FAA from other aircraft

AMA Responds to the FAA’s Drone Sighting Report

The Academy of Model Aeronautics took a closer look at the reports of 764 close-call incidents with drones reported by the FAA in August (Pilot Reports of Close Calls With Drones Soar in 2015).

According to the AMA report New AMA Analysis: FAA Data Reveals Complex Picture of U.S. Drone Activity [PDF], the FAA data (FAA Releases Pilot UAS Reports) shows that only 27 incidents were called “near misses” by the pilots and evasive action was taken 10 times.

Some altitudes reported by pilots were too high for a UAV (19,000 – 51,000 feet) and the data included sightings of public agencies and commercial operators, as well as military flights.

The AMA says:

  • Some sightings appear to involve people flying responsibly and within the FAA’s current recreational guidelines.
  • Many things in the air – from balloons and birds to model rockets and mini blimps – are mistaken for, or reported as, drone sightings even when they are not.
  • A number of sightings have occurred over or around stadium events, wildfires, power plants and other critical infrastructure. These raise different concerns from pilot sightings.
  • In almost 20 percent (142) of the reports, local law enforcement either wasn’t notified or it was unknown whether local law enforcement was notified.

KAP doesn’t want new UAV regs to unnecessarily ground farmers

Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba (KAP) president Dan Mazier views drones as tools for farmers, and recognizes the need for regulations, but he doesn’t want them to be onerous. Mazier says, “KAP would like dialogue before they (Transport Canada) make regulations. If they are going to put a certain regulation in, at least consult farm groups or farmers and ask how they can work with it.”

Transport Canada says it will amend regulatory requirements for UAVs in 2016 and proposes to create UAV classifications, establish aircraft marking and registration requirements, address personnel licensing and training and create flight rules.

Bill on drones heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk

Senate Bill 168 has passed the California legislature and was sent to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration. This legislation seeks to address problems seen when drones interfere with emergency responders like firefighters. It would increase the fines for drone operators who interfere with emergency responders, and it would grant immunity to emergency responders who damage or destroy unmanned aircraft during emergency operations.

Other legislation in the pipeline at the Federal level introduced by California Legislators::

  • S. 1608, the Consumer Drone Safety Act, requires safety features on consumer drones and strengthens FAA regulations that regulate drone operation.

Reaper ER Extends RPA Missions to +33 Hours

A Reaper’s maximum endurance can grow from 27 hours to 33-35 hours by installing two wing-mounted fuel tanks as a field-retrofittable package. Other modifications to accommodate the higher gross weight include an alcohol/water injection system, a four-bladed propeller, and a stronger landing gear system. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. says the Reaper ER has been operationally fielded by the U.S. Air Force.

TWiT Live Specials #254: InterDrone Conference 2015

In this 48 minute video, Fr. Robert Ballecer SJ from the Know How maker video podcast, shows us product announcements from the InterDrone 2015 conference.

Video of the Week

Blarney Castle in County Cook

Professor Vanderhoof found this stunning video from Tourism Ireland.

Mentioned

Man fined after flying drones over Premier League stadiums

A man was fined £1,800 and banned from buying or using a drone for two years for flying over sporting events and London landmarks.

UAV112 Know Before You Fly at Point-of-Sale

An Interview with the National Retail Hobby Stores Association, bad drone legislation vetoed in California, UAS awards, and mass jackassery.

Interview

National Retail Hobby Stores Association

We wanted to know how hobby shop retailers feel about their responsibilities toward UAV buyers at point-of-sale. So we called Noel Bays, the president of the National Retail Hobby Stores Association (NRHSA), and asked him. He was happy to explain the position of NRHSA, and how he personally implements this at HobbyForce in Ontario, Ohio.

News

California governor vetoes drone bill

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation that would have made it unlawful to fly  drones at altitudes less than 350 feet over private property without the owner’s permission.

California Governor Jerry Brown veto

Drone Industry Launches Technology & Innovation Awards

The Unmanned Air Systems Technology & Innovation Awards are open to any organization that is part of the unmanned aviation industry. Four awards will be issued:

  • Start-up of the Year 2016
  • The Innovation Award 2016
  • Service Solution of the Year 2016
  • The Award for Business Growth 2016

Nominations will be accepted up to December 20, 2015 and can be for organizations across the globe. Winners will be selected by a select panel of judges, and announced during the SkyTech 2016 trade show in London on January 27, 2016.

To submit a nomination, visit the Awards website.

3D Robotics’ Chris Anderson on the rise of ‘mass jackassery’ in the hobby drone community

Chris Anderson, co-founder and chief executive of 3D Robotics, is concerned about irresponsible flying by some multicopter operators. “[It’s] bad and it’s going to get worse. And if we don’t do something about it, no one’s been killed yet, but someone’s going to do something really stupid.” Anderson says the solution needs to come from manufacturers in the form of software-based geofencing.

Anderson also describes three eras of consumer drones. The first era was getting drones to fly. The second era was gimbal-mounted video cameras capable of producing high quality video. Now we have the third era: drone autonomy that removes the need for a pilot.

Video of the Week

Harvest Ballycullane

Spring barley harvest in Kildare with a Claas Lexion 570C.

Mentioned

Drone Radio Show, a weekly podcast series about drones and the people who use them.  

Guillermo from Valencia, Spain, tells us about the first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València, offering theory and practice in a 320-hour course.

Demostración de vuelo: multicóptero AibotX6 (Flight demonstration: Aibot X6 Multicopter)

Aibotix

University extension diploma in piloting unmanned aircraft systems by remote control (RPAS)

RPAS pilots from EASA

They have also appeared on TV News in Spain:

RPAS UPV en Antena 3 Televisión

Jornada Drones TVE

The first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València

The first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València

Volocopter VC200 First Flight

World’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter

The Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multirotor Super Drone Flying

UAV111 UAVs and the Law

Drones reported by pilots to the FAA

Local and state drone laws and regulations at odds with federal authority, a reported mid air collision and other reports by pilots, updated model aircraft guidance from the FAA, two UAS executive positions filled by the FAA, and Sony shows us its camera-equipped quadcopter.

Guest

Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MASSarah Nilsson has both an aviation and a legal background. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate for single and multi-engine fixed-wing airplanes.  She has also flown air cargo and private business jets, and is a gold seal flight instructor.

In addition, Sarah is a licensed attorney in the State of Arizona. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with minors in Aviation Business Administration and Aviation Safety.

Sarah also obtained her Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle with concentrations in Aviation Safety, Aerospace Operations, and Human Factors. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Northcentral University. She also graduated with honors with a Juris Doctorate from Arizona Summit Law School.

Currently, Sarah is the managing attorney of Nilsson Law, PLLC, which she founded.  Since January of this year, Sarah has served as full-time faculty at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, where she teaches Aviation Law, Business Law, and Business Ethics.

Sarah volunteers with the FAA as a FAASTeam Safety Representative and is co-author with Scott Hamilton of the 6th edition of Practical Aviation and Aerospace Law, a national aviation law textbook.

Find Sarah’s personal website at SarahNilsson.org. There you’ll see a number of Aviation topics, including a UAS-UAV Drone News section where Sarah has a very detailed analysis of the new Advisory Circular on Model Aircraft Operating Standards. Look for “AC 91-57A Clarified.” You can also browse through her collection of State-by-State UAS Laws.

Disclaimer:  Please note that nothing said in this podcast should be construed as legal advice. Each case is different and you should seek an attorney in your own state who can advise you for your particular situation.

News

Poway approves first-of-its-kind drone law

The Poway, California City Council voted to ban drones from flying over most of the city. What started out as an attempt to address concerns over drones interfering with firefighting efforts, grew in scope to cover 75% of the city.

The mayor says, “This is not the perfect ordinance. We are not going to use this like a hammer, and say you can’t play with your drone in your driveway. You won’t see us enforce this unless we have a wildfire and someone is interfering with first responder efforts.”

As Drones Flood US Skies, States Are On A Legal Collision Course

The growing patchwork of state and local laws and ordinances has commercial drone operators nervous, and with good reason. There are questions of jurisdiction to enact laws, overreaching laws that stifle innovation and commerce, and enforceability.

Drone reports detailed

This article from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says that 51% of the drone sightings reported by pilots to the FAA have come from California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

Unconfirmed midair between Piper Apache and unidentified RPA (update)

FAA Investigating Reported UAV Collision with Piper Twin

A twin-engine Piper PA-23 Aztec was struck at 2,500 feet near Lewis University Airport (KLOT) in Illinois on August 27, 2015. The pilot says it was a UAV that damaged a horizontal stabilizer leading edge. Some reports say it was a bird strike. The FAA is investigating.

FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

The FAA published Advisory Circular No. 91-57A, Model Aircraft Operating Standards [PDF] to update the guidance from 1981 to reflect “current law governing hobby or recreational use of unmanned aircraft.” That previous guidance was written in 1981, and “did not reflect the rules Congress wrote into Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.”

The AC incorporates the description of model aircraft operation found in the 2012 law. Also, model aircraft operators must comply with all Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR), and should be aware of Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS). And careless or reckless operation and interference with manned aircraft may be subject to FAA enforcement action.

Advisory Circular 91-57 Canceled and Updated with AC 91-57A

Commercial pilot, flight instructor, and attorney Jonathan Rupprecht provides his analysis of AC 91-57A. He finds that model aircraft must comply with the new guidance (it is not voluntary), and that it lacks clarity in some areas.

FAA Selects New Unmanned Aircraft Executives

The FAA has filled two new executive-level positions that they say, “will guide the agency’s approach to safe, timely and efficient integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. airspace.”

The Senior Advisor on UAS Integration is Hoot Gibson. He will “focus on external outreach and education, inter-agency initiatives and an enterprise-level approach to FAA management of UAS integration efforts.”

The Director of the UAS Integration Office is Earl Lawrence, who will “lead the FAA’s efforts to safely and effectively integrate UAS into the nation’s airspace.” That Office is within the FAA’s Aviation Safety organization.

Gibson was Executive Director of the NextGen Institute, providing professional services to the UAS Joint Program Development Office. He owned his own aviation consulting firm, and comes from a 33-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

Lawrence was Director of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, and had been Vice President for Industry & Regulatory Affairs at the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Bonus Topic

Sony’s quadcopter takes smartphone tech to the skies

In Episode 110 we talked about AeroSense, the joint venture between Sony and ZMP, and their VTOL drone prototype. Now we see from AeroSense the AS-MC01-P, which incorporates a high resolution sensor from the QX30 digital camera into the bottom of the quadcopter. The quad is intended to be used in areas like construction zones. It weighs about 3 kilograms and can fly for 15 to 20 minutes on a battery charge.

The AS-MC01-P can operate autonomously, has GPS, Wi-Fi, an inertial navigation system, and a high-speed data transfer module using Sony’s wireless TransferJet technology.

Videos of the Week

No Pole Necessary — Watch as Farmer Hooks a Fish With His Drone

It works as long as the fish is smaller than the drone.

Milford Sound – the Eighth Wonder of the World in 4K! Play On In New Zealand

Via listener Jim. Watch this, then buy your plane tickets to New Zealand!

UAV110 Drone Legislation

Sony AeroSense prototype

Drone legislation in the news: private property overflights in California, mandatory drone geofencing, and weaponized drones for law enforcement. Also, ALPA responds to pilot encounters with drones, counter-drone systems, and a Sony prototype drone.

News

Drone no-fly zone in California will stifle innovation, say industry advocates

The California Assembly has passed a bill (SB 142) that prohibits flying a drone under 350 feet over private property without permission. The bill is awaiting signature by Governor Jerry Brown and if it becomes law, flying below 350 feet would be considered a trespass violation.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who authored the bill said, “People should be able to sit in their backyards and be in their homes without worrying about drones flying right above them or peering in their windows. We need to balance innovation with personal and societal expectations.”

AUVSI Statement on Passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly

Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), released a statement on the passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly. The statement says, in part:

“AUVSI is deeply disappointed with the passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly. While the industry supports the safe, non-intrusive use of UAS technology, SB 142 creates inconsistencies with federal law that has the potential to further confuse UAS users and stifle economic growth in California. The Supreme Court has ruled that property rights do not extend infinitely into the sky. Only the FAA can regulate airspace; states and municipalities can’t.

“The passage of SB 142 is further proof that it is necessary for the FAA to finalize its long awaited rules on small unmanned aircraft. There is much uncertainty about where operators should and shouldn’t fly and for what purpose. For the safety of our skies and to ensure that there is no confusion between state and federal law, we need Washington to make finalizing these rules a top priority.”

ALPA: Airline pilots ‘very concerned’ about UAVs

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president Tim Canoll noted, “pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year.”

With respect to small UAVs operated below the airspace used by commercial aircraft, ALPA advocates: educating operators, using “geo-fencing” to keep small UAVs from operating within 5 mi. of airports, UAV registration at point of sale so owners can be identified after an incident, and “more formalized” enforcement.

For larger UAVs sharing the airspace with airliners, ALPA would like to see FAA regulations and oversight the same as for airliners: operator licensing and collision avoidance technology.

US senator to introduce proposal for mandatory drone geofencing

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer proposed an amendment as part of the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would require manufacturers to implement geofencing on all drones.

Chuck Schumer’s No-Fly-Zone Rule for Drones Won’t Work

At the recent DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, researchers easily defeated the Phantom geofencing. The DJI Phantom III’s geofence uses a database that contains a country, city, a timestamp, and, the latitude and the longitude of the no-fly zones. The hacker downloaded the database and started just changing entries to make the Phantom ignore the no-fly zones set by DJI.

Additionally, some Chinese researchers reported they could disrupt the geofencing through GPS spoofing, which is illegal but not impossible.

Exclusive: U.S. government, police working on counter-drone system – sources

U.S. government agencies are working with state and local police forces to develop protection systems for vulnerable sites. New York police used a microwave-based system last New Year’s Eve in an attempt to track a drone in Times Square. This test was part of a program with the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, and the Defense Department.

Sony shows off Aerosense camera drone prototype

Sony and ZMP Inc. have formed the joint-venture company AeroSense and they have a prototype drone that can take off and land vertically. Payload capacity is expected to be 22 pounds, with a two hour plus flight time and a top speed of 106 miles an hour. These autonomous drones could be used for infrastructure inspection and land surveys in difficult to access areas.

First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

Law enforcement in North Dakota can now fly drones with “less than lethal” weapons, such as Tasers, rubber bullets, and tear gas. The original draft of House Bill 1328 actually prohibited weaponization of drones, but a law enforcement lobbyist added language that significantly modified the intent of the bill.

Mentioned

Robots in the Sky: Cracking Down on Drone Law

An infographic highlighting current laws surrounding drone usage, and what changes we may soon see in the future.

Batteries Carried by Airline Passengers: Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

The FAA describes the kinds of batteries allowed in the cabin, those allowed in checked luggage, how to calculate wattage, and other important information.

 

UAV109 Who has the Right to Write Drone Laws?

Dr. Ella Atkins in the Autonomous Aerospace Systems (A2SYS) Lab

We talk with Dr. Ella Atkins about UAS privacy regulations, regulatory and legislative jurisdiction over the airspace, developing a drone safety culture, and UAS air traffic management challenges.

Guest

Dr. Ella Atkins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, where she is director of the Autonomous Aerospace Systems (A2SYS) Lab.

Dr. Ella AtkinsElla received her BS and MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her MS and PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Her research focuses on task and motion planning, guidance, and control to support increasingly autonomous systems, with a focus on small UAS and aviation safety applications.  She has an extensive history of successful collaboration with NASA.

Ella has authored over 150 journal and conference publications and has served long-term as an associate editor of the AIAA Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (JAIS). She has served on numerous review boards and panels, including the 2013 NRC committee to develop a research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation, the NRC Aeronautics Roundtable, NRC NASA Aviation Safety program review board, and Decadal Survey of Aeronautics (Panel E).

Ella is past-chair of the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, AIAA Associate Fellow, IEEE senior member, small public airport owner/operator (Shamrock Field, Brooklyn, MI), and a private pilot. She serves on the National Academy’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) (2011-2017) and was a member of the IDA Defense Science Studies Group (2012-2013).  She currently serves on the steering committee and as Graduate Program Chair to the new University of Michigan Robotics Program.

The Flying Robots video features Professor Ella Atkins describing the unusual unmanned aircraft that are being built at the University of Michigan Aerospace Department.

UAS Privacy Regulations

Should we create privacy rules specifically for UAS, rather than dealing with privacy more broadly? Privacy is already covered under existing ground-based laws, and new technology doesn’t necessarily imply a requirement for new laws.

Peeping drones: UAV caught creeping on Vancouver sunbather

A woman sunbathing topless on her private balcony says a quadcopter tried to take pictures of her.

Regulatory and Legislative Jurisdiction over the Airspace

Who controls what airspace: the federal regulatory agency or State or local communities? The FAA has claimed purview over all the airspace, but the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Causby stated that landowners own and control the “immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere” just above their properties. More discussion is needed about the low-altitude airspace and the ability of local communities to create their own standards based on their local situation.

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

In 2015, 45 states considered 156 bills that were related to drones. In total, 26 states have enacted drone laws, and six more states adopted resolutions.

Austin, TX Requires PPL For UAV Flying

Austin, Texas now requires a private pilot certificate to fly a UAV. However, one can fly if they have a document indicating permission from the property owner.

Developing a Drone Safety Culture

The lack of common-sense rules at any government level is resulting in anarchy.  Manufacturers claim they can “stay out of legal trouble” by marketing to hobbyists who are unregulated and who don’t know where to fly.

Some solutions:

  • Achieving a drone safety culture requires that manufacturers, commercial operators, and regular citizens learn responsible behaviors. “Know Before You Fly” will gradually catch on once we make it through a generation that grows up with drones.
  • Creating “drone parks” in urban areas would give people a place to freely fly.  Right now hobbyists really don’t have guidelines of where to go (apart from rural AMA fields which were typically designed for fixed-wing model aircraft) so they fly wherever they like.
  • Focus separately on “safety” and “privacy,” otherwise the solutions may not make sense. For example, it may be safe to fly over a large open field, but the landowner may not want to be filmed at low altitude.  Or, everyone might want great aerial views of a public concert in the park, but such flights are very risky until we are really confident the drones won’t have problems and crash into the crowds.

Pilots Who Fly Drones Into Wildfires Are Idiots. Punish Them

Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser

License Plates for Drones Could Make Rogue Operators Accountable

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed LightCense, a low altitude identification system for drones. The hope is that it would make drone operators more accountable.

Air Traffic Management

Recent proposals for management of unmanned commercial traffic involve altitude layering. But those do not contemplate the immediate reaches above the landowners, or what may be on the ground below.

This presents challenges, such as dealing with commercial drone entries into immediate reaches (landowner-controlled) airspace, and integrating drones into airspace clearly needed for manned flight operations. It may be appropriate to reconsider the 500 foot altitude line of demarcation, and also to add an “immediate reaches” layer.

A “drone highway in the sky” would not necessarily follow a ground-based road network. The real question is whether a low-altitude “highway in the sky” would be designated and “taken with compensation” like our ground-based roads, or whether the “sky” will be “taken without compensation.”

Compounding the difficulties in resolving these issues is the problem that people are very polarized – they either “love” or “hate” drones. A more informed public view would almost certainly be more moderate and reasonable.

Do We Really Want Amazon’s Drones to Swarm Our Skies?

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan offers opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students: student team competitions, undergraduate or graduate research projects, and course projects.

Design and use of UAS can be found in the engineering, aerospace, robotics, and computer science departments. Others such as civil engineering, architecture, biology, and journalism do not design UAS or their software, but they have begun to use UAS to support their research and education activities.

UAV105 Guns on Drones

Weaponized quadcopterA weaponized quadcopter, shooting down drones, legislation that would permit disabling drones, and nine ways to not be an idiot.

Guest

Max Trescott joins the conversation. Max is a GA pilot, a certified flight instructor, aviation author, a glass cockpit expert, and a budding drone pilot.

News

Handgun-firing drone appears legal in video, but FAA, police probe further

Father Says ‘Flying Gun’ Drone Video Broke No Laws

About that handgun-firing drone

Viral Video Of Gun-Firing Drone Renews Interest In Legal Restrictions

An 18-year old Connecticut student mounted a handgun on a drone and made a video of the gun firing. Law enforcement isn’t yet sure how to treat the incident, which apparently took place on family property, saying that no Connecticut state laws were violated.

The FAA may not have any regulations that prohibit conducting this activity on private property away from others. It may come down to state law governing the handling and discharge of firearms.

The Connecticut state Senate recently passed a bill banning weaponized drones, but the legislative session ended without action by the House of Representatives. The bill may now get priority when the next legislative session starts in February.

Shooting Down Drone Costs California Man $850 Penalty, One Angry Neighbor

A man visiting his parents in California was flying his hexacopter when a neighbor’s son shot the UAV out of the sky. According to Ars Technica, he thought it was a CIA surveillance vehicle. The owner of the UAV wanted compensation for the damage, and a small claims court judge ruled in the owner’s favor. But the operator has now produced a record of the UAV’s flight pattern. The drone didn’t cross the property line and wasn’t hovering as claimed.

Hold fire! Shooting your neighbor’s drone could be a felony

The FAA considers drones to be aircraft, and shooting down an aircraft has stiff penalties.

Hillview man arrested for shooting down drone; cites right to privacy

UPDATE: Drone owner disputes shooter’s story; produces video he claims shows flight path

Police in Kentucky responded to a report of a firearm discharge, and to find a man who shot down a neighbor’s drone which he says was hovering over his property and invading his privacy. The man was jailed and charged with wanton endangerment and criminal mischief for shooting down the drone. Both parties are considering legal action against the other. The shooter faces a September court hearing for the criminal charges brought against him.

California Lawmakers Want to Let Emergency Responders Disable Drones

In response to recent incidents where small drones hampered firefighting efforts, state  lawmakers introduced a bill in the California Senate that would give emergency workers the ability to disable drones without fear of charges.

UAV Pilots: Rule #1 — Don’t be an Idiot.

The author presents nine guidelines for safe UAV operation explained in simple terms that explain the logic behind each:

  1. Do not fly anywhere around fires or closed airspaces
  2. Do not fly near the President or his house
  3. Do not fly past where you cannot see your UAV
  4. Do not fly over 400 feet
  5. Do not fly near an airport
  6. Do not fly near nuclear facilities, power stations & other important places
  7. Do not fly over people or their property without their permission
  8. Do not fly if you are drunk or high
  9. Do not fly in bad weather

Videos of the Week

Drones at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

A tour of the many drone activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. The new Aviation Gateway Park featured an 80-by-80-by-30-foot drone cage for all attendees to experience flying a drone or take part in an obstacle course.

Aerial Ireland: Fastnet Rock

Fastnet Rock is a small islet in the Atlantic Ocean and the most southerly point of Ireland. It lies 13 kilometres from the Irish mainland. Due to its location, Fastnet was known as “Ireland’s Teardrop,” because it was the last part of Ireland that 19th century Irish emigrants saw as they sailed to North America. Via listener Tom.

Mentioned

Aviation Careers Podcast Episode 87, Drones and Your Aviation Career

Google, NASA work together to design drone air-traffic-control system

Local police first in Pa. licensed to deploy drone

UAV103 Matternet Tests Autonomous Package Delivery

Matternet ONEPackage delivery by autonomous drone, drone company management changes, making interfering with firefighters illegal, drone service on demand, North Dakota innovation hub, drone photography contest results, USAF addresses pilot shortage, and accidents increase in Netherlands.

News

Swiss Postal Service, Air Cargo Carrier Begin Drone Testing

Freight carrier Swiss WorldCargo announced on July 7 that testing had begun using the Matternet ONE drone for small package delivery. The quadcopter operates autonomously and can carry one kilogram up to 10 kilometers on a single battery charge. Matternet says the drone uses “secure routes that adapt to weather, terrain and airspace [and] allow Matternet ONE to fly autonomously beyond line of sight, without the need for a human pilot.” The cloud-based routing system … ”guides the Matternet ONE along a secure route at low altitude – between 50-100 meters above ground – adjusting for inclement weather, avoiding tall buildings, mountains and restricted airspace.”

Chinese Manufacturer DJI Hires Prominent ‘Drone Lawyer’

Brendan Schulman, who defended Pirker against the FAA, has left law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel where he was head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. Now Schulman is Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at drone maker DJI.

Other movements in the industry include:

  • Amazon hired former Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) counsel Ben Gielow in September as its senior manager of public policy.
  • Amazon appointed Sean Cassidy, a former Alaska Airlines pilot and first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, as director of partner relationships in March.
  • Last August, Google hired David Vos, a technology entrepreneur and former Rockwell Collins senior director, to lead its Project Wing effort to deliver packages.
  • In April, Francis “Chip” Sheller, the former Aerospace Industries Association vice president of communications and research, became vice president of communications and public affairs for Aurora Flight Sciences.
  • Former deputy director of the FAA’s flight standards service, John McGraw, acted as a consultant to video production companies applying for an FAA sUAS exemption.

After drone diverts fire-fighting planes, lawmakers want fines and jail time

California representative Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 3025 to the House of Representatives, which would make it a criminal offense to interfere with firefighting efforts on federal land.

Fly4Me gets FAA approval, launches ‘Uber for drones’

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Fly4Me received a Section 333 exemption to “conduct community training workshops, research and development, and aerial inspections of buildings and land within the United States.” Now the company wants to establish a marketplace where customers book flights and pilots bid on projects. Customers are able to interact with the pilot during the flight and stream FPV. A beta version of the platform was released June 17, 2015.

Is the Silicon Valley of Drones in North Dakota?

Grand SkyNorth Dakota wants to be an innovation hub for drones. Grand Sky Development Park is set to open this summer at Grand Forks Air Force Base as a UAS Business and Aviation Park. The facility features 1.2 million square feet of hangar and office space, and a runway for drones. The state invested $5 million in infrastructure and $7.5 million more in grants for runway improvements.

The 2015 Drone Aerial Photography Contest

Dronestagram announced the winners of its second annual photo competition. The contest was judged by National Geographic and Dronestagram CEO and founder Eric Dupin. Nine photographs are depicted from the more than 5,000 entries submitted. Contest sponsors included National Geographic, Kodak, Parrot, Go Pro, Hexo+, Picanova, Hobbico, and Adobe.

AF rolls out details to improve RPA mission

The U.S Air Force has a plan to address the RPA pilot shortage that includes a Critical Skills Retention Bonus for RPA pilots, assignment of about 80 Undergraduate pilot training graduates to RPA squadrons beginning in August, and spending more than $100 million to buy six next-generation ground control stations, training simulators, and contract instructors.

UAS Accidents Rise in Netherlands

According to the Dutch Transport Ministry, inspectors received reports of 8 small unmanned aircraft accidents in 2012, 15 in 2013, and 27 in 2014. Most of the incidents were reported by manned aircraft and professional drone users and eleven of the 2014 incidents involved a crash landing close to people or buildings. New rules governing the use of drones come into effect later this year.

Video of the Week

Feeding Corn in Iowa

A Hagie machine applies liquid fertilizer to miles of corn with Y-Drops. Filmed with an DJI Inspire-1.

Mentioned

Our Real Red Selves

This book contains the work of three authors, including Harry Giles’ Drone, which explores modern warfare and office life. Harry tells us that there will be a performance of the poetry in August at the Edinburgh Festival this year at Summerhall.

 

UAV095 A Hydrogen Powered Quadcopter

Horizon Unmanned Systems HycopterA drone powered by a fuel-cell, UAS use policy for police, a defensive anti-drone system, UAS training at a community college and at Textron Systems, a backup system for GPS, and the Commercial UAS Modernization Act.

News

Hycopter Drone Flies for 4 Hours via Hydrogen Power

The Hycopter drone from Singapore-based Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) uses a hydrogen fuel cell for power. Four liters of hydrogen are stored in the hollow frame, and are converted to electric power to run the motors. This power source saves weight and allows a four hour flight time, two and a half hours with a 2.2-pound payload.

Police chiefs group offers drone-use policy

In 2012, the International Association of Chiefs of Police Aviation Committee created Recommended Guidelines for the use of Unmanned Aircraft [PDF]. Since then, the Association has worked to develop policy which covers drone deployment, restrictions on use, data retention, and training.

Three UK companies to develop new anti-UAV defence system

Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics, and Enterprise Control Systems are developing a fully integrated anti-UAV defence system (AUDS). This system combines Ku band electronic scanning air security radar, a stabilised electro-optic director, infrared and daylight cameras, and target tracking software. The AUDS also utilizes a directional radio frequency inhibitor and jammer system.

The new system is intended to address threats from malicious micro, mini, and larger UAVs at ranges of up to 8km in remote sites or urban areas and operating from fixed locations or mobile platforms.

Sinclair receives first community college FAA UAS exemption

The FAA has granted a Section 333 exemption to the Sinclair UAS Training and Certification Center. The exemption allows Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio to conduct commercial training and research and development in areas such as sensor integration and testing. It also lets the college expand their commercial focus on precision agriculture, geospatial information, and first responder training.

The Training and Certification Center also intends to publish a Journal of Unmanned Aerial Systems twice a year as an online peer-reviewed publication

Textron Systems Launches Unmanned Systems Training Catalog

Textron Systems Support Solutions has announced an unmanned systems training catalog with a range of unmanned systems coursework. The curricula included classroom and hands-on training using customized materials and training aids. They’ll tailor the training to your language, skill level, platforms, and applications. Training can be delivered to your choice of location for both military and commercial missions.

US Weighs UAS-Friendly GPS Backup System

Girish Chowdhary, an engineering professor at the Oklahoma State University, explains that GPS “…is not a very high integrity signal” and can easily be jammed or overpowered. Enhanced Loran (or eLoran) would cover the continental United States with a low-frequency navigation signal. eLoran signals are 1.3 million times stronger than GPS signals, and nearly impossible to jam. This system is already operating in Europe and parts of Asia.

Senators Booker and Hoeven Introduce the Commercial UAS Modernization Act to Streamline Drone Integration

On May 12, 2015, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act. This would establish an interim rule governing sUAS operations until the regulations proposed in the NPRM are finalized.

The act gives the FAA some flexibility on visual-line-of-sight (VLOS), and reduces the regulatory burden for commercial operators. It also creates a new Deputy Associate Administrator for Unmanned Aircraft at the FAA. The intent is to streamline the integration of UAS in the United States.

Video of the Week

Flood rescue drama in Johnson County

A DJI Inspire 1 delivers a leader rope to a family trapped in their home by flood waters.

Mentioned

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international digital-rights organization, produced a map of the United States showing 81 public entities that have applied for FAA drone-use authorizations.

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Be sure to join us at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display (formerly Become a Pilot Day) June 20, 2015 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA next to Dulles Airport. Bring your family and friends to this amazing aviation event. We’ll be in the Museum at the Airplane Geeks banner and we’d love for you to stop by and say hello!

Skywalker FPV, Getting wet in the clouds

A drone flies up above the clouds into airspace where it should not be.

UAV083 Section 333 Exemption Challenges

Burnz Eye View LLC

Experiences of a Section 333 exemption recipient, drones over Paris landmarks cause a commotion, and Rhode Island wants to regulate commercial and recreational drones.

Guest

Mark Burns is the owner of Burnz Eye View LLC, a promotion and marketing company located in Southern California and specializing in aerial and “MōVI” filming. On January 23, 2015, Burnz Eye View became only the 16th company in the United States to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA allowing Burnz Eye View to fly sUAS commercially.

We talk with Mark about the process of obtaining the exemption, utilizing the services of an aviation attorney, and communications with the FAA. Mark also describes the challenge of operating within the limits of the exemption. He advises UAV operators to create a logbook to document flying time and maintenance in order to demonstrate proficiency to potential clients and for insurance purposes. Mark points to Skyward as a company that can help you set up a digital logbook.

Burnz Eye View began with aerial video for the real estate industry, but since the exemption Mark is looking to expanding into television and commercial films, insurance/structure/bio inspection with thermal and IR/EO, and integrating sUAS in national parks and sporting event activities.

Mark was first introduced to flying as a Marine while serving as aircrew in the back of a CH-46E helicopter in Okinawa, Japan. After serving for over nine years, Mark went on to work in the greater Washington D.C. area as a government contractor in the intelligence and biometrics fields. Mark and his family moved to California in 2009 and he started Burnz Eye View in 2013.

News

Mystery drones ‘fly over French capital’

Mysterious drones over Paris cause panic

At least five drones were spotted flying over a number of Paris landmarks on two consecutive nights. The sites included the US embassy, the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde, the Invalides military museum, a train station, the Paris Opera, the Tuileries gardens, and Paris’ Montparnasse Tower.

3 arrested over Paris drone; no known link to night flights

Three Al-Jazeera journalists arrested for flying drone in Paris

Three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested for flying in some woods in western Paris. They say they were filming a report on the mystery drone flights. Two were subsequently released.

RI lawmakers want to study, regulate drones

The “Rhode Island Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles Act” [PDF] would give the state the authority to regulate commercial and recreational drones:

  • Drones would have to be registered with the Department of Public Safety.
  • Operation would be limited near airports, military and government buildings, and schools.
  • It would be illegal to take pictures or video of a private building without permission.

Mentioned

No Film School channel on YouTube for guidance on how to take your aerial cinematography to the next level.

RageCams for camera lens modifications to change focal length or eliminate fisheye effects.

UAV058 Making and Breaking UAV Laws

Cyber Technology Cyber QuadFAA sued over drone restrictions, UAV arrests and confiscations, privacy legislation in California, UCLASS delay, NASA developing ATC for drones, Disney seeks UAS patents.

News

Lawsuits Assert Broad Economic and Scientific Impact of FAA’s Drone Restrictions

Three lawsuits have been filed by attorney Brenden Schulman (@dronelaws) over the FAA’s Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. These were filed on behalf of:

1. The Academy of Model Aeronautics and its 170,000 members

The “no commercial operation” prohibition means no model aircraft public demonstrations or model aircraft training when some payment is involved, as well as competition prizes, and product reviews conducted by employees.

2. Several commercial drone interests, including: Peter Sachs and the Drone Pilots Association, the UAS America Fund (founded to finance the commercial drone industry), Skypan International, an aerial photography firm, and FPV Manuals (sells equipment for model aircraft).

No services can be offered with model aircraft that have even an incidental business purpose, and Peter Sachs cannot assist the volunteer fire department.

3. The Council on Governmental Relations, an association of US research universities.

Model aircraft for scientific research have long been used without any FAA restrictions. The FAA’s interpretation “poses a grave threat to science, research, education, and technological innovation across the United States.”

Customs seizes $80k worth of unauthorised drones

Australian UAV manufacturer Cyber Technology is being prosecuted for failure to obtain a permit to export drones. The list of “Defence and Strategic Goods” controlled by Australian law includes UAVs that can be controlled outside line of sight.

College student arrested for flying drone over football game

A University of Texas student allegedly flew a drone over a school football game. University police identified the student and seized the drone. In a statement to a local TV station, University Police said, “Our top priority is the safety our students, employees, fans and visitors.”

FAA allows recreational drone demonstrations for first time ever at an air show & it’s in Cleveland

This year’s Cleveland Air Show included demonstrations of fixed-wing and multicopter drones for the attendees. It represented a great opportunity to provide the general public with more awareness of what “drones” are all about.

CA State Senate Approves Law Limiting Drone Use by Police

To address privacy concerns, the State Senate in California has passed legislation that requires police to obtain surveillance warrants in order to use drones, unless exigent circumstances exist.

This seems to be at odds with the 1989 case, Florida v. Riley, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that citizens do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy from the air because airplanes and helicopters fly over private property all the time.

U.S. Navy delays start of bidding for unmanned carrier-based drone

The U.S. Navy had planned to release this month a final request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance Strike (UCLASS) contract. Now they say they’ll wait until the Pentagon conducts a broad review of intelligence and surveillance programs this fall.

NASA is building an air traffic control system for drones

NASA is working with to create technologies for controlling air traffic control for drones operating at low altitudes, around 400 to 500 feet off the ground.

Disney Sees Drone-Operated Entertainment

Disney has filed three patent applications to use unmanned aerial systems at its theme parks. The patents envision using multiple UASs to support lightweight materials that can be used as projection screens, creating “flixels” or floating pixels, and animating Disney characters in the night sky.

Videos of the Week

Napa Earthquake 2014 Quadcopter Test Video from Doug.

DJI Drone Video: The Arrival of the USCG Eagle in Gloucester Ma from Rick.

Angry ram takes down drone from @DroneMama.

Mentioned

PrecisionHawk