Tag Archives: MQ-25A Stingray

UAV216 Making American Aviation Great Again

President Trump directs the DOT and FAA to launch an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, a company drops out of the Navy MQ-25A Stingray competition, a long endurance drone flies for five days, and a microbot swims underwater and flies in the air.

Vanilla Aircraft long endurance drones

Long endurance drones, courtesy Vanilla Aircraft.

UAV News

President Donald Trump and Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announce Innovative Drone Integration Pilot Program

In a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Transportation, President Trump directed the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, “to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions.” This “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” seeks to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace, and realize the benefits of unmanned technology in the economy.

The directive describes policy, the UAS Integration Pilot Program, implementation, responsibilities for coordination, and program evaluation. See also:

Northrop Grumman Drops Out of MQ-25A Stingray Competition

Northrop Grumman will not compete to build the Navy MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling vehicle, even though the company developed the test platform that demonstrated autonomous takeoff and landing from an aircraft carrier. During an October 25, 2017, earnings call, Northrop CEO Wes Bush said, “When we’re looking at one of these opportunities… our objective is not just to win. Winning is great, it feels good on the day of an announcement, but if you can’t really execute on it and deliver on it to your customer and your shareholders, then you’ve done the wrong thing.”

Vanilla Aircraft Completes 5-Day Flight

As we described in episode 179, Vanilla Aircraft VA001 unmanned aircraft system completed a non-stop, unrefueled 56-hour flight at the New Mexico UAS Flight Test Center. Then, on October 18, 2017, VA001 took off from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and landed 5.1 days later with 3 days of fuel remaining. This project was funded under a contract through Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). The aircraft has a 50-pound payload capability and can supply up to 800 watts to the payload bay. Vanilla Aircraft plans to start production in the coming months for a multitude of applications.

AOPA Drone Talk: Drones and the Legal Landscape

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will conduct a free webinar November 10, 2017, at 8 PM Eastern. The discussion will center around how the drone space has evolved, the important legal matters you should be aware of, and how AOPA can help protect your freedom to fly. This drone talk webinar will be suitable for both remote pilots and those flying for fun.

Insect-sized robot can go from air to water and back again

Harvard University engineers have developed the “Robobee,” a 175-milligram flapping-wing robot that can fly, land on water, swim underneath, and take off again. To counter the problem of water surface, the engineers designed a device that uses electrolysis to convert some of the water into hydrogen and oxygen for buoyancy, then ignites the gas for a boosted takeoff.

UAV Video of the Week

These ‘robo-bees’ can dive, swim, and jump

The Quantum Tron UAV

In Omega Tau podcast episode 267, host Markus Voelter talks with Quantum Systems
CEO Florian Seibel about the Tron VTOL drone.

 

 

 

 

 

UAV207 Drone Racing with the Pro Aerial League

A new drone racing league takes shape, an unmanned aircraft vehicle traffic management system is planned for Kansas, Northrop Grumman’s MQ-25 drone tanker testbed was spotted, a Phantom landed on an aircraft carrier, DJI responds to issues over data transmission, and drones assist in a rescue mission.

The RIOT 250R for the PAL drone racing league.

The RIOT 250R Pro racing drone. Courtesy Thrust-UAV.

UAV News

Professional drone racers start new league with six teams and big inaugural event in Everett arena

The Pro Aerial League (PAL) is a new drone racing organization that will feature indoor spectator events with six teams, each with six pilots. Pilots will race RIOT 250R Pro racing drones from Thrust-UAV through multiple types of challenges in order to determine the best team in terms of speed, skill, and strategy. The inaugural event is August 19, 2017, at the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington.

Riot 250R Pro by Thrust UAV Commercial

AirMap Takes Flight with Kansas

AirMap announced a partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to deploy the AirMap platform across the state. Their goal is “to open more airspace for drone operations, support Kansas’ growing community of drone operators, and ensure that the skies are safer for all.” The AirMap platform will be available to Kansas airports, state colleges and universities, and government agencies.

AirMap is one of the 12 companies assembled by the FAA for LAANC, the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, providing automated notification for flight in U.S. controlled airspace. A list of the initial 50 airports is available in Coming This Fall: Automated Airspace Authorization at U.S. Airports.

Northrop Grumman MQ-25 Drone Tanker Testbed Emerges At Plant 42 In California

Development contracts were previously awarded to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray drone. The MQ-25 Stingray is a carrier-launched tanker designed to extend the combat range of carrier aircraft. Aviation Week is now showing a low-quality photograph of what it says is Northrop Grumman’s modified X-47B flying test bed as part of its MQ-25 bid.

A drone landed on Britain’s biggest warship and nobody cared

A “Black Isle Images” photographer landed a DJI Phantom on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. The landing was unintentional and the Phantom landed itself after sensing high winds. The photographer presented himself to the armed guards, but “no one seemed too concerned.” He also gave the authorities his phone number, but nobody called.

DJI Develops Option For Pilots To Fly Without Internet Data Transfer

DJI announced on August 14, 2017, that it is “developing a new local data mode that stops internet traffic to and from its flight control apps, in order to provide enhanced data privacy assurances for sensitive government and enterprise customers.” In local data mode, DJI apps will stop sending or receiving any data over the internet. That includes relevant local maps and geofencing data, the latest software updates, correct radio frequency and power requirements, and newly-issued flight restrictions.

First drone-assisted rescue in Southside a high-flying success

A logger on the Dan River in Virginia was pinned down by a tree. As the Danville Life Saving Crew traveled to the location, they created a plan that included using their drones. Just last month, they had received training to become certified drone operators, and on arrival at the scene, the drones were deployed to assist in making the operation safer. Danville Life Saving Crew assistant director Bryan Fox said, “We were able to navigate the boats around some circumstances in the water, some debris, rock formations, that [the rescuers] didn’t see from the boat as they were trying to navigate.”

UAV Video of the Week

On Sunday, July 2, 2017, a drone was spotted on the approach path to Gatwick Airport. This is the disruption it caused.

Gatwick drone incident – 2 July

 

UAV196 The DJI Spark

The DJI Spark, Snap Inc. interest in drones, the ANSI UAS Standardization Collaborative, the Drone Federalism Act of 2017, Florida utility company using drones, the MQ-25A Stingray carrier-launched unmanned tanker, a drone camp for girls, and NATE embraces drones.

The DJI Spark

The Spark mini-drone. Image courtesy DJI.

UAV News

DJI brings gesture control to consumer drones with the diminutive Spark

The $499 DJI Spark mini-drone recognizes your face and launches and lands on the palm of your hand. It can be controlled with hand movements, a remote controller, a mobile device, or DJI goggles. Featuring obstacle detection and image stabilization, the Spark can follow flight maneuvers preset with your mobile device. It can also follow you.

Snap recently acquired Ctrl Me Robotics, an LA-based drone company

Snap Spectacles

Snap Spectacles. Image courtesy Snap, Inc.

Is the company that owns Snapchat getting into the drone business? It’s unclear, but Snap Inc. acquired drone company Ctrl Me Robotics last year and has reportedly looked at another company in that space.

Last September, Snapchat said it was rebranding itself as a camera company and getting into hardware. Snap also manufacturers a wearable camera called Spectacles. These “smartglasses” record video and connect to your Snapchat account.

 

ANSI Establishes Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards. ANSI has decided to form a “Standardization Collaborative” for UAS. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Standardization Collaborative (UASSC) will create standards and conformity assessment programs for facilitating the safe integration of UAS into the United States national airspace system (NAS). An initial kick-off meeting is planned for the third quarter of 2017. To stay up-to-date regarding future developments, email Jim McCabe, ANSI senior director, standards facilitation, at jmccabe@ansi.org.

Drone Federalism Act Would Bring Regulation to Local Level

The Drone Federalism Act of 2017 has been proposed by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Tom Cotton, R-Ark. The Act is an attempt to bring UAS regulation down to the local level.

Feinstein says the bill “allows communities to create low-altitude speed limits, local no-drone zones or rules that are appropriate to their own circumstances.”

Blumenthal says, “This legislation protects the rights of state and local governments to implement reasonable restrictions on drones in their communities while ensuring that the Federal Aviation Administration keeps our national airspace the safest in the world.”

So how does it work?

  • Keeps the FAA’s “general authority over the national airspace while preserving the authority of state, local and tribal governments to issue reasonable restrictions on the time, manner and place of drone operations within 200 feet of the ground or a structure.
  • Reaffirms that the federal government “will respect private property rights to the airspace immediately above a property, including the first 200 feet.”
  • Directs the FAA “to partner with a diverse group of cities and states to test out different approaches, inform the unmanned traffic management pilot program and report best practices.”

See Drone Federalism Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1272) by Jonathan Rupprecht for a quick summary of important facts of the Drone Federalism Act of 2017, problems with the Drone Federalism Act of 2017, who supports it, and the actual text of the Drone Federalism Act.

Florida Utility Preps for Drone Use Ahead of Storm Season

With hurricane season coming soon, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is being proactive. They’ve trained more than 1,200 employees and that training includes the use of unmanned aircraft. FPL demonstrated the use of UAS for surveying damage areas and how they can speed up restoration efforts.

Navy to Launch MQ-25 Stingray Refueling Drone Competition This Summer

The MQ-25A Stingray is a carrier-launched tanker designed to extend the combat range of carrier aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. The Navy is starting an industry competition for the Stingray, which it plans to enter carrier deck service in the early to mid-2020s. In advance of the formal proposal to industry this summer, the Navy awarded four development contracts: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Northrop Grumman.

Mentioned

UND to host drone camp for girls

The UAS Camp is sponsored by the Women’s Fund from the Grand Forks Community Foundation. Girls ages 8 to 12 will learn about drones, with hands-on experience with small unmanned aircraft. The camp will take place in two sessions at Robin Hall: from July 31 through Aug. 4 and from Aug. 7 through 11, 2017. Registration is $20 and space is limited. For more information, call Amanda Brandt with the UND College of Aerospace at (701) 732-0592.

Video of the Week

NATE UAS Operations Climber Connection Drone Video

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) “has proactively embraced the utilization of drones in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries due to the enormous safety and efficiency benefits associated with their use.” Their new Climber Connection Unmanned Aerial Systems video was distributed industry-wide at the 2017 Drone Focus Conference in Fargo, North Dakota.

 

 

UAV155 Amazon Docking Station for sUAS

The MQ-25 Stingray UAS, Star Wars drones, an Amazon patent for sUAS flight decks, Customs and Border Protection solicitation for small drone studies, how drones might make the future of aviation brighter, an arrest for a drone flight, new geofencing firmware, and Facebook laser drones.

News

Amazon patents special drone housing in the sky

Amazon docking station concept]Amazon was awarded U.S. patent number 9387928 for sUAS docking stations that can be attached to structures such as telephone poles or street lamps. Amazon proposes that these multi-use UAV docking stations can be networked and provide package handling facilities, and act as a final destination or a delivery hub. The docking stations could recharge or refuel UAVs, become navigational aids, and provide routing information from a central control system.

USN carries out MQ-25 aerial refuelling surrogate testing

The UAS that had been called the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) will be now known as MQ-25 Stingray. Developed from the X-47B, it will use the current Navy refueling pod as its equipment. The system is being tested using a Gulfstream jet as a surrogate and the RFP for the MQ-25 prototypes requests a flyoff in 2017.

Star Wars Drones You Can Battle With

Propel is making X-wing, Millennium Falcon, TIE Interceptor, and Speederbike quadcopters with clear props to give the illusion of flight. The drones are outfitted with lasers that allow game playing similar to laser tag.

Border Patrol calls on Silicon Valley for advice on small drones

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking for new ways that Customs and Border Protection could use UAVs and has published an Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) to fund studies. The OTS Call on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Word doc) offers grants of $50,000 to $200,000, and describes three objectives:

  • User interfaces for effective communication and enhanced immediacy for reaction.
  • Sensors to improve situational awareness and the ability to track multiple targets.
  • Platform security improvement for UAS self-defense capabilities.

Why Drones May Save Aviation

This opinion piece describes how sUAS might be a pathway to bring people into aviation.

California makes first arrest for drone flight over wildfire

A man charged with hampering firefighting efforts was caught after he posted his videos on YouTube. He faces FAA fines of up to $27,500 and possible jail time.

DJI drones will now get real-time wildfire alerts

New software updates bring geofencing to temporarily restricted areas.

Report claims small UAV ruling places USA ahead of Europe

Aerospace and defense industry researcher Teal Group says the United States is now ahead of Europe after developing sUAS regulations. The U.S. is “putting pressure on Europe to come up with its own set of regulations.”

Facebook wants to use fluorescence to make its laser drones work better

Facebook and Internet.org have been developing the Project Aquila fixed-wing drones to provide internet access to remote locations using lasers to transmit data. However, light sent through the atmosphere can produce an undesirable “twinkling” effect. The Facebook team has a solution that uses a structure covered with wavelength shifting dyes that re-emit the light at a different wavelength and reduce the twinkling effect.

Video of the Week

Drone helps in rescue of stranded boaters near Algona

Listener Todd pointed us to this video that documents a DJI Phantom 4 used to locate a man and his 10-year-old granddaughter who stranded in their boat.