Tag Archives: MQ-8C Fire Scout

UAV078 Dronegate

Crashed drone photo courtesy of Secret Service

Drone crashes on the White House lawn, actors playing drone pilots, a waterproof drone swims with the fishes, fighting fires with optionally manned helicopters, a record UAS flight, drone regulations around the world, and new FAA exemptions.

White House Incursion

Obama Says US Must Catch up to Ensure Drones Are Safe

Don’t drink and drone: Bozo who crashed drone at White House had been boozing

White House Drone Raises Questions About D.C., Capitol Policy

Man Lost Contact With Drone Before It Sped to White House, Friend Says

DJI to Disable Phantom in No-Fly Zones

A government employee who works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency lost track of the quadcopter he was flying from inside an apartment, and it landed on the White House lawn. The man, who reportedly had been drinking, turned himself in the next day after hearing about the news reports.

Apparently, the man flew a Phantom in and out of an apartment window. A friend says this quadcopter model has a flaw that causes them to fly away, and so the manufacturer is partially at fault.

DJI has responded with a software update that will disable all of its devices within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington D.C. and around more than 10,000 U.S. airports.

This story has created a lot of attention in the press that raises issues including the lack of regulations and the need for security measures.


Anne Hathaway and Ethan Hawke both playing drone pilots—what does it mean?

Story lines with military drones are making their way into various productions. The off-Broadway, one-woman play titled “Grounded” is performed by Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway, who portrays an Air Force pilot who is assigned to fly drones. Meanwhile, the movie “Good Kill” stars Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot who questions the ethics of his job.

The New “Mariner” Waterproof Drone Video Collection

Ambient Real Life presents a waterproof quadcopter that can skim along the surface of the water and take video of the sights below.

US Interior Department, Australia eye unmanned helicopters to fight fires

The US Department of the Interior wants to investigate the use of optionally piloted helicopters for forest firefighting. They want to “assess the feasibility of utilizing these types of aircraft for a variety of missions, including, but not limited to fire suppression at night and during low visibility conditions as well as cargo delivery.” Interior is asking interested companies for an initial response.

Some existing helicopters would seem to fit the requirements:

The Kaman and Lockheed Martin K-MAX has operational experience, and on November 5, 2014 a demonstration of eight firefighting scenarios was conducted at Griffiss International Airport in upstate New York where it gathered water and doused fires. Sikorsky’s MATRIX project has tested an S-76 as an optionally manned platform.The Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout might be a possibility, but it’s a fully unmanned aircraft.

Orion UAS breaks flight endurance record on 80 hour mission

Aurora Flight Sciences says they have set a world endurance record for an unmanned aircraft system. Their Orion UAS flew for 80 hours, beating the previous official record of 30.5 hours set in 2001 by the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Thailand mulls jail term for unlicensed drone pilots

Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department is drawing up rules that would:

  • prohibit attaching cameras to drones except for business reasons
  • restrict drones with cameras to use by photographers, film-makers, and journalists
  • set a one hour maximum flight time
  • limit weight and size

The Ministry of Transport would oversee and approve applications to use drones. Violators could face a year in prison and a fine of 40,000 baht (£813; $1,229)

Queensland man first in Australia to be fined for flying a drone

If you fly your drone in a manner not allowed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), then upload the video to YouTube, your notoriety could land you a fine. In this case, $850.

CASA regulations state that hobbyists who fly for no commercial gain cannot fly their drones:

  • Within 3 nautical miles of an airport;
  • Above 400 feet in controlled airspace (large towns and cities)’
  • Over populous areas;
  • Within 30 meters of people;
  • At night.

Aviation safety: GCAA to issue drone rules

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which regulates civil aviation in the United Arab Emirates, says they are about to release regulations for unmanned aerial systems. Reportedly, the regulations will be based on weight and type of operators and will ban the use of UAVs near airports, residential areas, and public facilities and properties. A permit will be required from the GCAA, as well as coordination with the air traffic authorities.

FAA Grants Two More UAS Exemptions

The agency gave new exemptions to AeroCine, LLC for aerial cinematography, and to Burnz Eye View, Inc. for aerial photography and inspections. FAA-issued certificates of airworthiness are not needed “because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.”

Videos of the Week

First commercial drone to take flight over downtown Edmonton

Connor Burns of Skymatics flies the first drone approved for operation in downtown Edmonton on Jan. 28, 2015, a DJI Spreading Wings S1000. Video by Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal. The octocopter will be used to take video of construction projects for a design and planning firm.

Farmer uses drone to capture bird’s-eye view of ‘cow art’

What can you do with a feed truck, a drone, and a herd of cattle?

UAV074 Did you get a Drone for Christmas?

Know Before You Fly

No sUAS NPRM, “Know Before You Fly” safety campaign, it may be OK to say “drone” now, UAS America Fund proposes rules, drone privacy legislation, ICAO looks at integrating RPAS into the air space, an embarrassing UAS test center first flight, and the MQ-8C Fire Scout takes flight.


No Firm Date For UAV Rules As FAA, Industry Launch Safety Campaign

At 2014 year-end, we don’t have an sUAS NPRM from the FAA, but we do have many new quadcopter owners after the holiday gift-giving season.

The Know Before You Fly education campaign was founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

Booming Holiday Drone Sales Creates Unknown Safety Risk

Darrell Slaughter, Director of Business Development at the Phoenix, Arizona based Unmanned Vehicle University says “The drone industry cannot afford any mishaps at any time, especially at this stage in the industry’s life cycle. People must realize that many of the UAVs being given as gifts this year are not toys.  Many are capable of causing serious injury and damage to property. People will get hurt if these potentially dangerous devices are operated in an unsafe manner.”

Drone Defender Drops D-word Denial

Back in the day, you could get chastised for describing a UAV as a “drone.” But the press and the public have co-opted the term, and it may be time to embrace the “D-word.”

Industry Proposes A ‘Micro Drone’ Rule As Regulatory Deadline Looms

UAS America Fund proposal The UAS America Fund has filed a petition with the FAA proposing regulations for very small UAS for non-recreational purposes. This incremental regulatory approach is based on a risk analysis of FAA data, and addresses aircraft under 3 pounds and flown under 400 feet at least 5 miles from an airport.

The graphic from the UAS America Fund shows different regulatory and certification requirements for different categories of UAS missions.

West Virginia Senator proposes UAS Privacy Act

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV from West Virginia has proposed a law that would require the Federal Trade Commission to set up privacy websites for all commercial UAV operators where privacy policies are posted, including:

  • Information about the circumstances under which the UAS would be operated
  • The specific purposes for the images
  • Data and other identifying information that would be collected
  • Measures to be taken to anonymize and aggregate the information
  • Contact information

Private companies would be prohibited from conducting surveillance on individuals without their explicit prior consent.

ICAO Conducts UAS Fact-Finding Mission

At the invitation of the FAA, representatives from ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) visited the U.S. on a fact-finding mission. They wanted to look at how the U.S. is integrating manned aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). ICAO has a technical body called the RPAS Panel made up of almost 100 international state and industry experts.

1st Nevada drone crashes seconds into FAA test flight

The hand-launched “Magpie” was to be the first UAV officially flown from the Nevada test site, and the press were there to capture the event. The Governor even made a speech. The moment came, Magpie was tossed into the air, and then immediately fell to the ground. The problem was attributed to an electrical controller issue.

U.S. Navy helicopter drone’s first flight

The U.S. Navy successfully flew the MQ-8C Fire Scout system for the first time off the USS Jason Dunham. This was from a moving ship at sea.

Video of the Week

Team BlackSheep XMas Special

Published on Dec 23, 2012, this video was taken by Team Black Sheep from a flight near Paris while attending LeWeb 2012. Is this a safe flight?


Surge in drones as Christmas gifts will show need for greater regulation: peak body