Tag Archives: registration

UAV204 Drone Registration Planned for the UK

The UK plans to require registration for drones over 250 grams, a study looks at drone strikes on aircraft windscreens, a transformable UAV is under development, Airbus tested their Sagitta demonstrator, some DJI Sparks are experiencing a problem, and draft Technical Standard Orders win AOPA approval.

The Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

The Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

UAV News

Drones to be registered and users to sit safety tests under new government rules

Drone registration is coming to the UK, along with drone safety awareness tests. This will apply to drones over 250 grams. Operators may be able to register online or with an app. The government also plans for expanded use of geofencing in the UK.

Drones and manned aircraft collisions: test results

The summary report from the Department for Transport, British Airline Pilots’ Association, and the Military Aviation Authority says drones weighing 400 grams could damage windscreens. Airliner windscreens were found to be more resistant than helicopter windscreens.

The Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones): Mid-Air Collision Study [PDF] was conducted by QinetiQ and Natural Impacts using laboratory collision testing and computer modelling. The study aimed to find the lowest speed at collision where critical damage could occur to aircraft components. Critical damage was defined in this study to mean major structural damage of the aircraft component or penetration of drone through the windscreen into the cockpit. The study indicated that:

  • Non-birdstrike certified helicopter windscreens have very limited resilience to the impact of a drone, well below normal cruise speeds.
  • The non-birdstrike certified helicopter windscreen results can also be applied to general aviation aeroplanes which also do not have a birdstrike certification requirement.
  • Although the birdstrike certified windscreens tested had greater resistance than non-birdstrike certified, they could still be critically damaged at normal cruise speeds.
  • Helicopter tail rotors are also very vulnerable to the impact of a drone, with modelling showing blade failures from impacts with the smaller drone components tested.
  • Airliner windscreens are much more resistant, however, the study showed that there is a risk of critical windscreen damage under certain impact conditions: It was found that critical damage did not occur at high, but realistic impact speeds, with the 1.2 kg class drone components. However, critical damage did occur to the airliner windscreens at high, but realistic, impact speeds, with the 4 kg class drone components used in this study.
  • The construction of the drone plays a significant role in the impact of a collision. Notably, the 400 g class drone components, which included exposed metal motors, caused critical failure of the helicopter windscreens at lower speeds than the 1.2 kg class drone components, which had plastic covering over their motors. This is believed to have absorbed some of the shock of the collision, reducing the impact.
  • The testing and modelling showed that the drone components used can cause significantly more damage than birds of equivalent masses at speeds lower than required to meet birdstrike certification standards.

The THOR Hybrid UAV

A team of students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design is developing the Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR). The prototype is based on the single-blade monocopter concept from 1913, although THOR actually has two opposing wings, mounted at right angles to each other. The wings rotate into alignment when transitioning from hover to cruise. See episode #48 Evan Ulrich and his RoboSeed for our previous conversation about a monocopter UAV.

Video: SUTD Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR)

Successful first flight for UAV demonstrator SAGITTA

Airbus Defence and Space has flown their demonstrator Sagitta UAV. The 25 percent scale fixed-wing aircraft is powered by two turbine engines. It was developed in cooperation with a number of industry and academic partners.

Some DJI Spark drones are falling from the sky, and that’s to be expected

Complaints have appeared in DJI forums that some of the new Spark drones are shutting down and falling from the sky. DJI has issued a statement:

“DJI is aware of a small number of reports involving Spark drones that have lost power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are top priorities. Our engineers are thoroughly reviewing each customer case and working to address this matter urgently. DJI products are tested for thousands of hours, and the overwhelming number of customers enjoy using our products with minimal disruption.”

AOPA Backs Unmanned System Standards

Two draft TSOs (Technical Standard Orders) have been issued that would apply to unmanned aircraft transitioning to and from Class A and special-use airspace, and traversing other types of airspace. The TSOs are meant to determine minimum standards that allow manned and unmanned aircraft to remain safely separated. The draft standards would not apply to small UAS – those under 55 pounds and governed by Part 107.

TSO-C211, Detect and Avoid (DAA) Systems [PDF]

TSO-C212, Air-to-Air Radar (ATAR) for Traffic Surveillance [PDF]

UAV Video of the Week

Soccer fans use toilet roll to take down drone in Argentina

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

UAV130 UAS Research and Development

FleyeOpen source UAV software, safety with a soccer ball sized drone, a drone landing on a moving vehicle, combining rotors and wings for overall efficiency, the FAA blocks sUAS registration site outside the U.S., and UAS rules for public safety organizations.

News

Dronecode Project Advances Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Commercial Applications

In its first year, the Dronecode Project has formed three technical working groups and grown to include 50 members. This collaborative effort brings open source UAV projects together under a non-profit structure governed by The Linux Foundation.

DronecodeBoard chairman Chris Anderson says, “By bringing efforts together to establish a common platform and utilizing open source best practices, we’re able to build the foundation for a new era of drone applications that extend from the camera to the cloud.  The Dronecode ‘full-stack’ platform approach, combined with the hardware and software innovations of its members, will bring about a new generation of drones that are autonomous, aware of their environments, and continuously connected — an airborne Internet of Things.”

The three Dronecode working groups are the:

  • MAVlink Camera Working Group, which assists camera manufacturers in implementing the MAVlink protocol in cameras.
  • Airspace Working Group, which establishes common data types, units, and formats that all airspace providers can use to transmit and receive.
  • Hardware Working Group, which will establish mechanical and electrical standards for interfaces to the UAV autopilot and its peripherals.

Safer Drone Is The Future Of Tech Design

The Fleye is a small drone that solves the safety problem caused by spinning rotors. With the enclosed, ducted fan design, all the moving parts are inside a spherical shape the size and weight of a soccer ball. The developers say it’s easy to fly and can even fly autonomously. This was a Kickstarter project that successfully raised €314,080 with 717 backers.

Fleye – Your Personal Flying Robot

Drones can now land on moving cars

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center have successfully landed a 20kg fixed-wing UAV on a moving car traveling at 75 kilometers per hour (about 47 mph). The top of the vehicle has optical markers that the UAV uses for tracking. The UAV matches speed and lands on a 4 x 5 meter platform net.

German Aerospace Center test

Credit: German Aerospace Center

Belgian drone mixes plane and quadcopter technology

A team at the University of Leuven in Belgium have developed a UAV that lifts off vertically via four propellers, rotates 45 degrees, and transitions to horizontal flight with lift coming from the wings. Under conventional flight with lift from wings, less power is required for flight, and the VertiKUL 2 has the advantage of speed and flight duration.

In tests, the VertiKUL has been able to travel for up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), with a cargo payload of up to one kilogram (2.2 lb). Lead researcher Bart Theys says, “We made a combination that uses the flight efficiency of an airplane and combines this with the vertical take-off and landing of a quadcopter or a helicopter. So we added wings and aerodynamically shaped profile to a quadcopter to make it fly fast and far.”

Feedback

Several listeners noted that the FAA sUAS registration webpage is blocked outside the United States. That makes it difficult for tourists and drone racing competitors to register before entering the country.

FAA error message

Tim Trott points to 3 Things Public Safety Officials Should Know About Drones by Jonathan Rupprecht, in sUAS News, and observes that the relationship between standards met and operating restrictions are inverted.

UAV129 Drone Defense Systems

Max and David recording the episode on BlabAnti-drone systems and shooting down drones, more legislation from California, the authority to control the airspace, the FAA clamps down on R/C and drone clubs in Washington, D.C., formation flying, drones in television and film, stealth UAVs, and the B4UFLY app.

And now, for something completely different…

Instead of recording this episode over Skype for an audio program, we tried a bit of an experiment and recorded a video show live on Blab.im with an audience participating.

Blab is a service where you schedule a video show on the topic of your choice. Up to four people at a time with webcams can participate in the video portion. Those watching can communicate in a chat session that runs alongside the video. The audience can jump into the video when one of the four seats opens up.

We were joined in the video by flight instructor and Airplane Geeks co-host Max Trescott. Mike Wilkerson from the 2GuysTalking Podcast Network also talked with us. Thanks to them and all the others who joined us live on Blab!

News

Counter-UAV Camera System Revealed

According to Ubergizmo, Airbus have developed a “Counter UAV” system that uses sensors to detect drones around aircraft. The system then spoofs the drone’s control frequencies and takes over command. Or the frequencies can be jammed to disable the drone. The technology comes from Airbus Defence and Space.

Drone wars: new UAV interceptor billed as net-firing solution to rogue flying

Michigan Technological University has developed an octocopter that fires a net up to 12 meters to capture rogue drones. The MTU drone can grab another drone with its net and carry it away, either autonomously or under human control.

Robotic Falconry – Drone Catcher System for Removing the Intruding Drones

A video of the Drone Catcher in action: Proof of concept prototype of a drone catcher system to intercept and physically remove the intruding multi-rotor drones from the protected areas (patent pending). This system offers a viable solution when force-landing or shooting the drones would jeopardize the safety. A patent has been filed.

Net Gun Drone – Excipio | Flite Test

In this video from Flite Test, a DJI Flamewheel F550 equipped with the Excipio Net Gun captures another drone in mid-air.

Drone Legislation Would Require Owners To Buy Insurance, Get UAV ‘License Plates’

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced the Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016. If enacted, this would require that drone owners obtain insurance policies, register their drones, and obtain physical or electronic “license plates” for drones.

Gatto’s logic is, “If cars have license plates and insurance, drones should have the equivalent, so they can be properly identified, and owners can be held financially responsible, whenever injuries, interference, or property damage occurs.”

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Announces The DRONE Act of 2016

According to the press release, the “DRONE Act” would:

  • Require registration of, and tiny physical or electronic license plates for, drones.  All efforts to hold owners responsible (for example, for interfering with firefighting efforts) require this.
  • Require inexpensive ($1, or so) insurance policies sold at the point-of-sale, much like CRV is collected for bottles and cans.  This will ensure that if a drone hurts someone or damages property, the victim can be compensated, and is akin to the auto-insurance requirements under existing law.
  • Mandate that drones of a certain size, and equipped with GPS capability, feature automatic shut-off technology that would activate if approaching an airport.  This technology already exists, and is critical to protecting commercial passenger flights.
  • Implement various other provisions designed to enhance responsibility and mitigate risk.

Feds to Washington, D.C., Drone Enthusiasts: You’re Grounded

Under a new special flight rules area (SFRA), UAVs are now prohibited from flying within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The FAA says UAS are aircraft and aircraft are subject to the SFRA.

100 drones fly in formation to set new Guinness World Record

Intel and Ars Electronica Center in Austria have set a new world record by flying 100 drones in a pre-programmed formation. On November 4, 2015, 100 LED-equipped drones flew over an airfield near Hamburg, Germany. The official title of the record is: Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously.

Mentioned

Tri Drone JourneyListener Neil’s first drone video with his Inspire 1 in Brisbane.

Video version of the episode

You can watch the video version of the episode below. You’ll likely want to fast forward to about 12:36 into the program to bypass our struggles to get something new working. Next time we’ll do better!

UAV128 Get the App Before You Fly

Tactical Robotics AirMuleRegistration of model aircraft moves to the courts, FAA releases an app and answers more registration questions, a cargo delivery UAV makes a first untethered flight, and a new drone challenge.

News

FAA Sued In Federal Court Over Drone Registration Rules

Attorney and model airplane enthusiast John A. Taylor from Silver Spring, Maryland believes that the FAA requirement for sUAS registration is a violation of Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Taylor requested an emergency stay of the registration requirement, but that was denied. The lawsuit is proceeding through the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with a filing deadline of January 27, 2016.

FAA Administrator Huerta Addresses UAS Registration and Integration at CES

Administrator Michael Huerta spoke at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, praising the work of the Registration Task force and noting that as of January  6, 2016, 181,061 operators had registered their drones.

Huerta was joined by Registration Task Force members:

  • Dave Vos, project lead for Google X’s Project Wing
  • Nancy Egan, 3D Robotics general counsel
  • Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs for DJI
  • Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Schulman expressed concern about the ability to find an operator’s home address by looking up their registration number. On enforcement, Huerta says the FAA is trying for “voluntary compliance” but also that the FAA works closely with local enforcement.

FAA Releases B4UFLY Smartphone App

B4UFlyAlso at CES, Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”

 

UAS Registration Q&A

The FAA Registration FAQs were updated to further explain the process:

Q52. Who can see the data that I can enter?

A. The FAA will be able to see the data that you enter. The FAA is using a contractor to maintain the website and database, and that contractor also will be able to see the data that you enter. Like the FAA, the contractor is required to comply with strict legal requirements to protect the confidentiality of the personal data you provide. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement officers might also be able to see the data. In the future, the registration database will be searchable by registration number only, but not by name or address. However, it is not searchable at this time.

Q2. Does it cost anything to register?

A. Federal law requires owners to pay $5 to register their aircraft. However, registration is free for the first 30 days to encourage speedy registration of UAS. During the first 30 days, you must pay $5 with a credit card, a pre-paid credit card or a debit card from a major bank. A $5 credit will appear 5-10 days afterwards.

Q9. Does the FAA have two different registration systems? If so, why?

A. Yes, there are two systems. The online system is currently only required for UAS used for hobby or recreational purposes. This new registration process is quick and easy and provides the registrant with a registration certificate immediately. The paper-based system is for manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft that are not solely used for [non-]hobby or recreational purposes or weigh more than 55 lbs. This process takes much longer to complete and the $5 registration fee is non-refundable. The FAA will transition the paper-based system to a web-based tool later in 2016.

Q11. Are non-U.S. citizens visiting the United States on vacation or for drone competitions required to register?

A. Everyone, including foreign nationals and tourists, who operate a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes outdoors in the U.S. must use the FAA’s online registration system. These non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent U.S. residents will receive the same registration certificate as U.S. Citizens or permanent U.S. residents. However, this certificate will function as a “recognition of ownership” document. This document is required by the Department of Transportation for foreign nationals to operate legally in the US.

Q19. I would like to fly my Radio/Remote Controlled (RC) aircraft outdoors, do I have to register it?

A. Yes, RC aircraft are unmanned aircraft and must be registered online if they weigh more than 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 pounds.

AirMule: Autonomous Cargo Delivery, Beyond Line of Sight

Tactical Robotics Ltd announced a successful untethered first flight of the AirMule Vertical TakeOff and Landing UAV. This cargo vehicle with internal lift rotors should be operational in a few years.

Ford Targets Drone-to-Vehicle Technology to Improve Emergency Services, Commercial Business Efficiency

The $100,000 2016 DJI SDK Developer Challenge brings DJI and Ford together to create drone-to-vehicle communications using Ford SYNC®AppLink or OpenXC. This is an opportunity for you to design an unmanned rescue aircraft that can be used for search missions.

“The aircraft must autonomously enter the ‘disaster area’ and gather information on the location of the ‘survivors’, and transmit it back to the computing device in the vehicle. Having captured all necessary information, it must then automatically return and land on the moving vehicle.”

  • Primary Technical Challenge: Automatic landing on a moving vehicle
  • Secondary Technical Challenge: Vision Guided Flight
  • Tertiary Technical Challenge: Object Recognition

Video of the Week

CES 2016: Intel drone dodges ‘falling tree’ on stage

Intel demonstrated a drone at CES that flew an obstacle course and autonomously detected and avoided an object that fell in its path.

Mentioned

AMA Air – January 2016

AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs team members Chad Budreau and Rich Hanson talk about UAS registration.

UAV127 Small UAS Certificate of Registration

Small UAS Certificate of Registration

Small UAS registration is proceeding in the U.S., but AMA says to hold off, package delivery robots, drone registration in the Bahamas, security drones chase thieves, the FAA gets tough with states legislating drones.

News

sUAS Registration

The FAA sUAS registration website is open for operators of small UAS intended for non-commercial use. Reportedly, 45,000 registrations were filed in the first two days.

FAA-2015-7396-0001 (Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft) asks for public comments on the December 21, 2015, Interim Final Rule. Comments must be received by January 15, 2016.

Also, 8900.338 – New Requirements for Registering and Marking Small Unmanned Aircraft.

Document Information was issued and is primarily directed to Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) aviation safety inspectors (ASI) and assigned sUAS focal points.

That document links to Notice: New Requirements for Registering and Marking Small Unmanned Aircraft [PDF] which informs Flight Standards Service field employees about the new requirements for the registration and marking of small unmanned aircraft found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 47 and 48. It also addresses surveillance, investigation and enforcement issues:

  • ASIs should be prepared to support sUAS activity within their area of geographic responsibility.
  • The use of Risk-Based Decision Making and compliance philosophy, along with current practice and procedures, should be used to support proper surveillance and vigilance over sUAS operations and the NAS.
  • During the conduct of accident, incident, occurrence, and complaint investigations involving sUAS, ASIs will ensure that the unmanned aircraft meet the compliance requirements for registration and marking.
  • ASIs shall use the guidance published in FAA Notice 8900.313, Education, Compliance, and Enforcement of Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operators, and Order 8000.373, Federal Aviation Administration Compliance Philosophy, on the process of contact, education, and enforcement generally to be provided to individuals who are the subject of investigations involving sUAS aircraft.

You can find your local FSDO office at the FAA FSDO Contact page that will provide you with the address, phone, and office web page.

An alternative to drones: Company testing self-driving ‘Roomba-like’ delivery robots

Two former Skype co-founders launched Starship Technologies, a European company that plans to introduce a fleet of ground-based delivery robots. According to the company press release, the robots can carry “the equivalent of two grocery bags, the robots can complete local deliveries within 5-30 minutes from a local hub or retail outlet, for 10-15 times less than the cost of current last-mile delivery alternatives.”

All Drones Must Be Registered By February

The Bahamian Department of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Transport announced that effective February 1, all drones must be registered. Compliance is required by the end of February. This announcement is in advance of a bill that will regulate the use of unmanned aircraft in the Bahamas.

FAA OKs drone-like copter for farm use

The FAA issued a Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations Certification to Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. The Yamaha RMAX remotely piloted helicopter has a takeoff weight of around 200 pounds. Spraying operations are subject to approval by state and local authorities but are expected to begin in 2016. Almost 2,600 RMAX helicopters are currently in use globally, over two million flight-hours have been logged, and more than 2.4 million acres are sprayed each year.

The drone that will CHASE thieves: Security UAV will follow invaders to make sure they are on camera

The Japanese Secom drone is intended to operate autonomously with a surveillance camera to intercept intruders and transmit images to a control center. Japan’s Aeronautics Law has been changed, and no drones are allowed over areas with a population density of 4,000 people per square kilometer or more, and drones are banned near public events such as festivals and exhibitions. Local governments are looking at or have taken action to restrict drones in other areas.

FAA Drone Laws Start to Clash With Stricter Local Rules

The FAA is finally stepping in and informing local legislators that drones are aircraft, and the FAA regulates aircraft. Some legislators seem to be complying, but others do not like what they see as Federal intrusion.

Videos of the Week

Drone Crash Slalom Marcel Hirscher

A camera drone falls from the sky and crashes just inches behind skier Marcel Hirscher.

Video from AirVūz

Four of the biggest drone racing pilots in the world embarked on a journey to recreate one of their favorite movie scenes ever! The Speeder Bike chase scene from “Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”

Mentioned

Lufthansa, Fraport and DFS test drone technology at Frankfurt Airport

Tokyo police are using drones with nets to catch other drones

Screen Shots from the sUAS Registration Process

Visit http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/ and click “Register Now” at the bottom:

1 register

At the welcome screen, click Register My Drone:

2 register

Create an account:

3 register

Receive verification email:

4 register

Open the email and click the link to activate your account:

5 register

Read the fine print and accept:

6 register

The login page is https://registermyuas.faa.gov/login. Use the credentials for your account:

7 register

Provide profile information (your name, physical address, and mailing address):

8a register

8b register

8c register

Accept the safety guidance:

9 register

Provide credit card details for payment:

10 register

Confirm order details:

11 register

Your registration number is issued:

12 register

13 register

UAV125 sUAS Registration Announcement

On December 14, 2015, the U.S Department of Transportation and the FAA held a media briefing to announce the new registration requirements for small UAS. This special episode provides the audio from the announcement.

The rulemaking will appear in the Federal Register December 15, 2015.

  • The requirement applies to sUAS from 0.55 pounds to 55 pounds.
  • sUAS purchased before December 21, 2015 have until February 19, 2016 to register.
  • sUAS purchased after December 21, 2015 have until first flight outdoors to register.
  • There will be a $5 fee, but waived for the first 30 days.
  • The registration website goes live December 21, 2015.
  • The registration will be valid for three years.
  • One registration number applies to all your UAVs.

Press Release – FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

Web-based Registration system

The full rule: Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft [PDF]

 

UAV124 DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop

DaVinci Challenge students

DaVinci Challenge

Princess Aliyah Pandolfi created the non-profit Kashmir World Foundation to integrate art, science, and technology for sustainable projects that transform social and economic structures. One of these projects is the DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop, which helps students see robotic aircraft from a broader perspective.

The workshop trains students and teachers in the design, fabrication, customization, and operation of small robotic aircraft. In this blend of science, technology, art, engineering, and math (STEM/STEAM), students learn about 3D printing, integration of robotic systems, and flying techniques as they build a quad­copter or hexa­copter in an actively engaging hands­-on and innovative workshop.

In the first three days of the workshop, participants build a drone from components, then set up and test them. The fourth day is Flight Day where students perform ground testing and flight check and conduct first flights. At the awards ceremony, participants receive a Drone Operator Certificate.

We attended a Flight Day on December 22, 2016, at the Northern Virginia Community College Loudoun Campus, and recorded a number of interviews:

  • High school senior Michael C. Kronmiller discusses using UAVs for avalanche search and rescue in Nepal. For more, see his website Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM.
  • Danny (age 12), Andrew (age 13), and Matthew (age 13) prepare their drone for its first hover.
  • On the field with the boys’ mothers as their sons made their first hover.
  • Fadwah and Kitty talk about using drones in the STEM club at Langley High School to increase student involvement. You can provide financial support for this group through Computer Science teacher Susan Huebsch, 703-287-2892.
  • Past workshop graduates Kevin Goth, his son Ben Goth, and Rob Klaus talk about their UAV project that utilizes a Raspberry Pi.
Santiago Makes Final Preparations

Santiago Makes Final Preparations

Rich Hanson (AMA) and Princess Aliyah Pandolfi

Rich Hanson (AMA) and Princess Aliyah Pandolfi

Preparing for First Flight

Preparing for First Flight

After Flight With Danny, Matthew, and Andrew

After Flight With Danny, Matthew, and Andrew

Aliyah, Santiago, and Rich

Santiago Gets His Drone Operator Certificate from Aliyah Pandolfi and Rich Hanson

News

FAA mulls ditching drone registration advice

The FAA’s sUAS registration rules should be released shortly.  Reportedly, “sources familiar with the matter,” say the FAA might deviate from the Task Force recommendations and impose a $5 registration fee. Also, retailers would be more deeply involved in the registration process.

UAV123 UAS Registration Task Force Recommendations


The UAS Registration Task Force issues its report to the FAA, and industry responds. A free, worldwide UAS course for new users, and package delivery by drone down under.

UAS Registration Task Force

UAS Task Force RecommendationsThe Registration Task Force provided its sUAS registration recommendations [PDF] to the FAA. The FAA will now consider those recommendations, as well as the public comments received, and issue its requirements for registration. If all goes according to the plan, these will come from the FAA this month, in December.

In its final report, the Task Force recommended:

  • Registration for all drones between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 55 pounds operated outdoors
  • Registration by owner, not by drone. One registration number applies to all your drones.
  • As an alternative, you can instead register by manufacturer serial number.
  • Registration is required by time of flight, not at point of sale.
  • Required information: name and street address.
  • Optional information: email address, phone number.
  • Registration number (or serial number) displayed on each drone.
  • No fee, no citizenship requirement, minimum age 13.
  • Registration should be web-based with the certificate mailed/emailed to registrant.

AMA Reacts to DOT Task Force Recommendations on UAS Registration

The “AMA agrees that registration of UAS makes sense at some level and for flyers operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes.” But the Academy of Model Aeronautics does not support registration for its membership flying non-commercially.

The organization argues that members operate under a community-based organization: “Adding an additional requirement for AMA members to register at the federal level is contrary to the intent of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Public Law clearly states that the FAA is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. Congress by no means intended to grant a free pass for individuals who operate model aircraft. Instead, it clearly intended to leave risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines for the operation of these devices by the members of the AMA to the nationwide community-based organization.”

DJI Concludes Participation on FAA Drone-Registration Task Force

“We share the concerns of many of the 4,700 people who filed comments that this process was initiated in response to sensational headlines rather than data-based risk assessments, and contradicts the provisions of several federal statutes. Nonetheless, we undertook in good faith the assignment, which was not to argue the law, but to use our expertise and knowledge as the world’s largest drone manufacturer to recommend to the Administrator a national drone registration system intended to be minimally burdensome to consumers and professionals, and effective at the stated goals.”

5 Things to Know About Mandatory Drone Registration

Lia Reich is Senior Director of Communications at PrecisionHawk, and PrecisionHawk was a member of the task force. In this piece, Lia provides some major points concerning the Task Force recommendations, but she also notes that she was on the “Women in Drones” panel at the Drone World Expo in San Jose. The panel discussed some of the ways that women can better influence outcomes in the commercial drone space.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide to Offer Free Online UAS Course for New Users

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide is offering “Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS) – Key Concepts for New Users.” The massive open online course (MOOC) runs from Jan. 11 to 24, 2016. Registration opens Dec. 8, 2015.

The MOOC will consist of two 30 to 40-minute pre-recorded presentations, interactive discussion boards, and supporting links and videos. MOOC topics will include:

  • UAS Basics
  • The UAS Operating Environment
  • The National Airspace System (NAS)
  • Understanding the Basic Dos/Don’ts of UAS/Recreational Drone Operations
  • Planning to Fly Safe

Embry-Riddle says, “The primary goal is to educate new UAS users about effective operating procedures that foster safe UAS operations.”

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #13 – UAV’s Spotted at Dubai Airshow 2015

Bob Schmidt, president of UAV Propulsion Tech, attended this year’s Dubai Airshow looking for potential UAV customers for propulsion, servo, autopilot, and rescue/recovery parachute products. Bob’s well-illustrated report describes the UAVs at the airshow, but notes that there weren’t as many UAV exhibitors as he had hoped.  Bob looks forward to the UMEX show (Unmanned Systems Exhibition & Conference) in Abu Dhabi March 6-8, 2016 since this event is focused on UAVs.

Australia Post could soon be delivering packages with drones

Australia Post is trialing package delivery with drones that could be put to use as early as next year. The $10,000 drones will carry 2kg packages up to 25km, although the Post is looking at transporting 10kg packages.

Video of the Week

Flying Drones in rural areas

The Colorado Agricultural Aviation Assoc., Agribotix, UAS Colorado, and Avian conducted a test to see if pilots flying crop-dusting and other low-flying aircraft could see drones flying over the same fields. They could not.

Mentioned

The RoboUniverse Conference and Expo takes place December 14-16, 2015 in San Diego, California. It begins with a half day of interactive tutorials, followed by 2 days of conference sessions and exhibit hall access. Sessions include a drones track and keynote sessions by industry leaders, such as Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. Other features include Drone Zone demos, an EZDrone Crash Course, and RoboGameChanger startup competition. If you act fast, you can get 10% off the conference price when you use the discount code “DIGEST.”

David participated in the Drone Laws and Technology / Latest TSA Adjustments conversation on Hong Kong’s Radio 3. You can listen to the panel on the Backchat podcast.

UAV122 Realtime Flight Restriction Data Coming to UAVs

DJI geofencing systemDJI and 3D Robotics bring real-time airspace restrictions to UAV software, a UAV flagship store is planned to open, ArcadiaSky opens a marketplace for commercial UAV operators, FAA gives a UAV registration warning, and another municipality regulates drone flights.

News

DJI Introduces New GeoFencing System For Its Drones

DJI plans to introduce a dynamic geofencing system that continuously provides updated airspace information to the operator. Data comes from Geospatial Environment Online (GEO). Drone operators will see temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in real time, including forest fires, major stadium events, VIP travel, and restrictions around prisons, power plants, and other restricted areas such as national parks.

However, operators with verified DJI accounts could temporarily unlock or self-authorize flights in some of those locations, but not in sensitive national-security locations. This to accommodate the authorized applications and provide accountability if the flight is later under investigation.

DJI intends to start this in December, first in North America and Europe via a DJI Go app update, and also a drone firmware update.

GEO is powered by geospatial data from Santa Monica, California-based AirMap, which calls itself “the leading provider of airspace information and services for drones. AirMap’s real-time services are available to manufacturers through an API and through an SDK for application developers.”

Just as we were recording this episode, a video was posted from Drone World Expo titled DJI Technology Policy Announcement by Brendan Schulman, VP of Policy & Legal Affairs.

3DR Collaborates with AirMap to Integrate Flight Safety Zone Software into the Solo App

3D Robotics will also integrate AirMap’s safety information into its Solo smart drone app. CEO and co-founder Chris Anderson says, “…we want to make flying as safe as it is easy. Supplementing the Solo app with AirMap’s robust and reliable real-time airspace information allows us to increase education with a seamless and enjoyable drone experience.”

From the 3DR press release: “If Solo users open their Solo app in a restricted area, they’ll see a warning. Users can then tap the warning to bring up a map that displays any airspace information in the area. This airspace information includes real-time Temporary Flight Restrictions that may be established in the areas around wildfires, major sporting events and other sensitive places. The Solo app will contain basic airspace information: federal guidelines (e.g., five miles from an airport); national parks; airbases, etc.”

The World’s Biggest Commercial Drone Maker is Opening a Flagship Store

In December, DJI plans to open an 8,600 square foot flagship store in Shenzhen, China. A DJI spokesman said, “We want more people to see and touch our products.”

Start-up ArcadiaSky creates marketplace for commercial UAV hire

Australian company ArcadiaSky wants to make it easier to find licenced commercial UAV operators. After two months, they have 180 drone operators in 74 locations in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They’ve received over 1,300 requests for quotes.

ArcadiaSky describes a free, three-step process:

  1. Define your requirements on a request for quote
  2. Choose your pilot based on your requirements
  3. You are put in contact with the drone operator

FAA: Think Twice about “Drone Registration” Firms

The FAA has issued a statement saying UAV owners should wait for the registration process to be announced before they work with any company that offers to help you with registration.

At least one company is offering this kind of service.

The FAA wants “a streamlined unmanned aircraft registration process that will be simple and easy to complete… The Task Force …is working on recommendations for a system that is similar to registering any newly purchased product with its manufacturer…”

Chicago City Council Approves Ban On Drones

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance regulating drone use and requiring that drones cannot fly above 400 feet, must be line-of-sight, and cannot fly within five miles of O’Hare and Midway Airports. Also, no flying of drones over schools, churches, hospitals, police stations, and any private property without consent.

Video of the Week

DroneFest, the International Drone Film Festival

This international film and photography competition culminates in a one-night festival dedicated to everything drones. It’s part of the SkyTech 2016 Drone Expo on the 27th January 2016. Submissions are accepted until December 13, 2015.