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.
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:
- Trump administration to allow quick and dramatic expansion of drone use
- UAS Integration Pilot Program White House Fact Sheet
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.”
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.
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.
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
In Omega Tau podcast episode 267, host Markus Voelter talks with Quantum Systems
CEO Florian Seibel about the Tron VTOL drone.