We talk with a Part 61 pilot who has successfully completed the FAA UAS online training course. We also look at consumer drone vulnerabilities, the threats that drones represent to aviation, using big data to develop a contextual route-plan for autonomous drones, a globe-trotting drone racer, and flying drones in public parks.
The new small drone rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107) becomes effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.
To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.
Those with a Part 61 pilot certificate must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and take an FAA UAS online training course.
Max Trescott is a certified flight instructor and co-host on the Airplane Geeks podcast. Max completed the ALC-451, Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) online course and tells us about his experience.
At the FAA Safety Team website, pilots can start by clicking the Part 107 image at the top of the page. After completing the course, print the completion certificate or email to yourself. Then, on or after August 29, 2016, sign into IACRA.faa.gov and fill out the application for a Part 107 license. Flight Instructors, pilot examiners, and FAA inspectors can then approve pilot as a commercial drone operator. The materials can be reviewed by clicking the “Part 107 Knowledge Test Prep” button at www.faa,gov/uas.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering have been testing consumer drones for vulnerabilities. They found they could overload the drone’s CPU with wireless connection requests and cause an uncontrolled landing, they could crash the drone by sending it a large data packet and causing a buffer overflow, and the drone made an emergency landing when researchers confused the controller with false data packets.
Lanier A. Watkins, the cybersecurity researcher who supervised the recent drone research, said, “You see it with a lot of new technology. Security is often an afterthought. The value of our work is in showing that the technology in these drones is highly vulnerable to hackers.”
A report by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism titled, Trends in Aviation Terrorism identified three threats: lasers, radicalized airport employees, and drones. With respect to drone threats, the report notes:
- Proximity of drones to airliners and airports and the possibility of taking one down
- Terrorist websites advocating drones with explosives to take down airplanes
- Reports of terrorists using drones for intelligence gathering in Syria, Iraq and other countries.
Artificial intelligence company Flock uses “Big Data” to drive a contextual route-planner for drones. Their AI platform “tracks in real time the position of people, vehicles, structures, weather systems and more, calculating the safest possible flight-paths for drones to fly through congested urban environments.” The algorithm “visualises population density and traffic statistics using real-time data streams.”
26-year old Andrew “MayMayDay” Meyer is traveling the world competing in drone races. Places like Canada, the United States, Dubai, and South Korea. He competed at Canada’s Drone Nationals last year, he placed 10th at the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City this year, he flew at South Korea’s Chuncheon Drone Race World Cup just recently, and he’s entered in the Drone World Championship in Hawaii in October. Find Andrew on Facebook.
The Bay Area District of the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation has banned drones and other unmanned aircraft. Park officials are concerned about “potential disturbances to wildlife, public safety issues, and negative impacts on other park patrons.”
Video of the Week
International Drone Expo, December 9-10, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. IDE draws over 100 international exhibitors and more than 3,500 buyers from around the world. It’s a two-day event that features an exhibit floor displaying a variety of drones, parts, and services for all the commercial applications. A commercial drone conference is also hosted at IDE. New this year will be IDE’s first annual drone racing event.
BayRC.net – A community of R/C enthusiasts and professionals.
Santa Cruz County RC Bees – People who enjoy participating in the sport of radio control aircraft modeling.