Tag Archives: Sense and Avoid

UAV149 Sense and Avoid and Package Delivery at NASA Langley

David talks with Frank Jones, Deputy Director, Research Services Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center.

David Vanderhoof and Frank Jones

David Vanderhoof (L) and Frank Jones (R)

Frank Jones describes how sense and avoid algorithms based on ADS-B have been researched using the specially instrumented NASA Cirrus SR-22 as a surrogate drone. NASA and the other research partners conducted a number of flight tests to try and tried to break the algorithms with “blunder maneuvers” and observed how the software performed.

The SR-22 also participated in the project with Virginia Tech, Flirtey, and others to deliver medical supplies by drone. The SR-22 carrying the supplies was flown remotely to an airport; the package was transferred to the Flirtey quadcopter, which then made the “last-mile” delivery.

Currently, an urban test environment is being created at NASA Langley where sUAS could be flown routinely across the campus using them operationally to deliver mail and packages, conduct building inspections, and perform other tasks.

Find NASA Langley Research Center on Twitter as @NASA_Langley.

We’d like to thank Kathy Barnstoff and Bill Baley for arranging the NASA Langley interviews.

 

UAV139 Too Many Drone Parts and Not Enough Drone Pilots

The Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System — or CRACUNSAn online “junk yard” for UAVs and components, the drone pilot shortage, a UAS detect and avoid display project, UAV airspace integration in the UK, the US Senate version of FAA reauthorization, egg drop drones, LiPo batteries, and the CRACUNS submersible drone.

News

This Online ‘Drone Junk Yard’ Lets UAV Owners Swap and Exchange Parts

UK Drone builder Andrew Spaxman founded Drone Junk Yard in January 2015 as a place where enthusiasts could buy, swap, and sell unwanted UAV parts. Starting with a closed, country-specific Facebook group for the UK, Spaxman has expanded to groups for the United States, the EU, Canada, and Australia.

UAV pilot training struggles continue

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Further Actions Needed to Fully Address Air Force and Army Pilot Workforce Challenges [PDF]. In it, the GAO says the USAF and US Army haven’t implemented all the recommendations made in its 2014 report. These particularly relate to the shortage of pilot instructors and pilots.

FAA hand picks Horsham pilots to help refine UAS detection display

The FAA wants to develop a UAS detect and avoid display for unmanned aircraft systems at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Eight pilot volunteers have been selected from the 111th Attack Wing for the project.

FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute research psychologist Kevin Williams said,”Our task in this study is to look at the displays used to provide the pilot with the information that is required for them to remain well clear of other aircraft. Basically, what we’re talking about is the minimum information requirements for those displays.”

UK calls for realistic approach to UAV integration

The UK wants to permit beyond line of sight UAV operations at all altitudes by 2020, but the Department for Transport (DfT) wants to be sure that regulations are robust and realistic. Paul Cremin, head of UK aviation operational safety and emerging technologies at the DfT said, “This is a disruptive technology changing the way we think about aviation, but we have to be realistic about safety and security.”

In conversations with the public, the dFt found that there is faith in state-controlled UAVs, confidence in most commercial operators, and concern about drone hobbyists. The public expects registration, geo-fencing, age restrictions on use, mandatory insurance, and licensing of retailers.

A full report on the dialogue with the public is to be issued in April, followed by public consultation in June, leading to a UK government strategy on permitting operations later this decade.

Senate bill calls for certification of unmanned aircraft

The U.S Senate version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 would establish a kind of “type certification” for UAVs, requiring all small UAS to meet design and production standards within one year. Manufacturers would have to certify compliance. Random production samples would be tested, and manufacturers would provide a sample of the UAV to the FAA for review.

The Senate version also calls for:

  • An “aeronautical knowledge and safety test” for operators (including model aircraft pilots). Exempted would be aircraft under .55 pounds, and pilots under 13 years of age who fly under the supervision of an adult who has passed the test.
  • FAA to create within 2 years a new operating certificate for unmanned aircraft package delivery operators.
  • Nine months for the FAA to establish a rule for micro UAS (under two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds) with no pilot’s certificate requirement
  • Nine months to develop standards for UAS operations by institutions of “higher education.” If the FAA misses the deadline, the institutions can operate as model aircraft.

Drones to drop Easter eggs on Cherry Hill

The Impacting Your World Christian Center plans to host Egg Drone Drop events for kids in Cherry Hill and Philadelphia. Thousands of candy-filled eggs will fall from FlexRight Solutions drones.

Video of the Week

Flying demo highlights commercial potential of drones in Wales

In March 2016 at Wales’s Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, a weeklong event was hosted by QinetiQ in partnership with the Welsh Government and Snowdonia Aerospace LLP. They demonstrated how drones could help tackle environmental issues and other commercial challenges. The demonstration consisted of two scenarios; one exploring the use of drones in fisheries protection, and the other in managing the threat to the Welsh coast from erosion and flooding.

Mentioned

New UAV Can Launch from Underwater for Aerial Missions

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have developed the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System — or CRACUNS.

LiPo Battery Videos

Lipo Battery Fires are Real

LiPO Spontaneously catches on fire at EZDrone

Turnigy LiPo Battery Explosion and Fire in my House

Respect Your Lipos  Part 1 – Lipo Fire

LiPo Failure and Fire

Small LiPo Fire – Lucky…

 

 

UAV117 Don’t Fly UAS Near Airports

SkyPan International

FAA proposes $1.9 million penalty against UAS operator, Pathfinder expanded to detect UAS near airports, NAV Canada wants jail time for flying near airports, detect-and-avoid standards on the way, Boeing tests joined wing body UAS, and DARPA working to develop vanishing drones.

News

FAA Proposes $1.9 Million Civil Penalty Against SkyPan International for Allegedly Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Operations

The FAA says aerial photography company SkyPan International “conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of our most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules.” Forty-three of the flights flew in restricted Class B airspace near airports.

According to the FAA, SkyPan flew commercial UAS flights over New York City and Chicago between March 21, 2012 and Dec. 15, 2014 without an aircraft airworthiness certificate, registration, or a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization.

In UAS expert: FAA’s proposed $1.9 million fine is necessary, Christina Engh, the chief operating officer for consulting firm UASolutions Group Inc. said the FAA’s actions should serve as a warning to the industry.

On its website, SkyPan says they have been operating safely for 27 years. They operate only over the private property of clients with single rotor aircraft capable of controlled autorotation descent, and “SkyPan robots are repeatedly tested and were inspected by the FAA in August 2013, deemed to be one of the safest UAV operations in the USA.”

Additionally, SkyPan says they “proactively contacted the FAA in 2005, 2008, and 2010 to explore special permitting for its commercial UAS activity, by discussing regulatory and suggested technical parameters with FAA officials in Illinois, New York and Washington, D.C. and in 2015 was awarded a ‘333’ exemption to the FAA’s blanket ban on commercial UAS operation.”

FAA Expands Unmanned Aircraft Pathfinder Efforts

The FAA entered into a Pathfinder agreement with CACI International Inc. to evaluate how the company’s sensor technology can help detect UAS in the vicinity of airports.

The FAA’s UAS Pathfinder initiative creates research partnerships with industry to explore next steps beyond the types of operations described in the sUAS NPRM.

John Mengucci, CACI’s Chief Operating Officer and President of U.S. Operations said, “The agreement provides a proven way to passively detect, identify, and track UAS… and their ground-based operators, in order to protect airspace from inadvertent or unlawful misuse of drones near U.S. airports.”

The FAA will select airports where CACI’s prototype UAS sensor detection system will be evaluated at airports.

NAV Canada CEO: ‘Jail time’ needed for reckless UAV operators

Speaking about recreational UAVs flown within 5 miles of airports, NAV Canada president and CEO John Crichton said operators should be subject to criminal penalties. “Why don’t we go out and catch a few people?” he said.

First Interim Standards for Unmanned Aircraft Detect-and-Avoid Released

An RTCA Special Committee released interim minimum operational performance standards (MOPS) for the detect-and-avoid system and command-and-control data link. The RTCA is chartered by the FAA to operate Federal advisory committees. It develops minimum performance standards that form the basis for FAA regulatory requirements.

The performance standards don’t apply to sUAS, only to civil UAVs flying to and from Class A controlled airspace (above 18,000 ft.) under instrument flight rules. The MOPS specifies sensors to detect other aircraft and provide operators on the ground with awareness and guidance. It’s run with ADS-B, TCAS, and radar. Release of the final document release is planned for 2016.

A uniquely shaped unmanned aerial vehicle undergoes tests

Boeing is testing a rigid wing version of a joined-wing UAV. Ultimately, a flexible wing version is planned for long duration surveillance missions.

The Military’s ICARUS Project Wants To Build Delivery Drones That Vanish Into Thin Air

Under DARPA’s Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, “degradable” electronic systems physically disappear in a controlled, triggerable manner to prevent them from being captured by enemies. The DARPA Inbound Controlled Air-Releasable Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) project builds on VAPR to create drones that disappear after completing their mission.

How? With “polymer panels that sublimate directly from a solid phase to a gas phase, and electronics-bearing glass strips with high-stress inner anatomies that can be readily triggered to shatter into ultra-fine particles after use.”

Mentioned

Police: Drone crashes, burns in Sag Harbor

A multirotor burned on the sidewalk after crashing into two buildings.

UK firms develop drone-freezing ray

The Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) jams the communications signal for a drone, making it unresponsive.

Anti-drone rifle shoots down UAVs with radio waves

Battelle’s DroneDefenderTM is a “rapid-to-use counter-weapon to stop suspicious or hostile drones in flight.”

Senate bill criminalizes ‘reckless’ drone flights

The Safe Drone Act from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) would make it a crime to fly recklessly near restricted airspace.

Polish Air Force F-16 Jet Collided with Drone

Ground crews discovered damage to the airframe protective coating and to the fuel tank during post-flight checks.

Drone activity ‘raises risk’ for pilots, firefighters as bush-fire season nears

With the annual bush-fire season approaching in Australia, authorities there are concerned about people flying drones near bush-fires.

 

UAV101 Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge

Aurora Flight Sciences CentaurThe optionally piloted Centaur flies at a UAS test site, a NASA-led team tests a sense and avoid system, more bad drone behavior, and an interview with the founder of the Kashmir World Foundation.

News

Remote-controlled passenger flights 5 years away, CEO says

An Aurora Flight Sciences Centaur was flown over the New York UAS test site from Griffiss International Airport. The Centaur is an Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) based on the Diamond DA42 twin engine airplane. It becomes the first large-scale fixed wing unmanned aircraft to fly at an FAA-approved test site.

Aurora CEO John Langford believes that unmanned aircraft will ultimately make aviation safer, and we may some day see passenger flights with aircraft like the Centaur. The Aurora website has a video of the flight.

NASA tests advanced Ikhana and Global Hawk technology

A team led by NASA is testing a sense and avoid system using the Ikhana UAV, a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Predator B that was acquired by NASA in 2006. Testing in June included 23 encounters with a Beech C90 King Air acting as the intruder. Besides NASA, the team includes General Atomics, the FAA, and Honeywell.

The current test phase includes validation with the Ikhana of sensor, trajectory, and other simulation models. Other tests will utilize a Lockheed S-3B Viking jet from NASA’s Glenn Research Center acting as a high-speed piloted surrogate aircraft.

Seattle police seek pilot after woman knocked out by falling drone

A drone crashed into a building during a parade in Seattle, then fell and struck a woman in the head. Unconscious, she collapsed into her boyfriend’s arms. The drone was turned over to police, as were a physical description and photographs of the man believed to be the pilot. The drone was described as costing about $1,200 and weighing about two pounds.

Guest

Princess Aliyah PandolfiPrincess Aliyah Pandolfi is founder of the Kashmir World Foundation, established in 2008 to improve the lives of people and animals worldwide. Their projects create healthy habitats for humans and wildlife, and emphasize education, vocational training, job creation programs, and endangered species protection.

Kashmir-Robotics is hosting the worldwide Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge to foster innovation and invention in the design, fabrication, and utilization of unmanned aircraft to assist with counter poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking.Kashmir World Foundation
Can 3-D Printed Drones Help Save Wildlife? is a National Geographic video about the Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge.

Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge

Videos of the Week

FPVRACING.TV Time Trial Course #2

This video shows what FPV multicopter racing looks like from the quad’s perspective.

Sticks of a Mini Beast

A dramatic view of high speed FPV flying that shows the video feed from the multicopter as well as the operator’s hands on the controller. For more, see Mr. Steele’s Youtube channel

Flytrex Sky – The first delivery drone

The Flytrex Sky claims to be the world’s first internet connected drone that serves as a personal courier.

 

UAV086 Dual and Arclarity Developing Sense and Avoid Solution

Dual Electronics Corporation, a manufacturer of aviation GPS and ADS-B receivers, is working with Arclarity LLC, a developer of 3D augmented reality aviation systems, to develop a sense-and-avoid solution for autonomously flying drones operating in the US airspace.

Guests

Greg Lukins, Vice President, Business Development, Dual Electronics Corp.

An engineer by training and an entrepreneur at heart, Greg pairs technologies with business opportunities, and has a 20-year track record of successfully bringing ideas, technologies and products to market globally. Greg is VP of Business Development at Dual Electronics and also manages Dual’s market leading GPS product line. He holds an MSEE, is a licensed pilot, and lives in Florida where the weather is always perfect for flying Cessnas and drones.

Brian J. Scott, Founder and Principal, Arclarity

Brian is an aviator and an engineer with experience in modeling/simulation and flight simulator projects. He is committed to applying his experience and expertise to bring enhanced situational awareness and navigation to aviation. Brian holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida and is an instrument rated private pilot with experience in both piston and turbine aircraft.

Dual Arclarity Sense and Avoid SolutionsDual Electronics Corporation is a subsidiary of the Namsung Corporation, and is based in Heathrow, Florida. Dual offers a wide selection of mobile electronics, marine electronics, and portable GPS and ADS-B receivers for aviation. For more information, visit www.GPS.dualav.com.

Arclarity LLC is based in Orlando, Florida and provides aerial navigation solutions centered on increased situational awareness and collision avoidance.  For further information, visit www.arclarity.com.

News

Amazon Gets Experimental Airworthiness Certificate

The FAA issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics, Inc. unmanned aircraft (UAS) design that the company will use for research and development and crew training. The FAA typically issues experimental certificates to manufacturers and technology developers to operate a UAS that does not have a type certificate.

The FAA Says You Can’t Post Drone Videos on YouTube

An aviation safety inspector in the FAA’s Tampa office seems to believe that posting video from a drone on YouTube constitutes “commercial use” because the popular video site has advertisements. The FAA inspector was responding to a complaint.

Video of the Week

Sheer cliffs, dense jungle and its own climate: Mesmerising drone footage captures haunting beauty of the world’s largest cave

Spectacular video of Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong cave, which is also the subject of some controversy concerning a construction project (Stop the Construction: Save the Son Doong Cave!).

UAV080 UAV Tracking and Avoidance

LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System)

A new tracking and avoidance system, drones that assist firefighters, a Phantom firmware rollback, drone waiters that bring your meal, a personal No Fly Zone, shooting down those pesky drones, Qualcomm buys KMel Robotics, and California seeks to regulate drones below 400 feet.

News

PrecisionHawk Announces UAV Tracking and Avoidance System

PrecisionHawk released an automated traffic control system for UAVs said to aid with the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace (NAS). The “Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System” (LATAS) uses global cellular networks on speeds as low as 2G. to provide real-time flight planning, tracking and avoidance for UAVs.

LATAS is small (3x2x1in) and light and was developed to be plug and play or integrated into a UAV’s circuit during manufacturing.

Micro-flyer drone could help a robot to fight fires on ships

Last November, the US Office of Naval Research conducted a demonstration of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) along with an autonomous quadcopter drone. The robot/drone combination is intended to assist firefighters aboard naval vessels. This is under the Office of Naval Research’s Damage Control Technologies for the 21st Century (DC-21) project. The quadcopter comes from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and Sensible Machines.

This Spherical Rescue Drone Is Straight Out of Star Wars

Flyability has introduced what it calls “the world’s first collision-proof drone.” The “Gimball” search and rescue drone is spherical and bounces off obstacles to keep flying. It has a coaxial twin rotor design inside a rotating protective carbon fiber frame. In Crash-proof UAV takes out US$1 million Drones For Good Competition we learn that the Flyability Gimball took first place in the Drones For Good contest.

Unexpected issues force drone maker DJI to roll back ‘White House’ update

DJI has rolled back the geofencing firmware update for the Phantom — also known as the “White House patch” — because there have been reports of “unanticipated flight behavior.”

Drone waiters to serve patrons in Singapore restaurants

Infinium Robotics specializes “in providing autonomous UAV solutions for commercial applications.” That includes food delivery by drone in some Singapore restaurants. The rotors are completely enclosed to avoid injury and the UAVs utilize sense and avoid technology.

Singapore currently has a shortage of workers in the food industry so this is covering a real need.

NoFlyZone Lets You Establish A No-Fly Zone Over Your Property

NoFlyZone creates a GeoFence around your home after you register your property. Currently,  the service works with UAS manufacturers DroneDeploy, YUNEEC, HEXO+, PixiePath, RCFlyMaps. EHANG, and Horizon Hobby.

Oklahoma bill would allow property owners to shoot down drones without civil liability

The Oklahoma State Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 492, giving property owners the right to shoot down drones without fear of civil liability. Backers say that drones are increasingly being used by cattle thieves. This bill would protect property owners should they be sued by thieves over a shot down drone.

Qualcomm Buys Aerial Drone Startup with Advanced Control Technology

Chipmaker Qualcomm has acquired startup KMel Robotics, which specializes in multi-rotor drones. Qualcomm isn’t providing any details other than to point to the KMel Robotics website: “We are extremely excited to become part of the Qualcomm team and look forward to bringing aerial robotics to the next level together.”

KMel Robotics has produced videos demonstrating impressive flight coordination:

California’s No Drone Zones

California bill SB142 bans trespassing by drones flying below 400 feet.

Mentioned

UOIT Controls The Weather At Its Drone Testing Centre

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has launched the ACE Centre for UAV Research.

Want to fly your drone and make a quick buck? The FAA has 33 rules for you.

UAV067 ScanEagle 2 Launched

Insitu ScanEagle 2A new ScanEagle from Insitu, an Ohio UAS test site is up and running, students learning about UAVs in a precision agriculture program, ABC creating drone journalism policies, and a drone on an urban rescue mission.

News

Insitu Launches New ScanEagle 2 UAS

The new Insitu ScanEagle 2 features a slightly longer fuselage, the same wingspan, and a new engine from Orbital. Endurance of this fixed-wing system grows to 24 hours from 16.

US Navy seeks information on sense and avoid radar for Triton UAS

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has been unable to develop sense and avoid radar for the Triton. They’ve issued an RFI (Request for Information) and NAVAIR wants a scaleable SAA box that is modular and deployable to other platforms.

The Triton is a naval version of the RQ-4A Global Hawk, with a different wing to handle higher stresses.

WSRI conducts its first test of UAS aircraft

Wright State Research Institute (WSRI) conducted its first UAS research flight at Wilmington Air Park using a senseFly eBee

3D Aerial Solutions piloted the eBee used to conduct modeling and simulation research, to gather terrain data for 3D flight simulation environments. The flight operated under a recently awarded certificate of authorization (COA) from the FAA.

Sinclair sees UAS payoff in future jobs

Sinclair Community College in Ohio sees a coming boom in unmanned aviation opportunities, and they’re investing millions to help train a UAS workforce. They’ve spent over $5 million on curriculum, flight simulators, and more than 50 UAVs. The college will use its field house to serve as the largest indoor unmanned aerial vehicle flying range in Ohio.

Sinclair plans to open a National UAS Training and Certification Center using $5 million of their money and $4 million from State funds. Sinclair has partnered with Ohio State University and additionally, has established partnerships with Wright State University, the University of Dayton, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and other educational institutions.

LRSC students study ag potential of UAS

Lake Region State College’s Precision Agriculture Center in North Dakota wants its graduates to have UAV skills. The program offers both theoretical and practical core courses and hands-on training.

The average North Dakota farmer spends about $1.3 million per year planting and harvesting crops. UAS and satellite mapping can cut those costs 6-16%.

Changes to aviation laws will give media more freedom to use drones for newsgathering

ABC in Australia has a project to develop and regulate their use of drones for journalism.

Proposed changes to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) rules would allow “low risk” operations, making it easier for the media to use sUAS for newsgathering.

ABC has developed a 3-day training course for camera operators that covers air safety rules, privacy policies, and flight training using Phantom 2 RPAs. ABC policy will prohibit using small drones over bushfires because of the high winds, low visibility, and possible presence of water bombing aircraft.

Drone used to rescue window cleaner dangling from tower block

A window washer in Abu Dhabi had a tense situation when his scaffold failed. The man was clinging to one of the windows ten stories up in the air. Police brought in a drone equipped with video and a speaker, calmed the man down, and instructed him on how to affect a repair and lower himself down.

Simpler rules for small unmanned air vehicles

Transport Canada announced at the Unmanned Systems Canada conference in Montréal, two exemptions that simplify small unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operations and safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace.

Under the new exemptions, a Special Flight Operations Certificate will not be required for UAVs under 2 kilograms and certain operations involving UAVs under 25 kilograms. The new approach will apply to commercial operations and contribute to a strong safety regime for those on the ground and in the skies.

Once the changes come into effect later this month, operators must check on Transport Canada’s website to determine if the exemptions apply to them and respect specific safety conditions, including requirements to operate within visual line-of-sight, maximum altitudes and away from built-up areas and aerodromes. In addition, Transport Canada is simplifying the application process and reducing the time it takes to issue Special Flight Operations Certificates for larger UAV operators.

In October, Minister Raitt launched the Government of Canada’s national safety awareness campaign for UAVs, which aims to help Canadians better understand the risks and responsibilities of flying UAVs. For more information, visit www.tc.gc.ca/SafetyFirst.

Video of the Week

BIZZBY SKY – Drones On-Demand

BIZZBY SKY is an on-­demand drone service using a real-time smartphone technology platform. The fully autonomous drone is capable of picking up and delivering small items. Under this concept, drones can be summoned to arrive within minutes to the pickup location.

UAV059 Sense and Avoid

NASA Predator B Unmanned Science and Research Aircraft SystemSense and Avoid by NASA and General Atomics, South African rules by 2015, Amazon’s drone page, package delivery by Flirtey and Google, and cease and desist letters from the FAA.

Guest

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.), the NASA Administrator since July, 2009.

In this clip from a longer interview recorded for the Airplane Geeks podcast, Charlie talks about NASA’s activity to develop autonomous flight technologies with the UAS test sites, focusing on sense and avoid. NASA is looking at low altitude sUAS air traffic control, and they are finalizing an agreement with Google on sense and avoid technology for package delivery systems. NASA wants to help the FAA get out ahead of the developing market.

News

General Atomics Readies for ‘Detect and Avoid’ Demo

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is developing aircraft detect-and-avoid (DAA) systems for unmanned aircraft. First, they’ll conduct software regression and hardware functional testing on their Predator B at the company’s flight operations facility in Palmdale, California.

Then, they’ll move the system to the NASA Predator B Unmanned Science and Research Aircraft System named “Ikhana,” a Native American Choctaw word meaning intelligent, conscious, or aware. Five weeks of collision avoidance trials will be performed where the Predator will be flown against “intruder” aircraft.

CAA on track to introduce UAV regulations by March 2015

The South African Civil Aviation Authority says it will finalize UAV regulations by March, 2015.

The CAA says until then, UAV operation in civil airspace is illegal and operators could be subject to a fine or up to ten years in prison, or both. Flying on private land or in restricted airspace is also illegal.

However, the director and chairman of the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of South Africa (CUAASA) says you cannot be fined by the CAA because there are no laws in place.

Guess Which Giant Retailer Has Officially Opened Up a “Drone Store”

Amazon.com has officially opened a “Drone Store” featuring the DJI Phantom and the Parrot Drone. Coming soon is the TechJect Dragonfly, a “Wi-Fi enabled robotic insect.”

Mike Fortin, the CEO of CineDrones thinks selling hobby-grade equipment without emphasizing education or safety is irresponsible. But Amazon’s Drone Store web page has a “Fly Responsibly” link that takes you to more “links for informational purposes only:”

Drone Startup Flirtey Partners with The University of Nevada, Reno To Push UAV Delivery Forward

In October 2013, Flirtey started drone delivery tests in Australia. They now have more than a hundred successful test deliveries of textbooks, with its partner Zookal, a company that sells textbooks online.

Now Flirtey has teamed up with UAS research center University of Nevada, Reno. The University gets equity in the company, and Flirtey gets collaboration with the University’s R&D labs for design, manufacture, and research. Flirtey also gets access to the University’s graduate students and indoor flight-testing facilities.

Flirtey is going commercial in New Zealand, which is launching Airshare as a UAV hub where commercial operators can log flight information.

2 Arrested for Flying Drones Near Brooklyn Bridge, US Open: NYPD

The first individual arrested was allegedly flying over the Brooklyn Bridge. He was reported to police by transit workers. The man was visiting from Russia.

The second arrest was for an overflight of the National Tennis Center, hosting the U.S. Open.  The operator, a filmmaker, reportedly stated that he thought he was flying in an “appropriate park space.” The National Tennis Center is a private facility adjacent to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is a public space.

Undeclared drone batteries sparked plane fire at Melbourne airport

We’ve seen stories about how certain kinds of Lithium-Ion batteries get hot and cause fires on airplanes. Here, a passenger’s hard plastic case in the hold contained Lithium-ion polymer batteries intended to power a remote control drone. Just prior to takeoff, the captain of the Fiji Airways plane detected the smoke from the cargo hold and called a mayday.

FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

In January, Governmentattic.org made a Freedom of Information Act request to the FAA for “copies of any letters, e-mails, or other written or electronic communications requesting or demanding individuals and organizations cease and desist, stop operating, or stop advertising unmanned aerial vehicles.”

The FAA responded with records of 17 “warning letters and e-mails [PDF] sent out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regional offices to individuals…” Most of the cease and desist letters went to aerial video companies, but two universities were asked to stop operations associated with drone journalism studies.

The FAA communications list 3 ways under which UAVs can be operated:

  1. Certificate of Authorization (COA)
  2. Experimental Certification
  3. Recreational hobbyists

None allow commercial operation for aerial photography for hire.

Video of the Week

Gawk at Richard Branson’s tropical hideaway via aerial drone

You can’t afford to vacation at this private island, but Sir Richard is pleased to present this aerial tour.

Feedback

Paul Braun of TATTS writes to tell us that, “the Taking Autism To The Sky project (TATTS) was notified by Timothy Reuter of the Washington DC Drone User Group the other day that we are a finalist for the Social Drone Innovation Award.” Watch their Drone Social Innovation Award Submittal video and give them a “like.”

UAV041 Regulating UAS

Flying Fire Breathing Dragon

UAS regulation proposals from CASA in Australia and from a listener in the U.S., a “Ten best drones” list, NASA testing sense and avoid with a Predator, and bright job prospects for those with UAS skills.

The News:

NPRM 1309OS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
Australia’s ‘low risk’ drone strike stance could bring down airliners
Certified UAS operators in Australia hits 100

The Australian CASA released an NPRM (a Notice of Proposed Rule Making) on May 14 concerning Remotely Piloted Aircraft (or RPA) used for commercial operations. It excludes model aircraft used for recreational purposes, but it does have provisions for a “low risk” class of RPA with a gross weight of no more than 2 kilograms:

10 Best Remote Control Drones for 2014

The editors at Faveable made a list of what they believe to be the ten best consumer drones available today.

NASA Wants To Prove Predator Drones Can Play Nice With Airliners

NASA plans to fly an MQ-9 Predator B and two manned manned aircraft in the same airspace. The idea is to test sense and avoid algorithms under real world conditions.

Graduates with drone skills are going to be in demand soon

If you can design, build, or operate drones, you might have a bright future ahead of you. In a 2013 report, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International says we could see 70,000 new jobs in the U.S. within three years, and 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025.

Video of the Week:

Drone HDR with HDRinstant

Use stacking and morphing technology to create HDR images from your drone videos.

Listener Feedback:

Roy submits two articles for consideration:

Question: What Should the FAA Do About Small UAS? – General Aviation needs to participate in the conversation.

UAVs: Chafing (Rightfully) Against Regulation – The UAV industry and enthusiasts are different than “legacy” aviation. They are historically unrestrained by regulations, and live in a world of fast technology change. The FAA is talking like they are in charge, but they aren’t.

Roy also offers the things he thinks the FAA should be looking at when classifying UAS: weight, speed, and type of control. Type of control defined as:

    • Line of sight and the pilot has to watch it.
    • Point of view and the pilot flies it by watching a video feed from the drone.
    • Completely autonomous, so no pilot is required.

UAV021 NUAIR, Making Future Skies Safer

 

NUAIR AllianceGuest Lawrence H. Brinker is Executive Director and General Counsel for the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, the New York and Massachusetts UAS research and test site. Larry is also a former Air Force and commercial pilot.

We talk about the formation of the NUAIR Alliance as the managing UAS site operator for New York and Massachusetts, where the main test objective is going to be air and ground borne sense and avoid radar.

Larry tells us about the facilities at Griffis and Joint Base Cape Cod, and the corridors that will be instrumented for collection of data to establish sense and avoid protocols. Manufacturers and other parties who will use the test range will have the ability to test their technology. The FAA is but one customer of the range. They’ll analyze the data to come up with regulations.

Besides collaboration with the other UAS test sites, NUAIR sees public education as part of their mandate. They intend to take a lesson from early commercial aviation where World War One pilots barnstormed across the country, thus introducing airplanes to a population concerned about safety. Larry says public perception and public demand are keys to commercial success.

Visit the NUAIR Alliance website and follow them on Twitter.