UAS test sites update: Virginia gets FAA COA’s, Maryland starting, New Jersey delayed, Nevada moving slowly. Also, hobby UAV’s you can buy, UAS in the Netherlands, and a possible drone near miss.
The Verge offers up their top five recommended hobby drones. These range across the spectrum in size, price, and capability.
The FAA granted Virginia Polytechnic Institute seven Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) for two-years. This is the last of the six FAA UAS test sites now operational.
Virginia Tech has the lead for the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), which has members from academia, the government, industry, economic development agencies, and non-profit organizations in Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland.
The UAVs covered under the COAs are: Smart Road Flyer, eSPAARO (the electric Small Platform for Autonomous Aerial Research Operations), Aeryon Sky Ranger, MANTRA 2, Sig Rascal, and two AVID EDF-8 micro UAVs.
The University of Maryland (another member of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership) has launched its unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site based in St. Mary’s County, close to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aviation Division at Patuxent River and the Naval Air Systems Command headquarters. This site is intended to be a hub for UAS technology and policy issues for the University System of Maryland, as well as government and industry.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service postponed testing at another MAAP member, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, until November. Two endangered migratory bird species there are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act as well as New Jersey law.
To date, only one company has completed testing at the Nevada UAS test site. Conversations are underway with other interested companies, and the Site hopes to be financially self-sufficient by 2015. In the meantime, Nevada is looking at possible revenue from “indoor testing.”
Dutch drone rules are stricter than in other European countries. It takes weeks to receive permission for test flights, and Dutch drone manufacturers fear they will be left behind. New rules are being considered by the Dutch government, but progress is slow.
Much of the land in the Netherlands is below sea level. A series of breakwaters and dikes keep the land from flooding, but need to be monitored and maintained. Doing Inspections with a Microdrones MD4-1000 quadcopter, is a lower cost alternative to a manned aircraft.
An Air Canada Jazz pilot reported a near miss with a possible drone. The plane was still climbing at about 18,000 feet and spotted a “red and white vertical tube with rotor” less than 300 meters above the plane.
Video of the Week
Can you drive a Mazda Miata while wearing video goggles linked to an overhead multi-copter equipped with a camera? Do not try this at home!