Online UAS training from well-respected providers, a UAV traffic control project in Germany, the FAA levies the largest ever civil penalty for UAV operation, a jet-fueled UAV endurance record, and companies collaborating for agriculture applications.
The names John and Martha King are synonymous with high-quality pilot training. Now King Schools offers a Drone Pilot Ground School and Test Prep Course that was jointly created with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The online course covers everything you need to prepare for the FAA knowledge test and costs $99.
Meanwhile, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has a free online course February 6 through February 19 called “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) – Key Concepts for New Users.” The course will be taught in the “massive open online course” (MOOC) format and is open to an unlimited number of students, worldwide.
The ERAU course “…covers key concepts related to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS)/recreational drones, including basic types/groups, capabilities, and current and future uses. Particular emphasis is placed on the safety of flight within the National Airspace System (NAS), including where to find the online flight planning tools to help make every flight as safe as possible. The MOOC also introduces the FAA’s new regulations (FAA Part 107) for sUAS operators who wish to operate commercially.”
A UAV traffic control project is forming in Germany to develop technologies for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft in air traffic. Participants include air traffic control company DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (the company in charge of air traffic control for Germany), as well as Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post DHL Group, and RWTH Aachen University.
The project will:
- Develop a prototype for a UAS traffic management system.
- See if the Deutsche Telekom’s mobile network can be used to connect UAS.
- Test package delivery in urban areas using autonomous aircraft, building on DHL’s success with the DHL Parcelcopter.
- Investigate three UAS use cases: fire-fighting, agriculture, and logistics.
In Episode 117 we reported that the FAA was considering a $1.9 million civil penalty against aerial photography company SkyPan International for conducting unauthorized operations over New York City and Chicago. Now the FAA and SkyPan have reached a settlement:
- SkyPan will pay a $200,000 civil penalty and pay an additional $150,000 if it violates Federal Aviation Regulations in the next year.
- SkyPan will work with the FAA to release three public service announcements in the next 12 months to support the FAA’s public outreach campaigns that encourage drone operators to learn and comply with UAS regulations.
- SkyPan will pay an additional $150,000 if it fails to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement.
Virginia-based Vanilla Aircraft, LLC announced that their VA001 unmanned aircraft system completed a non-stop, unrefueled 56-hour flight conducted at New Mexico State University’s Unmanned Air Systems Flight Test Center. The flight was submitted for a world duration record for combustion-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the 50-500 kg subclass. The flight was planned as a 120-hour mission, but ended early due to forecasted severe icing and range restrictions. However, the VA001 landed with enough JP-8 fuel on board for an additional 90 hours of flying.
Agribotix and senseFly are combining their resources to offer agriculture a professional solution. The senseFly eBee SQ fixed wing agricultural drone is designed to capture crop data across four multispectral bands, plus RGB imagery, while covering hundreds of acres in a single flight. The eBee SQ is compatible with Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS). You can find the eBee SQ on the Agribotix website, along with the Agrion quadcopter. Agribotix is strong in agricultural data acquisition and analytics.
UAV Video of the Week
Drone Trippin is a new series on AirVūz with four of the world’s top FPV pilots flying around gorgeous backdrops, ripping through abandoned structures, and racing through breathtaking locations. Started December 2016. AirVūz was launched in late 2015 as a video-sharing platform for the drone community. It includes user-generated content and original programming.