Tag Archives: training

UAV179 Online UAS Training Offerings

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.

Vanilla Aircraft VA001

The VA001 10-day Endurance UAS, courtesy Vanilla Aircraft

UAV News

King Schools Announces Unmanned Aircraft Knowledge Course

Embry-Riddle Offers UAV Basics Class Online

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.”

Buckling Down On UAV Traffic Control

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.

FAA and Skypan International, Inc., Reach Agreement on Unmanned Aircraft Enforcement Cases

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.

Jet fuel-powered UAV completes record 56-hour flight, with plenty left in the tank

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 Announce Agricultural Drone & Data Processing Solution

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 on AirVūz

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.

Mentioned

Top Drone Websites On The Internet 2017

 

 

 

UAV112 Know Before You Fly at Point-of-Sale

An Interview with the National Retail Hobby Stores Association, bad drone legislation vetoed in California, UAS awards, and mass jackassery.

Interview

National Retail Hobby Stores Association

We wanted to know how hobby shop retailers feel about their responsibilities toward UAV buyers at point-of-sale. So we called Noel Bays, the president of the National Retail Hobby Stores Association (NRHSA), and asked him. He was happy to explain the position of NRHSA, and how he personally implements this at HobbyForce in Ontario, Ohio.

News

California governor vetoes drone bill

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation that would have made it unlawful to fly  drones at altitudes less than 350 feet over private property without the owner’s permission.

California Governor Jerry Brown veto

Drone Industry Launches Technology & Innovation Awards

The Unmanned Air Systems Technology & Innovation Awards are open to any organization that is part of the unmanned aviation industry. Four awards will be issued:

  • Start-up of the Year 2016
  • The Innovation Award 2016
  • Service Solution of the Year 2016
  • The Award for Business Growth 2016

Nominations will be accepted up to December 20, 2015 and can be for organizations across the globe. Winners will be selected by a select panel of judges, and announced during the SkyTech 2016 trade show in London on January 27, 2016.

To submit a nomination, visit the Awards website.

3D Robotics’ Chris Anderson on the rise of ‘mass jackassery’ in the hobby drone community

Chris Anderson, co-founder and chief executive of 3D Robotics, is concerned about irresponsible flying by some multicopter operators. “[It’s] bad and it’s going to get worse. And if we don’t do something about it, no one’s been killed yet, but someone’s going to do something really stupid.” Anderson says the solution needs to come from manufacturers in the form of software-based geofencing.

Anderson also describes three eras of consumer drones. The first era was getting drones to fly. The second era was gimbal-mounted video cameras capable of producing high quality video. Now we have the third era: drone autonomy that removes the need for a pilot.

Video of the Week

Harvest Ballycullane

Spring barley harvest in Kildare with a Claas Lexion 570C.

Mentioned

Drone Radio Show, a weekly podcast series about drones and the people who use them.  

Guillermo from Valencia, Spain, tells us about the first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València, offering theory and practice in a 320-hour course.

Demostración de vuelo: multicóptero AibotX6 (Flight demonstration: Aibot X6 Multicopter)

Aibotix

University extension diploma in piloting unmanned aircraft systems by remote control (RPAS)

RPAS pilots from EASA

They have also appeared on TV News in Spain:

RPAS UPV en Antena 3 Televisión

Jornada Drones TVE

The first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València

The first Drone Pilot class from the Universitat Politècnica de València

Volocopter VC200 First Flight

World’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter

The Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multirotor Super Drone Flying

UAV107 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Unmanned Aerial Systems

Embry-Riddle Unmanned Aerial Systems

We talk with faculty members from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University about their unmanned systems degree programs. Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s College of Aeronautics currently offers a Master of Science in Unmanned Systems, a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications, and an undergraduate minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

We talk about how programs are developed, the types of programs offered, the value they provide to students, and the opportunities available in this emerging industry. Embry-Riddle actively works to bring UAS awareness to the aviation community with participation at events like AirVenture Oshkosh and the Reno Air Races.

For a detailed look at the career opportunities, see the Embry-Riddle study, ERAU-Worldwide Unmanned System Related Career Opportunities: 2015 [PDF].

Guests

Faculty from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide

Dr. Ken WitcherDr. Ken Witcher is the dean of the College of Aeronautics. In this role, Ken leads a team of more than 700 active faculty members who support more than 14,000 students enrolled in 15 degree programs. Witcher’s aviation experience includes 20 years of service in the United States Air Force. During this time, he served as superintendent of an operational test and evaluation squadron and field training detachment chief for F-15, F-16, F-22, H-60, A-10, MQ-1, and MQ-9 aircraft and supporting systems. He also served as a team member of the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, Thunderbirds. Witcher was an appointed member of the Nevada UAS test site selection panel and previously served as Chair of the Nevada Aerospace and Defense Sector Council reporting directly to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. Reach Dr. Witcher at Kenneth.witcher@erau.edu.

David ThirtyacreDavid Thirtyacre is an assistant professor and chair of unmanned flight operations in the College of Aeronautics. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, master’s degree in aerospace science, and is currently a doctoral student in aviation at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. Thirtyacre recently retired from the U.S. Air Force with 27 years of duty in the fighter community and over 3,500 hours in fighter aircraft. He spent the last 17 years of his career at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and served as an operational test pilot and director of advanced programs at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. In this role, he was the point person for advanced program operational planning; and the integration of air, space, and cyberspace domains with fifth-generation aircraft, unmanned systems, national capabilities, and other Department of Defense assets. Additionally, he is a multi-engine commercial pilot and certified flight instructor – instrument. Reach David Thirtyacre at thirtyad@erau.edu.

Stefan KleinkeStefan Kleinke is an assistant professor and program chair for the Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Application (BSUSA) degree program in the College of Aeronautics. Stefan earned a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Worldwide in 2010 and is a military aviation veteran with 15 years and 3,000 total flying hours experience as pilot and instructor on Tornado and T-38 jet aircraft. In this role, he was heavily involved in student and instructor training, standardization and evaluation, and aspects of air traffic control and airfield management. He also holds civilian qualifications that include Airline Transport Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License for helicopter and seaplane, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and Aircraft Electrical Technician certifications, as well as FCC GMDSS Radio Operator and Maintainer license with Ship Radar Endorsement. Reach Stefan Kleinke at kleinkes@erau.edu.

Video of the Week

AtlantikSolar – 81 hour endurance world record flight

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich recently established a new world flight endurance record with an 81-hour continuous solar-powered and autonomous flight. The 6.8kg aircraft is called the AtlantikSolar 2 UAV. This demonstrator flight is a precursor to an Atlantic Ocean crossing next year.

 

 

UAV095 A Hydrogen Powered Quadcopter

Horizon Unmanned Systems HycopterA drone powered by a fuel-cell, UAS use policy for police, a defensive anti-drone system, UAS training at a community college and at Textron Systems, a backup system for GPS, and the Commercial UAS Modernization Act.

News

Hycopter Drone Flies for 4 Hours via Hydrogen Power

The Hycopter drone from Singapore-based Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) uses a hydrogen fuel cell for power. Four liters of hydrogen are stored in the hollow frame, and are converted to electric power to run the motors. This power source saves weight and allows a four hour flight time, two and a half hours with a 2.2-pound payload.

Police chiefs group offers drone-use policy

In 2012, the International Association of Chiefs of Police Aviation Committee created Recommended Guidelines for the use of Unmanned Aircraft [PDF]. Since then, the Association has worked to develop policy which covers drone deployment, restrictions on use, data retention, and training.

Three UK companies to develop new anti-UAV defence system

Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics, and Enterprise Control Systems are developing a fully integrated anti-UAV defence system (AUDS). This system combines Ku band electronic scanning air security radar, a stabilised electro-optic director, infrared and daylight cameras, and target tracking software. The AUDS also utilizes a directional radio frequency inhibitor and jammer system.

The new system is intended to address threats from malicious micro, mini, and larger UAVs at ranges of up to 8km in remote sites or urban areas and operating from fixed locations or mobile platforms.

Sinclair receives first community college FAA UAS exemption

The FAA has granted a Section 333 exemption to the Sinclair UAS Training and Certification Center. The exemption allows Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio to conduct commercial training and research and development in areas such as sensor integration and testing. It also lets the college expand their commercial focus on precision agriculture, geospatial information, and first responder training.

The Training and Certification Center also intends to publish a Journal of Unmanned Aerial Systems twice a year as an online peer-reviewed publication

Textron Systems Launches Unmanned Systems Training Catalog

Textron Systems Support Solutions has announced an unmanned systems training catalog with a range of unmanned systems coursework. The curricula included classroom and hands-on training using customized materials and training aids. They’ll tailor the training to your language, skill level, platforms, and applications. Training can be delivered to your choice of location for both military and commercial missions.

US Weighs UAS-Friendly GPS Backup System

Girish Chowdhary, an engineering professor at the Oklahoma State University, explains that GPS “…is not a very high integrity signal” and can easily be jammed or overpowered. Enhanced Loran (or eLoran) would cover the continental United States with a low-frequency navigation signal. eLoran signals are 1.3 million times stronger than GPS signals, and nearly impossible to jam. This system is already operating in Europe and parts of Asia.

Senators Booker and Hoeven Introduce the Commercial UAS Modernization Act to Streamline Drone Integration

On May 12, 2015, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act. This would establish an interim rule governing sUAS operations until the regulations proposed in the NPRM are finalized.

The act gives the FAA some flexibility on visual-line-of-sight (VLOS), and reduces the regulatory burden for commercial operators. It also creates a new Deputy Associate Administrator for Unmanned Aircraft at the FAA. The intent is to streamline the integration of UAS in the United States.

Video of the Week

Flood rescue drama in Johnson County

A DJI Inspire 1 delivers a leader rope to a family trapped in their home by flood waters.

Mentioned

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international digital-rights organization, produced a map of the United States showing 81 public entities that have applied for FAA drone-use authorizations.

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Be sure to join us at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display (formerly Become a Pilot Day) June 20, 2015 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA next to Dulles Airport. Bring your family and friends to this amazing aviation event. We’ll be in the Museum at the Airplane Geeks banner and we’d love for you to stop by and say hello!

Skywalker FPV, Getting wet in the clouds

A drone flies up above the clouds into airspace where it should not be.

UAV077 UAS Pilot Training

Sky-Futures

UAV training in Canada and Britain, a government hearing on UAS research and development, no date from FAA on the sUAS NPRM, a UAS communications study, and drugs on a drone.

News

1st Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) instruction designed specifically to meet Transport Canada’s new requirements

Aerobotika Aerial Intelligence and Pacific Rim Aviation Academy have partnered to offer a UAV pilot training academy. The 2-day ground school course will cover the new Transport Canada Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems for UAVs under 25 kg, operating within visual line of sight.

The curriculum includes standard pilot training, technical specifics of unmanned aircraft, industry practices and regulations, UAV rules and avoiding dangerous situations. Successful students will have met the special flight operations certificate (SFOC) knowledge requirements and receive a Letter of Completion that can be submitted to Transport Canada.

Aerobotika is an aerial systems development and operations company. Pacific Rim Aviation Academy operates out of Pitt Meadows Airport (CYPK) near Vancouver, Canada.

How should licensing work for commercial drone operators? A look at Britain’s solution

In Britain, the Civil Aviation Authority has approved three companies to provide UAV training: Sky-Futures, ResourceGroup, and EuroUSC. After receiving training, the pilot must provide a manual to the CAA describing how the UAV will be used and show they have liability insurance.

Sky-Futures provides trainees with a ground school manual to study at home for a month. After that, trainees have two days of ground school and three weeks of flight training in Spain.

The ResourceGroup training starts with an online learning program, followed by two days in the classroom, one day outside flying, then a one-day exam.

Committee Examines Status of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Regulations, and Research

The U.S. Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research and Development hearing in January.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) opened the hearing to examine research and development of UAS and “provide an overview of how UAS research, development and flight tests enable the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.” Witnesses included representatives from NASA, FAA, the National Research Council, AUVSI, the Small UAV Coalition, and MIT.

Brian Wynne, President and CEO, AUVSI said, “for every day that UAS integration is delayed, the U.S. stands to lose $27.6 million in potential economic impact, according to AUVSI’s economic impact study.”

James H. Williams, the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office Manager, talked about the important role of interagency partnerships with DOD, NASA, etc. Williams noted work with NASA on, “air traffic control interoperability with the future UAS use of detect and avoid systems in controlled airspace,” and with both NASA and DOD on, “the appropriate minimum operational performance standards for UAS detect and avoid systems for UAS to remain clear of other aircraft.”

FAA Official Refuses To Give Date For UAV Rule

At the hearing, the big question was, when will the FAA issue its proposed sUAS rules? Chairman Lamar Smith asked James Williams from the FAA that question repeatedly. Williams had answers, but not the one Smith was looking for:

Smith: “Mr. Williams, when might we expect the FAA to propose some rules?”

Williams: The FAA is “doing everything we can to get that small unmanned aircraft rule out, but our main focus is to get it right.”

Smith: “When do you think you might get that [rule] out?”

Williams: “I at this point can’t give you a firm deadline.”

Smith: “Do you have a goal in mind? I mean, you’ve got a lot of people across the United States waiting. Do you have any kind of a working deadline or a working goal?”

Williams: “Our goals are to get it out as quickly as we can, as long as we get it out right.”

Smith: Is a rule is likely to come “this year or next year?”

Williams: “I can’t speculate. My own personal hope is we get it out as soon as possible, but it’s got to go through the regulatory process that has been put in place by Congress and we’re working our way through that.”

Williams added, “You’ve got to understand this is a very complex rulemaking.”

Smith: “Never mind. I can tell that I’m not going to get the answer that I was hoping for. But we’ll take your word for expediting the process….”

New unmanned aircraft research project proposed by UND to take off

The University of North Dakota plans to test “new radio communications” of unmanned aircraft beyond line of sight. The unmanned aircraft program staff at UND proposed the project, and the University’s research oversight committee approved the proposal.

UND will start with the Northrop Grumman SandShark at the Lakota, N.D., airport. Funding is with $500,000 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and a matching $500,000 contribution from Rockwell Collins.

Meth-filled drone crashes in Mexican border town

According to Tijuana police, a hexacopter carrying more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine crashed into the parking lot of a supermarket. The DEA has reported that drones were used in about 150 drug flights in 2012 over the Mexico/US border.

Video of the Week

R/C Plane Crashes- Reveals Underwater WORLD

Footage from an RC airplane taken at The Cape Range National Park, in Exmouth Western Australia. After viewing the beautiful scenery, you’ll see the plane crash into the water and the GoPro keeps recording, capturing tropical fish and sea turtles.

UAV075 Charge Your Drone on a Pad

Skysense charging pad

A charging pad for your drone, USAF Unmanned Systems faces a huge manpower problem, real estate and agriculture gain FAA exemptions, timeline for ICAO RPAS standards, and UAS in Canada.

News

New Charging Pad for Parrot Drones Changes the Way You Charge Your Batteries

The portable Skysense Charging Pad is said to support nearly all existing multicopters and VTOL aircraft. Plug the Pad into an electrical outlet, land your drone on the Pad, and your batteries will charge at the same rate as your regular charging cable. Pads are available in different widths and should ship next month.

Skysense also offers the Droneport, “a protective closed structure that is managed remotely and can hold a Skysense Charging Pad and your drone. It also provides synching of sensor data to the cloud and connectivity within your Skysense Droneport network.”

Drone War pushes pilots to the Breaking Point

The U.S, Department of Defense wants 61 Combat Air Patrols (CAP) per day by April 15. Each CAP requires four Predators or Reapers for 24-hour coverage. These require ten “men” per drone per CAP, for a total of forty. With a shortage of drone pilots, the crews have high workload and low morale.

FAA Grants Real Estate, Agricultural UAS Exemptions

The FAA granted two exemptions on January 6. One was to Douglas Trudeau with Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona. Their DJI Phantom 2+ quad will be used to “enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos.”

The second exemption was to Advanced Aviation Solutions in Spokane, Washington. Their fixed wing senseFly eBee will fly to take “photographic measurements and perform crop scouting for precision agriculture.”

Both still need a COA “that ensures the airspace for their proposed operations is safe, and that they have taken proper steps to see and avoid other aircraft. In addition, the COAs will mandate flight rules and timely reporting of any accident or incidents.”

The FAA has received 214 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

ICAO Panel Will Recommend First UAV Standards in 2018

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) new Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Panel is focusing “on development of standards and recommended practices (SARPs) for adoption by the Council of ICAO in 2018 related to airworthiness, operations (including RPAS operator certification) and licensing of remote pilots.” Detect and avoid regulations are to follow in 2020.

Cameraman hit with $1,000 fine for filming with drone

The co-founder of a Canadian video and photography company that uses drones was fined by Transport Canada after a real estate shoot. He’s fighting the fine, saying that Transport Canada’s rules on flying unmanned aerial aircraft are not clear.

City man has high hopes for school for drone pilots

Buoyant Aircraft Systems International in Winnipeg wants to develop a flight school for UAV pilots. They plan to take the idea to Transport Canada’s UAV working group in April for approval, and could be teaching by August, if approved.

Video of the Week 

Coast Guard Helo takes out drone

In August 2014, a hurricane caused heavy surf off the coast of California. That brought out body surfers, boogie boarders, and surfers, along with thousands of spectators and some camera-equipped quadcopters. One of the copters didn’t fare too well in the Coast Guard helicopter downdraft.

Mentioned

50 Things You Can Do With A Drone

Some applications you’ve seen before, some you haven’t, and some you shouldn’t.

UAV073 FAA says Go, NYC says NO

Gray Eagle UAS

The FAA issues more exemptions, the NPRM might affect hobbyists, NYC looks at banning drones, agriculture eager to get started, Fort Bliss is building a drone port, and drone videos for the holidays.

News

FAA Grants Five More Commercial UAS Exemptions

The FAA granted five regulatory exemptions for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations to four companies under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The four companies that received exemptions want to fly UAS to perform operations for aerial surveying, construction site monitoring, and oil rig flare stack inspections.

The FAA determined that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.

The FAA has a backlog of 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Integration, Oversight, and Competitiveness

FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Margaret Gilligan explained that the FAA implemented a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) program which will permit Test Site designees to issue experimental certificates for unmanned aircraft.

To help the test sites develop the capability to assess unmanned aircraft and issue these certificates, the FAA developed both online and in-person training. Once test site designees have completed FAA training, they will be authorized to work within this new program.

Drone downer: Will new FAA rules ground recreational fliers?

Congress in 2012 exempted hobbyists from new FAA rules – provided they adhere to, among other things, the safety code of a community-based organization, such as the 170,000 member AMA. But there are are an estimated 300,000 non-members flying hobbyist aircraft who are largely unaware of hobbyist association safety codes.

NYC lawmaker wants to ban drones except for cops with warrants

Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill banning use of all drones except for those operated by police officers with warrants:

No person may avigate a UAV within the limits of the city except:

  1. The police department in accordance with section 14-133.1.
  2. A person avigating such UAV pursuant to and within the limits of an express authorization by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Councilman Paul Vallone introduced a different bill that is less aggressive. It lists 10 instances where operating a UAV would be illegal, including at night, out of the operator’s line of sight, or above 400 ft high. Otherwise, hobbyists and commercial interests would be free to fly drones.

UAV Industry About to Take Off for Ag

At the recent Indiana/Illinois Farm Show, there was big interest in drones. Agricultural applications of UAV technology are taking place in Canada and Europe because drone use is not illegal. U.S. farmers are being cautious until the FAA creates regulations for commercial use, but several exhibitors at the Show were offering UAVs for sale. At price points between $1,200 and  $25,000, growers were advised to start low and evaluate the systems before making large investments.

Fort Bliss builds Gray Eagle UAV complex

The “droneport” will have a 50,000 square foot hangar and flight facility for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, an upgraded Predator. The Gray Eagle has a Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE), which can support various types of fuels. With the hangar will come a 5,000 foot runway, taxiways and aprons. A 1,000 foot runway will be made for the RQ-7 Shadows.

Program to Address Growing Need for Drone Operators

In the spring 2015 semester, Florida State University plans to launch the “Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems” course as part of the new Application of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. It’s part of the University’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) program.

Videos of the Week

Christmas on Wendhurst

A drone’s eye view of an amazing Christmas display shot by Daryl Watkins.

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Deck the Hall 2014 Aerial Video

Andrew Cross created a Christmas display video of the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens using a DJI Phantom 2 with a 3D gimbal and GoPro 3+, and a Tarot 810 Hexacopter with a gimbaled Sony NEX5T.

Airbus A310 by MM – indoor airshow Leipzig

This 1/22 scale Airbus is flown indoors. It has a 2 meter wingspan and weighs 284 gms. The fuselage is filled with helium to help keep the weight down.

UAV071 Are Strict sUAS Regulations Better Than No Regulations?

SkySpecsShould we be satisfied with strict regulations if that will allow commercial operation of UAVs to begin? Also: The FAA looks to focus on drone certification and pilot standards, Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs, UAS pilot training, model aircrafters getting swept up in drone regulations, and a proposal to allow drones to fly in US National Parks.

Guest

Ryan MortonRyan Morton is a roboticist. He’s the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of SkySpecs, which produces innovative drone technologies that help pilots focus on the mission without worrying about what they might crash into next. SkySpecs is also working with various government agencies to integrate drones into the airspace.

Ryan was recently interviewed for the Wired article, The FAA’s Drone Rules Are Too Narrow, But They’re Better Than Nothing.

Ryan is a veteran of the USAF and graduated from both the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and the University of Michigan. He was a member of the winning team at MAGIC 2010, a US/Australian-funded multi-robot exploration competition wherein (mostly) autonomous ground-based robots explored an unknown environment and detected various objects of interest.

At the Executive Order 12866 meeting at the White House with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Ryan had the opportunity to assist Lisa Ellman and others from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA), as well as another industry startup, Measure, in discussing some views on sUAS integration. One of those is that stalling the process to get the UAS regulations “perfect” from the start is a mistake. Instead, we should implement some regulations now, even if overly restrictive, then iterate.

The excellent MLA blog Plane-ly Spoken covers topics such as recent decisions and litigation, legal trends, airworthiness directives, regulatory interpretations, FAA counsel opinions, and FAA enforcement actions.

News

Huerta Says UAS Rules Stress Certification, Pilot Standards

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reconfirms that the FAA intends to issue the proposed small UAS regulations by year-end. He says, “I can’t say what is going to be in it but broadly speaking, what we are looking at are all the questions relating to how we certify the aircraft and what are the qualifications of the operator as well as what uses they can be put to.”

New rules for small unmanned aircraft: Transport Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs for work and research

Transport Canada released Advisory Circular (AC) No. 600-004, Guidance Material for Operating Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems under an Exemption. This introduces two exemptions that will not require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). These are for very small UAVs (under 2 kg) and small UAVs (between 2 kg and 25 kg).

Unmanned Experts Partners with Gold Seal to Provide FAA Ground School

As we speculate about what the FAA will propose for sUAS regulations, it’s a pretty good bet that some type of operator certification or license will be required. That implies there will be some training for pilots. Flight training provider Gold Seal has teamed up with Unmanned Experts to adapt the manned aircraft training for UAS. The UAV Ground School PPL Course is now available for purchase.

Fraunhofer developing flying inventory robots to keep tabs on stock

A project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics would have autonomous drones perform warehouse operations like stock taking and record keeping. Under the InventAIRy Project, warehouses wouldn’t have to shut down while employees took a physical inventory.

In a conventional RFID inventory tracking system, the chips are in the goods which are recorded as they pass by the antennas. In this system, the chips remain stationary, but the antennas move – on a flying robot.

Domestic Drone Casualties

The writer is concerned that the model airplane hobby is getting swept into the whole UAS regulations process, and this isn’t good for R/C and it isn’t good for full sized aviation either.

Video of the Week

DJI Phantom 2 Epic (Domtoren Utrecht)

Listener Frank sends us this beautiful video of a drone flying in the mist.

Feedback

Listener Andy offers three points concerning the US National Park ban on UAVs:

  1. As a hiker, scrambler, and a lover of peace, quiet, and solitude… I do not want some bozo flying these things around me or my family while I am trying to enjoy mother nature.  The reason I am there in the first place is to get some respite from some of the bozos in my everyday life.
  2. As a photographer/videographer, and lover of all things that fly (except mosquitoes  – the bug, not the plane),  I also love getting that unique viewpoint that only a drone/UAV can provide.
  3. But… Point 2 cannot be at the expense of safety or annoying someone who relates to Point 1. 

Andy describes how most National Parks are large, with visitors tending to concentrate in a few areas, leaving many isolated locations away from the crowds. There is plenty of space to fly to get unique aerial footage without compromising safety, space, and solitude.

With that, Andy recommends that hobby drone/sUAV flight should be permitted in the National Parks with the following guidelines…

  • No flying at High Density Area Lookouts/Features or Ecologically sensitive locations (e.g. Mt. Rushmore/Yosemite ValleyOld Faithful Geyser Basin). This can be defined/zoned and given to the pilot when they obtain a permit. 
  • Charge a permit fee – make it reasonable ($10 a day, $20 a week). The permit process would force the “pilot” to get current information on where flying is or is not permitted.
  • Operator must be an AMA member or certificated pilot. This would ensure at least some training/knowledge/exposure to things that fly as compared to the standard individual.
  • As part of the conditions of the permit: common courtesy. If there are any other visitors in the vicinity that flying disrupts or once an objection is raised, the operator must quit.  (Offering the other guests a dronie may help promote positive responses.)
  • General AC 91-57 adherence (400 feet, LOS, etc.).
  • No Wildlife harassment (set a distance restriction.)

Mount Rushmore

In his visits to the Badlands, Custer State Park, and Mt Rushmore, Andy noticed helicopter operations present. These, he says, are noisier than typical multicopters.

UAV045 Wide World of UAV Sports

PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane

The third FAA test site goes live, UAV’s to compete at Reno Air Races, drones spying at the World Cup, watching swim competition through the eyes of a quadcopter, hockey fans celebrate their victory by smashing a quadcopter, TV coverage of American football by drone, and mixing manned and unmanned flights in Japan.

The News

FAA: Nevada unmanned aircraft systems test site goes live

UAS test site number three of six is now operational. The FAA granted the State of Nevada team a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to operate an Insitu ScanEagle at the Department of Energy airport at Desert Rock.

The airport is closed to the public, the ScanEagle will not fly above 3,000 feet, and the COA is good for two years. The research topics are UAS standards and operations, operator standards, and certification requirements. They’ll also look at how civil UAS will integrate with NextGen.

Reno Air Races to Have Festival Atmosphere This Year

The Reno Air Racing Association is planning to make some changes for the 2014 National Championship Air Races, including a competition between drones. They also intend to transmit live race coverage to the jumbotron from a drone.

Someone Used A Drone To Spy On France’s World Cup Team

The World Cup draws out the sporting passion in many people, so it’s no surprise that a drone flying over the French team practice created a furor.

HPA students use drone technology at Hapuna Roughwater Swim

Hawai’i Preparatory Academy students are demonstrating good uses for UAVs. Two graduates used a DJI Phantom for FPV as 300 swimmers set out on a one-mile race in the ocean.

Other Academy projects include land survey projects, mapping hard to reach parts of the island, virtual reality tours, and inspecting wind power and solar panels. Many of the students are employed by local farmers to have the drones inspect their land.

Celebrating Kings fans send a message to LAPD: No drones

As L.A. Kings fans celebrated the team’s Stanley Cup win, they observed a camera-equipped UAV overhead. The frenzied hockey fans threw trash at the copter, brought it down, and wrecked it.

NBC Sports: NFL Network Considering Use of UAS to Cover Training Camp

An unnamed source says that the National Football League is making plans to use UAVs for the Inside Training Camp series on the NFL Network. They intend to use “hovercraft” to film practice.

U.S.A.F.—A First For A Global Hawk (RPA | UAV | UAS)

For the first time, a UAV has flown from an airfield that supports both military and civilian operations. The Misawa Air Base in Japan is home to the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

The partnership between the U.S. military and Japan should provide experience operating manned and unmanned aircraft together with very different mission profiles.

Video of the Week

Can a paper plane turn into a drone?

A former Israeli Air Force pilot has developed a kit that you connect to a paper airplane and control with a smartphone app. The “PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane” was a Kickstarter project that raised $1.2 million (they were only looking for $50,000). The kit should be available at retail in August.

Mentioned

Flighttest - How to Fly a Multirotor

The folks at Flite Test are starting up a How to Fly a Multirotor video series.

AOPA: Unmanned Aircraft and the National Airspace System is an interactive online course from the Air Safety Institute, with support from the Department of Defense.

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.