Tag Archives: UAS test sites

UAV160 UAS for Newsgathering

A major news network launches a UAS newsgathering unit, a real-time UAS flight data exchange for a drone traffic management system, and a tethered drone solution for persistent applications.

Elistair tethered drone station

Elistair tethered drone station

News

CNN Launches CNN AIR

News network CNN has launched a UAS unit called CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) with two full-time UAS operators. They will provide aerial imagery and reporting for the CNN networks, Turner Broadcasting, and Time Warner.

University UAS researchers share information network with NASA

NASA and the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation (at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) have created an interconnection security agreement that allows university researchers to directly access NASA’s Ames Research Center and exchange real-time UAS flight data. This advances research for a drone traffic management system that is integrated with manned aviation.

Drones do mix with airports, so long as they’re kept on a leash

French firm Elistair designs and manufactures tethered stations for small civilian drones. According to the company, applications include persistent aerial surveillance, continuous aerial broadcasting, complex industrial inspection, and traffic monitoring. Two tethered ground stations for drones are available, the Safe-T and ruggedized High-T. The ground stations provide constant data transfer, continuous power, unlimited flight duration, and keeps the multicopter from flying where it shouldn’t.

Man sentenced to federal prison for pointing laser at sheriff’s helicopter

A 35-year-old California was has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying over a traffic accident.

Baltimore PD Can Keep Tabs On The Entire City, Thanks To Privately-Donated Aerial Surveillance System

The Baltimore, Maryland Police Department has acquired a wide area surveillance system developed for military use. The Persistent Surveillance Systems 192-million megapixel camera was purchased privately and given to the city. Due to the half-meter resolution, specific individuals cannot be identified, but their movement can be tracked. Program secrecy and privacy implications are causing some concern.

Video of the Week

FlexRC OWL Storm Edition FPV Racer – HeliPal.com

The FlexRC Owl Storm Edition is a compact size box-shape FPV racer specially made for indoor (or outdoor) flying.

Upcoming Conferences

Airborne ISR

26th – 27th October 2016, Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, London, UK.

In today’s complex and ever-changing operational environment, the demand for increased situational awareness continues to grow. As a decisive and indispensable tool, air based ISTAR is increasingly relied upon to deliver this capability, allowing commanders to understand the situation on the ground and act accordingly.

Covering direction, collection, process and dissemination, Airborne ISR will thoroughly analyse the intelligence chain and deliberate best practice for the enhancement of ISTAR capability. Drawing on respective nations ISTAR structure, operational feedback and training, to explore the doctrine necessary to develop this vital asset.

The conference will also benefit from the guidance of technical leaders from research and industry, whose insight into the latest platforms, systems and sub-systems will provide greater awareness of existing and future capability.

The 2016 expert speaker panel includes: RAF, UK MoD, Joint Forces Command UK, United States Air Force, French Air Force, German Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Ministry of Defence Spain, Defence Command Denmark, RUSI, NATO, DSTL and many more.

Benefits of Attending:

  • Hear from those at the heart of air systems operation, development and integration
  • Deliberate contemporary operational requirements that are shaping capability development
  • Hear the very latest technological developments from research and industry that are enhancing intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting

Register by 31 August and save £200. By 30 September and save £100.

Register online at: www.airborne-isr.net/uavdigest. For more information please contact: +44 (0) 207 827 6138 or email: scargan@smi-online.co.uk.

UAV Technology Eastern Europe

21-22 September 2016, Angelo by Vienna House, Radlicka 1g, 15000 Prague, Czech Republic.

SMi’s UAV Technology Eastern Europe conference, taking place on 21-22 September 2016 in Prague, will help develop and shape the future capability of Central and Eastern Europe’s UAV and airborne system projects.  As many nations are in the early adoption phase of developing Unmanned Aerial Technology and Systems, this is the perfect event for those wishing to get ahead and meet key decision makers for the region’s fastest developing programmes.

With many nations in this region now actively looking for new technologies and solutions to ensure their airspace is both secure and offering vital intelligence to ground operations, you really cannot afford to miss this essential conference.

Register now and join the likes of: Harris, Textron, WB Group, Cybaero, Spacemetric, Ampex Data Systems, Swiss Air Force, German Air Force Command, Swedish Army, US Army, Danish Army, Hungarian National Police, and UAE GHQ.

Expect regional UAV briefings from the following keynote speakers:

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Snajdarek, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Branch, Czech MoD
  2. Colonel (ret) Ryszard Szczepanik, General Director, Polish Air Force Institute Of Technology
  3. Lieutenant Colonel Petr Stodola, Associate Professor, Department of Tactics, University of Defence, Czech Republic
  4. Mr. Marko Gruden, Secretary, Directorate of Logistics, Ministry of Defence, Slovenia
  5. Mr. Janek Mägi, Head of Department, Border Policy Department, Estonian Ministry of the Interior
  6. Dr. Wojciech Komorniczak, Director at WB Group and Vice President at Flytronic, WB Group
  7. Mr. Tomas Pustina, Senior Legal Officer, Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport, Czech Republic

To view the full speaker line-up and conference program, visit http://www.uav-technology.org/uavdigest.

Mentioned

Drone over Lambeau confiscated by authorities

The operator of a drone flown over a Green Bay Packers football game was tracked down. The FAA is investigating.

Drone accidents mostly caused by technical problems, not operator error, research shows

The Australian RMIT University School of Engineering looked at 150 reported civilian drone-related accidents around the world over the past decade. Technical problems caused 64 percent of the accidents.

 

 

 

UAV074 Did you get a Drone for Christmas?

Know Before You Fly

No sUAS NPRM, “Know Before You Fly” safety campaign, it may be OK to say “drone” now, UAS America Fund proposes rules, drone privacy legislation, ICAO looks at integrating RPAS into the air space, an embarrassing UAS test center first flight, and the MQ-8C Fire Scout takes flight.

News

No Firm Date For UAV Rules As FAA, Industry Launch Safety Campaign

At 2014 year-end, we don’t have an sUAS NPRM from the FAA, but we do have many new quadcopter owners after the holiday gift-giving season.

The Know Before You Fly education campaign was founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

Booming Holiday Drone Sales Creates Unknown Safety Risk

Darrell Slaughter, Director of Business Development at the Phoenix, Arizona based Unmanned Vehicle University says “The drone industry cannot afford any mishaps at any time, especially at this stage in the industry’s life cycle. People must realize that many of the UAVs being given as gifts this year are not toys.  Many are capable of causing serious injury and damage to property. People will get hurt if these potentially dangerous devices are operated in an unsafe manner.”

Drone Defender Drops D-word Denial

Back in the day, you could get chastised for describing a UAV as a “drone.” But the press and the public have co-opted the term, and it may be time to embrace the “D-word.”

Industry Proposes A ‘Micro Drone’ Rule As Regulatory Deadline Looms

UAS America Fund proposal The UAS America Fund has filed a petition with the FAA proposing regulations for very small UAS for non-recreational purposes. This incremental regulatory approach is based on a risk analysis of FAA data, and addresses aircraft under 3 pounds and flown under 400 feet at least 5 miles from an airport.

The graphic from the UAS America Fund shows different regulatory and certification requirements for different categories of UAS missions.

West Virginia Senator proposes UAS Privacy Act

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV from West Virginia has proposed a law that would require the Federal Trade Commission to set up privacy websites for all commercial UAV operators where privacy policies are posted, including:

  • Information about the circumstances under which the UAS would be operated
  • The specific purposes for the images
  • Data and other identifying information that would be collected
  • Measures to be taken to anonymize and aggregate the information
  • Contact information

Private companies would be prohibited from conducting surveillance on individuals without their explicit prior consent.

ICAO Conducts UAS Fact-Finding Mission

At the invitation of the FAA, representatives from ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) visited the U.S. on a fact-finding mission. They wanted to look at how the U.S. is integrating manned aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). ICAO has a technical body called the RPAS Panel made up of almost 100 international state and industry experts.

1st Nevada drone crashes seconds into FAA test flight

The hand-launched “Magpie” was to be the first UAV officially flown from the Nevada test site, and the press were there to capture the event. The Governor even made a speech. The moment came, Magpie was tossed into the air, and then immediately fell to the ground. The problem was attributed to an electrical controller issue.

U.S. Navy helicopter drone’s first flight

The U.S. Navy successfully flew the MQ-8C Fire Scout system for the first time off the USS Jason Dunham. This was from a moving ship at sea.

Video of the Week

Team BlackSheep XMas Special

Published on Dec 23, 2012, this video was taken by Team Black Sheep from a flight near Paris while attending LeWeb 2012. Is this a safe flight?

Mentioned

Surge in drones as Christmas gifts will show need for greater regulation: peak body

 

UAV055 The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership Gears Up

Estes Proto X Nano Electric Quadcopter

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.

News

The Drone You Should Buy Right Now

The Verge offers up their top five recommended hobby drones. These range across the spectrum in size, price, and capability.

FAA Announces Virginia Tech UAS Test Site Now Operational

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.

University of Maryland Opens UAS test site

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.

Drone testing delayed to protect migratory birds

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.

Nevada drone testing off to slow start

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 drones miss out through tough rules

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.

UAS at the Beach

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.

Mini-UFO comes close to jetliner

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

Third Person Driving with a Drone

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!

 

UAV054 NUAIR Gets an FAA COA

DJI S900 Hexacopter

NUAIR becomes the fifth FAA UAS test site to receive a COA, DJI introduces a new model, regulations in the EU and Singapore, North Dakota and Yellowstone in the news, businesses embrace UAVs in Charlotte, and how long until we see deliveries by drone.

News

NUAIR Cleared to Begin First Flights of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) and Griffiss International Airport announced the receipt of their first Certificate of Authorization (COA) by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). From the press release:

“The approval of this application clears the way to begin testing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in New York under the FAA-designated Griffiss International Airport UAS Test Site… Before the first test flights can start, the NUAIR Alliance team will establish an independent safety review board to collect additional information and create a flight plan… Once that process is finished, the NUAIR Alliance-Griffiss team will coordinate a series of test flights on behalf of Cornell Cooperative Extension.”

“The COA allows Cornell Cooperative Extension to fly a UAS manufactured by PrecisionHawk below 400 feet over a farm in western New York. Currently, PrecisionHawk works with clients on a global scale across a variety of industries including agriculture, insurance, oil and gas. For this operation, the Lancaster Hawkeye Mk III, a small fixed-wing aircraft, will carry visual, thermal, multi-spectral and video sensors. These sensors will evaluate field crops like corn, soybeans and wheat, collecting data on conditions like crop growth, insect activity, disease spread, soil conditions and more. This information is critical to advancing the precision agricultural industry which is why this sector is expected to be an early adopter of civil and commercial UAS in the United States and is estimated to comprise 80 percent of the civil and commercial UAS market.”

DJI’s Newest Pro-Level UAV Puts Its Phantom Lineup to Shame

It gets all the press, but the Phantom isn’t the only multicopter that DJI makes. The Spreading Wings S900 Hexacopter is referred to by DJI as an “aerial system for the professional creator.”

House of Lords launches inquiry into civil use of drones

Like elsewhere, civilian use of UAVs in the EU is growing. So the same questions come up: issues of safety, controls that ensure privacy, and economic benefits. The Lords’ EU subcommittee on Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment has called for submissions to get expert written and oral evidence on this topic. They’ll be looking at standards for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) across the EU. The deadline for submitting evidence is September 19, 2014. The final report in expected March 2015.

How should UAVs be regulated? Experts weigh in

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is also considering UAV regulations for hobbyists and for commercial operations. There are existing rules for UAVs under the Singapore Air Navigation Order: no operation within five kilometers of an aerodrome, and maximum flight altitude of about 61 meters. But the CAAS wants to determine if additional requirements are needed.

Grand Forks AFB hosts first integrated UAV flight

On August 1, two MQ-9 Predator Bs were operated in close proximity in unrestricted airspace. This took place at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, by the 319th Operations Support Squadron. They actually accomplished an additional milestone when a manned private aircraft asked to do a brief runway approach.

Drone crashes into famed hot spring at Yellowstone National Park

Visitors to U.S. National Parks continue to use UAVs to create videos at the Parks, despite the ban announced in June by the National Park Service. Several drone crashes have occurred at Yellowstone National Park, including one where a tourist crashed his camera-equipped multi-copter into the Grand Prismatic hot spring. A park spokesman said they didn’t know if the UAV would damage the 121 foot deep spring, and if they would have to remove it – if they could even find it.

Commercial drones are taking off in Charlotte area

Fearing that the competition might get the jump on them, some Charlotte, North Carolina businesses are using drones for real estate and other aerial footage. One company is operating four drones, and a video production company uses drones to film promotional videos and weddings. The Governor of North Carolina has said he’ll sign legislation for a state licensing system for commercial drones and operators.

Drone Expert: Drone Delivery Still 10 Years Away

Missy Cummings is an associate professor at MIT and Duke University, and is one of the professors who signed the letter to the FAA we talked about last episode. This former Navy fighter pilot wants to use drones for wildlife conservation research. She believes that because of “technical obstacles” such as battery life, security, and integration with air traffic control systems, drone delivery systems are about 10 years away.

Videos of the Week

World’s Largest Urban Zipline and Behind The Scenes – Urban Zipline! World’s Biggest!! from Eric. A 2000 foot zip line from a tower in Panama over a road and marina with base jumpers is documented with quadcopters and other video methods.

Why Firefighters Aren’t Using Drones to View the Blazes – Yet from Bill. This impressive aerial video of a wild fire and of aerial firefighting suggests why UAVs and response teams don’t mix well. also related: California firefighters encounter civilian drone for first time.

Mentioned

Birds Eye Alaska is the Kickstarter project of a paralyzed man who is using UAVs to create great content, and a new life.

Lost DJI Phantom/Drone and Go Pro (Litchfield Beach/Pawley’s Island) Missing quadcopter search by Craig’s List.

UAV047 FAA! We’re Going to Need a Stiff Drink!

Drone Prize 2014

FAA defines Model Aircraft, UAV’s banned from US National Parks, fourth UAS test site operational, Washington Post study of crashing UAVs, a prize for your drone video, the latest news on UAVs in Brazil and Australia, and CNN wants to prove news drones are safe.

The News

FAA Claims Authority Over Unsafe Model Aircraft Flights

The FAA has published a policy notice stating that the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 gives the FAA authority to regulate model aircraft as unmanned aircraft if the model is flown in an unsafe manner.

According to the FAA press release, this guidance “comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.”

The Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft says:

“This action provides interested persons with the opportunity to comment on the FAA’s interpretation of the special rule for model aircraft established by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In this interpretation, the FAA clarifies that: model aircraft must satisfy the criteria in the Act to qualify as model aircraft and to be exempt from future FAA rulemaking action; and consistent with the Act, if a model aircraft operator endangers the safety of the National Airspace System, the FAA has the authority to take enforcement action against those operators for those safety violations.”
Provide your comments to FAA by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal and searching for docket number FAA-2014-0396.

FAA Interpretive Rule addressing “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” Academy of Model Aeronautics response

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is not happy. They point out that they have managed model aircraft for 77 years. Furthermore, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress exempts model aircraft from regulation as long as the activity “is conducted in accordance with and within the safety programing of a community-based organization,” that being the AMA.

US officials move to ban drones from national parks

Because it believes unmanned aircraft annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety, the U.S. National Park Service is banning unmanned aircraft.

In its press release, Prohibition of Unmanned Aircraft in National Parks, the NPS says the policy memorandum “directs superintendents nationwide to prohibit launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service.”

US ban for national park drones contrasts to AU indifference

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority is proposing that UAVs weighing less than two kg should not be regulated.

Writer Ben Sandilands says that he expects “that CASA and the Minister will embrace the chaos, and the maiming, damaging and even loss of life that is expected to ensue as the popularity of light weight drones costing small change takes off.”

FAA Announces Texas UAS Test Site Now Operational

The FAA has issued a two-year Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi UAS test site, making it the fourth of six to become operational. The COA allows the Texas site to use an American Aerospace Advisors RS-16 UAS.

This test site will concentrate on:

  • safety of operations and data gathering in authorized airspace,
  • UAS airworthiness standards,
  • command and control link technologies,
  • human-factors issues for UAS control-station layout,
  • detect-and-avoid technologies.

When Drones Fall from the Sky

A Washington Post investigation reveals that since 2001, more than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed around the world. The causes for the crashes are things like mechanical breakdowns, human error, and bad weather.

The Washington Post call this “a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic.”

Drone Prize 2014

Sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the AUVSI Cascade Chapter, this competition seeks to demonstrate drones used to serve the greater good. If you fly your drone with a civic purpose on a mission to improve society, share your video to show the difference you made, and enter to win more than $10,000 in prizes.

Participants who enter must fly their drone strictly for hobby or recreational purposes. Entries will be accepted through July 27th, 2014. Open to USA residents only.

All eyes on Brazil’s drone boom

Brazil doesn’t have restrictive regulations for UAVs, so business is booming. There are eight UAV manufacturers in São Paulo alone. But Brazilian Air Force Major Luiz Felipe says that doesn’t mean you can spy with your drone with impunity.

The Brazilian Air Force uses two Elbit Systems drones for patrol and surveillance of borders, major sporting events, and drug smuggling activity.

There is no new news on the World Cup spying incident. A FIFA spokesperson says there have been no further discoveries, and that they don’t even have confirmation that it even happened.

CASA plans legal action over drone crash in Geraldton

A triathlon competitor in Australia sustained injuries after she was allegedly hit in the head by a UAV, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority plans to take legal action against the pilot. That pilot says he lost control after being “channel hopped.”

CNN wants to prove that drones are safe for news reporting

CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology have started a research project to understand how news-gathering UAVs could be used safely in US airspace.

Video of the Week

Propellerheads Aerial Photography wedding video. Parker takes Airwolf up to document a wedding and the fireworks after the ceremony.

Mentioned

Drones Over America, a 60 Minutes Segment, via Charley.

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.

UAV037 UAS Test Site Receives FAA COA

Draganflyer X4-C

A UAS Test Site receives an FAA Certificate of Authorization, Spain bans commercial drone use, a drone tracker kit, drones for burglers, a survey says Americans favor targeting terrorists with drones, and an update on the FAA v. Pirker appeal.

The News:

Press Release – FAA Announces First UAS Test Site Operational

On April 21, the FAA announced that the UAS Test Site operated by the North Dakota Department of Commerce is operational. A Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) was granted to the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site to begin using a Draganflyer X4ES.

Spain Just Made Itself The Enemy Of Drone Enthusiasts Everywhere

The AESA, Spain’s State Agency for Aerial Security, has banned commercial drone use anywhere in the country. The Agency fears “misunderstandings and possible incidents” with these new UAVs. If that’s not bad enough, what does this mean for two new projects: the Atlas Experimental Flight Centre for testing UAS and the aerodrome project in Doñana National Park?

NextGen Drone Tracker Kit now available

Sagetech Corporation designs and manufacturers electronic subsystems for the unmanned and manned aerial vehicles. Their ADS-B Tracker Kit is a turnkey solution that tracks drones on iPads. For that price, you get a 150 gram Sagetech XPG-TR micro transponder for the drone, a Clarity ADS-B receiver, and an iPad.

Thieves using heat-detecting £60 drones bought from supermarkets to spot cannabis farms – then break in to steal the drugs

If you obtain a relatively inexpensive multi-copter and attach an infrared camera, you can fly around and detect sources of relative heat. Also, someone growing a large number of marijuana plants in an indoor farm is going to be using a lot of grow lights. Put the two together and you have a creative use for drones. Good guys can catch the pot growers, Bad guys know where they can steal a lot of weed.

In U.S., 65% Support Drone Attacks on Terrorists Abroad

A recent Gallup Poll asked about 500 adult Americans “Do you think the U.S. government should or should not use drones to — ?” 65% said yes to launching airstrikes in other countries against suspected terrorists.

FAA Files Appeal Brief In Closely-Watched Drone Pilot Case

Much of this article repeats what we said last episode about FAA v. Pirker, but this was written by John Goglia, a former Board member. At issue is whether or not the small UAS is an aircraft as defined by the FARs, and thus subject Pirker to it’s limitations on careless or reckless operation of an aircraft. After almost ten years on the NTSB, Goglia notes that most (not all) cases go in favor of the FAA. But here he says, “This case appears to me to be one that defies logic.”

Video of the Week:

Matternet, A Ted Talk video about autonomous electric aerial vehicles proposed for a transportation network that brings items (“matter”) to areas of the world without year-round ground transportation roads. Via Michael.

Mentioned:

A Drone Perspective, a map of Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) videos, via Chris.

 

UAV029 Delivering the Internet via UAV

Titan Aerospace

Facebook buys a drone company, having enough communications and data bandwidth, an international UAV test consortium announced, UAV training at Roswell, busting FAA myths about UAVs, FAA authority to regulate UAS questioned, privacy questions flare down under, and Russia building Israeli UAVs.

Breaking news: Commercial Drones Are Completely Legal, a Federal Judge Ruled

The News:

Facebook Follows Amazon, Google Into Drones With $60 Million Purchase

Facebook is reportedly purchasing Titan Aerospace for $60 Million. Titan Aerospace makes high altitude solar-powered UAV’s that they refer to as persistent solar atmospheric satellites.™

Facebook is a partner in Internet.org, along with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera and Qualcomm. Their objective is to bring everyone in the world with a smartphone into the “knowledge economy” by making Internet services 100 times more affordable.

Accomplishing that means reducing the volume of data served by ten times, and reducing the cost to serve that data by ten times. That’s where Titan comes in.

Drones seen driving spectrum sharing technologies

We talk a lot about the UAS regulations the FAA needs to establish, but there is something else that has to be figured out. All those military and commercial UAVs slated to cloud our skies need com links, and that means enough spectrum has to be available.

International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites For UAVs Announced In Quebec

An International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites has been created to share information on operational safety, flight regulations, and operational experiences.

This is intended to enable development, testing, and certification of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The Consortium also looks to support creation of international standards for UAS/RPAS construction. Other centers are expected to join the Consortium.

The Consortium was announced by the UAV test and service centre (CESA) in France, the Oklahoma State University – University Multispectral Laboratories, the National Aeronautical Centre in Wales, and the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence in Quebec, Canada.

Roswell selected as drone plane training center

Strategic Aerospace International is setting up a drone pilot training center in Roswell, New Mexico, starting with 30 Air Force academy graduates in a three month program. SAI has the curriculum at 48 colleges and universities, but needs the airspace to fly the UAVs. They’ll use the Northrop Grumman SandShark UAS.

Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft

The FAA wants to dispel some of what they consider to be “misconceptions and misinformation” about UAS regulations. Things like control of airspace, what commercial flights are allowable, and can the FAA police all this? So they’ve published a list of seven myths and the “real” facts.

Myth #1: The FAA doesn’t control airspace below 400 feet
Fact: They do.

Myth #2: Commercial UAS flights are OK if I’m over private property and stay below 400’.
Fact: A 2007 Federal Register notice says no.

Myth #3: Commercial UAS operations are a “gray area” in FAA regulations.
Fact: There is no gray.

Myth #4: There are too many commercial UAS operations for the FAA to stop.
Fact: The FAA is watching and has appropriate enforcement tools

Myth #5: Commercial UAS operations will be OK after September 30, 2015.
Fact: Congress mandated that the FAA come up with a safe integration plan by that date. Regulations, policies, and standards will come incrementally.

Myth #6: The FAA is lagging behind other countries in approving commercial drones.
Fact: The U.S. is not like the rest of the world. We have a very busy airspace and we need to get this right.

Myth #7: The FAA predicts as many as 30,000 drones by 2030.
Fact: That’s an old outdated number. Now the FAA estimates 7,500 sUAS by 2018

Free the Beer Drones: Maybe the FAA doesn’t have the authority to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles.

The author believes the U.S. Code and regulations that give the FAA authority, do not define UAVs, so they have no authority. And even if the FAA does have authority, it has not published the documents required to regulate UAVs. Regulatory and statutory law requires public scrutiny and input, and the FAA hasn’t done that.

AFP using drones to investigate major crime as questions raised over privacy

A parliamentary inquiry is looking at drones and their use by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP maintains use has been limited, like at crime scenes, and admits that covert surveillance would require a warrant. But the Office of the Privacy Commissioner says it has been getting inquiries from the public about the use of drones.

Warplanes: Russia Builds Israeli UAV

After seven years of negotiations and trials, Russia has begun production under license of the Israeli Searcher 2 UAV.

Video of the Week:

Autonomous drones flock like birds

Mentioned:

Williams Foundation calls for fast-tracked UAVs

 

UAV023 Shooting Video from UAS

American Aerospace RS-16

This Episode:

Commercial use of drones, what the FAA plans to deliver by 2015, sites developing UAS technology other than the selected six, and a common operating system for drones.

The News:

Federal ban on drones doesn’t stop photography

The FAA has a ban on commercial use of use of unmanned aircraft. Yet some people seem to be pulling it off. How? According to the website of Phoenix real estate photography company Aerial Raiders, they “fly for free.” They do, however, charge for editing and consulting.

FAA: ‘Demonstrations,’ Not Integration of Unmanned Aircraft in U.S. Skies in 2015

The U.S. Congress mandated that the FAA fully integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace by 2015. When asked by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee if the FAA would meet that date, FAA chief Michael Huerta didn’t exactly say “yes.”

Weeks After FAA Test Site Designation, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Conducts Drone Research

The FAA picked the six UAS test sites, and activity is starting right away. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is testing the American Aerospace RS-16 UAV over ranchland.

New UAS testing, training facility proposed

But others are also taking action. The Arizona Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (SVEDF) says they will provide a 160-acre testing and training facility to businesses for commercial UAS applications. The Tucson-based Cyclone Autonomous Design Group is one of the companies planning to test its UAS ISR product (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) for safety applications, to assist firefighters, police, soldiers, etc.

Ohio, Indiana push for place in drone industry

Duane Embree, the executive director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development, says “Companies and others will need places where they can test a little, design a little, and then test more. We can essentially do everything we were going to do — just without the FAA designation.”

US Army to install ground-based UAV radar at five sites by 2016

The Ground-Based Sense and Avoid Network or GBSAA is designed to meet the FAA requirements for full size drones in domestic airspace. The sites (at Army installations) were chosen were because they currently have a mission using MQ-1C Grey Eagle, the largest UAS currently operated by the US Army.

Windows for drones? One start-up is dreaming big

The Defense Department would like to see some standard, cross-platform, off-the-shelf software. LA-based DreamHammer has created the open Ballista OS.

From the Listeners:

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.