Drone safety rules, an affordable Piaggio MALE UAV, a drone incursion that turns out to be birds, the Taranis UAS makes it’s first flight, VTOL UAVs, the Aussie CASA threatens fines, the impact of UAVs on the NextGen ATC system, and looking at drones to deliver cargo in Africa.
Hobbies grow up and then the hard questions come up. Like when do you start to make rules? The FAA is working on regulations but at the local levels, authorities don’t know what to do.
Italian airframer Piaggio believes there is a market for an affordable medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle. They have displayed a mock-up of their Hammerhead intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft based on the Piaggio P180 Avanti II twin-pusher business aircraft.
India and Pakistan do not enjoy the best relationship, and airspace incursions are treated seriously. So when India detected the approach of unmanned aircraft, they scrambled the Air Force, which found nothing. A mystery. It turns out that with a strong tailwind, migratory birds can fly at high speeds.
BAE Systems had a successful maiden flight of their stealthy Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator.
The Aerovel Flexrotor is the first autonomous launch and recovery of an unmanned aircraft from an unmanned boat. The Flexrotor takes off vertically, then transitions from rotor-borne to wing-borne flight.
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority says two remotely piloted drone flights over wildfires in Lithgow and the Blue Mountains put firefighters at risk, and looks to have breached the Civic Aviation Safety Regulations, which state that remotely piloted aircraft must be kept 30 metres from people unless otherwise approved.
At the Aviation Week NextGen conference, one panel looked at Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in light of the DOT report Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Service Demand, 2015-2035 [PDF], prepared for the U.S. Air Force. The report projects large numbers of UAS’s in the airspace, but this was not contemplated when NextGen was originally envisioned.
Countries that lag technologically sometimes leapfrog other more advanced economies. Perhaps the African continent has the opportunity to leapfrog the rest of the world and utilize drones to as a transportation method for goods. The Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is launching what they are calling the Flying Donkey Challenge, where teams create unmanned cargo aircraft to fly around Mount Kenya.