NPRM update, a drone at a baseball spring training camp, researching the effects of drones on birds, rooftop inspections by UAVs, the Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead prototype maiden flight, Europeans work to harmonize UAV guidelines, and drones that communicate with ATC by voice.
FAA sUAS NPRM
The Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems NPRM was released February 15, 2015 and published in the Federal Register February 23, 2015, starting the 60 day clock for public comments. Comments must be received by April 25, 2015.
A player on the Cleveland Indians baseball team brought a drone to the team’s spring training camp and took some aerial photos. The MLB shut him down, probably because the ball field is next to Phoenix Goodyear Airport
To study the effects of drones on wildlife, researchers flew a quadcopter near eating or resting birds more than 200 times. They tried different speeds and angles of attack and looked for signs of stress.
They found that if you stayed 15 feet away, the birds didn’t much care about the quadcopter. Frequency of approach didn’t matter and color of the drone didn’t matter. However, approaches from directly above did upset the birds.
Ideas for future study include rotary vs. fixed wing drones, drone size, and sound of the drone. Also, stress indicators for other species may not be visual.
Outside of Boston, the town of Somerville has hired an aerial cinematography and multimedia company to fly drones over municipal buildings to inspect for excessive snow.
Above Summit is providing an alternative to sending workers up to look for dangerous snow accumulations. They inspected 10 buildings in one day alone.
Piaggio Aerospace conducted the maiden flight of the P.1HH HammerHead prototype. The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) HammerHead is derived from the Avanti II twin-pusher turboprop.
Piaggio Aerospace chief executive Carlo Logli said, “Today we have compelling reasons to believe that P.1HH will become the first European state-of-the-art MALE UAS, uniquely suited to perform a wide range of surveillance and security missions at the highest technological level.”
The vehicle management control system, sensors, data link, and ground control station come from Selex ES. Missions include border control, wide area and targeted surveillance, and humanitarian assistance.
The European Commission and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) believe that current air traffic management systems will not adapt to UAVs. Instead, unmanned systems will have to feed the air traffic control we already have today. If that’s going to work, then unmanned air vehicle regulations need to be more globally aligned.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (SJU) initiative includes a strategy to modernise and harmonise UAV operations. An upcoming RPAS element in SESAR’s strategy will facilitate this further.
Researchers at RMIT University in Australia have developed a system that lets drones communicate with air traffic controllers using a synthesized voice. This is being conducted with Thales’ Centre for Advanced Studies in Air Traffic Management (CASIA), and UFA Inc., a software engineering firm.
The system uses UFA’s ATVoice® Automated Voice Recognition and Response software. With it, drones can verbally respond to spoken information requests over the radio, and even act on clearances from air traffic controllers.
ATVoice is used in flight simulators which allow “the user to control the simulation exercise through voice commands using standard FAA or ICAO air traffic control phraseology,” according to UFA.
Video of the Week
“The Drones” is Audi’s new commercial which re-creates Hitchcock’s The Birds using flocks of multicopters as the evil intimidators.
NPRM…Now What? Start or Accelerate Your Commercial Drone Company by Ryan Morton of SkySpecs.