Tag Archives: wildlife management

UAV084 Talk to the Drone

Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead

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.

Use the shortcut theUAVdigest.com/nprm to visit the regulations.gov webpage which provides links to the NPRM document and the comment submission page.

News

MLB sucks fun out of Indians’ camp, grounds pitcher’s homemade drone

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

French Researchers Bother Birds with Drones, for Science

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.

Somerville using drones to survey snowy building roofs

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.

HammerHead UAV prototype makes maiden flight

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.

European regulators target harmonised UAV guidelines

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.

New system allows air traffic controllers to converse with drones

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 Dronesis Audi’s new commercial which re-creates Hitchcock’s The Birds using flocks of multicopters as the evil intimidators.

Mentioned

NPRM…Now What? Start or Accelerate Your Commercial Drone Company by Ryan Morton of SkySpecs.

UAV038 Lockheed Martin Builds sUAS

Lockheed Martin Indago

Lockheed Martin gets into sUAS, Texas EquuSearch files suit, drones for weather forecasting and wildlife protection, a fixed wing VTOL drone, an Optionally Manned UH-60, a North Carolina UAS law, drone journalism goes indoors, and an unmanned R&D forecast.

The News:

Lockheed Martin Marks Significant Milestone in Research & Development for Unmanned Technologies

Lockheed Martin is advancing their push into the sUAS segment with their Indago VTOL Quad Rotor for mobile surveillance. The quad and accompanying handheld ground control station (GCS) and new Commercial Avionics Suite are intended for both Commercial and Military applications.

The 32 inch diameter Indago is man-packable, unfolds, and can be deployed in minutes, with up to a 45 minute flight time. LOS range is 5km, payload 180g. It folds into a 12x9x6 package.

Texas Nonprofit sues FAA

Texas EquuSearch has gone ahead and filed a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court. The suit claims there is no basis in law to prohibit the operation of model aircraft for humanitarian search and rescue activities.

Drones could revolutionize weather forecasts, but must overcome safety concerns

The promise is that drones could be deployed to collect meteorological data for weather prediction models.

German mini drones rescue Bambis from hay shredders

Every year in Germany, about 100,000 animals are killed by combine harvesters cutting hay. Small aerial drones are being deployed in a wildlife rescue project to keep fawn hiding in tall grass from being shredded.

Five drones are being used in a pilot program where digital and infrared sensors find the young deer, radio beacons are attached to the animals, and farmers can subsequently detect the deer.

Arcturus UAV

Arcturus gets the Jump on vertical takeoff and landing for fixed wing UAVs

For some missions a rotary wing UAV is best, and for others a fixed wing UAV provides superior results. But what do you do when you need the best features of each? Arcturus UAV has a solution: Add-on electric rotors that bring VTOL capability to a fixed wing UAV.

Sikorsky demonstrates optionally piloted Black Hawk

The first flight of an Optionally-Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) was conducted at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida facility.

The OPBH demonstrated autonomous hover and flight operations under the control of a man-portable ground control station (GCS).

North Carolina Legislative committee approves proposed law to regulate “drones”

The proposed legislation [PDF] contains privacy regulations, a drone operator knowledge and skills test developed by the state Aviation Division, and licenses for commercial operation of drones.

University of Missouri brings drones class indoors after feds complain

Last summer the FAA told the University of Missouri School of Journalism to stop flying drones outdoors. What did they do? They fly them indoors, of course.

Europe, Asia plan to spend big on drone development

Consulting firm Forecast International has a report out that predicts that by 2022, less than half the worldwide total spend on drone research will be by the U.S.

Videos of the Week:

Flying Robot Rockstars: KMel Robotics presents a team of flying robots that play musical instruments.

Meet Your Creator – Quadrotor Show: A troupe of 16 quadrotors dance to and manipulate sound and light at the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase 2012.

UAV024 – UAV Licensing and Permitting Proposal

DJI Phantom

A proposal for licensing and permitting small UAV operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection grounds their fleet, quadcopters filming whales, and drinking and droning don’t mix.

Proposal for UAV/sUAV Licensing/Phased Permitting Plan

Listener Tim Trott submitted a proposal for a collection of UAV classes, each with requirements for airframe type (multi-copter or fixed wing), weight, altitude, operation in private or public areas, VLOS or FPV, logging, observer requirements, safety and flight testing, insurance, and collision avoidance capability:

Class E – Experimental/Photographic

Under 5 pounds, VLOS only, under 100 feet above terrain, private property only (no public areas). No spectators within 25 feet. Observer required. Multicopter (sUAV) only. Insurance required (AMA or better). Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level E Proficiency flight test. Interim 1 year temporary permits pending full rule implementation.

Class D – Motion Picture/Corporate/News/Journalist

Under 20 pounds, VLOS only, limited to 400 ft above terrain unless flight plan filed and approved. Insurance required, private property only (no public areas without permit). Observer required. No spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter sUAV. Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level D Proficiency flight test.

Class C – Agricultural/Industrial

Under 25 pounds, FPV supervision, limited to 400 feet above terrain. Insurance required, private property only (no public areas). Observer required, no spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. Observer required. Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level C Proficiency flight test.

Class B – Public Safety/Utility (Fire, rescue, public safety, pipeline and waterway monitoring)

Under 30 pounds, FPV supervision. Under 400 feet above terrain, above 400 feet with filed flight plan. No spectators within 25 ft. Public and private airspace. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. FAA Review. Collision Avoidance System required. (LIDAR) Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level B Proficiency flight test. Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written test.

Class A – Heavy Class (State, Municipal, Federal Agency)

Over 30 lbs, FPV supervision, under 400 feet above terrain, above 400 feet with filed flight plan, Insurance. Tracking or visual observer required, no spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. FAA Review. Collision Avoidance System required. (LIDAR) Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level A Proficiency flight test. Commercial Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written test.

Class O – Observer

Requires written Basic Safety test.

Proficiency Flight Test may be administered by designated certification instructor or licensed flight instructor.

Safety Test would be comprised of questions relating to 400 foot height limits, knowledge of 500 foot limits for manned aircraft, restrictions related to airports and heliports, spectator distance, VLOS requirement, observer requirement, minimum flight distance from utilities, highways, railroads and buildings, other rules.

Find Tim at Tim Trott Productions and Flying Eye Video.

The News:

U.S. Border Protection Agency Grounds Drone Fleet

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B experienced mechanical failure and was unable to return to base. So the flight crew ditched the Predator in the Pacific Ocean and has grounded the fleet. The Predator B is flown by the CBP Office of Air and Marine.

Is whale watching with drones next big trend?

A California whale-watching organization used a quadcopter to create video of a whale at sea. This has created new questions about this type of UAV application. The Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it illegal to harass or alter the behavior of marine mammals. NOAA has whale-watching guidelines that suggest boaters keep 100 yards away from whales, and planes and helicopters stay 1000 feet above. What about a sUAS fifty feet above a whale?

FAA Stops Beer Drone Delivery

Lakemaid micro brewery was delivering 6 packs to ice fishermen via multi-copter, but the FAA said, “No!”

 

UAV006 Spy on the Chicken

PUMA AE beach launch

PUMA AE beach launch. Courtesy AeroVironment, Inc.

This Episode:

The Reaper is turned into a Jammer, drones are spying on chickens in Australia, FAA rules for small UAS’s delayed again, UAV privacy questions remain, a new UAS Test Center in the UK, monitoring wildlife with a PUMA and the weather with a Global Hawk, FEMA shuts down Colorado UAV flights, and more multi-rotor’s come down in crowds.

The News:

Jamming Pod Demonstrated on MQ-9 Reaper UAV

General Atomics has fitted a Northrop Grumman jamming pod to an MQ-9 Reaper. The test flight occurred back in April during a U.S. Marine Corps weapons and tactics instructor (WTI) course, but has only recently been made public. Planned for the October WTI course is a demonstration with EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare (EW) jets and smaller unmanned aircraft.

Animal Liberation activists launch spy drone to test free-range claims

Australian activists are concerned that some large free-range chicken farms are not in fact free-range. So for $17,000 they purchased a hexacopter, fitted it with an HD video camera, and flew it over the farms to document their claims. The group says this does not violate trespass laws.

First Commercial UAS Flight Due; Small UAS Rule Delayed

An Insitu ScanEagle was expected to make the first commercial flight of an unmanned aircraft on September 11, under a restricted category type certification the FAA awarded in July. ConocoPhillips was to launch the ScanEagle from a research vessel in the Arctic Ocean west of Alaska to monitor whale migrations and ice flows.

The FAA’s release of a Notice of Proposed RuleMaking (NPRM) which would govern the operation of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) weighing up to 55 pounds has been delayed until early in 2014.

UAV Operations in National Air Space Advance as Privacy Fight Heats Up

The standards being developed for sUAS over: UAV design, including command and control systems, batteries, production, quality assurance, maintenance, and continued airworthiness, the aircraft flight manual, and operations over populated areas.

ASTM International developed the initial standards for the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee that was chartered in 2008. That feeds the NPRM process which includes a mechanism for public comment.

The ASTM standards committee for large UAS was unable to make enough progress, so it’s mission was changed to minimum operational performance standards (or MOPS) for detect-and-avoid equipment.

Unlike the slow rule-making progress for commercial UAS, Government agencies (like law enforcement and public safety) can move quickly as a result of the March MOU between the FAA and the Department of Justice.

UK Inaugurates National UAS Test Center

Two UK airports (West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport) have launched a “National Aeronautical Center” (NAC) to develop, test and demonstrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), both commercial and military.

More drones coming Saturday in NOAA tests

NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is testing the PUMA UAS in the Florida Keys to monitor wildlife without disturbing them.

 

NASA Global Hawk

A NASA Global Hawk undergoes systems testing while parked on the ramp at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center on the edge of Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation for participation in NASA’s Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes, or GRIP, hurricane mission.

Spy Drones Turning Up New Data About Hurricanes And Weather and NASA to Investigate Tropical Storm Humberto: Atlantic’s Second “Zombie Tropical Storm”

NASA is flying two Global Hawks from Wallops Island over Hurricanes under the five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission.

Falcon UAV Supports Colorado Flooding Until Grounded by FEMA

The Falcon UAV was providing valuable aerial imagery of the recent tragic Colorado floods. However, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has arrived with conventional manned aircraft and the Falcon was ordered to stand down.

Multirotor Crashes into Crowd in Spain and Pirate Party Crashes Spy Drone in Front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

A hexacopter comes down into a packed crowd in Spain, allegedly injuring several people. Meanwhile, in Dresden, Germany at a political party campaign rally, another copter came down in front of the podium.

UAV 004 Goosebusting by Hexacopter

Flamewheel 550

This Episode:

Using a hexacopter for wildlife management, airline pilots are concerned about UAVs, a copter goes into a crowd, wildfire fighting with a Predator, a sea-faring drone, building a ground station, and a Chinese attack UAV under development.

The News:

Canada plans to use hexacopter drones in war against geese

GOOSEBUSTER_600An Ottawa beach has been plagued by geese despite attempts to scare them off with trained dogs, loud noises, and other means. Along comes Steve Wambolt, the owner of Aerial Perspective, with a Flame Wheel 550 hexacopter and an idea, and he’s successfully used the craft to drive most of the geese away.

 

Pilot Group Expresses Concern Over Sharing the Sky With Drones

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representing over 59,000 airline pilots issued (in April 2011) a white paper, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Challenges for Safely Operating in the National Airspace System” which says, “The fundamental function of operating the aircraft in a safe manner must be maintained at the same level of safety regardless of the location of the pilot or the levels of automation.” Military UAS operations do not meet this criteria. 

When Drones fall from the Skies

At an event called the Great Bull Run at a racetrack in Virginia, a drone copter with a camera flying over the stands, suddenly veered downward and into the crowd. Five people suffered minor injuries. 

Predator UAV Provides Surveillance in Battle Against Yosemite Fire

The MQ-1 Predator is flown for 22 Hours in support of the RIM fire in Yosemite National Park. The 163rd Reconnaissance Wing of the California Air National Guard out of Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport used Infrared cameras to determine hot spots and contained areas, and provided real time images to people on the ground.

Transatlantic Drone Takes to the Sea

It’s not aerial, but it is a drone. It’s an unmanned robotic boat called the Scout designed by students in seven colleges to cross the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow the progress of the craft at the Scout Transatlantic website.

Tearing an old laptop apart to build a ground control station

Here, parts from an old broken laptop and some other components are assembled in a Pelican case as a ground station. The DIY community is very active in the unmanned vehicle arena. It’s a bit like the early days of the personal computer when the term “hacker” meant something positive that geeks aspired to.

China’s ‘Sharp Sword’ stealth UAV to make first flight one year later

China’s “Sharp Sword” attack unmanned aerial vehicle has been seen taxiing around and was captured on video. It looks a little like the X-47B. The report is that we will see a first flight in one year.