1. The Academy of Model Aeronautics and its 170,000 members
The “no commercial operation” prohibition means no model aircraft public demonstrations or model aircraft training when some payment is involved, as well as competition prizes, and product reviews conducted by employees.
2. Several commercial drone interests, including: Peter Sachs and the Drone Pilots Association, the UAS America Fund (founded to finance the commercial drone industry), Skypan International, an aerial photography firm, and FPV Manuals (sells equipment for model aircraft).
No services can be offered with model aircraft that have even an incidental business purpose, and Peter Sachs cannot assist the volunteer fire department.
3. The Council on Governmental Relations, an association of US research universities.
Model aircraft for scientific research have long been used without any FAA restrictions. The FAA’s interpretation “poses a grave threat to science, research, education, and technological innovation across the United States.”
Australian UAV manufacturer Cyber Technology is being prosecuted for failure to obtain a permit to export drones. The list of “Defence and Strategic Goods” controlled by Australian law includes UAVs that can be controlled outside line of sight.
A University of Texas student allegedly flew a drone over a school football game. University police identified the student and seized the drone. In a statement to a local TV station, University Police said, “Our top priority is the safety our students, employees, fans and visitors.”
This year’s Cleveland Air Show included demonstrations of fixed-wing and multicopter drones for the attendees. It represented a great opportunity to provide the general public with more awareness of what “drones” are all about.
To address privacy concerns, the State Senate in California has passed legislation that requires police to obtain surveillance warrants in order to use drones, unless exigent circumstances exist.
This seems to be at odds with the 1989 case, Florida v. Riley, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that citizens do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy from the air because airplanes and helicopters fly over private property all the time.
The U.S. Navy had planned to release this month a final request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance Strike (UCLASS) contract. Now they say they’ll wait until the Pentagon conducts a broad review of intelligence and surveillance programs this fall.
NASA is working with to create technologies for controlling air traffic control for drones operating at low altitudes, around 400 to 500 feet off the ground.
Disney has filed three patent applications to use unmanned aerial systems at its theme parks. The patents envision using multiple UASs to support lightweight materials that can be used as projection screens, creating “flixels” or floating pixels, and animating Disney characters in the night sky.
Videos of the Week
Napa Earthquake 2014 Quadcopter Test Video from Doug.