A new civilian HALE, 12 drones for the holidays, where to fly your drone in the UK and Canada, drone near misses and hits, and a holiday video of the week.
New Mexico-based Arca Space Corporation announced the AirStrato line of electric HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs. These fill a gap between large, expensive military unmanned aerial vehicles and small, inexpensive civilian commercial drones. The target market is small-scale businesses and research institutions.
FlightBots.com picked their favorite drones for the holiday season:
- Quadcopter Q4 Nano – A very small RTF.
- Hubsan X4 HD – A low cost little starter drone quadcopter with HD 2MP Camera.
- Hubsan X4 H107D FPV – An out of the box basic first person view (FPV) starter drone.
- Blade 180 QX HD ready to fly (RTF) – A low cost starter drone for aerial photography.
- Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite – Control this using your smartphone or tablet.
- Quanum Nova – Outperforms other drone in its price range.
- Walkera QR X350 PRO – An RTF FPV Quadcopter that generally costs less than competing products.
- DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – The easy to fly all-in-one consumer drone with advanced software.
- 3DR IRIS+ – For real consumer and professional applications.
- 3DR X8+ – A real workhorse with modular design and autonomous delivery capabilities.
- Walkera Scout X4 – Features include the ability change from quadcopter with 4 motors to octocopter with 8 motors, real time telemetry and flight times up to 25 minutes.
- DJI Inspire 1- Carbon fiber arms lift out of sight, 360 degree view, 4K video, 12 megapixel photos.
The niche hobby has turned mainstream, and that means lots of new drone pilots after the holidays. What are the rules in the UK?
TGI Friday’s idea for drones carrying mistletoe inside the restaurant has already resulted in an accident. During a demonstration for the Brooklyn Daily, the pilot encouraged the reporter to let him land the drone on her hand. She flinched and the drone struck a photographer in the face.
The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) is expected to release its report on December 12 about the Heathrow Airport incident earlier this year where an Airbus A320 with passengers had a close encounter with a civilian drone.
Reports of near collisions between unmanned and manned aircraft continue to be reported to the FAA by commercial pilots, private pilots, and air traffic controllers. Since June 1, there have been 25 such encounters of small drones coming “within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft.”
The list is available from The Washington Post in Near Mid-Air Collisions With Drones.
The FAA was given until September 2015 to establish regulations that integrate UAS into the National Airspace. The The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the rules won’t be in place until 2017 or later.
Video of the Week
A subdivision in the American Southwest synced up a neighborhood-spanning light show to Trans Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards of Winter,” and filmed the whole thing with a drone.
By freelance reporter and UAV enthusiast William Levasseur. This video provides details about the new Transport Canada regulations for commercial UAV operations.
This follow-on video explains why the Transport Canada definition for “built-up area” might make the new exemption useless for anything other than surveying very remote farmland or working in the wilderness.