UAV128 Get the App Before You Fly

Tactical Robotics AirMuleRegistration of model aircraft moves to the courts, FAA releases an app and answers more registration questions, a cargo delivery UAV makes a first untethered flight, and a new drone challenge.

News

FAA Sued In Federal Court Over Drone Registration Rules

Attorney and model airplane enthusiast John A. Taylor from Silver Spring, Maryland believes that the FAA requirement for sUAS registration is a violation of Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Taylor requested an emergency stay of the registration requirement, but that was denied. The lawsuit is proceeding through the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with a filing deadline of January 27, 2016.

FAA Administrator Huerta Addresses UAS Registration and Integration at CES

Administrator Michael Huerta spoke at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, praising the work of the Registration Task force and noting that as of January  6, 2016, 181,061 operators had registered their drones.

Huerta was joined by Registration Task Force members:

  • Dave Vos, project lead for Google X’s Project Wing
  • Nancy Egan, 3D Robotics general counsel
  • Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs for DJI
  • Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Schulman expressed concern about the ability to find an operator’s home address by looking up their registration number. On enforcement, Huerta says the FAA is trying for “voluntary compliance” but also that the FAA works closely with local enforcement.

FAA Releases B4UFLY Smartphone App

B4UFlyAlso at CES, Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”

 

UAS Registration Q&A

The FAA Registration FAQs were updated to further explain the process:

Q52. Who can see the data that I can enter?

A. The FAA will be able to see the data that you enter. The FAA is using a contractor to maintain the website and database, and that contractor also will be able to see the data that you enter. Like the FAA, the contractor is required to comply with strict legal requirements to protect the confidentiality of the personal data you provide. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement officers might also be able to see the data. In the future, the registration database will be searchable by registration number only, but not by name or address. However, it is not searchable at this time.

Q2. Does it cost anything to register?

A. Federal law requires owners to pay $5 to register their aircraft. However, registration is free for the first 30 days to encourage speedy registration of UAS. During the first 30 days, you must pay $5 with a credit card, a pre-paid credit card or a debit card from a major bank. A $5 credit will appear 5-10 days afterwards.

Q9. Does the FAA have two different registration systems? If so, why?

A. Yes, there are two systems. The online system is currently only required for UAS used for hobby or recreational purposes. This new registration process is quick and easy and provides the registrant with a registration certificate immediately. The paper-based system is for manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft that are not solely used for [non-]hobby or recreational purposes or weigh more than 55 lbs. This process takes much longer to complete and the $5 registration fee is non-refundable. The FAA will transition the paper-based system to a web-based tool later in 2016.

Q11. Are non-U.S. citizens visiting the United States on vacation or for drone competitions required to register?

A. Everyone, including foreign nationals and tourists, who operate a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes outdoors in the U.S. must use the FAA’s online registration system. These non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent U.S. residents will receive the same registration certificate as U.S. Citizens or permanent U.S. residents. However, this certificate will function as a “recognition of ownership” document. This document is required by the Department of Transportation for foreign nationals to operate legally in the US.

Q19. I would like to fly my Radio/Remote Controlled (RC) aircraft outdoors, do I have to register it?

A. Yes, RC aircraft are unmanned aircraft and must be registered online if they weigh more than 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 pounds.

AirMule: Autonomous Cargo Delivery, Beyond Line of Sight

Tactical Robotics Ltd announced a successful untethered first flight of the AirMule Vertical TakeOff and Landing UAV. This cargo vehicle with internal lift rotors should be operational in a few years.

Ford Targets Drone-to-Vehicle Technology to Improve Emergency Services, Commercial Business Efficiency

The $100,000 2016 DJI SDK Developer Challenge brings DJI and Ford together to create drone-to-vehicle communications using Ford SYNC®AppLink or OpenXC. This is an opportunity for you to design an unmanned rescue aircraft that can be used for search missions.

“The aircraft must autonomously enter the ‘disaster area’ and gather information on the location of the ‘survivors’, and transmit it back to the computing device in the vehicle. Having captured all necessary information, it must then automatically return and land on the moving vehicle.”

  • Primary Technical Challenge: Automatic landing on a moving vehicle
  • Secondary Technical Challenge: Vision Guided Flight
  • Tertiary Technical Challenge: Object Recognition

Video of the Week

CES 2016: Intel drone dodges ‘falling tree’ on stage

Intel demonstrated a drone at CES that flew an obstacle course and autonomously detected and avoided an object that fell in its path.

Mentioned

AMA Air – January 2016

AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs team members Chad Budreau and Rich Hanson talk about UAS registration.

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