Using drones for disaster relief, a new marketplace for used drones, a drone park for a Florida county, unmanned aircraft replacing manned helicopters, bright career prospects for drone pilots, and fighting pollution with gas-sniffing drones.
The Texas Military Department representing the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard tweeted: “#ALERT: We are seeing civilian drones that pose EXTREME risks to our rescue pilots and crews in high need areas.”
FAA: “The FAA warns drone operators that flying an unauthorized drone could interfere with local, state and federal rescue and recovery missions. You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations”
And, “Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.”
People streamed into Texas with drones, trying to help. But how do we safely and effectively integrate drones with disaster relief efforts?
droneUp pulls qualified drone pilots together and coordinates with local authorities. droneUp says they are “about flying. It’s about building a community of enthusiasts who share a passion. droneUp was designed by pilots, for pilots to support our diverse needs and interests. We can scale to provide mission support for hundreds of thousands of pilots responding, reporting and communicating in real time. droneUp facilitates safety, fellowship, emergency assistance, and commerce for a network of pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles using a mobile application connected to cloud servers. You’re joining the central resource and community for drone pilots worldwide.”
To use droneUp, qualified pilots register for an account on a mobile app. When law enforcement or first responders need drone assistance, a mission is created and local pilots are alerted. Pilots acknowledge alerts on their app and take action.
New start-up DRONEFAX offers a marketplace for buying and selling used drones, as well as inspection and repair services by an FAA-licensed aviation maintenance technician. Discounts on drone insurance are available for drones purchased through the marketplace.
Citrus County has the first designated drone park in Florida. Drone enthusiast and County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith responded to Lecanto High School student Catherine Schlabach’s request for help get a drone club up and running at the school. The Citrus Drone Racing Club now has 52 members and a place to fly.
Some videographers are losing their jobs because major motion picture producers are using drones instead of helicopters. Drones are safer and significantly less expensive than helicopters.
Last year, the University of Maine at Augusta began offering Maine’s first university-level UAV course. The seven-week drone course prepares students for the FAA test for remote pilot operators. UMA says graduates are immediately in demand and can earn six figures working for large corporations.
With more than 900,000 factories registered in the Chinese city of Dongguan, it is impossible for officials to inspect them all for safety and environmental compliance. Now drones with gas detecting sensors are assisting in the fight against pollution.
Videos of the Week
Listener Steve captures the flight of an RC airplane with his DJI Mavic:
A week later the two aircraft met up again but with different results: