UAS Digest #15—News before and after the stress of DOT/FAA registration IFR
- A new category—business and competition
- A surfeit of news about new educational initiatives
- Another new section of news about Enforcement
- The FAA IFR on registration is not in Bad News, but in FAA actions and reactions—criticisms included
- Interesting innovation in Operational Developments
- Excellent Advice on Privacy
→ Footage shows ‘illegal’ drone flight over Lincoln—An expert who trains people to use drones safely looked at the footage for the BBC. “In my opinion it was illegal on a number of levels,” said Sion Owen Roberts, head of academy for RUSTA. “I was amazed that he decided to fly where he did.”
Business and Competition
→ Rutherford airports wary of drones causing safety issues—“We’ve had two sightings of drones near the airport and have had a laser incident with a helicopter in the La Vergne area recently,” said John Black, executive director, Rutherford County/Smyrna Airport Authority. “We feel strongly that people acquiring drones comply with the FAA rules or they could face penalties.”
→ FAA to local governments: No drone for you!—Not clear that this represents FAA national policy, but a local representative is quoted as saying “FAA strongly restricts the use of drones by governments. Government users.”
→ Local Company Offers to Educate Drone Users—“’AboveNV is a start-up company that specializes in commercial use of drones and education. That is why they are offering classes for first-time drone owners.’ We really found that there’s nobody out there that will teach you how to fly, which is fairly simple, but somebody’s got to teach you how to do it and there’s nobody out there that will tell you what the rules are because the rules are so new. People don’t really understand them yet,” Ellern said.”
→ Central Minnesota company joins drone safety website—Seiclone Surveys have seen a need for educating people on safely operating unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. The president and CEO said a colleague spoke with people at KnowBeforeYouFly.org, and they offered Seiclone a spot as a supporter. It is one of about 50 in the world.
→ Sinclair dedicates nation’s first drone indoor flying facility—The Sinclair College National Unmanned Aerial Systems Training and Certification Center dedicated the nation’s first permanent, custom-built UAS indoor flying facility on Thursday…Covering 3,200 square feet and featuring an interior ceiling height of 40 feet, the Pavilion includes a mezzanine flying deck to facilitate testing and instruction, and was constructed to allow GPS signal transmissions to support aircraft navigation.
(Surprised when FAA used this term in the Registration IFR because new policy is “compliance.”)
→ FAA Would Like You To Narc On Irresponsible Drone Fliers Near SFO—“Safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System is one of our top priorities,” he explained. “Key to this effort is educating new unmanned aircraft operators about the rules that apply to them and that they have a responsibility to fly safely, just like the pilot of a Cessna or Boeing 747.”
FAA actions and reactions
→ The 211 page Interim Final Regulation FULL TEXT—good idea to read it carefully; you may not agree, but the authors are good lawyers. There are a lot of words which attempt to justify the actions.
→ Looking Forward After the FAA’s Drone Registration Regulation—Thoughtful review of the future → Observations on the Issuance of the Dreaded Interim Final Drone Registration Rules—the JDA review.
→ CEI Challenges FAA’s New Drone Regulations-conservative think tank is of the opinion that the IFR was issued with insufficient basis for good cause and other legal problems.
Drones that must be registered include the following:
3DR Solo (with gimbal)
3DR Solo (without gimbal)
DJI Inspire 1
DJI Inspire Pro
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
Helimax Voltage 500
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 (Elite Edition)
Yuneec Typhoon G Yes
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4
Yuneec Typhoon Q500+
Hubsan x4 FPV
Hubsan x4 Pro
UDI U818A-1 Discovery HD
UDI U842 Falcon
Drones that do not need to be registered include the following:
Parrot Rolling Spider minidrone from Parrot
Sky Viper s670 Stunt Drone
Hubsan x4 camera
Hubsan x4 Nano
Hubsan x4 (H107L)
Extreme Fliers Micro Drone 2.0
Air Hogs Millenium Falco
Helimax 1SQ No Helimax RC $100 0.07
Helimax 1SQ V-cam No Helimax RC $130 0.07
Helimax 1Si (with camera)
Helimax 230Si (with camera)
Parrot Airborne Cargo minidrone
Parrot Airborne Night minidrone
Feds’ drone rules ignore public comment period; invite lawsuits
→ State agencies issue drone warnings in Delaware –The Delaware Insurance Commissioner also warned drone owners to make sure their insurance coverage is in place before taking flight. Karen Weldin Stewart says drones pose a significant risk to property and life on the ground in the event of an accident…The Insurance Commissioner’s office says while private drone use as a hobby is generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, an accident caused by a drone could leave the operator liable. The IC’s office recommends checking with your agent or insurer to make sure your homeowner’s insurance covers liability for such an accident.
→ UAS innovators need sound legal advice to protect property—“I would definitely encourage people to seek out counsel and think about patenting first and marketing later,” she answered. “With the recent law changes, it’s a first-to-file system instead of first-to-invent. If you come up with something, share it with someone else and they go file a patent on it, you don’t get protected. You have no rights to that patent while the person who filed it does.”
→ Drone registration plan finalized, Senator says FAA must do more—“’ Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the drone registration requirement is a positive step for accountability but more needs to be done. Congress should push forward legislation that empowers FAA to hold those who threaten air safety accountable, said Blumenthal in an emailed statement…Such authority could include “clear, enforceable operational restrictions that will keep these drones away from airports, manned aircraft, public areas and critical infrastructure,’ he said…’We must also require the installation of fail-safe technology in the manufacturing process, so it’s impossible for owners to misuse these powerful devices,’ said Blumenthal in the statement.”
→ After trip to D.C. Grand Forks officials’ talk turns to new missions, UAS tech park—“He said officials in Washington encouraged Grand Forks leaders to keep developing the public-private relationships around the base, like shared law enforcement and fire training as well as the Grand Sky UAS park.”
→ World’s First Droneport Under Construction Near Las Vegas—“Boulder City is aiming to stake a new claim to fame: home to the Aerodrome, the world’s first droneport, a facility aimed primarily at education for commercial users of unmanned aerial systems, but also recreational users and even drone racers.”
→ Ultra-light 3D printed titanium firefighting drone to aid in bushfires—“To improve battery life and flight time, the students sought to reduce the drone’s drag and improve its aerodynamics. Airfoil shaped arms and other custom designed aerodynamic parts each contributed to this improvement, but were not easy to produce. Rather than use carbon fibre, the team opted for titanium because of its strength, lightness and resistance to high temperatures. The complex geometric designs were then taken to the CSIRO Lab 22 Innovation Centre to be 3D printed.”
→ UAV Research in Khumbu Valley—“a recent field expedition to Sagarmatha National Park to conduct UAV surveys of several glaciers in the region. A total of 730 photos were taken from the senseFly eBee UAV over six successful flights, and the team collected 56 high-precision ground control points to be used in post-processing. The research may have also set an unofficial eBee altitude record, with a maximum flight elevation of 5,900 m.”
→ Columbus UAV Aids During Emergencies—“We can get it to the scene very quickly. once it’s in the air, we hope it will give our incident commanders a global or a bird’s eye view.”
→ Drones will now CHASE thieves and take their pictures—“A Japanese security company has unveiled a new method of surveillance and it will chase down intruders, and even take pictures of their faces and licence plates…The Secom crime-fighting drone is equipped with a surveillance camera and LED light, and will send images to a control center for tracking.”
→ Hydrogen-powered fuel cells proposed to keep drones in the air longer—Intelligent Energy’s fuel cells “offer lighter and smaller solutions compared to batteries where the power is low and the energy required is high,” it says on its website. That makes the technology suitable for drones…By combining a very lightweight fuel cell stack with a battery, range could be “up to several hours of drone flight time rather than the typical 20 minutes maximum flight times seen today,” …A secondary advantage the company suggested is a reduction in downtime. Recharging could take several hours, whereas a fuel cell hybrid solution could get the process down to a couple of minutes, the company claims.”
People in Drone Nation
→ Brooks named Raspet Flight Research Laboratory director, ASSURE associate director of research—Dallas Brooks is the new director of the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory at Mississippi State. A 26-year U.S. Air Force veteran, he held key leadership positions in aviation and communications, including serving as the USAF’s chief of UAS integration. He also served as the chair of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Integration Integrated Product Team for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. In this role, he led a joint team working to enable UAS access to support Department of Defense operational, training and R&D requirements…Brooks has an extensive background in industry and government. He is the executive vice chairman of the board for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and co-chairs the national UAS Science and Research Panel, a consortium of the federal government’s top aviation research institutions that is co-sponsored by the FAA, NASA, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.”
CDT’s model best practices recommend that:
- Private drone operators should make a reasonable effort to notify individuals when drones are collecting personal data.
- Private drone operators should not intentionally use a drone to enter private property without the landowner’s consent.
- Private drone operators should not use drones to collect personal data without consent where an individual has an expectation of privacy; for persistent monitoring of individuals; or for employment, credit or healthcare eligibility.
- Private drone operators should try to avoid collecting, retaining, or disclosing unnecessary personal data without consent. When possible, unnecessary data should be destroyed or de-identified.
- Commercial drone operators should take basic steps to secure the personal data they collect.
→ ASSURE updates UAS industry on research efforts, future plans—22 universities and 103 companies share notes on their research.
→ Risk to Aircraft From Drones Being Debated—Views of AMA. AeroKinetics , Bard College and others discussed.
→ Drone study by Bard College center cites potential risks to other aircraft—“The report presents an analysis of altitude, distance from airports, drone-to-aircraft proximity, manned aircraft type, drone type and time of day. The study found incidents were more likely to involve multi-rotor unmanned aircraft than fixed-wing drones and predominantly occurred far above the Federal Aviation Administration’s 400-foot ceiling for unmanned aircraft, often within 5 miles of an airport at altitudes higher than 400 feet.”
Technology Development and Research
→ Software Can Act As Air-Traffic Control for Drones, Prevent Collisions—“Stanford engineers are working on software that can predict and prevent drone collisions in urban airspace. With use of drone technology on the rise in real estate, journalism, emergency situations and soon package delivery, the need for a system to monitor these unmanned aircraft has increased. Researchers from the Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory (SISL), partnered with NASA Ames, are working on an unmanned aerial system traffic management system (UTM) to manage UAV traffic.”
Restrictions from other than the Federal Government
→ Japan to ground hobbyist drones in urban areas, impose sweeping restrictions elsewhere | The Japan Times—“Crowded residential areas” …including all of Tokyo’s 23 wards. This means operators will be severely restricted from flying drones and even toy aircraft in such areas…The restrictions also require operators to keep their craft at least 30 meters from people, buildings and cars, and bans them from locations where large crowds are present, such as at festivals and exhibitions…Violators may be punished with a fine of up to ¥500,000.
→ Govt to put in place system for regulating UAVs: Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi – The Economic Times—”We need to go into regulations. We need to have a system to detect and destruct rouge aircraft… We have to ensure that UAVs are not hijacked by rouge elements and misused,” he said addressing a seminar on ‘India’s Internal Security and UAVs’.
→ Enact Laws To Regulate Drones Before There’s A Tragedy—In response to a Bad News as reported in UAS Digest #14, A bill imposing restrictions on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles nearly, but not quite, made it into law this year in the General Assembly
→ Editorial: Lakeland right to prepare as FAA drones on—“Which is why, if we want to ensure a similar incident, or perhaps something worse, does not happen in Lakeland, we encourage the City Commission’s quest to develop regulations policing the use of drones in our community.”