UAS Digest #40

weekly drone publication
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UAS Digest #40: Our Weekly Drone Publication

June 3, 2016

Upcoming Events
Shooting Down Drones, an Op/Ed by Loretta Alkalay
UND chancellor predicts epic future
Battle over ATC privatization is delaying passage of bill with many UAS provisions
FAA suspends pilot’s commercial license for allegedly illegal drone flight
Police confiscate drone in downtown Grand Rapids
FOIAed list of all FAA Drone enforcement cases
Foreign government worse than us
Near miss overseas (with other bad news)
Million made by young entrepreneur
Drone came 100ft from crashing into aircraft at Glasgow Airport


Bad News

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→  Drone delays 55 flights at busy China airport

→  Drone came 100ft from crashing into Ryanair flight at Glasgow Airport

→  Video shows Cape Cod clammer tossing rake at drone



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→  How teenager Aonghus made a million from his bedroom – Aonghus Stevens runs a drone company that now specialises in photography and 3D mapping.

→  Why developers should care about the drone industry – “What is interesting about drones is what they can do: the data. What they can do will be defined by software,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics (3DR).

→  UAV Design Challenges: Game On – Design engineers face many challenges in the incorporation of sensors in UAV design.
drone design


City and State Economic Development and Government Use

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→  Wrigley Welcomes Attendees to Drone Conference – “The progress and success we’ve achieved in UAS over the past few years is a result of the shared vision and collaboration between government and private enterprise,” said Wrigley. “This conference and other events like it are important and necessary to continue the forward growth of the UAS industry in North Dakota.”

→  North Dakota UAS test believed to be world’s first – What’s believed to be the world’s first test of its type using large unmanned aerial systems for agricultural data gathering in a public-private partnership took place at the Hillsboro Municipal Airport.


City and State REGULATORY Action

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(Stay tuned!)



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→  Local drone racer appeared on the Today Show

→  UAS Challenge Finalists – The MITRE Corporation has named the eight finalists who will compete in its Countering Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) Challenge live flight competition in August. The live flight tests will determine the winners of a $100,000 prize package.

 SkyPixel is bringing you a new way of exploring the limits of photography with a new 360° Panorama section



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→  Birmingham organization offers assistance to commercial drone users – “The main purpose of the organization is to help educate the public and city governments on the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry and provide a network for people looking to get into the UAV industry as a profession.”

→  UAS industry leading an ‘epic movement’ – While speaking at Wednesday’s Drone Focus conference, North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott told those in attendance that they’re “part of an epic movement” as the world makes a shift toward intelligent machines.

→  ‘Know Before You Fly’ Gets 500,000 Unique Users

drone publication

Enforcement and Threats

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→  The FAA Revoked an Airplane Pilot’s License for Flying a Drone – “[This pilot’s] case is very different from the other 23 cases I analyzed. The suspension of a pilot’s license is, in the view of many experts, much worse than a fine.”

→  Police confiscate drone in downtown Grand Rapids – On Tuesday, police saw two men operating a drone in the area of Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital and determined that they did not have permission to fly it.

→  The FAA Has Never Fined Anyone for Flying a Drone Commercially – “I think it’s pretty obvious the FAA doesn’t think it can win a case on this whole commercial issue, which is why they haven’t really pushed it.”

→  Planning to fight back against your neighbour’s annoying drone? Read this first

→  Police order man to stop flying drone camera over Hampstead Heath – even though flying devices haven’t been banned

→  Another UAV Has Been Blasted Out Of The Sky – Another UAV has been shot down, and this time a young person was watching the first person video on an iPad.

→  A Dutch company is training eagles to take down drones

→   The FAA Gave Us a List of Every Drone Pilot Who Has Ever Been Fined

drone publication


FAA Actions, Appeal, and Reactions

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→  FAA: Drone owners now outnumber planes and helicopters – Almost 460,000 drone owners have registered with the FAA. Drone owners only have to register once, so it’s likely there are far more unmanned aircraft.

→  How to keep drones away from airports? Feds ask Cicero firm for help

→  British Counter-UAV Technology (AUDS) Selected by FAA for US Airport Trials

drone freezing ray


FAA Reauthorization and UAS

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 FAA Restructuring Is Grounded by Senate Opposition — “A bid by House Republicans to shift the federal air-traffic control system to a nonprofit corporation’s control has been sidelined by bipartisan Senate opposition.”

→  Senator Thune Says House Should Act Soon On FAA Reauthorization Bill – Senate Commerce Committee Chair Says GAO Report Underscores Need For Swift Action.

→  Two Visions for UAS Policy, Two Opportunities to Shape the Future Regulatory Landscape – The Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 4441; the “AIRR Act”) and the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 636; “FAARA”).

→  Congressional Process Stalls – Battle over ATC Privatization is delaying passage of bill with many UAS provisions.


Foreign Regulatory Actions

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→  REPORT | Registration to Fly a Drone in Nigeria Costs $4,000, in the US it Costs $5 – Drone operators will pay a non-refundable processing fee of 500,000 naira ($2,500) after which they will have to secure a security clearance from the office of the National Security Adviser. Operators granted security clearances will then be issued permits valid for three years but will have to pay an ‘annual utilization fee’ of $500.

→  Drone grand prix on waterfront will give a major boost to city – Hong Kong

→  Drone Drama: A Billion Dollar Industry Grounded By Legislation – Here is India’s drone story.

India’s drone story


Good News

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(Stay tuned!)



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→  Drone deliveries? It all depends on the insurance – A guy out for a jog gets brained by a delivery drone. Who pays?

→ Insurance Company Drones May Be Hitting the Skies – Drone operations may become a more feasible alternative for insurance companies during major catastrophes, and all businesses for that matter.

→  Leaders in Emerging Drone Insurance Industry, ZANETTE Aviation, Announces New Interview with North Bay Business Journal – The article highlights the rise of the drone industry and evolving insurance issues.


International Developments

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(Stay tuned!)


Market Forecast / Investment

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→  New report examines the United States’ multirotor UAV industry 2016 market – An in depth study providing a complete overview of United States Multirotor UAV market considering all the major industry trends, market dynamics and competitive scenario for the period 2016 – 2021.



Legal Information

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→  Will Drone Use Drive Law Firm Evolution? – Bousquet Holstein’s Aaron Frishman explains how unmanned aerial vehicle use is transforming law.

→  Drones, data protection and human dignity


Media Use

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(Stay tuned!)



Operational Developments

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→  How scientists are using drones to help predict coastal erosion

→  Biologists Are Now Collecting Whale Snot With Drones – Getting snot bombed by a whale can allow scientists to analyze the mammal’s DNA, microbiome, stress and pregnancy hormones.

→  More drones to enter service with DA soon – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to deploy more drones that can help provide rapid and reliable assessments of areas under threat of calamity.

→  Smartphone-sized drone launched for selfies addicts

→  British drone-freezing ray gets US airports trial

drone freezing ray

→  EarthCam Merges Webcams and Drones to Create a New Geospatial Jobsite Model – New EarthCam Air Delivers Live Video, Time-Lapse & 3D Imagery for Construction

earthcam drone

→  Airbus sees drones as worthy alternative to high-cost, high-maintenance satellites

drone satellites

Shooting Down Drones — Loretta Alkalay

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shooting down dronesFAA: Stop the Wild West in the Skies

Another week, another report of a drone shot at. This time a father and 7-year old son were reportedly flying over their own property when someone, a man driving an 18-wheeler, decided to take a pot shot at it. The drone was damaged but managed to land safely. Reaction from the FAA: nada.

Well, it’s high time the FAA started treating drone shootings seriously. Since the FAA owns regulatory responsibility for the airspace, that includes policing it, too. In the case of drones and our nation’s skies, the FAA fought fiercely for that jurisdiction, from above the blade of grass as it once proclaimed. But up until now, it’s all been a one-way street, as the FAA has mounted a campaign to impose regulatory requirements on drones, many stemming from its hard-fought decision in the Pirker case to have even the smallest flying drones – the kind that many called model aircraft then –  considered aircraft.

With the NTSB siding with the FAA on drones as aircraft, the FAA has proceeded to treat them as aircraft, even when the result was absurd; like requiring a manned aircraft pilot license to fly a drone commercially, no matter its size. Yes, even a motorized paper airplane was deemed an aircraft subject to FAA jurisdiction and its operator granted a 333 Exemption for commercial operations.

To stake out its regulatory jurisdiction, the FAA has mounted public awareness campaigns and reached out to law enforcement for assistance in prosecuting rogue operators. Most importantly, it has pursued enforcement cases against drone operators it believes were violating federal aviation regulations, including a $1.9 million case against Skypan.

But what it has yet to do is mount any public awareness campaigns that shooting at a drone is illegal and unsafe. And, of course, it has failed to take any action to prosecute drone shooters either civilly or criminally – through the Department of Justice – although it has admitted that shooting a drone is a federal crime. And the agency, stated just last week to ArsTechnica, “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in a civil penalty from the FAA and/or criminal charges filed by federal, state or local law enforcement.”

So having broken its silence on its regulatory authority, it’s high time it followed up with some action. A public education campaign on the dangers of shooting at drones and the potential criminal and civil penalties that could arise is important. But a well-publicized prosecution of a drone shooter could go a long way to deterring this reckless conduct in the future.



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→  Drones, data protection and human dignity

→  Drone invasion irks condo developer – A real estate agent flew the drone into the site after a buyer supposedly got cold feet and asked to see what the view would be like from the future apartment.


Regulatory Policy

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→  Singapore hosts first Asia Pacific Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)

→  In Aircraft Modelers’ Friendly Skies, Drones Bring Turbulence – It’s DC Drone Day on a field in the part of western Maryland where suburbs give way to parks, rolling hills and farmland.



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(Stay tuned!)


Restrictions from parties other than FAA

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→  UK Outlines New Drone Policy to Ensure Safety, Compliance

→  MSU updates drone-use policy

drone publication


Safety Research

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→  Reading drone start-up solves aviation safety threat – Altitude Angel‘s new global airspace monitoring system, Airspace Alerts, provides drone flyers with real-time alerts via email or text message.



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(Stay tuned!)

Upcoming Events [UPDATED WEEKLY]

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The Commercial UAV Show – Middle East—Dubai (2016 dates not confirmed)

Data X Conference—June 3-5, San Francisco, CA

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Seminar & Industry Certificate—June 7-9, Daytona Beach, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)—June 7-10, Arlington, VA

USI Conference Washington—June 13-15, Washington, DC

UAV Remote Sensing Applications Course—June 13-17, Barcelona

Unmanned Global Systems—June 13-17, Paris



ICUAS, International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems—June 7-10, Arlington, VA



Evolving drone law on conference agenda—August 3, Canberra

US National Drone Racing Championships—August 5-7, New York City

national drone racing championships

Midwest UAS conference—August 16-17, Dayton, OH

drone publication

UAS Summit and Expo—August 22-24, Grand Forks, ND

  • The 2016 event, focused on both small and large unmanned aircraft systems, will feature industry and military leaders, UAV manufacturers, payload providers, designers, and commercial operators with the most important insight of today’s UAS world.
  • The 2016 program will provide in-depth analysis and timely presentations from 75-plus speakers focused on the following for both small and large unmanned aircraft systems.
  • The Summit, taking place in what many have called the “Silicon Valley of Drones,” offers the most open airspace in the country, vast tracts of farmland, infrastructure to test on and the nation’s first unmanned aircraft degree program.

The Commercial UAV Show – Africa—August 23-24, Johannesburg, South Africa

China Commercial UAV—August 25, Shenzhen, China



The Commercial UAV Show Asia—September 1-2, Singapore

InterDrone: The International Drone Conference and Exposition—September 7-9, Las Vegas

→  Second Women in Drones Event Planned for InterDrone

Drone Experience—September 16-17, Nantes, France

UASympEx—September 18-19, Hamburg, Germany

ExpoDrónica—September 22-23, Zaragoza, Spain

Commercial UAVs—September 27-29, Royal on the Park, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

DronItaly—September 30-October 1, ModenaFiere, Modena



USI Conference San Francisco—October 3-5, CA

→  First Age of Drone Expo—October 7-8, Dortmund, Germany

INTERGEO Co-Hosts German UAS Event—October 11 to 13, Hamburg, Germany. The “interaerial SOLUTIONS Expo. Forum. Flight Zone for UAS”- A showcase for manufacturers, UAS users and operators, accessories, software and end-to-end solutions will be co-hosted at INTERGEO

The Commercial UAV Show—October 19-20, London

The GeoConnect ShowCo-located with The Commercial UAV Show (above)—October 19-20, London

Precision Entertainment, Conference for Hollywood film and television influencers—October 26-27, Hollywood, CA

Commercial UAV Expo—October 31–November 2, Las Vegas



Drones, Data X Conference—November 3-5, Ireland

Drone World Expo: The Defining Event for the Commercial Applications of UAS Technology—November 15-16, San Jose, CA

USCEI Unmanned Systems Conference & Exhibition India—November 17-18, New Delhi, India



National Drone Show – December 7-8, Washington, DC

International Drone Expo & Business Conference – December 9-10, Los Angeles, CA


To Be Announced & After 2016

F3Expo is the world’s first drone technology and lifestyle event for all ages and skill levels.

→  Hartford UAV Challenge –  “We plan on having some UAV events in Westport within the next year and hopefully something at the 7th annual Westport Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, April 22, 2017,”



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