The Weekly Drone Publication
UAS Digest #78

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weekly drone publication

Congress &
Legislative Action
FAA Action &
Reaction to FAA
Law Enforcement, Restriction & Threats Regulatory Action Person in
Drone Nation
Business, Market Forecast & Investing Privacy, Safety & Security Legal Information Education
& Training
Operational Research
& Development
Economic Development News Media Use Racing &
International Development Innovative Products Events


FDNY launches drone for the first time to respond to fire in the Bronx
Proposed legislation would require a warrant for spying in the US
DJI says its drones have saved 59 lives



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uas digest news

→  FDNY Launches Drone For The First Time To Respond to Fire In The Bronx – On March 6, 2017, FDNY launched its first ever tethered drone to respond to a fire in a 6-story building on Crotona Park North in the Bronx. The $85,000 FDNY tethered drone weighs 8 pounds and incorporates both a high-definition camera and infrared camera. These capabilities allow the drone to transmit live images of a fire operation to the Chief in charge of the incident.  The drone’s camera allows Chiefs at the command post to see where Firefighters are operating on the roof of a building and to make decisions to help suppress the fire and keep FDNY members safe. The image is fed directly to the Incident Commander and is also shared with senior decision makers in the Fire Department through the FDNY Operations Center.


Business, Market Forecast & Investing

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weekly drone publication

→  Why drones will deliver a boom for warehouses – The first Amazon deliveries by drone have already taken to the air. Technology will give a boost to ecommerce, but investors should buy the infrastructure instead, says Sarah Moore.

→  John Deere, Kespry announce drone alliance – Kespry systems will integrate with John Deere’s WorkSite workflow and analytics software to gather and crunch aerial data for optimizing site productivity and reducing costs.

→  Ag industry embraces drone technology –  Across the state, UNL is using drones primarily for “crop scouting.” Drones with mounted thermal and multi-spectral cameras can identify any kind of crop stresses. That could include areas subject to insufficient moisture, weeds and pest infestations.

→  Drones Increasingly Finding a Place in the Solid Waste Industry – It is anticipated that drones will be equipped with GPS devices, thermal imaging cameras and sensors to monitor sites which could save on expensive monitoring currently done on foot over rough terrain. They help landfill operators maximize airspace, assess slope stability and monitor their facility’s operations for erosion, standing liquids and hot spots. They are also used to assess cap integrity and are particularly useful for performing damage assessments after major weather events.

→  Construction firms are flying high with drone technology – From surveys and site inspections to reducing health and safety risks onsite, the sector is one of the top five industries leading the way in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). So why should construction companies adopt the technology?

→  5 ways drones are changing real estate – 1. Better maps and immersive 3D scenes. 2. Site planning, modeling, and survey. 3. Safer and remote inspections. 4. Security and protection. 5. Indoors and more.


Economic Development

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drone economic development

→  Rural coal community looks to drones for economic reprieve – Local economic development groups have received millions of dollars in government grants to promote the industry, and Manassas-based Aurora Flight Sciences has decided to leave one of its Centaur optionally piloted aircraft at the county’s airport for testing around Wise.

→  Amazon: Automation doesn’t have to kill jobs – “We’ve not seen a slowdown in our hiring at all because of increased automation,” Misener, an Amazon veteran of over 15 years, said in a phone interview Monday while he was visiting SXSW. “It’s been our pattern. We continue to deploy automation and we continue to hire people. They go hand in hand for us.”

→  GoPro to cut 270 jobs, shares surge – Shares of GoPro (GPRO) are surging Thursday after the camera maker said it would cut 270 jobs and will meet the high-end of its revenue forecast for the first quarter. In a statement, GoPro says it will cut in operating expenses in 2017 by $200 million. The company will also take $10 million in restructuring charges as part of the job cuts.

Regulatory Action

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faa drone regulation

→  Will San Diego’s drone rules be strong enough? – The proposed rules don’t go beyond existing FAA regulations because city officials say their goal is encouraging safety, not a heavy-handed crackdown on people enjoying an increasingly popular hobby. “This will not curtail, limit or otherwise discourage any safe operation that is already legal,” Lt. Colonel John Valencia, director of the city’s Office of Homeland Security, told the council’s Public Safety committee last month.

→  Commercial UAS operators rally in Southern California in response to proposed drone ban – At the March 7 City Council meeting in Laguna Beach, Calif. a proposed addition to the Laguna Beach Municipal Code was introduced that would ban drone flights over numerous areas of the city including several popular beaches. Chapter 7.80 “Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft” would also require any commercial operators to obtain a special permit from the city for any video or photography within city limits.

→  China looks to introduce real name registration for UAVs in face of booming industry – China’s civil aviation watchdog is about to introduce a real-name registration policy for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in a bid to address mounting concerns over drone threats to the country’s aviation safety and national security.

→  Welsh landowners call for regulation of drone use over private land – Landowners in Wales are calling for compulsory registration and insurance for drone users to protect people, privacy and livestock.

→  IATA welcomes Canada’s drone safety rules – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the announcement by Canada’s transport minister Marc Garneau to implement an interim order restricting the use of recreational drones around airports and other high risk areas.

→  Calgary Airport Authority Welcomes New Rules For Drone Use Near Airports – The Calgary Airport Authority, which manages and operates YYC Calgary International Airport and Springbank Airport, fully endorses the Interim Order issued today by Transport Canada that puts into place new conditions on the use of recreational drones near airports and other high-risk areas. Additional information about the new rules, and other guidance for owners of drones, can be found on the Transport Canada website at

→  Liberals Introduce New Rules For Recreational Drone Use – OTTAWA — The federal government is bringing in strict measures and fines for anyone who flies a drone too close to an airport or plane. Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Thursday unveiled restrictions to curb the number of incidents in which recreational drones have come too close to planes, which has more than tripled since 2014.

Racing & Competition

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weekly drone publication

→  How to make six figures racing drones – With contracts of up to $100,000 to fly one of these devices for the professional sports league, it’s a not-too-shabby career choice if you have the skills to pilot flying devices through a pre-determined maze at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

→  The UK’s first drone arena has opened in Nottingham – Punters came from far and wide to try out the exciting new sport. UKDS Racing opened on Iremonger Road, near Meadow Lane, at 10am after hours of painstaking work by managing director Sam Shaw and his team.

→  Drone Film Festival Takes Flight in the Village this Weekend – An unusual film festival is taking flight, celebrating movies and videos shot with aerial drones. Many of the images are spectacular.NY1’s Roger Clark has a preview of the third annual New York City drone film festival.

→  Drone racing lifts off in Mandurah – Madora Bay’s Dorothy Coote Reserve has been turned into an air-field over the past four months with the take off of drone racing. The reserve has recently become home to the West Coast Multirotor Club, which races drones known more popularly as quads.

→  Drone racing comes to Istanbul – Turkey’s biggest city will host the third leg of the Challengers Cup. The tournament pits the world’s finest drone pilots and their teams against one another as they battle for glory.

→  Tiny Whoop micro drones become a big deal – The company, operating out of a basement space at 1528 N. Lincoln Ave., builds pocket-sized, four-propeller drones and has sold them on its website,, since last July. It’s so new that it doesn’t have a physical retail store yet.


Education & Training

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uas digest education

→  Drones 101 Part 1 — Introduction To Everything You Need To Know About Drones – In this video we go over basic types of drones—filming and racing—their components, and how they operate.

→  How To (Safely) Earn A Commercial Drone License – Farmingdale State College announced a new, six-week Remote Pilot Certification Program, starting April 15 at the Farmingdale State College Aviation Center. Meeting weekly for intensive three-hour sessions, the program prepares students for the FAA’s Part 107 licensing examination, which authorizes UAS operations for commercial purposes.

→  Symposium Will Review SAR Drone Use – Heading a stellar line-up of speakers for the second annual UAS Search and Rescue Symposium, Gene Robinson, who literally wrote the book on how to use drones for search and rescue and disasters, will talk about how to train public safety agencies in the use of aerial and ground robots in emergency response.

→  CSM to Offer Drone Courses at Leonardtown Campus – Two new drone classes will be offered this spring at the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown Campus. The first course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to safely operate a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) or drone. The second course is for those pilots who want to use a drone for commercial purposes and need to pursue FAA certification.

 →  UAE university to launch drones training course amid crackdown – A training course for drone operators will be offered at American University of Sharjah (AUS) later this year as the UAE clamps down on their illegal use with the threat of increased fines. In conjunction with Exponent Technology Services (ETS), AUS will offer a 45-hour course customised by ETS professional pilots and engineers allowing participants to become certified drone operators.

Law Enforcement, Restriction & Threats

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weekly drone publication

→  Melbourne man fined for crashing drone into Eureka Tower – The incident happened in January after the man lost sight of the drone over Southbank. The man was fined $1080 for operating the aircraft over a populous area at an unsafe height.

→  If you’re flying a drone without clearance, Chinese police are shooting them down – Police in Wuhan, central China , are going to be equipped with 20 of these rifles, which work by emitting radio signals that force the drones to land purportedly without damaging them.

→  Thermal imaging drone finds wanted suspect – NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) Police in Noble County used a drone outfitted with thermal imaging technology to find – and ultimately arrest – a suspect on Wednesday.

→  UAV spots stolen construction equipment in Cecil County – According to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, the stolen equipment was spotted by investigators operating a UAV. The operation began after investigators from the New Jersey State Police identified an Elkton resident as a suspect and contacted the Cecil County jurisdiction about the ongoing investigation.

→  Man Harasses Dog With Drone, Then Karma Happens – “Finally, in late December it happened – my dog got tired of his shit and managed to catch the drone right as it was diving towards him. He shredded the drone, the thing was just a jumbled mess of wires and plastic.”

→  Drones to target illegal dumping – Illegal dumping represents “economic and environmental treason” and threatens jobs and income in rural  Ireland. Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, made the comment at the launch in Ballinasloe on Monday of a new initiative aimed at tackling illegal dumping by using drone technology.

→  Search and seizure of drones debated in Nevada Legislature – Constitutional and privacy concerns were raised Thursday with a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to seize and search crashed or abandoned unmanned aerial vehicles to identify their owners. Senate Bill 234 by Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, would provide direction to law enforcement on how to deal with drones that have crashed, are grounded or disabled or that may have been used in a crime.

→  Connecticut again weighs regulating police drones – If passed, Raised House Bill No. 7260, introduced by the Judiciary Committee, would require police to get a warrant prior to conducting surveillance of individuals or private property except in certain cases, such as searching for a missing person or a fleeing and dangerous person.


FAA Action & Reaction to FAA

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weekly drone publication

→  FAA Airs Concerns About Privacy, Drone Regulation – The FAA has not established any rules for commercial companies that collect and retain personal information, according to Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

→  The SkyPan Case: FAA Enforcement of Nebulous Drone Rules Undercuts the Rule of Law – On January 17, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and SkyPan International, a private company specializing in aerial photography, announced that they had settled ongoing litigation against SkyPan for its allegedly illegal operation of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. The FAA initially sought a headline-grabbing $1.903 million from the company for its supposed infractions, but it settled for a requirement that SkyPan produce three public service announcements urging compliance with FAA drone regulations. It also exacted a $200,000 civil fine that, while significantly less than the initial figure, is still the largest sum ever collected by the FAA in a drone-related enforcement action.

→  FAA approves night flights for Sheriff’s Office drone unit – Sheriff Bob Rost announced Friday that the FAA issued the authorization to the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit about a day after a deputy made a public plea to the federal agency during a helicopter expo earlier this week in Dallas. The multi-agency unit has permission to fly at night in 18 North Dakota counties, but the Sheriff’s Department applied for countrywide regulatory exemptions six months ago, saying it is possible it may be called to give support to other agencies outside its exempt area.

→  DJI challenges FAA’s low-risk drone maximum weight limit – Drone company DJI has challenged the Federal Aviation Administration’s maximum weight limit for so-called “low risk drones,” saying it is too low. As it stands, the FAA says that low-risk drones must have a maximum weight of 250 grams. That’s at odds with a new white paper published by DJI claiming that, per its own research, low-risk drones can have a max weight limit as high as 2.2kg (4.9lbs).

→  Drones 101: An FAQ on FAA registrations and more – Here are some answers to common questions about federal rules for everyone from hobbyists to professional photographers.

Congress & Legislative Action

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weekly drone publication tracks the United States Congress and helps Americans understand what is going on in their national legislature. Click here for a list of drone legislation.

→  Proposed Legislation Would Require Warrant For Spying In U.S. – Two Democratic lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday that would protect the privacy of U.S. citizens from the growing use of drones by government and commercial entities. The bill, dubbed the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act, was introduced by Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont to install transparency standards for drone usage and privacy protections for individuals.

→  Senate’s drone hysteria would ban Amazon and UPS drone deliveries in Montana – State Sen. Steve Hinebauch, R-Wibaux, has introduced legislation that would make drone delivery services like Amazon’s illegal in Montana. The Montana Senate voted 30-19 in favor of the drone ban, ignoring the millions of dollars and dozens of jobs drone businesses are already bringing to Montana.

→  Connecticut again weighs regulating police drones – If passed, Raised House Bill No. 7260, introduced by the Judiciary Committee, would require police to get a warrant prior to conducting surveillance of individuals or private property except in certain cases, such as searching for a missing person or a fleeing and dangerous person.

→  Search and seizure of drones debated in Nevada Legislature – Constitutional and privacy concerns were raised Thursday with a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to seize and search crashed or abandoned unmanned aerial vehicles to identify their owners. Senate Bill 234 by Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, would provide direction to law enforcement on how to deal with drones that have crashed, are grounded or disabled or that may have been used in a crime.

International Developments

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international drone market

→  Japan pushes forward with countrywide drone delivery services – A new joint venture between ecommerce firm Rakuten and US-based drone airspace management platform provider AirMap, dubbed Rakuten AirMap, Inc., will create Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) solutions for drone operators and airspace managers in Japan who are looking for ways to manage traffic flows in the air.

→  UK start-up to deliver humanitarian aid via edible drone – People facing starvation in the wake of natural disasters such as drought or civil unrest – as in the food crisis currently unfolding in East Africa – could be supported by WindHorse Aerospace’s ‘Pouncer’, an edible drone packed with supplies to keep survivors alive until help arrives on the ground. The drone is a suggested upgrade on parachute drops and other, slower and less accurate forms of humanitarian aid.

→  High Above, Drones Keep Watchful Eyes on Wildlife in Africa – LIWONDE, Malawi — Night has fallen at Liwonde National Park, but the trespassers are clearly visible. Three hundred feet in the air, a thermal camera attached to a BatHawk drone tracks their boat, a black sliver gliding up the luminous gray Shire River.

→  Drones to the rescue in Rwanda – A California startup supplies hospitals in Rwanda with blood bags and medications. Drones provide the quickest delivery, paid for by the Health Ministry in Kigali.

→  Drone Heroes take Europe by Storm! – From June 20th until June 22nd the pinnacle of the drone industry in Europe will gather at Commercial UAV Expo in Brussels. During this highly-anticipated conference and exhibition, an international jury of drone professionals will present “Drone Hero” awards to the most innovative and creative drone innovations. The contest and these awards represent a cooperation between the European drone cluster EUKA and Commercial UAV Expo.


Person in Drone Nation

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drone publication

→  Assessing Risk and Establishing Insurance Needs for Drone Operators – In the interview below, Chris explains some of the common mistakes operators and stakeholders have when they try to assess risk. He also talks about how insurance preferences have changed, how to best prepare for accidents and plenty more.

→  Starr Rolls Out Drone Insurance For Construction Industry – Starr International Co. Inc. on Thursday announced that it has begun offering insurance for liabilities tied to the use of drones in the construction industry, marking the latest entry into the burgeoning market for drone-specific coverage.

→  Drone Insurance has landed in Northern Ireland – Insurance Broker, Find Insurance NI, has become the first Broker in Northern Ireland to launch Drone Insurance for the entire UK market. Trading under the name Aviate Protect, Find Insurance NI has worked closely with Global Aviation Insurers to create an innovative new product for the commercial drone market.

 →  Insurers deploy drones to check claims by farmers – Farmers buy insurance for one type of crop but sow another crop, and then claim damages. In such situations, drone surveys are helping catch the discrepancies and fraudulent claims, says Rajeev Chaudhary, Chief Risk Officer at Agriculture Insurance Company of India.


Legal Information

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weekly drone publication

→  Drones and the law: What drones users are expected to know – If you buy or operate a drone, be well informed, well trained and certified as necessary before you zoom into the wild blue yonder.

→  Federal privacy laws won’t necessarily protect you from spying drones – While currently there are laws to protect individuals against people stalking or spying on them in their homes, there are no federal laws in place that would protect individuals from being spied on specifically by a drone.

→  The Drone Wars – legal controls lag behind many commercial, private uses – But what happens when drone technology is used against industry? For example, in 2012, a hobbyist pilot using a $75 drone equipped with a basic camera took photos of a Dallas-area meatpacking plant dumping blood into a river, prompting EPA to investigate the plant. In 2014, French authorities revealed unidentified drones had breached the airspace over 13 of France’s 19 nuclear power plants. In July 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy revealed that its Savannah River Site – which processes and stores nuclear materials – had experienced eight unauthorized flyovers in a two-week span.

→  Different drone laws trigger confusion and calls for uniformity – Although Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations apply Australia-wide, there are still state-by-state differences pertaining to national parks and even council land.

Media Use

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weekly drone publication

→  Democratizing the Sky: Drones in Visual Journalism – The New York Times staff photographer Josh Haner was an early adopter of drone photography. His earliest forays were with a $60 gadget that he maneuvered around his living room. Since then, he has aimed ever higher, making videos and stills high above the Gobi Desert and the Marshall Islands. He has embraced the technology in ways that add a stunning dimension to his storytelling, while at the same time presenting unforeseen challenges. His conversation with James Estrin has been edited for length and clarity.

→  Surreal Drone Photos Transform America Into a Roller Coaster

→  Holyoke drone ordinance neglects First Amendment, free press specialists say – Freedom of the press specialists say that while the city’s drone ordinance may be intended to protect privacy, it ignores the First Amendment right of news gathering and generally fails to safeguard the public interest. “Journalists, and everyone else for that matter, have a right to gather information in public,” said Derigan Silver, an associate professor at the University of Denver in Colorado who specializes in internet and media law.


Operational Research & Development

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weekly drone publication

→  The Drone That Mimics Spaceships – Last September, a balloon floating 70,000 feet above the ground released a custom-built NASA drone. The High Altitude Shuttle System (HASS), an awkward-looking flying wing with a five-foot span and 22-pound payload, was meant to mimic a winged, suborbital spacecraft returning to Earth and re-entering controlled airspace. In other words, it was pretending to be something like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, one of several winged space vehicles that might enter commercial service in the coming years.

→  D13 completes successful test of counter-drone solution – Mesmer is a patented, low power, non-jamming, non-line of sight, non-kinetic drone mitigation solution and Hunter said the company expected to provide updates on sales in Australia on finalisation of purchase orders through EPE following the demonstrations.

→  DFS and Unifly cooperate on the development of drone app – DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung based in Langen, Germany, and Unifly NV based in Antwerp, Belgium, signed a cooperation agreement at the World ATM Congress 2017 in Madrid to jointly develop and market a DFS drone app to be released on the German market later this year. This app will allow operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to determine where they can operate without posing a threat to manned aviation.

→  Drones take research to new heights – David W. Johnston, whose position as assistant professor of the practice of marine conservation and ecology, spends his time at the Duke Marine Lab, on Pivers Island in Beaufort, where he investigates ecology and the effects of and climate change on the needs of marine vertebrates.

→  Drone company wins $1M grand prize in Genius NY business competition in Syracuse – AutoModality, whose technology allows drones to automatically conduct close-up inspections of bridges, buildings, power lines and other structures, has won the $1 million grand prize in the Genius NY business competition.

→  US Army shows off its ‘hoverbike’ delivery drone – The British-built drone will be used to carry supplies in combat zones.


Privacy, Safety & Security

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weekly drone publication

→  Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) releases drone safety research report – The report finds the number of encounters is increasing. While there have been no reported collisions between RPAS and manned aircraft in Australia, and given the variables, the potential consequences of collisions are not yet fully understood. “Our report seeks to better understand the implications for transport safety associated with the expected continual growth in the number of RPAS in Australia,” ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said. “We expect there could be a doubling in the number of RPAS in Australia by the end of 2017.”

→  DJI says its drones have saved 59 lives – DJI said the 59 people were connected to 18 separate incidents around the globe. More than a third of the incidents involved drones operated by civilian bystanders and volunteers helping professional rescue personnel. DJI’s report is based on a survey of media reports. It includes rescues made on land, on water and in flooded areas.

→  Crashing drones into dummies in the name of safety – “What we need to understand, really, is at what level does injury become death?” said Mark Blanks, director of the government-approved drone test center based at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg, Virginia campus. “When does the threshold cross an unacceptable level?”

→  A Day in the Life of a US Air Force Drone Pilot – The U.S. Air Force selected 30 enlisted airmen for the next phase of drone pilot training for the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk last week. Originally, only officers could fly the Global Hawk, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.’s MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper (called “Predator B” by the manufacturer). Now, that has changed.



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Innovative Products

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→  DroneDeploy Is Building an App Store and OS for Drones – Meet the startup that’s creating an app and business ecosystem around its cloud-based mapping and modeling, image processing, and data analytics software for drones.

→  Kudrone Launching A Remarkably Feature Rich Nano drone – Kudrone is a feature packed nano drone that not only performs like a world-class drone, and it also is budget friendly starting at just $99. That’s a bargain when you take into consideration products like DJI’s Mavic runs well over $1k, and even more when you start piling on the options.

→  DroneSimPro – $29.99 – Dronethusiast’s #1 choice for training – A Drone Flight Simulator is a great choice when you’re considering investing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a new UAV quadcopter. Multirotor drones can be very expensive and it’s smart to get some practice using a much less expensive method, a UAV simulator, before unpacking your new drone.


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UAS Digest #78"

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