Gary Mortimer's Posts (323)

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The sUAS Guide


We have published a guide at work, it includes a bit about just how accurate surveys are without ground control points. That should be of interest here. 

This will be released on a six month rotation and include commercial operator lists from around the world (The next one just 333's right now) I would love to know what you would like to read about in the next one, and I will try and find it!

Here's how surveyor Luke Wijnberg summed up his article.

“The uncertainty of the data issued can cause the client to make costly mistakes when doing earthworks or other quantity calculations. It is not sufficient to issue information as accurate and absolute because the processing software says it is. The surveyor needs to remember his training and apply first principles when undertaking this type of survey as there is certainly a potential for exaggerated results.”

Other subjects include:-

  • The Wimberly Floods : Search and Rescue

  • Five skills you need to succeed in the commercial drone market.

  • Developing an Unmanned Aircraft Culture of Safety

  • Five tips for navigating the drone fad

  • Drones 2.0 Drone Traffic Control

  • Super Drones : An interview with the creator of R2D2

  • Project Artemis : Visual Navigation for flying robots.

  • Drones as a service

Read the free guide here

We are already planning our next one due out the end of June so if you have any submissions direct them at Tiaan, contact details at the back of the guide.

Read more…


Tiaan at sUAS News has recently updated our interactive map of all the current 333 holders ahead of our first guide coming out.

From watching how things grow we can see that the FAA can handle about 300 and a bit new entries a month so sometime soon the number of individual companies will reach 3000.


The FAA website will give a bigger number than that sooner but they add one when people get amendments so its a little misleading. Some companies have had three or four amendments so might count as 4. 

I guess the number of dots on the right of the map tells us that's where all the people are even though California has the most 333's issued. 


It begs the question of when SFAR 107 is adopted, will all these companies have to reapply again or will they be at the head of the queue for the new system??


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From the AMA blog, just updated 

Q: Why did AMA change its position on registration? Why are they telling members to register now?

A: AMA has not changed its position. We continue to be disappointed with the registration rule and believe it is contrary to Congress’s intent within the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. We have been working with our legal counsel and the FAA to find a solution for our members on the registration rule. To date, we have achieved several concessions from the FAA that will help ease this process for our members. However, we want to emphasize that this is not the end of our efforts to protect AMA members from this unnecessary and burdensome regulation. We are continuing to explore all legal and political options available, but these conversations may take time and a long-term solution is unlikely before the February 19 registration deadline. For this reason, we are suggesting that AMA members may wish to take advantage of free registration period, which is available until January 19.

Q: Is the AMA giving up? Why doesn’t the AMA take this matter to court?

A: We are absolutely not giving up. We are continuing to fight for our members and working to protect them from unnecessary and burdensome regulation. AMA is exploring several legal options that would address the registration rule as well. These legal strategies will take time to develop and pursue. We ask for your continued loyalty and patience as we work closely with our legal counsel to find the best path forward.

Q: I am already registered through the AMA, why do I have to register twice?

A: We understand the concern of our members and, while the FAA is open to streamlining the registration for our members, unfortunately the technical issues involved will not be resolved before February 19. Therefore, it will be necessary for current AMA members to register separately with the FAA. For future AMA members, we are working on an agreement with the FAA where new members will be able to opt-in to federal registration via AMA when they join the organization, thereby creating one simple registration.

Q: Am I permitted to fly above 400 feet? What if I had to check a box saying otherwise on the federal registration website?

A: Yes. AMA members who abide by the AMA Safety Code, which permits flights above 400 feet, are still allowed to fly and are protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft under the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. The federal registration box requiring agreement to only fly under 400 feet applies to individuals who are not operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. We have been in discussions with the FAA about this point and the agency has indicted that it will be updating its website in the next week to make clear that this altitude restriction does not apply to AMA members.

Q: Do I need to list both my AMA number and my federal registration number on my aircraft? A: No. AMA has secured a concession from the FAA that allows AMA members to continue using their AMA numbers as the primary identification on his or her aircraft. AMA members are required to still have a hard copy or electronic copy of the federal registration certificate on them while flying.

Q: Do I have to register every aircraft?

A: No. Registration is only required for each operator. AMA members should use their same AMA number on each aircraft they are flying.

Q: Do only drones and multirotor operators need to register?

A: No. Everything over 0.55 lbs (or 250 grams) that uses a ground-control system with a communications link, such as an RC transmitter, is required to register. This includes operators who fly fixed-wing RC aircraft and helicopters, not just multirotors or drones.

Q: I only fly CL or FF, do I need to register?

A: No. If you exclusively fly FF or CL and never plan on using a model that involves a transmitter, then you do not need to register.

Q: Can I fly my large model aircraft? Turbine jets?

A: Yes. The Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, allows AMA members to operate model aircraft over 55 lbs as long as they are operating in accordance with AMA’s Large Model Aircraft safety program. AMA members can also fly turbine jets provided the operator holds a current AMA Turbine Waiver.

Q: Am I permitted to fly first person view (FPV)? Can I fly at night?

A: Yes. AMA members are still protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. As long as AMA members continue to follow AMA’s safety guidelines for these activities, they can continue to fly. The checkbox guidelines listed on the FAA UAS registration website do not apply to individuals who belong to a community-based organization such as the AMA. Q: What happens if I don’t register by February 19?

A: According to the FAA, failure to register an unmanned aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. This could include civil penalties of up to $27,500 and criminal penalties that include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Q: What can I do to help? A: You can help by making your voice heard with the FAA. Specifically we are asking all AMA members to submit comments on the FAA’s interim rule on registration. The deadline to submit comments is Friday, January 15. More details can be found here

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We heard yesterday that this was coming and have been given an idea of what's in them. Its not the best if true.

WASHINGTON–Please join U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Deputy Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Whitaker for an announcement about the aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21, 2015.

When: Monday, December 14, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST

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Well done Ardupilot!


I spoke at a the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, Durban yesterday and 3 out of 4 projects presented, from South Africa, Kenya and Namibia used Ardupilot and either Pixhawks or APM.

The only project that didn't was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates. There were zero white multirotors involved in the making of the presentations.

The ability to flight plan and ease of use of Mission Planner was evident as images of it kept popping up in slides. I should not be but still am astounded that folks only fly auto missions and cannot fly manually. 

I made sure to mention DIYD of course when it was my turn and let the audience know where to come to roll their own platforms. Sadly I drew the short straw and was talking regs so could not show the cool stuff.

So well done development team, I felt almost parent like pride whilst doing none of the hard work!

The efforts of people writing code all over the world are making a difference to food production and research in Africa. I was most struck with the pride of one group who have even 3D printed a frame and are able to mass produce airframes for their needs. Empowered if you will by the opensource community at large.

We sort of operate in a bubble here not seeing enough of the end product. People rush in get their help when required and rush off again. If you are doing something cool with Ardupilot, do us a favour and write a few lines on DIYD and tell us!

It feels like a long way from 2007, what ifs and could we now seem to be reality.

In the image Etienne Labuschagne of ESRI and I are sharing crash videos ;-) While Luke and Chris from a local survey company watch on.

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T3 the Vertical Horizontal one


This one should be easy if you have any of the current crop of Kickstarter VTOL airframes, of course I will award less points so you might not win.

The task is simple.... (not)

Auto take off

Autonomous hover for at least 1 minute after take off

Transition to winged flight and fly no higher than 120m

Then circle radius 80m for as long as you can. (This makes the circle 500m a turn)

This of course points to the current delivery drone mania. To get noticed by Amazon try for greater than 24km about the distance their machine can deliver (apparently)

We will make this a six month contest as its hard. On the plus side its building time in the Northern Hemisphere.

For extra points some sort of silly cargo that makes me smile. Super bonus points added for an autonomous vertical landing as well. (All landings to be vertical)

If you can make a multirotor fly that far then all well and good, but I will be looking for the least amount of power used in event of a draw. 

The longest distance wins.

Good luck, I look forward to May 2nd 2016 and the fruit of your labors.

Glittering prizes TBA

Let the pointing out of my Swiss cheese thinking commence...

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agBOT challenge


No FAA to worry about on this one, I would like to think DIYD members could or even should win this....

Mission Statement

Identify and commercialize innovative agriculture husbandry technologies that improve work processes, as well as modernize observation technologies and intervention methods.

The Race is on . . .

The 2016 agBOT Challenge is a competition of teams to develop the most efficient unmanned crop seeder capable of planting two varieties of seed over half-mile-long rows, while providing real-time data utilizing a mobile tracking antenna. Participating teams, representing advanced robotics and agricultural research and development organizations, will develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that enable their robots. Technologies resulting from the 2016 agBOT Challenge will propel both agriculture and the field of robotics.

The 2017 agBOT Challenge will be a competition for pest and weed identification and eradication.

The 2018 agBOT Challenge will be a competition for harvest method robotics.

Enabling and Engaging today’s Farmer

The need to produce food faster and easier in imperative; reliable labor is harder to find and wages are rising. While the agricultural field has gradually migrated toward farming supervision based on site specific crop management, the transition toward advanced robotics technology has been sluggish.

The 2016 agBOT Challenge will deliver a combination of progressive machinery with the software required to process data needed to virtually and economically manage crops. Unmanned seeding equipment through the usage of advanced communications systems will support all farmers!

The outcomes of the 2016 agBOT Challenge will be:

  • Equipment capable of providing real time data and analysis to farmers
  • Lowered cost of capital equipment
  • Innovation of new labor supply to the farm
  • Solutions to the availability of Precision Ag Software
  • Increased efficiency with rural high-speed internet access

Environmental benefits include:

  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Less soil compaction
  • Decrease in erosion
  • Reduction in use of harmful chemicals
  • Diminished dependency on fossil fuels

Agricultural Robotics will decrease the volume of labor, and make farming faster and more accurate.

Agricultural Trailblazing through Technological Innovations

With a nine billion global population by the year 2050, the time has arrived to support our farmers with an infusion of today’s best resources. While there have been enormous advances in agriculture in recent times, we now need to progress our production and better safeguard our environment. Although agricultural machinery has witnessed a radical makeover from the days of a crude plow pulled by an animal, developing the means to more efficiently plant seed and provide husbandry to the crop is imperative. Evolution of agricultural practices allows for greater sustainability in a depleting world of farming circles.

airBridge is leading the charge in a Renaissance of farming, tapping into tomorrow’s greatest minds to solve today’s greatest agricultural challenges.

The 2016 agBOT Challenge will set the tone in the development of autonomous crop seeding which provides our future stewards the tools and technology that enables farms of any size to be successful.

There are many ways for you and your organization to become involved . . .

  • Register a Competitive robotics building team
  • Sponsor the 2016 agBOT Challenge
  • Exhibit at the 2016 agBOT Challenge
  • Partner or Volunteer with the 2016 agBOT Challenge
  • Attend the 2016 agBOT Challenge on May 7, 2016
  • Subscribe to our Social Media outlets to stay informed

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Find this and comment here!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-4378-0001 Thanks Steve Zeets for the heads up.



Office of the Secretary

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Chapter I

[Docket No. FAA-2015-4378]


Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS


AGENCY: Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration.

ACTION: Clarification and request for information.


SUMMARY: This document clarifies the applicability of the statutory requirements regarding aircraft registration to UAS, including those operating as model aircraft. In addition, the DOT announces the formation of a UAS registration task force to explore and develop recommendations to streamline the registration process for UAS to ease the burden associated with the existing aircraft registration process.


This document requests information and recommendations regarding what information and registration platform would be appropriate for UAS registration and ways to minimize the burden to the regulated community.


In addition, we request comment on which UAS, based on their weight or performance capabilities, warrant a continued exercise of discretion with respect to requiring registration because of the negligible risk they pose to the national airspace system (NAS).


DATES: This clarification goes into effect [INSERT DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER]. To assist the task force in developing its recommendations, the


Department requests that comments in response to the request for information be submitted to



The docket will remain open after this time and the Department will consider all comments received in developing a registration process.


ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

• Federal Rulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

• Fax: 202-493-2251.

• Mail: Dockets Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

• Hand Delivery: To U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC, 20590-0001, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Instructions: Include the agency name and docket number FAA-2015-4378 for this document at the beginning of your comment. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to including any personal information provided. If sent by mail, comments must be submitted in duplicate. Persons wishing to receive confirmation of receipt of their comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard.


Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor

union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement at


Docket: You may view the public docket through the Internet at or in person at the Docket Operations office at the above address (See ADDRESSES).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions regarding this document may be directed to Earl Lawrence, Director, FAA UAS Integration Office, 800 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC, 20591; phone: (202) 267-6556; email:






In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95) (the Act), Congress mandated that the DOT, in consultation with other government partners and industry stakeholders, develop a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil UAS in the NAS.


Since 2012, the Department has made progress in enabling UAS operations, through issuing exemptions under section 333 of the Act to permit commercial operations; creating a UAS test site program to encourage further research and testing of UAS operations in real-world environments; issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking, Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (RIN 2120-AJ60) (small UAS NPRM), that sets forth a framework for integrating small UAS operations in the NAS; and developing a Pathfinder program to encourage research and innovation that will enable advanced UAS operations.


A foundational statutory and regulatory requirement that the Department has employed for each of these integration programs is aircraft registration and marking. In order to operate in the NAS, the Department must ensure that operators are not only aware of the system in which they are operating, but that we also have a means to identify and track the UAS to its operator. One means to accomplish this is through aircraft registration and marking. To date, UAS operators that the Department has authorized have been required to register their UAS through the FAA’s existing paper-based registration process under 14 CFR part 47. As an exercise of discretion, historically we have not required model aircraft to be registered under this system.


UAS hold enormous promise for our economy and for the aviation industry. But for the industry to develop to its full potential, we have to ensure that it develops safely. Over the past several months, we have received increasing reports of unauthorized and unsafe use of small UAS. Pilot reports of UAS sightings in 2015 are double the rate of 2014. Pilots have reported seeing drones at altitudes up to 10,000 feet, or as close as half-a-mile from the approach end of a runway. In recent weeks, the presence of multiple UAS in the vicinity of wild fires in the western part of the country prompted firefighters to ground their aircraft on several occasions.


These UAS operations are unsafe and illegal. However, only a small percentage of these incidents have resulted in enforcement actions against individuals for unsafe or unauthorized UAS operation because identifying an individual or entity responsible for the dangerous operation of UAS is very difficult. This situation is troubling to the unmanned aircraft industry, to responsible model aircraft users, and to users of the NAS, all of whom always put safety first.


The risk of unsafe operations will only increase as more UAS enter the NAS. Some retailers

have projected huge holiday sales. We are committed to ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in the development and implementation of aviation technology, and in doing so, that we create a space for the creativity, innovation and exploration that will drive this industry forward in the years and decades ahead. At the same time, we must create a culture of accountability and responsibility among all UAS operators. To maintain safety in the NAS, the Department has reconsidered its past practice of exercising discretion with respect to requiring UAS to be registered, consistent with statutory requirements of 49 U.S.C. 44101-44103, and has determined that registration of all UAS is necessary to enforce personal accountability while operating an aircraft in our skies.


Federal law requires that a person may only operate an aircraft when it is registered with the FAA. 49 U.S.C. 44101(a).1 “Aircraft” is defined as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.”2 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(6). In 2012, Congress confirmed that UAS, including those used for recreation or hobby purposes, are aircraft consistent with the statutory definition set forth in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(6). See Pub. L. 112-95, sec. 331(8), 336 (defining an unmanned aircraft as “an aircraft that is that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft,” and model aircraft as “an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft, and flown for hobby or recreational purposes”); see also Administrator v. Pirker, NTSB Order No. EA-5730, at 12 (Nov. 17, 2014) (affirming that the statutory definition of aircraft is clear and unambiguous and “includes any air aircraft, manned or unmanned, large or small.”). Because UAS, including model aircraft, are aircraft, they are subject to FAA regulation, including the statutory requirements regarding registration set forth in 49 U.S.C. 44101(a), and further prescribed in regulation at 14 CFR part 47.

Historically, the FAA, through the exercise of its discretion, has not enforced the statutory requirements for aircraft registration in 49 U.S.C. 44101 for model aircraft. As evidenced by the recent reports of unsafe UAS operations, the lack of awareness of operators regarding what must be done to operate UAS safely in the NAS, and the lack of identification of UAS and their operators pose significant challenges in ensuring accountability for responsible use. Without increased awareness and knowledge of the statutory and regulatory requirements for safe operation, the risk of unsafe UAS operations will only rise. Aircraft identification and marking will assist the Department in identifying owners of UAS that are operated in an unsafe manner, so we may continue to educate these users, and when appropriate, take enforcement action.


Requiring registration of all UAS, including those operated for hobby or recreation, embraces and applies the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ (AMA)’s policy of identification to UAS operators who may not be modelers registered with the AMA. Additionally, it would ensure consistency with other UAS operations currently required to be registered, such as public aircraft, those operated under exemptions, and certificated aircraft, as well as those operations contemplated in the small UAS NPRM.


Based on the Department’s experience in registering small UAS authorized by exemptions granted under the authority of section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, and the comments received on the proposed registration requirements in the small UAS NPRM, it is apparent that the current paper-based system for aircraft registration is too burdensome for small UAS, to include model aircraft. To facilitate compliance with the statutory obligation for registration, the DOT is currently evaluating options for a streamlined, electronic-based registration system for small UAS.


The Department has convened a UAS registration task force, under the FAA’s authority in 49 U.S.C. 106(p)(5) to designate aviation rulemaking committees. This task force will provide recommendations on the type of registration platform needed to accommodate small UAS, as well as the information that will need to be provided to register these aircraft. The UAS registration task force also will explore and provide recommendations on whether it is appropriate for the FAA to continue to exercise discretion with respect to requiring registration of certain UAS based on their weight and performance capabilities. The task force will meet and provide its recommendations to the Department by November 20, 2015. To facilitate the task force’s work, we are requesting information and data from the public in the following areas:


1. What methods are available for identifying individual products? Does every UAS sold have an individual serial number? Is there another method for identifying individual products sold without serial numbers or those built from kits?


2. At what point should registration occur (e.g. point-of-sale or prior-to-operation)? How should transfers of ownership be addressed in registration?


3. If registration occurs at point-of-sale, who should be responsible for submission of the data? What burdens would be placed on vendors of UAS if DOT required registration to occur at point-of-sale? What are the advantages of a point-of-sale approach relative to a prior-to-operation approach?

4. Consistent with past practice of discretion, should certain UAS be excluded from registration based on performance capabilities or other characteristics that could be associated with safety risk, such as weight, speed, altitude operating limitations,

duration of flight? If so, please submit information or data to help support the suggestions, and whether any other criteria should be considered.


5. How should a registration process be designed to minimize burdens and best protect innovation and encourage growth in the UAS industry?


6. Should the registration be electronic or web-based? Are there existing tools that could support an electronic registration process?


7. What type of information should be collected during the registration process to positively identify the aircraft owner and aircraft?


8. How should the registration data be stored? Who should have access to the registration data? How should the data be used?


9. Should a registration fee be collected and if so, how will the registration fee be collected if registration occurs at point-of-sale? Are there payment services that can be leveraged to assist (e.g. PayPal)?


10. Are there additional means beyond aircraft registration to encourage accountability and responsible use of UAS?


Comments received by [INSERT DATE 15 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER] would be most helpful in assisting the UAS registration task force in developing its recommendations. The comment period will remain open after this period and the Department will consider the comments received, in addition to the UAS registration task force’s recommendations, in developing a stream-lined registration process for small UAS, including model aircraft.


Issued in Washington, DC on October 19, 2015.

Anthony R. Foxx,

Secretary of Transportation.

Michael P. Huerta,

Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

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3DR, North America’s largest consumer drone manufacturer, launched a new third party product partnership program called “Made for Solo” at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai. The Made for Solo program supports companies that want to leverage 3DR’s Solo TM “Smart Drone” platform and its open hardware bays and dual computer processing power. Made for Solo also offers partners access to 3DR’s technical and research resources and official 3DRendorsement of a product’s compatibility with Solo. The program also marks the beginning of the “drones &” movement, as companies across an array of industries will now begin applying new and purpose built hardware and software to drones for a variety of specific uses; Made for Solo provides these partners with the easiest way to get started on drone development.

“In the past, drone development was limited to dedicated engineering departments within drone companies themselves,” says Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. “We’re excited that our open platform is already paying dividends with Made for Solo, opening opportunities for drone development to a range of companies from a range of industries. We’re about to experience a real sea change in this industry.”

Several new Made for Solo accessories are already in the program and will soon be showcased on the 3DR website. Additionally, 3DR is announcing the first three major Made for Solo industry partnerships—Epson, Kodak and Fiilex—who already have Solo accessory products under development and scheduled for later release.

“Fiilex is very excited to enter the emerging drone market by leveraging the Made for Solo program,” said Brent Siebenaler, Brand Manager of Fiilex. “We’re looking forward to creating some great and innovative lighting products for Solo.”

“We’re excited by the launch of the Made for Solo program and have been busy perfecting a suite of augmented reality flight assistance tools,” said Eric Mizufuka, product manager, Moverio AR Glasses for Epson America.“The Made for Solo program is a great opportunity for Epson to gain direct access to 3DR’s top pilots, makers, and developers.”

And Paul Meyhoefer, VP of Marketing & Product Development for JK Imaging Ltd., said, “The Made for Solo Program has opened the Virtual Reality door for our KODAK PIXPRO SP360 Action Cams to be used in a variety of new ways. “Matched with Solo, the SP360’s ability to capture 360° full spherical video with its unique lens and perspective lends itself perfectly to being a vital tool for creatives to develop and take their VR to new heights.”

Made for Solo is accessible to any company or individual that wants to take their technologies to the sky. All interested parties can apply to the program through a form available on the company’s The company expects the program to continually grow and evolve, with Solo evolving in step with it.

“The Made for Solo program is the beginning of what we think will be an exponential expansion of our ecosystem, with many companies both in the drone industry and in other industries adopting the Solo platform,” said Colin Guinn, CRO of 3D Robotics. “From the beginning we’ve made the promise to customers that Solo will be more than just a drone, it will be a platform for aerial innovation, and it’s exciting to see that promise coming to fruition so quickly. Honestly, there’s been a deluge of these new products, and we can’t wait to see what creative people and companies will do now to enhance the Solo experience.”

In conjunction with these efforts, 3DR also offers comprehensive developer support on multiple levels. At the highest level, offers all of the resources for anyone to develop on Solo. Inside is 3DR’s open software development platform called DroneKit , which is a streamlined and simple interface that allows anyone to create customized drone apps.

When combined with the Made for Solo program, these resources make it easy for developers anywhere to tap into new Made for Solo products and contribute even more functionality. And because the company has its roots in the largest open robotics community in the world — — it expects that this development community will contribute to exponential advancements through the synthesis of open hardware and open software that the Made for Solo program will catalyze.

You can learn more about the Made for Solo program by visiting .

Read more…

amarabbit.jpg New Task Force to Develop Recommendations by November 20

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders. The group will advise the Department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS.

The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators. The task force may make additional safety recommendations as it deems appropriate. Secretary Foxx directed the group to deliver its report by Nov. 20.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said.

“It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.” Every day, the FAA receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations. Pilot sightings of UAS doubled between 2014 and 2015.

The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said.

“Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

While the task force does its work, the FAA will continue its aggressive education and outreach efforts, including the “Know Before You Fly” campaign and “No Drone Zone” initiatives with the nation’s busiest airports.

The agency also will continue to take strong enforcement action against egregious violators. At the same time, it will continue working with stakeholders to improve safety to ensure further integration and innovation in this promising segment of aviation.

Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives from the following stakeholder groups:

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Academy of Model Aircraft Air Line Pilots Association American Association of Airport Executives Helicopter Association International PrecisionHawk AirMap/ Small UAV Coalition Consumer Electronics Association

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announces the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed against a UAS operator for endangering the safety of our airspace.

The FAA proposes a $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan International, Inc. of Chicago. Between March 21, 2012, and Dec. 15, 2014, SkyPan conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of our most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules, the FAA alleges. These operations were illegal and not without risk.  

The FAA alleges that the company conducted 65 unauthorized commercial UAS flights over various locations in New York City and Chicago between March 21, 2012 and Dec. 15, 2014.  The flights involved aerial photography.  Of those, 43 flew in the highly restricted New York Class B airspace.

“Flying unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “We have the safest airspace in the world, and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations.”

SkyPan operated the 43 flights in the New York Class B airspace without receiving an air traffic control clearance to access it, the FAA alleges.  Additionally, the agency alleges the aircraft was not equipped with a two-way radio, transponder, and altitude-reporting equipment.

The FAA further alleges that on all 65 flights, the aircraft lacked an airworthiness certificate and effective registration, and SkyPan did not have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for the operations.

SkyPan operated the aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger lives or property, the FAA alleges.

SkyPan has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

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This chap got off lightly I thought with the amount he was fined, much less than a flyaway that landed in a nuclear sub base. Its not the first prosecution in the UK as many outlets are touting, but the first of this kind.

The fellow does now have a criminal record. It also means the police in the UK have a case to look towards when prosecuting others based on YouTube videos.

As an aside my brother was at one of the matches and called me to say he could see the chap flying, he was plainly not staying out of the way.

A man has admitted illegally flying drones over professional football matches and London landmarks.

Nigel Wilson admitted nine breaches of taking video over football grounds and tourist attractions last year.

Wilson, from Bingham, Nottinghamshire, was originally accused of 17 breaches of the Air Navigation Order but some charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

He was fined £1,800 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Wilson, 42, was accused by Scotland Yard of flying the aircraft unmanned and “failing to maintain direct visual contact”.

The charges he admitted included flying the drone on:

  • September 16 - Liverpool v Ludogorets FC at Anfield
  • September 23 - Derby County v Reading at iPro Stadium, Derby
  • September 27 - Palace of Westminster, London
  • September 27 - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium, London
  • October 9 - Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace and north bank of the River Thames in London
  • October 18 - Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium, Manchester

This was the first case of a person being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for using drones after a police-led operation.

The court heard police horses were startled by Wilson’s device as it flew over a Champions League group stage game between Liverpool and Bulgarian visitors Ludogorets at Anfield.

He was also twice arrested in London and had his drones confiscated.

Ignored safety warnings

District Judge Quentin Purdy told Wilson, a security guard, he had put the public at risk by flying the drones over busy, built-up areas.

He said: “At each and every one of these places an accident could have occurred simply by a gust of wind or something of that nature taking it out of your control.

“In each and every case you knew what you were doing. Several times you were warned by police, who seized drones from you, and on numerous occasions by people posting on your YouTube channel.

“It was the height of arrogance in terms of public safety.”

Wilson, a father-of-two, shot the videos using three unmanned aircraft and uploaded them to his YouTube channel, PV2+ Adventures.

Susan Bryant, defending, described Wilson as a “hobbyist”, adding: “It was something he put a great amount of time into in terms of improving his skill.”

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AC 91-57 be gone, welcome AC 91-57A


Just promulgated by the FAA

1. PURPOSE. This advisory circular (AC) provides guidance to persons operating Unmanned Aircraft (UA) for hobby or recreation purposes meeting the statutory definition of “model aircraft” contained in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This AC describes means by which model aircraft may be operated safely in the National Airspace System (NAS). Nothing in this AC changes the requirement to comply with the statute or any applicable regulations.

2. APPLICABILITY. This AC provides information for any person who engages in model aircraft operations using model aircraft as defined by statute. (See paragraph 6.)

3. REFERENCES. Title 49 U.S.C. § 40101; P.L. 112-95 (126 Stat. 77 et seq.).

4. RELATED MATERIAL (current editions).

 Subtitle VII of Title 49, United States Code (49 USC)

 Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)

 Subtitle B of Public Law 112-95 (Feb. 14, 2012)

 Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

 Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) listing:

 Aeronautical Navigation Products (Charts):

 Notices to Airman:

5. CANCELLATION. AC 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards, dated June 9, 1981, is cancelled.

6. MODEL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS. a. Terminology. (1) 49 USC § 40102 defines an aircraft as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.” 14 CFR § 1.1 defines an aircraft as “a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.”

(2) Public Law 112-95 defines unmanned aircraft as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. (3) Section 336 of P.L. 112-95 defines a model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft, and flown only for hobby or recreational purposes.

b. Model Aircraft Hazards in the NAS. While aero-modelers generally are concerned about safety and exercise good judgment when flying model aircraft for the hobby and recreational purposes for which they are intended, they may share the airspace in which manned aircraft are operating. Unmanned aircraft, including model aircraft, may pose a hazard to manned aircraft in flight and to persons and property on the surface if not operated safely. Model aircraft operations that endanger the safety of the National Airspace System, particularly careless or reckless operations or those that interfere with or fail to give way to any manned aircraft may be subject to FAA enforcement action.

c. Determination of “Model Aircraft” Status. Whether a given unmanned aircraft operation may be considered a “model aircraft operation” is determined with reference to section 336 of Public Law 112-95:

(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

(2) The aircraft operates in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization (CBO);

(3) The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds, unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a CBO;

(4) The aircraft operates in a manner that does not interfere with, and gives way to, any manned aircraft; and

(5) When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the model aircraft provides the airport operator or the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation. Model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport).

d. Public Law 112-95 recognizes the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System. Accordingly, model aircraft operators must comply with any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR). TFRs are issued over specific locations due to disasters, or for reasons of national security; or when determined necessary for the management of air traffic in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations or major sporting events. Do not operate model aircraft in designated areas until the TFR is no longer in force.

Model aircraft must not operate in Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or, the Washington National Capital Region Flight Restricted Zone, without specific authorization. Such areas are depicted on charts available at Additionally, model aircraft operators should be aware of other Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) which address operations near locations such as military or other federal facilities, certain stadiums, power plants, electric substations, dams, oil refineries, national parks, emergency, services and other industrial complexes. In addition to the previously mentioned link, information regarding published NOTAMS can be found at: /publications/notices/.

The requirement to not fly within TFRs, or other circumstances where prohibited, would apply to operation of model aircraft that would otherwise comply with section 336 of Public Law 112-95.

e. Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet above ground level (AGL).

f. All other operators and for additional information on Unmanned Aircraft Systems please visit: .

Elizabeth L. Ray Vice President, Mission Support Services Air Traffic Organization

Get your fresh copy here

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Back in 2009 we ran our first pylon style race in a figure eight pattern. It was won by an Easystar using a paparazzi autopilot in a fraction over 49 seconds for a single lap.

This time we asked contestants to complete 5 laps and Dawid Preller flew a blistering time of 221 seconds. That's 44 and a tiny bit seconds a lap including launch and landing. He was flying an A44 Eaglet. No nor had I...

We had a wide range of aircraft Rob_Lefebvre with his Goblin helicopter came second in a time of 281 seconds. A chap called Anderson entered a Solo and Skyfun 348 and 397 seconds respectively.

Robs Goblin

Linus had a go


I don't think I anticipated any rovers entering, we had four! Well three that tried and the chap Anderson just demonstrated how small his hands are.


Chris tried to enter a Go kart claiming it capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph! 

But it was not to be.

The Rover course was made smaller as finding 200m square of flat smooth open space proved difficult.

Grant Morpeth seems to have misinterpreted the rules thinking it was a football competition.

The two Rover entries that posted times were Healthyfatboy at 316 seconds and Tom who was plagued with rain and whilst making fast lap times could not get the five in a row in. I suspect he might actually be hiding some advanced tuning in order to  scoop the prizes next time.

So congratulations to Dawid Preller and Healthyfatboy, a Pixhawk courtesy of 3DR will be winging its way to you both shortly.

Congratulations must also go to everybody that entered and sacrificed time and in some cases equipment to help make the APM experience better for everybody. Its these competitions that push things on. 

Perhaps next time we can have some boats as well to make land sea and air.

Unlike those FPV chaps, its real drone racing here ;-)

If you want to know more about T3 take a scroll down the right hand side of the page or click here 

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This is the sort of thing T3 entrants get up to, well done!

HABLEG has a mass of 7kg, a wingspan of 3m and can carry an additional payload of up to 3kg. The flight was conducted at the rocket base ESRANGE in northern Sweden, where the glider was lifted to an altitude of 20km by means of a helium balloon. Upon release in the low density atmosphere, a central challenge was the transition from freefall to horizontal stratospheric flight. Having achieved this critical part of the mission, the plane was then automatically guided back to base while performing it´s test flight program. All characteristics of the plane could be tested and validated within the one hour glide phase.

Touch-down occurred less than 50m away from the launch site which makes it the first successful flight of this kind in Europe.

This is the most elegant HAB Glider launch I have ever seen!

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T3 back to the future a reminder


First off Chris Anderson reminds everybody he is known as old tiny hands in the 3DR offices, this the servo for the rover that he is entering into this round of the competition.

Rob keeps mentioning his chopper.


Some Australian fellows appear to have a flying site with a big flag next to it.


If you have no idea what I am referring to with this images and are brave enough to learn more then pop on over to the latest T3 round thread

Its not too late to enter either, these things are always flexible especially if you drop me a PM saying you are giving it a go but XYZ fell off or a tree caught your machine.

Thanks to everyone that has entered so far its a spirited affair! 

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