Gary Mortimer's Posts (323)

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Montreal, Canada: EnergyOr Technologies Inc., a leading developer of advanced PEM fuel cell systems, recently demonstrated the world’s longest multirotor UAV flight, flying for a record 3 hours, 43 minutes and 48 seconds, improving upon its previous world record of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 46 seconds from March 16 th, 2015.

This demonstration was performed to emphasize the significant potential of EnergyOr’s fuel cell systems to dramatically increase multirotor UAV flight endurance, thereby enabling countless new applications for this type of aircraft. EnergyOr’s CEO, Michel Bitton, stated

“We are proud to maintain our position as the first company to apply hydrogen fuel cell systems to Multirotor UAV applications and to have achieved the world’s longest multirotor flights ever recorded.”

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T3 Back to the Future


Remember back, way back in autopilot years probably about 20. The year 2009 and the first round of our gentlemens (ladies are allowed just none have ever entered) competition the T3 challenge.

Back then just flying way points was hard and all this gear was expensive. Ardupilots were made at Sparkfun in batches that ran out quick.


Lets try it again I suspect this time the challenge would really be flying it faster than somebody FPV racing.

Read about the first time here for hints and tips. 

As tech has moved on all aircraft types welcome lets make it not above 50m and 5 laps. All of course autonomous. Extra marks if that is from take off to landing.I will count the time from take off to landing so screaming dives to the start will not help. KMLs as evidence please!

UPDATE: Rovers (and boats) are also allowed! There will be a special rover/boat class, and you only have to beat other vehicles in that class. The course for such ground/water vehicles is 100m x 100m. 

I will accept FPV times for the sake of science and should they be much much quicker it will give the pure FPV crowd something to brag about.

An Easystar (yes before HK copied it) made one lap in less than a minute in 2009 so 5 in 5 minutes should be more than possible. 

As ever the time frame is flexible but why don't we all meet back here on August the 1st and find out who won!

Please add your entries and adventures below. Points are always awarded for silliness, just as long as its safe!


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sUSB Expo 2015, just about to start


As ever we will be live streaming on our YouTube channel if the web allows it. Things should kick off at 0900 Pacific (ish)(you know what we are like))

If you use the #sUSBEXPO2015 I will try and get questions asked.

Todays speakers, Chris Anderson speaks tomorrow.

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Opening Statements – Patrick Egan, sUAS News

9:10 – 9:30 - Patrick Egan, sUAS News

9:30 – 9:50 - Chris France, Alta Devices

9:50 – 10:10 - Paola Santana, Matternet

10:10 – 10:40 - Baptist Tripard, SenseFly

10:40 -11:00 BREAK

11:00 – 12:00 - Jim Williams, FAA

12:00 – 12:30 - Terry Miller, Transport Risk Management

12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 1:50 - Stuart Rudolph, Smart C2 Inc.

1:50 – 2:10 - Marco Peljhan, C-Astral

2:10 – 2:30 - Murray Craig, Tigerstrike Technology

2:30 – 2:50 - Jono Millin, DroneDeploy

2:50 – 3:10 - Michael Drobac, Small UAV Coalition

3:10 – 3:30 BREAK

3:30 – 3:50 - Bill English, NTSB

4:10 – 5:00 - PANEL: Moderated by Robert Scoble with Sean Varah, Motion DSP,

3:50 – 4:10 - Andra Keay, Robot Launch, SVR

Eric Cheng, DJI and Nick Pilkington, DroneDeploy

Closing Statements – Patrick Egan

(*Times and speakers are subject to change)

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sUSB Expo 2015


Its that time of year again, this time Chris Anderson will be joined by tech evangelist Robert Scoble, Eric Cheng from DJI and Jim Williams head of the FAA's airspace integration efforts there are 30 more speakers full list here.

At sUAS News we try to bring people with a genuine voice together in small room with a handful of attendees. Giving the folks attending a chance to meet and speak with these folks. 

I don't think we will ever have the largest show around, but have been lucky to attract the loudest voices.

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UAV Challenge Medical Express 2016


Announcing UAV Challenge Medical Express 2016 at an unmanned systems conference associated with the Avalon Airshow, event co-ordinator Dennis Frousheger said the 2016 challenge was designed to push UAV technology to the limit.

“It’s unlikely that traditional fixed-wing unmanned aircraft or small multi-rotor vehicles will be capable of meeting this challenge – new hybrid flying robots will probably be required,” said Mr Frousheger, an engineer in CSIRO’s Digital Productivity Flagship.

“This time, our hapless bushwalker is stuck in a clearing in the Australian Outback, surrounded by floodwaters, and his doctors have requested an urgent blood sample be sent to them.

“He’s found his way to a clearing and has emailed his GPS coordinates.

“Joe’s located in an area surrounded by obstacles so teams will need to develop systems capable of understanding the landing site, and plan and execute a landing – all of this at a distance of at least 10kms from their location.”

To complete the mission, teams will need to deploy an aircraft from a small town outside the flooded area and have it fly autonomously for at least 10km to find Outback Joe.

The robot aircraft must locate Joe and automatically land nearby. After Joe places his blood sample into the aircraft, it must take off and fly quickly back to the town.

UAV Challenge co-founder Professor Jonathan Roberts, a QUT robotics expert with the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, is not expecting a winner in the first year of the new competition – but is happy to be proven wrong.

“It took eight years to save Joe in our Outback Rescue competition – that’s with more than 2,000 people from 350 teams working on the problem and sharing their knowledge,” Professor Roberts said.

“We’re expecting many of those teams to take up the medical express challenge, along with others keen to push the envelope for UAV capabilities.

“The prize for saving Joe will again be AU$50,000.”

The competition takes place in September 2016 in Outback Queensland, Australia.

Professor Roberts outlined the results of the 2014 Outback Challenge – Search and Rescue and the scope of the new Medical Express competition at the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems’ conference, A Gathering Storm: Unmanned Systems Outlook in Australasia, held over three days in Melbourne and Avalon, Australia.

He said the full rules for the UAV Challenge Medical Express competition will be released in the coming weeks.

The UAV Challenge will also release new rules for the high-school student competition to be held during the 2015 September Queensland school holidays. The high-school event will also have a medical delivery theme.

The rules of both the International Medical Express Challenge and the high-school challenge will be posted on this site as soon as they are released.

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Less than ten years ago Jordi Munoz left Mexico for the US and is today boss of the one of world's biggest commercial drone maker

Mexican immigrant Jordi Munoz says that waiting for his green card after he first moved to the United States made The immigrant who became a drone firm boss him feel as if he was living "in a big jail".

At the time he was 20 years old, and he and his girlfriend had set up home near Los Angeles.

Yet he could not legally work, or even enrol at a college, until he got the identity card that proved his right to live and seek employment in the country.

But instead of just sitting around during his frustrating seven-month wait back in 2007, Mr Munoz, a keen model plane enthusiast and computer programmer, started to build his own drone in his garage.

A drone, technically an unmanned aerial vehicle, is essentially a very high tech and stable version of a remote-controlled plane with a camera attached to take aerial photographs or record videos.

Using what parts he had to hand, Mr Munoz made the drone's autopilot system by taking the motion sensors from a games console remote control.

To attach the microchips to circuit boards he heated them up in a domestic oven.

Fast forward to today, and Mr Munoz, now 28, is the co-founder of the largest US-owned manufacturer of commercial drones.

The business, 3D Robotics, is expected to enjoy sales of $50m (£33m) this year.

Key investment

Back when Mr Munoz was working on his first prototype, he started to put up posts about his progress on a website for other DIY drone enthusiasts.

In addition to the advice and encouragement he got from fellow hobbyists, one man was so impressed that he sent Mr Munoz $500 (£325) to help carry on his work.

A handful of members still here can say they were there for this story, my how things have changed. Fair play Jordi, fair play.

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I'm still a little bewildered that folks are calling yesterdays FAA document a leak as we were sent it. Perhaps it was sent at the wrong time. They stuffed up with AIC 91/57 late last year which was withdrawn by accident. Maybe today sees the real removal of AIC 91/57 but on a Sunday. The Phantom on the lawn incident has done more to shove regs through than all the money thrown at it and talking heads since 2006.

Lets hope it does contain the sort of regs posted in the "leaked" document. If it does, the industry has lift off.

At sUAS News we believe this announce is after this November meeting but is happening quicker than expected because of that Phantom.

WHEN: 10 a.m., Sunday, February 15, 2015

WHO: Conference Call with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta

The call-in number for the call is (800) 230-1059. The operator will ask you what you're calling in for. Tell the operator you are calling in for the DOT Press Briefing. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end. To ask a question press 1

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DJI to release mandatory firmware update


DJI will release a mandatory firmware update for the Phantom 2, Phantom 2 Vision, and Phantom 2 Vision+ to help users comply with the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 0/8326, which restricts unmanned flight around the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The updated firmware (V3.10) will be released in coming days and adds a No-Fly Zone centered on downtown Washington,

The restriction is part of a planned extension of DJI’s No Fly Zone system that prohibits flight near airports and other locations where flight is restricted by local authorities. These extended no fly zones will include over 10,000 airports registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and will expand no fly zones to ensure they cover the runways at major international airports. DC and extends for a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) radius in all directions. Phantom pilots in this area will not be able to take off from or fly into this airspace.

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Trappy ended up paying



Raphael Pirker agreed on Thursday to pay the FAA $1,100 to settle the agency’s $10,000 fine for allegedly flying a drone recklessly to film the University of Virginia in 2011. Under the settlement terms, Mr. Pirker doesn’t admit to guilt and the FAA agreed to drop some of its accusations against Mr. Pirker.

The FAA declined to elaborate beyond the details of the settlement.

Mr. Pirker’s attorney Brendan Schulman said his client decided to settle because the length of time needed to finish the case and recent comments by the FAA “have diminished the utility of the case to assist the commercial drone industry in its regulatory struggle.” The FAA has said its authority to regulate drones stems from a 2012 statute that post-dates Mr. Pirker’s flight.

The FAA fined Mr. Pirker, a dual national of Austria and Switzerland, in 2012. The case gained attention after a federal administrative law judge ruled this past March that Mr. Pirker’s plastic-foam drone was a model aircraft and thus not subject to FAA rules for manned aircraft. The decision cast doubt on the FAA’s authority to regulate drones.

In November, the National Transportation Safety Board overturned that decision and ruled that drones are aircraft and subject to aviation laws, affirming the FAA’s regulatory power over the devices.

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Ok so they have given a 333 exemption to a particular real estate company but you get my drift.

Here's the sUAS News story

This is the money statement.

The FAA’s Decision
In consideration of the foregoing, I find that a grant of exemption is in the public interest. Therefore, pursuant to the authority contained in 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40113, and 44701, delegated to me by the Administrator, Mr. Douglas Trudeau, Realtor®, of Tierra Antigua Realty, is granted an exemption from 14 CFR 61.113(a) and (b), 91.7(a), 91.119(c), 91.121,91.151(a)(1), 91.405(a), 91.407(a)(1), 91.409(a)(1) and (2), and 91.417(a) and (b) to the extent necessary to allow petitioner to operate an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for the purpose of aerial videography/cinematography and augment real estate listing videos. This exemption is subject to the conditions and limitations listed below.

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Its small rule NPRM day (maybe)


Expect the FAA to finally start the three month small rule NPRM process today Monday the 22nd of December. But remember we have been here before many times. Should it happen I can finally remove the Miss-O-Matic from sUAS News. I believe the Small UAV Coalition of which Chris Anderson was a founder is having a telephone call with the FAA today so some of the clues are there. At sUAS News we expect the 333 requirements to form a key part of things moving forward so I am adding them below for reference.

Should it not happen today this post will serve as a reminder of another missed opportunity.

1. The UA must weigh less than 55 pounds (25 Kg), including energy source(s) and equipment. Operations authorized by this grant of exemption are limited to the following aircraft described in the proprietary FOPMs: HexaCrafter HC-1100 and Aeronavics SkyJib 8 v.2 Heavy Lifter. Proposed operations of any other aircraft will require a new petition or a petition to amend this grant.

2. The UA may not be flown at a speed exceeding a ground speed of 50 knots.

3. Flights must be operated at an altitude of no more than 400 feet above ground level (AGL), as indicated by the procedures specified in the operator’s manual. All altitudes reported to ATC must be in feet AGL.

4. The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC at all times. This requires the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on the PIC’s FAA-issued medical certificate.

5. All operations must utilize a visual observer (VO). The VO may be used to satisfy the VLOS requirement, as long as the PIC always maintains VLOS capability. The VO and PIC must be able to communicate verbally at all times.

6. The operator’s manual is considered acceptable to the FAA, provided the additional requirements identified in these conditions and limitations are added or amended. The operator’s manual and this grant of exemption must be maintained and made available to the Administrator upon request. If a discrepancy exists between the conditions and limitations in this exemption and the procedures outlined in the operator’s manual, the conditions and limitations herein take precedence and must be followed. Otherwise, the operator must follow the procedures as outlined in its operator’s manual.

The operator may update or revise its operator’s manual. It is the operator’s responsibility to track such revisions and present updated and revised documents to the Administrator upon request. The operator must also present updated and revised documents if it petitions for extension or amendment. If the operator determines that any update or revision would affect the basis for which the FAA granted this exemption, then the operator must petition for amendment to their exemption. The FAA’s UAS Integration Office (AFS-80) may be contacted if questions arise regarding updates or revisions to the operator’s manual.

7. Prior to each flight the PIC must inspect the UAS to ensure it is in a condition for safe flight. If the inspection reveals a condition that affects the safe operation of the UAS, the aircraft is prohibited from operating until the necessary maintenance has been performed and the UAS is found to be in a condition for safe flight. The Ground Control Station, if utilized, must be included in the preflight inspection. All maintenance and alterations must be properly documented in the aircraft records.

8. Any UAS that has undergone maintenance or alterations that affect the UAS operation or flight characteristics, e.g. replacement of a flight critical component, must undergo a functional test flight in accordance with the operator’s manual. The PIC who conducts the functional test flight must make an entry in the UAS aircraft records of the flight. The requirements and procedures for a functional test flight and aircraft record entry must be added to the operator’s manual.

9. The operator must follow the manufacturer’s UAS aircraft/component, maintenance, overhaul, replacement, inspection, and life limit requirements. When unavailable, aircraft maintenance/ component/overhaul, replacement, and inspection/maintenance requirements must be established and identified in the operator’s manual. At a minimum, the following must be included in the operator’s manual:

a. Actuators / Servos

b. Transmission (single rotor)

c. Powerplant (motors)

d. Propellers

e. Electronic speed controller

f. Batteries

g. Mechanical dynamic components (single rotor)

h. Remote command and control

i. Ground control station (if used)

j. Any other components as determined by the operator

10. The Pilot In Command (PIC) must possess at least a private pilot certificate and at least a current third-class medical certificate. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his/her pilot certificate.

11. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), the PIC must have accumulated and logged, in a manner consistent with 14 CFR § 61.51 (b), a minimum of 200 flight cycles and 25 hours of total time as a UAS rotorcraft pilot and at least ten hours logged as a UAS pilot with a similar UAS type (single blade or multirotor). Prior documented flight experience that was obtained in compliance with applicable regulations may satisfy this requirement. Training, proficiency, and experience-building flights can also be conducted under this grant of exemption to accomplish the required flight cycles and flight time. During training, proficiency, and experience-building flights, all persons not essential for flight operations are considered non-participants, and the PIC must operate the UA with appropriate distance from non-participants in accordance with 14 CFR § 91.119.

12. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), the PIC must have accumulated and logged, in a manner consistent with 14 CFR § 61.51 (b), a minimum of five hours as UAS pilot operating the make and model of UAS to be utilized for operations under the exemption and three take-offs and three landings in the preceding 90 days. Training, proficiency, experience-building, and take-off and landing currency flights can be conducted under this grant of exemption to


accomplish the required flight time and 90 day currency. During training, proficiency, experience-building, and take-off and landing currency flights all persons not essential for flight operations are considered non-participants, and the PIC must operate the UA with appropriate distance from non-participants in accordance with 14 CFR § 91.119.

13. Prior to any flight operations authorized by this grant of exemption, the PIC and visual observer (VO) must have successfully completed a qualification process, as outlined in the operator’s manual. As this is a requirement stipulated by the operator, the test must be developed and implemented by a qualified person designated at the sole discretion of the operator. A record of completion of this qualification process must be documented and made available to the Administrator upon request.

14. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), a flight demonstration, administered by an operator-approved and -qualified pilot must be successfully completed and documented. This documentation must be available for review upon request by the Administrator. Because the knowledge and airmanship test qualifications have been developed by the operator, and there are no established practical test standards that support a jurisdictional FAA FSDO evaluation and approval of company designated examiners, the petitioner will conduct these tests in accordance with the operator’s manual.

15. The UA may not be operated directly over any person, except authorized and consenting production personnel, below an altitude that is hazardous to persons or property on the surface in the event of a UAS failure or emergency.

16. Regarding the distance from participating persons, the operator’s manual has safety mitigations for authorized and consenting production personnel. At all times, those persons must be essential to the closed-set film operations. Because these procedures are specific to participating persons, no further FSDO or Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) approval is necessary for reductions to the distances specified in the petitioner’s manuals. This is consistent with the manned aircraft procedures described in FAA Order 8900.1, V3, C8, S1 Issue a Certificate of Waiver for Motion Picture and Television Filming.

17. Regarding distance from non-participating persons, the operator must ensure that no persons are allowed within 500 feet of the area except those consenting to be involved and necessary for the filming production. This provision may be reduced to no less than 200 feet if it would not adversely affect safety and the Administrator has approved it. For example, an equivalent level of safety may be determined by an aviation safety inspector’s evaluation of the filming production area to note terrain features, obstructions, buildings, safety barriers, etc. Such barriers may protect non-participating persons (observers, the public, news media, etc.) from debris in the event of an accident. This is also consistent with the same FAA Order 8900.1, V3, C8, S1.

18. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a pre-determined location within the security perimeter and land or be recovered in accordance with the operator’s manual.

19. The UAS must abort the flight in the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies in accordance with the operator’s manual.

20. Each UAS operation must be completed within 30 minutes flight time or with 25% battery power remaining, whichever occurs first.

In addition to the conditions and limitations proposed by the operator, the FAA has determined that any operations conducted under this grant of exemption must be done pursuant to the following conditions and limitations:

21. The operator must obtain an Air Traffic Organization (ATO) issued Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) prior to conducting any operations under this grant of exemption. This COA will also require the operator to request a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) not more than 72 hours in advance, but not less than 48 hours prior to the operation.

22. All aircraft operated in accordance with this exemption must be identified by serial number, registered in accordance with 14 CFR part 47, and have identification (N-Number) markings in accordance with 14 CFR part 45, Subpart C. Markings must be as large as practicable.

23. The operator must develop procedures to document and maintain a record of the UAS maintenance, preventative maintenance, alterations, status of replacement/overhaul component parts, and the total time in service of the UAS. These procedures must be added to the operator’s manual.

24. Each UAS operated under this exemption must comply with all manufacturer Safety Bulletins.

25. The operator must develop UAS technician qualification criteria. These criteria must be added to the operator’s manual.

26. The preflight inspection section in the operator’s manual must be amended to include the following requirement: The preflight inspection must account for all discrepancies, i.e. inoperable components, items, or equipment, not covered in the relevant preflight inspection sections of the operator’s manual.

27. Before conducting operations, the radio frequency spectrum used for operation and control of the UA must comply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or other appropriate government oversight agency requirements.


28. At least three days before scheduled filming, the operator of the UAS affected by this exemption must submit a written Plan of Activities to the local FSDO with jurisdiction over the area of proposed filming. The 3-day notification may be waived with the concurrence of the FSDO. The plan of activities must include at least the following:

a. Dates and times for all flights

b. Name and phone number of the operator for the UAS filming production conducted under this grant of exemption

c. Name and phone number of the person responsible for the on-scene operation of the UAS

d. Make, model, and serial or N-number of UAS to be used

e. Name and certificate number of UAS PICs involved in the filming production event

f. A statement that the operator has obtained permission from property owners and/or local officials to conduct the filming production event; the list of those who gave permission must be made available to the inspector upon request.

g. Signature of exemption-holder or representative

h. A description of the flight activity, including maps or diagrams of any area, city, town, county, and/or state over which filming will be conducted and the altitudes essential to accomplish the operation

29. The documents required under 14 CFR § 91.9 and § 91.203 must be available to the PIC at the ground control station of the UAS any time the aircraft is operating. These documents must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.

30. The UA must remain clear and yield the right of way to all other manned operations and activities at all times (including, but not limited to, ultralight vehicles, parachute activities, parasailing activities, hang gliders, etc.).

31. UAS operations may not be conducted during night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1. All operations must be conducted under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Flights under special visual flight rules (SVFR) are not authorized.

32. The UAS cannot be operated by the PIC from any moving device or vehicle.

33. The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the PIC

34. The UA may not operate in Class B, C, or D airspace without written approval from the FAA. The UA may not operate within 5 nautical miles of the geographic center of a non-towered airport as denoted on a current FAA-published aeronautical chart unless a letter of agreement with that airport’s management is obtained, and the operation is conducted in accordance with a NOTAM as required by the operator’s COA. The letter of agreement with the airport management must be made available to the Administrator upon request.

35. Any 1) incident, 2) accident, or 3) flight operation that transgresses the lateral or vertical boundaries of the operational area as defined by the applicable COA must be reported to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS Integration Office (AFS-80) within 24 hours. Accidents must be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) per instructions contained on the NTSB Web site: Further flight operations may not be conducted until the incident, accident, or transgression is reviewed by AFS-80 and authorization to resume operations is provided.


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Great Stuff


A quadriplegic man who is confined to his bedroom has used his computing expertise to see the world from his bedroom, by flying a camera-mounted drone up to thousands of miles.

Stuart Turner could soon be looking round the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls using the 2kg flying device, which he controls by moving his head his head and eyes using Google Glass computer worn on his head.

The 36-year-old has lost the use of his arms and legs over the past 10 years, due to spine and brain disorders including spina bifida, tethered spinal cord syndrome and chiari malformation.

Mr Turner, who was forced to drop out of a degree in computer science, has been developing the drone, and the software to control it, with scientists at Brown University, Rhode Island. He uses a Parrot AR Drone which has four separate rotary blades with a camera mounted on its body.

The device is still in testing phase, meaning that Mr Turner has so far only flown it around campus. He hopes to develop it further by replacing Google Glass with a type of virtual reality headset that will give him a three-dimensional, panoramic view of the drone’s location.

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The Solution Has Got To Be In Here Somewhere


By Patrick Egan who is currently on a plane to Norway

(The go-forward plan for the rest of us.)

The FAA has long since left the academic, amateur and small business end-user and the public in the dust as actual participating stakeholders. The only “full-spectrum” of stakeholders invited are the DOD vendors with lobbyists and political friends. (Maybe if I wrote Buck McKeon a six-figure check I’d get two slots on the UAS ARC??) You’d think that shame or sentimental ideas of participatory democracy might come into play with something so important. The only place you see or hear that is in old movies, and or stories from old-timers who remember a way of life where people were good for their word. Unfortunately, it would appear that Mr. Smith left Washington D.C. many years ago.

Those who have followed the sUAS News writings might well understand the old shell game. For the newcomers, three card Monty or the pea and the shells is the U.S. UAS airspace integration game.

Yes, some of the stories may be obscure, but I’ve had to utilize allegory and aphorisms as a courtesy and not come right out and to expose the source. Don’t want to ruin someone’s career, backroom deal, or whatever angle they may have going. No shortage of that over the years and from folks in this effort that all purportedly say, “we all want the same thing.” They will straight up blackball people (some possibly their own kin) without any reservations totally devoid of either scruple or moral compunction. You’ve got Federal employees banning or reassigning other federal employees for not going along with the program. Then there’s the one way ticket to Pariahville (formally Palookaville) for any stakeholder who’s script they (or the DOD folks) don’t dig.

For those of you that think it too fantastic to be true… I wish. Heck, I was almost kicked off of the current FAA BVLOS committee before I even accepted. (It would appear that those not well practiced in the art of bootlicking are not really welcome??) A couple of choice quotes for educational purposes.

The ARC debated your inclusion on this working group for some time. However, the FAA wanted your organization involved, so feel free to delegate to someone else at RCAPA.”

And most of you thought the FAA was the only group sandbagging the process.

We all hope you are constructive and keep the bomb throwing to a minimum. This is not a seat on the ARC, but a working group, and it can be revoked at any time.”

Bomb throwing!” Does this sound like “we all want the same thing?” It lacks a certain inclusive tone, but I don’t want to be accused of nitpicking.

On the other side of the coin, you go quietly along with the program, and there is more than likely a nice golden off ramp in your future. Maybe a DOD vendor or some other cushy spot where you can go play the do nothing game till your interests become vested. Funny (ironic) part is… it takes a few years for a new employer to realize what type of “we all want the same thing” they got.

Read the rest of Patricks article here

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Watch out if you are tempted to look over the wall at the ball game. The FAA have issued a NOTAM that no doubt event operators will enforce on their behalf. It brings model aircraft and RPAS within a NOTAM previously enacted post 9/11 for full sized aircraft.

What does it mean, if your flying field is within 3nm of major sporting events you should not be flying when those events are happening.

That strikes me as a little bit arbitrary for model aircraft a limit of half a mile would more than cover it. I suspect that TV rights at sports events has more to do with this than safety.

I'm busy mapping the 180 odd stadiums that meet the TFR requirement should have it done within the hour and will add it here and at sUAS News

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No hiding behind AC 91-57 anymore


The FAA just cancelled AC 91-57 the one that many folks used to justify commercial aerial photography from unmanned aircraft in the USA. 

Now look to the “full special” interpretation for Model Aircraft for your guidance.

Patrick said this at the time about that.

Folks in the U.S. UAS community (which now including paper airplane aficionados too) were surprised and dismayed by the FAA’s “full special” interpretation for Model Aircraft. The community is completely flabbergasted by the lack of response from the regular gaggle of advocacy groups. UAS freedom(s) just took a major hit in the U.S. and folks are asking where the hell is the leadership? We are usually treated to quick responses (canned goods) heralding any announcement from the FAA (no matter how trivial or nonsensical they may be), as enlightened and a giant step in the right direction. We can guess who got the special dispensation/backroom deal neutering.

Shocked and awed –

The community is collectively wondering what’s up with the subdued response? Where is the mobilization of the membership(s)? Adding to the dismay is the notion that this edict could have possibly caught advocacy groups off guard? It has many feeling like we just suffered a regulatory tsunami without warning and no disaster plan!

* To everyone’s integration credit… The FAA did state repeatedly that the hobby would look the same after regulation was announced. However, in this instance it would appear that reality and the FAA have parted company again.

If you want to join the Hollywood set these are the requirements for your platforms 

We commissioned our art department at sUAS News to create this simple graphic to explain the system over there ;-)


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First one I think to come with LiDAR as standard, that's an interesting development for sure. I see the sun setting on photogrametry with RPAS. But we were talking about that five years ago ;-) Interesting that it is what it is, enough to get the job without too many hours of extra to make it look fancy. I should think most people here could build similar.

RIEGL is excited to announce the release of the RiCOPTER! RIEGL is the first major LiDAR manufacturer to develop its own unmanned aerial system. The RiCOPTER is a high-performance UAV equipped with the RIEGL VUX-1 survey-grade LiDAR sensor to offer a fully integrated turnkey solution.

Stop by the RIEGL booth to see the VUX-1 integrated into several other UAS systems, such as SARAH by Flying-Cam or Aeroscouts UAS, demonstrating the versatility of the instrument! Moreover live demonstrations of RiCOPTER will be performed Tuesday – Thursday in Intergeo’s UAV flight zone.

Rest of the press release

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