Finally, a good article on "drone journalism"

ABC News Australia has a thorough piece on the state of "drone journalism", which gives some good examples and cuts through the sort of silliness that characterized some earlier reports, such as those featuring Occupy Wall Street types flying a Parrot AR.Drone inside.

It includes an important quote from Matt Waite, who runs the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska

Despite America's love affair with new technology, Professor Waite says the rate of take-up of drone journalism is still very slow - for one single reason.

"Here in the US the law doesn't allow it - plain and simple," he said.

"The rules right now in the US are basically this: nothing over 400 feet, nothing out of sight, nothing near people and no commercial purposes.

"If it were (just) the first three, drone journalism would have a fighting chance. The commercial restrictions are the hardest to overcome."

Sounds like Professor Waite, at least, is taking a realistic and responsible approach. 

[Thanks to Gary Mortimer/sUAS News for the link]

Views: 2688

Comment by Ellison Chan on February 21, 2012 at 5:54pm

James, all the electrical parts, like esc and motors are already from China, including the Trex tail booms I use for arms and battery.  The only thing made in N.A. is the APM, sensors.  And, as we can see from DJI drones, they are quite capable of making solid and stable controllers.  They are already ahead of us, not in a few years.

 It's quite disappointing that the US and Canadian government are what's holding us back here in N.A, not technology.

Comment by James masterman on February 21, 2012 at 6:07pm

That's true. They already make the parts, but at the moment we still have the Innovation/Intellectual Property high ground with projects like this site. If our govt's keep making it all too hard to fly them, even that advantage will move to China.

Comment by Ellison Chan on February 21, 2012 at 6:14pm

James, ArduCopter is open source.  There's no advantage to be had.  The Chinese programmers have the same access to the software as we do.  On the other hand, there are no open source projects for multirotors coming our of China, so they keep the advantage.  Not really fair, in my estimation.

Comment by Juan Soler on February 21, 2012 at 9:13pm

The Chinese are already light years ahead of fostering innovation and new industries.  Just ask all the Australian innovators that could not get anyone to listen (let alone provide venture capital) who are now living in China.  

Comment by Martin Szymanski on February 21, 2012 at 9:16pm

Personally regarding media I like fair and balanced. Tough it can be skewed one side to the other at times. 

Comment by pare.ron on February 21, 2012 at 9:30pm

Does anyone know the laws on drones in Canada ?

Comment by Ellison Chan on February 21, 2012 at 9:44pm

Same as in the states, model aricraft, only for non-commercial use is allowed without SFOC and needed if used commercially or for research.  The whole regulation is available here:

While the CARs do not define “recreational purposes” a dictionary definition of recreation is “not for work – done for pleasure or relaxation”. Model aircraft enthusiasts fly their aircraft as a pastime, an unpaid diversion, as an activity that “diverts, amuses, or stimulates”. Section 602.45 of the CARswas put in place to allow sporting enthusiasts to operate model aircraft for personal enjoyment but not for monetary gain or other form of hire and reward. The Aeronautics Act defines hire and reward as:

  1. “any payment, consideration, gratuity or benefit, directly or indirectly charged, demanded, received or collected by any person for the use of an aircraft”.
  2. Equipping model aircraft with a payload does not, in itself, make the model a UAV, however, once the model aircraft is launched for any reason other than recreational purposes, it is an unmanned air vehicle.
Comment by jordan stocker on February 21, 2012 at 11:31pm

rubbish article... they did not check their facts before posting it

Comment by George on February 21, 2012 at 11:47pm

Great article, I hope it gets the same exposure as the bad articles. 

I note and quote from the article:

".....Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson. CASA has been grappling with these complexities for some time and he says it is "just months away from completing a comprehensive overhaul of the rules".

Should be interesting, I must get out from under my rock, it's the first I've heard about any comprehensive changes, and I'm looking forward to seeing some common-sense legislation which I hope gives the hobbyist a fair go while still considering needs of the fast emerging commercial market.

Well done Jusmedia and the ABC for portraying a professional light on the drone subject.  

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 22, 2012 at 7:21am

@Eagle, what does this mean?

For sure here in Canada, it is a mess....

Droppers are falling all over the place.

@Ellison, just out of curiosity, do you know how hard it is to get an SFOC?

@Jordan, a pretty vague comment.  Care to list some reasons why?


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