Drone Racing – the world is taking notice!

I would never have predicted that The New Yorker reader would be interested in Drone Racing. But it appears David Remnick thought differently. In fact, the article ‘The Trippy, High-Speed World of Drone Racing‘ written by  is the best I’ve read for awhile.

Ian’s subtitle reads “There is no slacker component to the new generation of talented young pilots who like to fool around with quadcopters.” In the article he highlights Jordan “Jet” Temkin (2017 Drone Racing League Allianz World Champion), Zachry “A_Nub” Thayer (2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Champion), and Travis “M0ke” McIntyre (all roommates in Fort Collins).

If you have a moment, check it out. Fly on!

DJI releases the Matrice 200 series for monitoring and inspection uses

For those using drones for commercial surveillance, monitoring and inspection purposes, this new product from DJI looks like it has it all.

DJI Matrice M200 Series

Source: PC Mag Review

Configurations:

  1. the standard M200 configuration includes one downward-facing gimbal. It supports a number of removable cameras, including the Zenmuse Z30, which features a 30x zoom lens and 1080p recording, the Zenmuse X4S, which has a 1-inch sensor and supports 4K, the Zenmuse X5S, a Micro Four Thirds shooter that also supports 4K, and the Zenmuse XT, a thermal camera developed in cooperation with Flir.
  2. the M210 uses the same airframe and you’ll be able to mount either two downward-facing cameras on dual front gimbals, or a single upward-facing camera. You can’t use an upward and downward camera simultaneously, however. If you opt for the up-facing camera, you’ll need to install an external GPS receiver, as screwing a gimbal onto the top of the aircraft blocks the internal GPS.
  3. the M210 RTK, is almost identical to the M210 in terms of features. It adds a system that allows for navigation with centimeter precision.

    All configurations include redundant inertial measurement units (IMUs), barometers, compasses, and GPS systems. In addition to the forward-facing obstacle detection system, the aircraft also features downward obstacle avoidance and a top-mounted infrared sensor. The Matrice is rated IP43, so it can operate in light rain or misty conditions.

Availability and pricing have yet to be announced.

Also, this is the first DJI drone to integrate ADS-B surveillance technology that helps the operator be aware of aircraft in close proximity to the drone’s flight path. More on this topic can be found here: DJI drones use plane avoidance tech

This was bound to happen sooner or later…

Hand grenade drone adds to IS arsenal around Mosul

Arbid (Iraq) (AFP) – The Islamic State group drone hovered in the sky over the advancing Iraqi forces before dropping a grenade, the jihadists’ latest move to weaponise small off-the-shelf aircraft.

IS is flying drones to spy on Iraqi forces — so Iraqi forces are sending up their own devices to spot the enemy as well.

Moayyad watched a screen inside a specially converted armoured bank van he has turned into a mobile drone control centre.

“Now I am entering the dangerous zone, this is where Daesh is,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS as he manoeuvered the drone’s remote control to focus on jihadist positions some five kilometres (three miles) away.

Like the IS operation, the Iraq police have also cobbled their drone programme together with shop-bought equipment and ingenuity.

and there’s more…

This just in from the FAA re: Part 107 Waivers

FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations

October 25– The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began issuing Part 107 waivers and airspace authorizations to drone operators starting August 29, 2016, the effective date of the new rule.  As of October 24, 2016, the agency has approved 81 authorizations for flights in Class D and E airspace, and has issued 36 waivers of Part 107 provisions to drone operators who applied after the rule’s effective date.

However, the agency has found that many applications have incorrect or incomplete information. Many applicants request too many waivers or request waivers for flights in types of airspace for which the FAA is not yet granting approvals. As a result, the agency has had to reject 71 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications.

It’s important for applicants to understand the information needed to make a successful safety case for granting a waiver. Refer to the performance-based standards (PDF) on our website.

For example, we clearly spell out the information required for a waiver to fly at night – one of the most common requests:

  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to maintain visual line of sight during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to see and avoid other aircraft, people on the ground, and ground-based structures and obstacles during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method by which the remote pilot will be able to continuously know and determine the position, altitude, attitude, and movement of their small unmanned aircraft (sUA).
  • Applicant must assure all required persons participating in the sUA operation have knowledge to recognize and overcome visual illusions caused by darkness, and understand physiological conditions which may degrade night vision.
  • Applicant must provide a method to increase conspicuity of the sUA to be seen at a distance of 3 statute miles unless a system is in place that can avoid all non-participating aircraft.

The other performance-based standards also list exactly what the FAA needs to consider a waiver. Operators must make waiver requests at:https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/

Without a detailed description of how the applicant intends to meet these standards, the FAA can’t determine if a waiver is possible. Operators should select only the Part 107 regulations that need to be waived for the proposed operation. Applicants also should respond promptly to any request we make for additional information. If the agency does not receive a response after 30 days, it will withdraw the request.

Operators must apply for airspace authorizations on the same web page. The required information is spelled out in the waiver/airspace authorization instructions document (PDF).

As the FAA previously announced, operators who want to fly in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace don’t need FAA authorization. The agency is currently processing requests to operate in Class D and Class E airport surfaces. We will begin to consider requests for Class C drone flights after October 31 and for Class B airspace after December 5. Applications to fly in those areas before the indicated dates won’t be approved.

The Part 107 regulations provide a flexible framework for unmanned aircraft operations. Waivers and airspace authorizations are an important part of making the new rule work as intended. Applicants can help speed the process by making sure they make a solid, detailed safety case for any flights not covered under the small drone rule.

Satellites to Spot Drones…

This just in from the European Space Agency (ESA)
26 October 2016A space-age system for detecting drones took home the grand prize in this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition, while ESA’s prize went to a smart satnav bicycle bell.

Drones are one of the biggest trends of this year, offering many helpful applications. At the same time, there are increasing safety concerns, with many cases of drones flying too close for comfort to airports and aircraft, including a near-collision over Munich in August.

In response, Carmine Clemente and his team from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, are developing a satellite-based system for early drone detection and tracking.

Grand prizewinners

It offers continuous coverage over a fixed area by sensors measuring how drones affect satnav signals. The differences between the sensors pinpoint the drones and allow their tracking, revealing the risk of collision with aircraft landing and taking off.

The €10 000 grand prize was presented to the team in Madrid’s Circulo de Bellas Artes last night. In addition, the project is set to receive an extensive package including marketing, consulting and technical assistance, boosted by the UK’s regional prize.

With the technology and a feasibility study already in place, Dr Clemente predicts the product should be on the market within two years.

Part 107 test available August 29

What is Part 107 about?

Non-hobbyist sUAS Regulations (Part 107) Released Today (6/21/16)

Go here to learn more about the FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test.

Some key points: You can start taking the test on August 29th, There are 60 questions, multiple choice (3 answers to choose from) 2 hour limit taking the test, 70% or above to pass the test. Cost $150. You must register will either CATS or LaserGrade Testing Centers to take the test. You must take the test every 2 years to keep a current license. remotepilot101 wants $99 to help you study and pass the test.

To get started, check this out:

http://remotepilot101.com/what-questions-will-the-faa-ask-me-on-my-faa-knowledge-test/?inf_contact_key=29489860b3376fd503b3b047fa1d8a4536c59a2bb511c39aa2e74a9cbc49ff6e

A Great Article: Is Flying a Drone Illegal? BY JASON KOEBLER

Is Flying a Drone Illegal? A Comprehensive Guide to America’s Drone Laws

WRITTEN BY JASON KOEBLER

Jason writes –

“After publishing three separate stories about FAA enforcement of drone regulationslast week and watching the online conversation about them, it occurred to me that it might be useful to get deep into the weeds on this issue and unpack what the current legal situation actually is.”

Read on.. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/is-flying-a-drone-illegal-a-comprehensive-guide-to-americas-drone-laws

 

FAA Flight Advisory for Philadelphia – July 25-29, 2016

FLIGHT ADVISORY

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
National Special Security Event
Democratic National Convention
Philadelphia, PA July 25-29, 2016
In summary:
These restrictions extend out to 30nm, centered on the Wells Fargo Center in Downtown Philadelphia (PHL). This includes airspace over the surface of the earth up to 18,000 feet MSL. These restrictions apply from Monday July 25th at 1000 EDT to Friday the 29th at 0100 EDT.
Bottom line:
Absolutely No Drones will be permitted within the Philadelphia Temporary Flight Restrictions July 25-29, 2016. Read the Advisory for more details.
The (fuzzy) image below shows the areas impacted by these flight restrictions (page 6 of the this PDF has a better image):
TFRrestr
And of course, FAA adds this caution!
TFRrestr2
Ignore their warning at your own peril…