Archives: Drones

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President Trump Signs the FAA Reauthorization Act: What Does it Mean for Drones?

On October 5, 2018, President Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act which establishes new conditions for the recreational use of drones and immediately repealed the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. The FAA is currently evaluating the impact of this change and how the organization will implement these changes. In addition to continuing … Continue Reading

Drone Flights Over Football Fans

For the first time in the U.S., a commercial drone equipped with a parachute safety system was permitted to fly over people during a football game in North Dakota last week. A DJI Phantom 4 being controlled by a North Dakota drone operator, Botlink, used a drone safety solutions company’s “SafeAir System” (ParaZero) to conduct … Continue Reading

FAA Issues Guidance on Enforcement for UAS Violators

Drone pilots who interfere with those fighting wildfires, conducting law enforcement tasks, or other first responders (such as medical flights) are now more likely to face serious civil penalties. Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued guidance for agency personnel who handle drone violations to refer all such cases to the FAA’s Chief Counsel’s … Continue Reading

FAA Approves Nine New LAANC Service Providers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced new partners in its Low Altitude and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative. LAANC is the system created by the FAA and industry stakeholders that provides near real-time processing of airspace authorizations for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations. Now, after a five-month onboarding process (which … Continue Reading

New Patent Looks to Blockchain for Drone Security

According to recent documents made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) IBM has applied for a patent for a system that would use distributed ledger technology to address privacy and security concerns associated with the increasing usage of drones in both commercial and recreational applications. In the application for this patent, IBM’s … Continue Reading

FAA’s LANNC: Last Stop, Central North U.S.

As of last week, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) is nationwide. We wrote about the FAA’s initiation of LAANC in April, with incremental deployment at air traffic facilities and airports, with the final deployment on September 13 (last week). That last deployment occurred in the Central North region … Continue Reading

Drone Crashes in San Francisco During Building Inspection

While inspecting a cracked window at San Francisco’s tilting Millennium Tower, a drone fell from the sky, just missing pedestrians below. The Millennium Tower’s homeowners association hired a drone pilot to take photos of a cracked window. However, during the aerial inspection, the drone lost its satellite signal. Once the signal was lost, the drone … Continue Reading

Why Utility Companies Love Drones

It’s true. Utility and power companies really love using drones. While it seems like drones are everywhere now, with trillions of dollars’ worth of industrial infrastructure aging across the country, worker safety and terrorism concerns, climate change putting strain on power grids, manufacturing facilities and oil and gas production, drones offer a cheaper and more … Continue Reading

“Drones are the Next Internet” Says the FAA

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Dan Elwell, said last week, “Drones are going to do for aviation what the internet did for information,” and called on the industry to work with the FAA to fully integrate drones into the National Airspace System. Elwell made this statement at the InterDrone conference held last week in Las … Continue Reading

Close to 2,000 FAA UAS Waivers in Two Years

Last week, on the two-year anniversary of the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) rule (or Part 107), a report was released by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) stating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted approximately 2,000 waivers since the inception of Part 107. Part 107 sets forth certain parameters and … Continue Reading

FAA Investigates Near Drone-Helicopter Collision

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began investigating a YouTube video that shows a helicopter almost colliding with a drone right off the coast of Hollywood Beach, Florida. In the video, the drone is heading west towards the coast before its camera turns south and the helicopter is seen in the distance; the helicopter … Continue Reading

Kansas DOT Launches First BVLOS Flight in FAA Pilot Program

Last week, the Kansas Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with 30 other Kansas groups, flew a drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration Program (IPP). Kansas-State Polytech Flight Operation Manager Travis Balthazor said, “Currently, we’re restricted to a visual line of … Continue Reading

National Security, Technical and Legal Challenges for Counter-UAS Technology

National security concerns related to drones range from illicit intelligence gathering to smuggling drugs and guns over the border or into prisons, to attacks like those conducted by terrorist groups. However, currently, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) counter technology (or counter-UAS) legal authority is limited. Only the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) … Continue Reading

New Milestone in U.S. Drone Delivery

Last week, in Blacksburg, Virginia, two-year old, Jack Smith—made history. Only six minutes after a technician from Alphabet Inc.’s Wing clicked the “Confirm Order” button on a smartphone app, a drone operated by the company flew from a simulated store about a mile away, hovered over Jack’s lawn and lowered the popsicle he had ordered … Continue Reading

Using Drones For Business? Don’t Forget About Insurance

The use of drones use has grown rapidly in recent years, especially in the commercial sector, where the Federal Aviation Administration projects that the number of units in the commercial small drone fleet will exceed 420,000 units by 2021. As businesses continue to incorporate drones into their everyday operations, they also will want to set … Continue Reading

First Known Drone Attack in Venezuela

Last weekend, in Venezuela, the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, was attacked by two armed drones carrying explosives that were detonated while Maduro was delivering a speech on live television during a military ceremony. Although Maduro was not struck by the explosives, his administrative officials called it an assassination attempt. This drone attack was the most … Continue Reading

100,000 Remote Pilot Certificates Issued

As of last week, more than 100,000 Remote Pilot Certifications have been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for individuals to fly commercial and recreational (those not qualifying as “model aircraft”) drones. This number of remote pilots is only after the final Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) rule went into effect on August 29, … Continue Reading

FAA Issues Statement Clarifying its Authority

In light of the rise in use of drones in the national airspace, there has been some confusion regarding the Federal Aviation  Administration’s (FAA) authority over navigable airspace and federal preemption for state and local drone laws. In response, the FAA released a statement regarding federal versus local drone rulemaking authority. In that statement, the … Continue Reading
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