Archives: Drones

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Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Operations in Kansas

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave the go-ahead for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations. The KDOT team, which includes Kansas State University Polytechnic, Westar Energy and Iris Automation,  will fly a nine-mile track to evaluate technologies for power line inspections in rural … Continue Reading

North Dakota Sheriff’s Department to Operate Drones Over People

Last week, the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department in North Dakota received a four-year waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate drones over people. The Department will routinely conduct drone operations over people for purposes of public safety and monitoring. Currently, the Department has five drones –all equipped with a parachute recovery system. Specifically, … Continue Reading

Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight Drone Operations in Alaska

A beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight of a drone traveled along the Trans-Alaska pipeline system (TAPS) this month, led by a team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration. Operators flew the drone along 3.87 miles of TAPS, using onboard and ground-based detection systems (instead of human observers) to detect and … Continue Reading

New B4UFly App Released by FAA and Kittyhawk

At the beginning of 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Kittyhawk, an unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drone) service provider, announced a partnership to update the FAA’s B4UFly app. The newly updated app was released last week for drone operators (both commercial and recreational alike), which now determines in real-time which airspace restrictions are … Continue Reading

$7.75 Million Grant Awarded to Drone Companies for Drone Traffic Management

Two New York drone companies, AX Enterprize and Thales USA, were awarded a $7.75 million grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to develop state-of-the-art air traffic management (ATM) systems to would allow civilian and military drones to safely coexist alongside manned aircraft in the national airspace. The project and research will be conducted … Continue Reading

FAA Expands Drone Operations for Recreational Operators

As of July 23, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expanded the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) system to include recreational operators. LAANC is a system built as a collaboration between the FAA and industry stakeholders to help expedite the time it takes to receive authorization to fly a drone under 400 feet in … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Drone Initiative

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) drone initiative has taken off. What does that mean for your company? Currently, OSHA can only use drones for inspection activities with permission from employers. However, that could leave you in an uncomfortable position if you deny OSHA’s request to use a drone for its inspection. How should … Continue Reading

UPS Seeks Certification for Drone Delivery Services

United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) is seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a network of commercial drones for purposes of delivering packages all across the U.S. If UPS’ request for certification is granted by the FAA, UPS could be flying drones over people in populated areas, at night and … Continue Reading

Washington State Increases Drone Fleet to 111 Drones

Over only a few years’ time, Washington State Patrol (the Patrol) has built a drone fleet of 111 drones. The Patrol says that it uses these small drones for crash investigations and fatality scenes, and not for surveillance purposes. Detective Sergeant Clint Thomas said that roughly 100 state troopers and detective across the state are … Continue Reading

U.S. Interior Approves Use of DJI Drones

The U.S. Interior Department (the Interior) authorized government officials to buy drones from DJI Technology (DJI) after a previous warning that the company may act as a channel for Chinese government espionage. However, Mark Bathrick, Director of the Office of Aviation Services, said, “[This authorization is] a very narrow, very specific, very limited authorization. We’re … Continue Reading

ULC Model State Drone Legislation to be Discussed

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is set to meet this week and next in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss and vote on model state legislation concerning drones. The ULC’s proposed legislation is an attempt to recognize the fact that drones can be transformative to search and rescue, inspection and logistics, but that when misused, a drone … Continue Reading

Canada’s New Drone Regulations

In Canada, the drone industry has nearly doubled in size every two years over the past decade. With that boom, Canadian regulators have been grappling with many of the same questions that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been struggling with as well — how do you safely incorporate drones into the airspace? To … Continue Reading

Amazon Prime Air’s Drone Design

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced Amazon Prime Air, a delivery-by-drone initiative more than five years ago, and last week, Amazon revealed more information about its delivery system–the design. The Amazon delivery drone will use vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology that is aerodynamic and “fully shrouded for safety.” Additionally, the drone features artificial intelligence to … Continue Reading

FAA Grants Waiver for Drone Use Over People

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Hensel Phelps Construction Co. a Part 107 unmanned aerial system (UAS or drone) waiver to operate a parachute-equipped drone over people. However, the FAA clarified that while it granted the wavier for the use it did not certify or approve the parachute or the parachute system itself. … Continue Reading

U.S. Senators Push for Remote Drone I.D.

U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to publish a proposed rule for the remote identification of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones). The request was issued through a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). According to the Senators’ letter, remote identification … Continue Reading

Drone Delivers Human Kidney for Transplant

Last month, a University of Maryland unmanned aerial system (UAS or drone) delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore for an ultimately successful transplant to a patient with kidney failure. The drone flew 2.6 miles in approximately 10 minutes. This University of Maryland project is important … Continue Reading

FAA’s UAS Growth Predictions

In the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) latest aerospace forecast, it noted the “phenomenal growth” of the small unmanned aerial system (UAS or drone) industry. The FAA reported that at the end of 2018 there were 277,000 UAS registered with the FAA. In the FAA’s 2017 report and predictions, that number was expected to be only … Continue Reading

FAA Announces Certification of Commercial Package Delivery

We recently posted about the status of delivery by drone. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded the first air carrier certification to a drone delivery company, Wing Aviation. Wing Aviation will begin commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia. U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, said, “This is an important step forward for … Continue Reading

UAS Industry Stakeholders Provide Feedback on FAA’s Proposed Rules

Several industry leaders and stakeholders in the unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) industry have provided feedback on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) proposed rules for flying drones at night and over people, as well as for drone safety and security issues. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) argued in its comments that … Continue Reading

FAA Set to Approve First Drone Airline License

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to award its first license to operate a drone airline in May. Last year, the FAA determined that large-scale commercial package delivery drone operations would require certain safety and economic certification standards like other licensed U.S. airlines. The FAA has not yet announced which company will receive that … Continue Reading

UPS and Matternet Team Up for Medical Supply Delivery Program

Last week, UPS formed a new partnership with drone developer Matternet to deliver medical samples via drone. The delivery program will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina at WakeMed’s hospital, with program oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Currently, medical samples and specimens are transported by … Continue Reading

Delivery by Drone: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that unmanned aerial system (UAS or drone) delivery operations would be required to obtain a commercial air operator certificate issued under 14 CFR Part 119, as required by 14 CFR Part 135. This certification requires “economic authority” from the Department of Transportation (DOT) which can be given … Continue Reading

FAA Issues New National Policy—Greater Oversight of Drone Operators

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drone) operators will now face stricter oversight and inspections by local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) under the new National Policy issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Policy requires FSDOs to immediately update their 2019 National Work Program Guidelines to include new Required Surveillance Work Activities. Before the … Continue Reading
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