Tag Archives: UAS

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

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

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

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

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

Drone Flights Over People and at Night—Draft Regulations Released

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been busy even in the midst of the government shutdown. Last week, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) flights over people and at night. For flights over people, the regulation breaks UAS into three categories: … Continue Reading

OSHA Safety Inspections by Drones

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum last year announcing that its inspectors were now authorized to use camera-equipped unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) to collect evidence during inspections. This means that OSHA inspectors are authorized to conduct in-person inspections of the workplace as well as remote-controlled aircraft inspections above the … Continue Reading

Vaccines Delivered by Drone in South Pacific

On the remote island of Erromango, in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, a one-month old child was given vaccines for hepatitis and tuberculosis via drone delivery. Not only is this unique because of the delivery method, but more than 20 percent of children under age five miss their vaccinations in Vanuatu because of the … Continue Reading

OIG Audit Results Released on FAA Drone Waiver Processes

Last week, a new audit report was released regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) waiver process. According to the audit, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found room for improvement. In particular, the FAA’s timeliness in response to waiver requests could improve. The audit was conducted between … Continue Reading

More Than 50,000 LAANC Applications Processed

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) nationwide deployment of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system has processed more than 50,000 applications from drone operators for authorization to fly in controlled airspace since November 2017. The LAANC system now covers about 300 air traffic facilities that service approximately 500 airports, and provides nearly instant … Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

Drone Regulations Withstand Challenge

The United States government’s ability to police hobbyist drone use was upheld by an appellate court last week. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected arguments by John Taylor, a drone hobbyist, who successfully overturned the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) system for registering unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) last year. Judge … Continue Reading

FAA to Require Recertification for Commercial Drone Pilots

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it will require recertification for those who receive a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate under Part 107 small unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) regulations. The certification will only have a 24 month shelf life, and then the pilot needs to recertify their knowledge through additional testing. … Continue Reading

UAS Integration Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will now fund double the number of unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) integration projects as it previously has, due to a strong response from organizations and companies wishing to participate. The DOT’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) was set to launch five projects in the initial round, but … Continue Reading
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