WEEKLY DRONE NEWS FROM DRONE PILOTS FEDERATION - 22 MAY 2017

Our weekly news transmission had an intermission last week due to extensive travel and business commitments. Here is two week's worth of updates:

WORLD NEWS HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

BRIGHT SPOT #1 OF THE WEEK

BRIGHT SPOT #2 OF THE WEEK

LESSON OF THE WEEK

NEWS FROM DRONE PILOTS FEDERATION

UPCOMING EVENTS

SAFETY MESSAGE

IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM

SACRAMENTO CHAPTER NEWS

 

WORLD NEWS HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

John Taylor beats FAA in US Court of Appeal decision over recreational drone registration rule.

From the court decision: “The FAA’s Registration Rule violates Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. We grant Taylor’s petition for review of the Registration Rule, and we vacate the Registration Rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft.” The registration rule was the one that required recreational drone pilots in the U.S. to pay $5 to the FAA for every drone and model aircraft (including radio-controlled or R/C aircraft).  Important to note is that it does NOT have anything to do with Part 107 (commercial drone ops). And the FAA still has authority to prosecute any drone pilot who endangers the National Air Space (NAS).  

This decision is a big set back for the FAA and those who believe every drone in the U.S. should be federally registered, regardless of use.  The debates and reactions - both legal and legislative - are sure to continue.  For a comprehensive analysis of this decision, including what it does NOT address, see Jonathan Rupprecht's article.

Want to share your opinion with others in Drone Pilots Federation?  Write a comment below or post in our private Facebook group for DPF members.  

 

BRIGHT SPOT #1 OF THE WEEK

First commercial BVLOS flight under FAA Part 107 rules claimed by BNSF Railway and Rockwell Collins.

While other Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) commercial drone flights have undoubtably taken place before in the U.S. (both before and after the Part 107 rules took effect in 2016), the milestone claimed by these companies in this Rotor & Wing article state that this was the first time it has happened legally and procedurally under the new framework.  Inspections of long linear infrastructures such as railways and pipelines clearly call out for BVLOS drone operations.  If these two companies have learned how to navigate through the FAA approval process, perhaps the days of routine commercial BVLOS drone operations are actually close in the U.S. 

 

BRIGHT SPOT #2 OF THE WEEK

Record-setting 97-mile drone package delivery achieved in U.S.

The recent Xponential show from AUVSI led to a number of product launches, news releases, and major announcements in the drone world.  One was this from the Nevada UAS Consortium about their drone package delivery flight to Austin, Texas. An interesting caveat is "urban" in the press release. Perhaps there is a longer rural package delivery? In any case, we voted this story as the drone news bright spot of the week.  The long distance required a challenging daisy-chain of visual observers (VOs) and communication links. When package deliveries can operate BVLOS, then we'll have a chance at a feasible business operation. Read the press release here.

 

LESSON OF THE WEEK

Drone crash leads to bicycle race crash (video footage)

Poor flight planning and an inadequate safety risk assessment created a bad situation that could have been much worse.  But it was still an important lesson in safety, training, and risk management.  (Take those things seriously so you don't cause an accident like this!)  

Sally French wrote the story in Marketwatch. See the video of the unnamed biker take a scary spill after his front wheel got stopped from debris from the drone from another unnamed person. The video is from a trailing biker Kaito Clarke:

 

NEWS FROM DRONE PILOTS FEDERATION

Like many others in the drone world, Drone Pilots Federation was present at the XPONENTIAL 2017 event organized by AUVSI.  It was a very productive (and exhausting) event.  Discussions held there are expected to lead to future announcements so please stay tuned.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

3rd annual Drone Focus conference  May 31 - June 1, Fargo, ND, USA. This event will convene industry leaders in the unmanned aerial systems and autonomous vehicles in an engaging space to learn and connect.  

Interdrone 2017 – September 6-8th in Las Vegas, NV, USA.  This drone-centered conference made news itself recently when it was named one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows in the U.S. by Trade Show Executive. Learn more about the event at the InterDrone website.

This from Interdrone, a discount for DPF Members:

After an impressive show last year (3,518 delegates from 54 nations and rave reviews) InterDrone returns to Las Vegas Sept. 6-8 in a premier location.  It will feature 125+ sessions for engineers, software developers, executives, investors, regulators and commercial drone “buyers and flyers” in more than a dozen vertical market segments. 4,000+ attendees from 6 continents and 180+ exhibitors. DPF members will receive a $100 discount off the prevailing rate of the 3-day pass by inserting the code FLYIT when prompted at www.interdrone.com

 

SAFETY MESSAGE

Using drones at sport events needs extreme planning, skill, and safety!

As the lesson of the week shows, operating a drone in conjunction with a sporting event brings an increased likelihood and risk that your drone will become part of the sporting event itself.  This is never a good thing if your drone is meant to be an impartial and non-interfering observer.  Four things (just to get you thinking) that you must have for these special conditions:

  1. Practice sessions with realistic participants doing the sport activities you plan to observe
  2. Complete approval & support of the event organizers and sponsors 
  3. Legal, financial, and regulatory coverage (be prepared for a long planning schedule and lots of insurance)
  4. An adequately trained and staffed ground team to handle contingencies and emergencies

We don't know how the pilot in the bicycle race would rate on all of these points, but it appears that he or she was deficient in two of them.  If you want to use a drone to record or observe a sporting event, be aware of your limitations as a drone pilot and appreciate the unique risks that will exist in these scenarios. 

 

 IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM

If you haven't done so, be certain to sign up for Chris Korody's newletter, Dronin'on, here

Also take a look at Scott Simmie's blog, TheDigitalCircuit.com. Scott is an award winning reporter formerly writing for the Toronto Star on technology and many other issues.

If you want to go to the bleeding edge of drone tech, take a look at Kenaptic, they are creating a haptic suit to fly your drone.

You will find very interesting drone info on these sites.

 

SACRAMENTO CHAPTER NEWS

The BYOD-is-for-Drone Drone Swarm is still planned for May 23rd, 6-8pm at the Hobbytown USA in Folsom, California.  It is hosted by the Folsom Makers Meetup group.  Bring your drone-related questions, equipment, and topics to see, hear, learn, build, repair, or trade with others. Register and see details on the Folsom Makers Meetup group event page.

 

SIGN OFF

Thanks for reading this edition of our weekly drone news from Drone Pilots Federation.  Fly safe, be well, and do Good.

 

Bruce Parks,

President

 

Brett Hoffstadt, PMP

Vice President

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