NextGen Drone Tracker Kit now available

Sagetech Corporation has introduced a turnkey solution to track drones using NextGen ADS-B location broadcasts and iPads. The ADS-B Tracker Kit includes Sagetech’s new XPG-TR micro transponder, Clarity ADS-B receiver, and an iPad with zero interface connections.

It can be fully installed and operational in minutes, according to company officials.

The product increases safety of drone operations by allowing Air Traffic Control (ATC), nearby aircraft, and third party personnel to track unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, according to company officials.

Last December the FAA announced six UAS Test Sites to help ensure the safe integration of UAS with NextGen technologies into the nation’s airspace. The Tracker Kit will be especially helpful to users at these sites, company officials noted.

“The Tracker Kit is very intuitive and easy to use,” said Eric Folkestad, of Arcturus UAV and President of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Cascade Chapter. “It lets us use NextGen ADS-B to track our aircraft on the iPad, and we see other airplanes transiting the area as well, which are exactly the ones we need to avoid. This product is key to safety.”

Providing for safe operation of UAS in the National Airspace System (NAS) is a critical FAA milestone mandated by Congress, which will allow migration of missions characterized by the 3-Ds: dirty, dull or dangerous from manned aircraft to drones.

“Even today, the recent news helicopter mission that ended tragically in Seattle Center could easily have been flown by a 40lb UAV like ScanEagle, Aerosonde, Puma, or Arcturus,” said Kelvin Scribner, Sagetech President, who has thousands of hours piloting helicopters. “Our transponder products are uniquely small enough for these tiny UAVs, allowing their use to increase public safety. A 40lb UAV presents far less risk than the thousands of pounds of metal and jet fuel that comprise a typical helicopter.”

The Tracker Kit is available for sale this spring at SagetechCorp.com/Tracker

 

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Comments

  1. Does the drone “pilot” have a third class medical certificate issued by the FAA? After all what happens if he/she is “suddenly incapacitated” (i.e. heart attack)?

    • Tom asks a good question. The regulations yet to be developed by the FAA need to include UAV pilot requirements: training, experience, certification process, etc. We also need operational classes that make sense: maximum altitude, mission, line of sight, and so on. There’s really a lot to get in place, and the FAA needs to draw the line between unregulated model aircraft and regulated UAVs.

      My take is that the FAA has lived all these years in the manned aircraft world, so the regulations we get in the end will be developed from that perspective. I don’t think current pilots have too much to fear. But that’s just a gut feel.

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