Education and innovation the key to safer skies

Brian Wynne

By BRIAN WYNNE

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or drones, have grown in the past few years from a niche tool to a must-have holiday toy and business asset.

The increasing availability of this technology has led many new enthusiasts to take to the skies, sometimes in places where they shouldn’t be.

Newcomers to UAS technology are often excited to get their new systems off the ground. However, many of these users do not realize that just because the technology is easily acquired does not mean that it can be flown anywhere or for any purpose. [Read more…]

Video: New accident case study released

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The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Air Safety Institute has released “Final Approach,” the latest in a series of accident case studies.

This episode explores the dangers of flying in low instrument conditions with a dwindling fuel supply.

The January 2013 accident involved a Piper Arrow that struck trees while attempting to make a dead-stick emergency landing at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. [Read more…]

NASA picks six ‘wild ideas’ to study

This conceptual art shows the main idea whether a vehicle with electric propulsion could use its structure to serve as a battery.

It never hurts to ask. In that spirit, six teams of NASA’s aeronautical innovators are about to take the plunge and ask if the novel ideas they have come up with have the potential to transform aviation as we know it, extending the frontier of what’s possible with flight.

Imagine an electrically-propelled airliner whose fuselage is the battery. How about an remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) equipped with artificial intelligence programmed to respond to unforeseen situations the same way a human pilot would?

Those are among the six concepts recently selected for study during the next two years or so as part of an imaginative venture under NASA’s new Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) project. [Read more…]

Commercial drone rules should be in place by this time next year

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Commercial drone operations could take flight on a large scale by this time next year, according to a Reuters report. FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker told a Congressional committee the agency expects to finalize its regulations within the next 12 months. Previous forecasts had anticipated rules by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

“The rule will be in place within a year,” Whitaker said in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Hopefully before June 17, 2016.”