FAA releases pilot drone reports

The FAA has released a new list of pilot, air traffic and citizen reports of possible encounters with remotely piloted aircraft, also known as drones and unmanned aircraft (UAS). The reports cover Nov. 13, 2014, through Aug. 20, 2015.

Because pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, FAA officials said they want to send a clear message that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal. Unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time.

View the report here.

Companies team to create on-demand drone service

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Aero Kinetics has partnered with GridMeNow to incorporate its mobile, real-time tracking solutions into Aero Kinetics’ newest multi-rotor vertical takeoff and land (VTOL) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), also known as drones and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

“We will essentially become the Uber of unmanned systems where UAS can be dispatched by mobile phone directly to your location,” explains W. Hulsey Smith, CEO of Aero Kinetics. [Read more…]

Lockheed Martin deploys RPA traffic management system

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As remotely piloted aircraft — also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and drones — take to the skies, it is essential for safety that RPA operators and pilots are aware of each other. To help provide this shared situational awareness, Lockheed Martin has deployed the first components of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system that is available to the drone community now. [Read more…]

FAA: Wildfires and drones don’t mix

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Responding to recent incidents in which remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) — also known as drones and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — interfered with manned aircraft involved in fighting fires, the FAA is supporting the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service in a simple message to drone operators: If you fly, we can’t.

“Flying a drone near aerial firefighting aircraft doesn’t just pose a hazard to the pilots,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “When aircraft are grounded because an unmanned aircraft is in the vicinity, lives are put at greater risk.” [Read more…]

Drone safety campaign focused on ag flying launched

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The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) has launched a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) safety campaign to raise awareness and prevent accidents between RPA operators and low-altitude manned aircraft.

The first public outreach tool in the safety campaign is a “safety stuffer” designed for aerial applicators to share with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders. Sized to fit into a No. 10 envelope, the double-sided insert illustrates the safety concerns ag pilots have about hard-to-see RPAs — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned aerial systems and drones — and provides recommendations for safe and responsible operations in rural areas. [Read more…]

Amazon makes its case for drone highways in the sky

Much of the talk around the feasibility of Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service is rightly centered around how the vehicles can be safely squeezed into US airspace, according to a post at GizMag. But Amazon officials have a plan, where drones would get exclusive access to that chunk of airspace between up to 400 feet. The first 200 feet would be dedicated to “low-speed localized traffic,” while 200 feet to 400 feet would be dedicated to “high-speed transit.” The airspace between 400 feet and 500 feet would be declared a no-fly zone to create a buffer between drones and general aviation. Check out the story here and then let us know what you think of the plan in our comment section.

Commercial drone shipments to top 2.6 million by 2025

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According to a new report from Tractica, a growing interest in using remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, will drive commercial RPA shipments from 80,000 in 2015 to more than 2.6 million annually by 2025.

The market intelligence firm forecasts that annual revenue from commercial drone hardware sales will reach nearly $4 billion in the same timeframe. However, the more significant revenue opportunity will be in commercial drone-enabled services, which Tractica forecasts will grow to $8.7 billion annually by 2025. [Read more…]

Embry-Riddle hosts Drone Challenge at AirVenture

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 attendees can get hands-on experience at the controls of unmanned flying machines as part of the Small Unmanned Aerospace System (sUAS) Challenge during this week’s fly-in.

The sUAS Challenge, which will include both obstacle and speed courses for the unmanned flying vehicles commonly referred to as drones, are part of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s aviation mobile interactive exhibit, the Embry-Riddle Experience. [Read more…]