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.

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…]

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.

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…]

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…]