FAA cuts red tape to let UAS work Yosemite wildfire

You’re a fire boss trying to contain an out-of-control wildfire in mountainous terrain, and you literally can’t see the forest for the burning trees. Dense smoke chokes the air, making it nearly impossible to have a good sense of where and how quickly a fire is moving.

Such was the case for firefighters battling this August’s Yosemite Rim fire in California, which had spread to cover more than 134,000 acres in less than two weeks. They needed a bird’s eye view of what was happening — in a hurry. Enter the California Air National Guard and the FAA.

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Poll shows most Americans support UAS for search and rescue, border patrol

A poll conducted by Monmouth University shows that a majority of Americans support the use of unmanned aircraft systems for search and rescue and border patrol. The poll found that 83% of Americans support UAS use for search and rescue and 62% support the use of the technology for patrolling our nation’s border.

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UND UAS program soars to new heights

It’s becoming a common reaction around the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences lately. That mildly surprised expression on the face of newcomers as they gaze for the first time upon the network of interconnected multi-storied futuristic buildings that form the main aerospace school complex. It’s a look that says ― “It’s more than we expected.”

And that’s not even the half of it, as they soon find out. [Read more...]

Drones gaining acceptance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Drones — Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) — are getting greater acceptance worldwide, leading all in aviation to take a new and detailed look into how they will fit into the airspace and how they will affect the safety of all flight operations.

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FAA slowing drone use to fight wildfires

Fire fighters hoping to use drones to “map a fire’s size and speed, and identify hot spots,” are running up against FAA regulation. A New York Times story notes a drone is precluded, “from operating out of sight of a ground-based pilot. If distance or the smoke of a wildfire obscures a drone from observers on the ground, a piloted aircraft must be sent aloft to keep an eye on it.” Fire fighting is but one of many facets of drone use the FAA, federal government and U.S. citizens are debating.

X-47B carrier ops video

The Navy just made the first catapult launch of an unmanned X-47B from a carrier at sea; then did a touch-and-go on the deck a few days later (May 14 and 17). Frederick A. Johnsen of Airailimages.com put together a short video using U.S. Navy imagery.

Drones used to save rhinos

Rhino poaching is a big deal in Africa. Drones are a big (and getting bigger) deal everywhere. Anton Kieser is using helicopter drones to try to save the African rhino from poachers.

University conducts its first drone research mission over Gulf of Mexico

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will conduct the first mission over the Gulf of Mexico with its unmanned aircraft from Monday, March 11, through Friday, March 15.

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Make way for the drones

WASHINGTON, D.C. — You will be sharing the airspace with unmanned aerial vehicles more and more in the coming year and ahead.

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North Dakota eyed for UAS ‘mall’

By JUAN MIGUEL PEDRAZA

In a visit to Grand Forks, N.D, just ahead of election day, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) got a good look at a spot for a mall — an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) mall.

A key spot on the tour was the University of North Dakota’s UAS facilities. UND would be a key tenant of the mall.

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