Drone driver licenses? How to make flying robots safe for American skies

13 October 2013


A romantic pre-wedding photo shoot turned sour when the photographer’s camera-equipped quadcopter swerved out of control and hit the groom on the head. 

“We cleaned up the blood and just kept going,” Davey Orgill, the photographer — who had been filming the bride- and groom-to-be on Aug. 1 on a grassy field near La Barge, Wyo. — told NBC News. After the wedding, with the couple’s permission, he uploaded the fateful shot to YouTube where it’s been viewed more than 1 million times.

In Manhattan, in October, a pedestrian narrowly missed a collision with a Phantom quadcopter when it landed on the sidewalk as he walked past Grand Central Station. Early in September, in a far more sobering incident, a 19-year-old hobbyist pilot was killed when his remotely operated helicopter hit him on the head during a flight in a park in Brooklyn.  More…


FAA Selects K-State Salina to Test UAS Certification Standards

7 October 2013

SALINA — The Federal Aviation Administration is turning to Kansas State University Salina to test certification standards for small unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed by the university and the FAA on Aug. 29, K-State Salina will validate industry standards for small unmanned aircraft systems — systems typically weighing 55 pounds or less — set by the F38 technical committee of ASTM International. K-State Salina will use its own unmanned aircraft systems using the standards to apply for airworthiness certification.

Formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. More…

Small Drone Crash Lands in Manhattan…

3 October 2013


Eyewitness News

NEW YORK (WABC) — A small helicopter drone flying high above buildings on the East side of Manhattan crash landed just feet away from a businessman during the Monday evening rush hour.

The drone is small but the FAA says it should not have been flying hundreds of feet above a crowded Manhattan sidewalk.

The businessman who almost took a direct hit from the unmanned device, recovered its video card from the debris and then reached out to us.

The video from the crashed drone shows it taking off from a high-rise terrace in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. It’s evening rush hour and below thousands of New Yorkers are heading home, unaware that 20 to 30 stories above them, a small, 3-pound radio-controlled helicopter with a camera is flying overhead.

“Choosing their own personal enjoyment over any of the consequences,” a businessman, who asked not to be identified, told us. More…


Marines Renew Unmanned K-Max in Afghanistan (Again)

1 October 2013

The U.S. Marine Corps has once again extended the Kaman/Lockheed Martin unmanned K-Max helicopter trial in Afghanistan for another full year from August 2013. This despite of one of the two aircraft crashing on June 5 at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand Province, which has left it grounded and in need of extensive repairs. The USMC will continue with one aircraft and have not yet committed funds to repair the second aircraft.
From simple point-to-point delivery of logistics when the K-Max UAS first entered Afghanistan in December 2011, its mission profile has been increasingly… more…

Registration Open for UAS Airspace Operations Challenge… Phase 1 with $500K Prize


Welcome to the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Operations Challenge! This competition is a NASA Centennial Challenge Program. Competitors in a Phase 1 competition will compete for $500,000 in prizes by demonstrating UAS technology and capabilities that are critical to their integration into the national airspace. The Ohio/Indiana UAS Center & Test Complex will host the Phase 1 Competition at Camp Atterbury Range, near Edinburgh, IN. Development Projects Inc. (part of the Dayton Development Coalition) of Dayton, Ohio is managing the competition.

The UAS Airspace Operations Challenge (UAS AOC) is one of several challenges in NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program and is coordinated by NASA Ames Research Center in California on behalf of NASA’s Space Technology and Aeronautics Research Mission Directorates. More…

Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS Completes Inspection Demonstrations Using FLIR Corona 350 Sensor

26 September 2013


Schiebel, FLIR and Transpower are proud to announce the successful demonstration of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) with the integrated FLIR Corona 350 Sensor being used to inspect high voltage power-lines and supporting structures. This event marked the first time that this new capability was demonstrated using a UAS. Transpower with the support of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority hosted a series of demonstrations at the Drury substation in Auckland, New Zealand, where the outstanding combination of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 and the FLIR sensor confirmed the system’s ability to identify encroaching vegetation and activity associated with underbuilding, corrosion and wear and tear damage on power-line conductors as well as ‘hot spots’ in conductors and connection points. – See more…