Hi all –

Props to Patrick Egan and crew for another successful sUSB Expo. Quite the All-Star lineup – I hope that they will again put Patrick’s keynote on YouTube – and K13s. @sUASnews

And…Happy International Drone Day! #dronesaregood This is a global event, to find out if there is an event near you today, follow this link.

Early news out of Herndon, VA where the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) met Wednesday. Looks like we have two more taskforces bringing the total to five. One will focus on drones in controlled airspace, while the other will focus on
drone identification.

According to the story in Rotor & WingWithin 12 months, the committee on controlled airspace is tasked with: recommending scenarios encompassing most-desired operations; identifying gaps in research and development to inform integration; and recommending prioritized changes/additions to policies and capabilities to achieve integration.”

Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration said the committee on drone identification “Would look into available and emerging technology to develop evaluation criteria and be able to rate technical solutions that are currently available, or may emerge in the near future.”

If you’re looking to handicap the field, Christian Ramsey, CEO of uAvionix has a new blog post, The Battle For Drone Tracking Technology in which he provides pros and cons for ADS-B, LTE, V2V (vehicle to vehicle which comes from the automotive world) and RID (remote identification).

Considering how much skin he has in the game, Christian is remarkably even handed concluding that “We started off pitting these 4 technologies against one another, but in the end, they all serve different purposes and it isn’t really fair to call a winner just yet.

A thought provoking piece in Rotor & Wing How Will US State, Local Governments Control Unmanned, Manned Aircraft? FAA Unsure explores how drone operations will be integrated into cities from the point of view of DAC taskforce member Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco.

I think this conversation about drones — when I talk to other mayors, a lot of stakeholders — it actually is a transformation of the entire city having to become an airport, which is very different,” Lee said. “The aircraft we’re talking about have multiple functions. They no longer just carry passengers. This is what we’re struggling with.”

In a variation on the idea of city as airport, is this forward looking story from reader Brad about Uber hooking up with Bell Helicopters in a new venture called UBER Elevate. “Uber will be working with Bell Helicopter as a collaborator to accelerate the eventual large-scale deployment of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) in order to fulfill its mission of providing a safe, reliable transportation service to everyone, everywhere.”

This week the FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS Research, ASSURE released their UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report. This is the most comprehensive research that has ever been done on the impact of a drone hitting a person on the ground.

The good news is that getting hit in the head by a drone is not as bad as getting hit in the head by a piece of wood or steel – or a rock. But please read the deck. This is an important first step, but there is still a lot of research to be done.

A bill that would have allowed police to arm drones in Connecticut appears to have died in committee. I loved Betsy Lillian’s headline Police Drone Weaponization Bill Gets Axed in Connecticut (For Now). I guess we should take what we can get. It’s a scary idea.

A new study by Arthur Holland Michel and Dan Gettinger from the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College Drone Incidents: A Survey of Legal Cases looks at 30 cases that have gone to court or are in court now. They divided the cases into six categories: invasion of privacy, drone use, smuggling, close encounters with manned aircraft, crashes, and shoot downs.

It is interesting to note that the local police and courts who brought most of the cases relied on “General charges—such as reckless endangerment and unlawful surveillance. There appears to be little consistency in how, and by whom, infractions involving drones are prosecuted.”

The issue of ‘my rights to the air over my house’ continues. Now the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) has joined the fray with a new whitepaper Unmanned Aircraft: Defining Private Airspace written by general counsel Tom Karol.

Look how closely the paper mirrors the Bard findings. “Because the FAA preeminence is unsupported by any meaningful FAA presence, state and local authorities will be responsible for resolving these incidents, which will result in a wide and varied set of standards and applications.”

The DJI geofencing story continues. Gary Mortimer has the update which proves there is a hack for everything. “A big fanfare from around the world last week as Kevin Finisterre revealed that DJI had initiated no-fly zones for war-torn areas. Fast forward one week and CNN reporter Gabriel Chaim used the old tinfoil trick to cover the GPS on his DJI Mavic and fool the GPS.

Mr. Chaim is a plucky soul. Here is a CNN story about him and a chance to see the really heart wrenching footage he shot in Mosul. “The drone provided me with a different perspective of the war. It is impossible to get that view of the severe destruction and civilians fleeing from a traditional camera.”

A couple of good pieces on safety and safety management standards. First on CommercialDrones.FM is Podcast #043  – Drone Operational Standards Are Your Friend With Harrison Wolf. Harrison is a young go getter who among his many accomplishments is Technical Chair for the ASTM sUAS Operational Risk Assessment Standard. He also teaches safety management for drones at USC. Harrison wrote his own textbook “Drones: Safety Risk Management for the Next Evolution of Flight” which is available on Amazon.

I am looking forward to meeting Harrison at the Energy Drone Coalition Summit coming up June 20-21 in Houston.

Complementing Harrison’s focus on safety is a new post from Jonathan Rupprecht, The Ultimate Drone Logbook Guide. “There are primarily two types of logbooks: (1) pilot drone logbooks where the pilot logs experience and training and (2) drone aircraft/maintenance logbooks. There are two modes of logbooks: (1) paper and (2) electronic.”

Jonathan sells a paper one, Harrison says we live in a digital age. Both agree that the logbook is an essential part of compliance and the key to safe operations.

MMC (MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology) is an innovative Chinese drone manufacturer I spotted last year. The founder, Lu Zhihui spent some time at DJI before striking out on his own. Unlike his competitors, MMC is exclusively focused on commercial applications. Turns out they’ve been busy.

sUAS News ran the story With Over 300,000KM of Experience, the Spider Solution for Power Line Stringing Shows the Way. “Tested in the dramatic landscapes of mountains across the Asian continent, rainforests in Indonesia, and challenging urban environments, the lessons learned make the MMC Spider the undisputed leader in the field – and MMC has created a total solution to allow energy companies everywhere to utilize it.”

One of the more interesting companies in the business is Skytango out of Ireland which positions itself as the trusted marketplace for aerial video. They match crews and clients worldwide, have a growing stock footage library and offer a terrific newsletter written by CEO Steven Flynn.

Now they have created a clever bit of on-brand promotion, a series of interviews focused on the show reels of professional drone operators they work with. The first one is with Danny Cooke. And his show reel, Danny Cooke’s Visual Story Of Calm And Adventure is this week’s Eye Candy Tag Award winner.

Since this is the International Drone Day issue, I am also pleased to share an interview that Skytango did with David and Sarah Oneal, the husband and wife team who created International Drone Day. There are 150 events happening around the world today. It kicks off in Australia, and events are held in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. Team Hawaii closes the day. Pretty amazing. #dronesaregood

Safe travels to everyone heading down to Dallas for XPONENTIAL.

Thanks for reading and for sharing. More than a year’s worth of back issues of Dronin’ On can be found here.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter

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