Dutch farmers in Limburg had decided to check their crop for cannabis using drones. Farmers started taking action because cutbacks meant police would no longer continue their so-called helicopter ‘weed flights’. The use of maize fields to grow cannabis ‘for free’ is a popular among criminals. Some farmers’ fields are invaded more than once. One farmer who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, told the paper that this year he found cannabis among the sweet corn for the third time. ‘I was harvesting and suddenly I saw cannabis plants everywhere. The drones will be flying in the first week of September when the corn is harvested and will cover five hundred fields.
A Delta flight headed to Seoul, South Korea, had to dump fuel and return to Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Saturday after a light in the cockpit indicated there possibly was an open maintenance panel on the outside of the aircraft, a spokesman for the airline said. Flight 159 took off from Detroit at 4:48 p.m. ET, and about 30 minutes later the indicator light came on, Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said. The plane, which had 375 passengers on board, circled Lake Michigan, dumping fuel for about an hour in order to help ensure a safe landing, which it did shortly before 7 p.m.
U.S. consumers who buy a drone for fun will no longer have to register it with the FAA. A Washington, D.C. court ruled Friday that the FAA drone registration rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which Congress passed in 2012. Hobbyist John Taylor argued successfully that he should not have to register because the act states that the FAA "may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft." Since December 2015, hobbyists with drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds have had to register drones with the FAA. More than 820,000 operators have registered since then. The process can be completed online, and there is a $5 application fee. The FAA said in a statement that it launched registration to ensure drones are operated safely and don't pose security or privacy threats. The FAA also said it is considering its options and response.
In a stunning David versus Goliath case, John A. Taylor, a model aircraft enthusiast and insurance lawyer, beat the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Justice in a case challenging the legality of a December 2015 FAA rule requiring model aircraft to register like manned aircraft. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FAA's registration rule, as it applies to model aircraft, "directly violates [a] clear statutory prohibition."
Industries have long sought data from above, generally through satellites or planes, but drones are better “sensors in the sky” than both. But like the smartphone and other examples of the “commercialization of enterprise” before them, drones are now being outfitted with business-grade software and becoming serious data-collection platforms — hardware as open and extensible as a smartphone, with virtually limitless app potential. As in any app economy, surprising and ingenious uses will emerge that we haven’t even thought of yet; and predictable and powerful apps will improve over time.
Drone racing is now a thing. Some have taken to calling it “the NASCAR of the future,” except that the future is now. There are now drone-racing national championships and world championships- and, of course, lots of local and regional races to lead up to those. One of those will be later this week in and around Covington. The Flying Circus FPV Circus runs Thursday through Sunday. This is the second year the event has been there. Last year’s race was very much on the down low. The Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, which helped bring the event to town, had trouble finding an insurance company willing to insure the event until the last minute, so there intentionally wasn’t much publicity.
Drones are helping volcanologists get closer than ever before to Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, near some 60,000 people who are at risk from its frequent eruptions. During a 10-day research trip, the team carried out several flights at the summits of both Volcan de Fuego and Volcan de Pacaya, which is also in Guatemala. Using lightweight modern sensors they measured temperature, humidity and thermal data within the volcanic clouds and took images of multiple eruptions in real-time. This is one of the first times drones have been used to gather data from volcanoes such as Fuego, where the lack of close access has retarded research. The drones were flown at distances of up to 8 km away and a height of over 3 km above the launch site.
Drone government applications. Jason Wayne Huddleston, a wanted felon, fled into a cornfield last August when authorities were looking for him in Florence Township, Mich. Michigan State Police Sgt. Matt Rogers said such a situation would normally be handled with a K9 unit. A couple of them were on the scene already, he recalled -- but the police also had a drone. The Michigan State Police has since bought and fielded one more drone with another trained pilot. A third is being prepared for deployment, and there are plans for even more. It’s a welcome development for Rogers, who had been the lone drone operator.
Intelligent Energy has signed a deal with PINC to supply its air-cooled fuel cell systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), marking Intelligent Energy’s first sale of fuel cell systems for UAVs as the company moves forward with the commercialization of its technology. PINC uses UAVs to identify and orchestrate hard-to-reach inventory and assets in the global supply chain and is the leading provider of yard management, finished vehicle logistics, and inventory robotics solutions to the world’s largest manufacturers, retailers, and contract logistics providers. PINC has defined the UAV market in the supply chain with an innovative inventory approach that transcends the delivery use case.
Boeing wins $26.6 million NASA contract to develop a prototype High Performance Spaceflight Computing Processor. An aircraft that will help sustain Wichita’s importance in America’s military capability for decades to come could, once again, be arriving in town later than expected. The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Friday warned that the KC-46A Pegasus tanker built by the Boeing Co. could face additional delivery delays.
Lady Gaga’s use of drones for a spectacular Super Bowl halftime show — granted in a special waiver — signals one of the trends for more commercial uses of remote-controlled aircraft. The analysis of AUVSI shows the variety and popularity of uses for drones ranging from inspecting infrastructure to surveying crops. But he said the industry and the economy would benefit from expanding drone regulations to routinely allow flights at night, over people and farther than the pilot can see, which the industry calls beyond the line of sight.
DroneClash is a competition to be held on December 4th in a hangar at Valkenburg airfield in the Netherlands. Teams try to destroy each others’ quadcopters, navigate through a “Hallway of Doom, Death, and Destruction”, and finally enter a final phase of the game where they try to defend their queen drone while taking out those of their opponents. It’s being sponsored by the Technical University of Delft’s Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) lab. The goal is to enable a future of responsible drone use by having the ability to take them out if necessary.
Drones in Visual Journalism. The New York Times staff photographer Josh Haner was an early adopter of drone photography. His earliest forays were with a $60 gadget that he maneuvered around his living room. Since then, he has aimed ever higher, making videos and stills high above the Gobi Desert and the Marshall Islands. He has embraced the technology in ways that add a stunning dimension to his storytelling, while at the same time presenting unforeseen challenges. His conversation with James Estrin has been edited for length and clarity.
AOPA is a strong supporter of Women in Aviation International, and was actively engaged in many conference activities, highlighted by a keynote address by AOPA President Mark Baker; sponsoring a New Member Social; awarding a $3,000 Flight Training scholarship to a young woman pilot; hosting a You Can Fly Back to Your Roots seminar, and maintaining an AOPA booth in the exhibit hall.
Drone racing enthusiasts have called for help from the authorities and landowners to assist them in finding a safe place for them to practice and race. The sport is enjoying rapid growth in Ireland, but as more people start taking part it is becoming harder to find suitable locations for it. Racers wear first person view goggles, which transmit footage from a live camera on the front of the drone to two small video screens in front of their eyes.
Drones capture bird's eye view of Australia's most loved landmarks. From the pink waters of Western Australia's Lake Miller to Tasmania's vibrant tulip fields, the aerial snaps showcase the country's natural beauty as never seen before. As the drone photography phenomenon rapidly gathers pace, Tourism Australia has invited budding aerial photographers from around the globe to compete in the Australia From Above contest. The contest is open from March 2 to May 2 and welcomes professionals and enthusiasts alike to share their visions of the country.
Siberian tigers ‘kill’ drone. A video from China in early February shows Siberian tigers chasing after a drone camera before bringing it to the ground. The tigers are seen chasing the drone through the snow, before one pounces on it in flight. China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, reported that local media had been using the drone to film the tigers in Northeast Tiger Forest Park in Harbin City. The footage was uploaded to YouTube by CCTV Plus, where it garnered over three million views since it was uploaded on Feb 22.
A handful of aviation companies are working to bring back supersonic passenger travel and one of the newer contenders, Boom, recently completed the first round of wind-tunnel testing, a critical step in the development of a prototype. The company’s next step is to start assembly of the XB-1 Demonstrator, a technologically representative one-third-scale version of the production Boom airliner, which will ultimately seat up to 45. The first flight of the XB-1 is expected late this year.
Three people were killed and two others are in critical condition after a small plane crashed into a California home on Monday, authorities said. Two dwellings were destroyed when the plane went down in Riverside at about 4:45 p.m. All of the victims had been flying in the aircraft. The crash threw debris as far as half a mile away, set homes ablaze and sent thick, choking smoke billowing into the sky.
The next time you fly on an airplane, keep your eyes peeled for birds—not drones—flying too close to the plane’s wing. Although in 2016, more drones have flown too close to airports compared to the previous year, none of those aerials actually smashed into airplanes, according to research released by the FAA this week. The report detailed more than 1,200 incidents of airplane pilots, law enforcement, air traffic controllers, and U.S. citizens reporting drones flying in places they shouldn’t.