MultiRotor News

DOT/FAA Announce Final Small UAS Rule

FAA UAS Rule

With unprecedented expediency – the FAA today issued the first FAA/DOT Announce Small UAS Rule, which will take effect in August 2016. As always, they’ve scattered the info about in a very confusing, illogical, and dispersed manner. So, I’ll break it down for you by webpage and I’ll also provide direct downloads of all documents released today (see below!).

Overall, this is a step in the right direction and good for all of us out in the business world. After quickly reading through portions of the rule, I can see that many adjustments are going to be needed. The FAA acknowledges this as “…just our first step” – and rightly so. As capabilities and technology change, well – so must the rules. Without further ado, I give you a bunch of links and 3 downloadable PDF files!

FAA Links Regarding the New Small UAS Rule – FAR Part 107:

Downloads:

Hope this helps everyone out & happy flying!

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That Drone is (probably) NOT Spying on You

Shoot Down Drone

So another guy decided to take it upon himself to shoot down his neighbor’s Drone. The idiocy behind this Drone shooting has pissed me off enough to write this glorious article. I will begin with an easy to digest list of reasons that will help people unfamiliar with Drones understand why they (probably) aren’t being spied on.

7 Reasons that Drone Isn’t Spying on You:

  1. You’re much less pretty, handsome, or interesting than your parents led you to believe you are.
  2. No one is so interested in you that they’d pay someone to spy on you. Most strangers wouldn’t want to spy on you without being paid.
  3. Drones generally use cameras with wide angle lenses. These lenses are designed to capture landscapes. They capture a big wide view of things, and unless the drone is literally 10-20 feet from you – its user won’t see too much.
  4. Drones can be seen, heard, and easily detected – making them terrible tools for spying. People who spy on you will not use stark raving white drones, or grey ones, or black ones. Not even green ones. You will not see or hear their equipment. People conducting surveillance generally use quiet, high end DSLR style cameras with expensive zoom lenses that allow them to photograph you from a distance without being detected.
  5. Most people are just flying their drones for fun as a hobby or pastime. Some are even photographers and video professionals.
  6. Perverts now have internet porn, so there’s no need to go through the expense and trouble of flying a Drone just to get off.
  7. Battery life on most Drones is 12-15 minutes. Wasting that precious time spying on you takes away from the fun.

I can rationalize with people all I want, but there are still some folks out there that my reasoning just won’t be good enough for. So let me make some suggestions for Drone pilots and for those concerned about their privacy.

NAY — let me not make suggestions, but provide clear, precise instructions on how to handle things.
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Know Before You Fly – by the FAA

Well the FAA’s new “Know Before You Fly” video is pretty interesting. I laughed out loud watching it, but I will let you draw your own conclusions.

It appears our friendly neighborhood FAA has launched not only this video, but a website dedicated to drone pilots and drone flight operations – http://www.knowbeforeyoufly.org/

On this website the FAA offers guidance to drone operators. The guidelines are broken up into recreational, commercial, and public service sector flight operations. As to the legal force and enforceability of the guidance provided on this website – well, I don’t know. I don’t think these are laws. I don’t believe they’re currently in the FAR’s. I also question whether this website will actually reach the majority of the members of it’s intended audience. Will a tourist from Canada who buys a DJI Phantom at B&H in Manhattan be held to these rules? Who is responsible for disseminating this information? Who is to blame if the information doesn’t reach the owner of a particular make/model or slapped together home built version of a MultiRotor.

Finally I am confused as to the enforceability of of these rules? Guidelines? What exactly do we have here FAA? Who’s responsible for what? Will the NYPD now be tasked with enforcing grey federal rules, laws, text on a website? Where do we seek the answers to these esoteric questions?

I’m still laughing, but seriously – things need to be crystal clear to everyone and currently they are not. The FAA seems a bit confused in their actions and decisions – and rightly so. We are at a point where the technology has quickly sailed past the current aviation laws, rules, and regulations. It is a difficult moment and I’d say the primary and most important concern regarding all drone operations is to insure the safety of those in the air and on the ground.

If you concentrate on those 2 things, you’ll know what you have to do next my fearless FAA rule makers. What you’ve currently implemented is thin, difficult to interpret, and questionable to enforce. That is my humble opinion.

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e-volo Completes Indoor Test Flight of Full Sized MultiRotor


Karlsruhe, Germany – November 17th, 2013

Great news in the world of MultiRotors! e-volo just accomplished a successful series of test flights with their new full sized two seat MultiRotor, the VC200 also known as the Volocopter. Only 2 years after their first manned MultiRotor flight with the VC1 (see video below) they have completed a more refined prototype which includes a fully covered structure and a partially enclosed two person cockpit. They expect to prepare it for production in the coming years.

Indoor testing included multiple flights totaling 20 minutes of air time at altitudes of up to 22 meters. The e-volo team claims that some battery capacity did remain after the tests. Reading through their full blog post about the flight it seems that they were all quite pleased with these initial results. They were particularly surprised by the lack of visible vibrations from the on-board HD footage that was captured. They end their release with this statement: “Nearly all problems of normal helicopters are thereby solved.”

While I am thrilled to make this news posting, I would say that while they may think they’ve solved all the problems of normal helicopters, they’re about to encounter a whole new set of problems that arise when you try to throw 2 humans in a full sized MultiRotor and expect for it to fly safely for a useful period of time. My first thought is always redundancy. Before you catch me zipping to and fro in a full sized MultiRotor, waving to hot babes on the beach – we need to discuss systems. Based on my experience with real aircraft it is my opinion that there must be the following redundant systems: power supply, thrust, flight control. In the case of MultiRotors, I believe that it is imperative that these systems each be capable of operating independent from one another to keep the copter in the air in the event of single and multiple failures.
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MultiRotors and Robotics – an Interesting Combination

I recently spotted the newest quadruped robot under development by Boston Dynamics and it reminded me of a little robotic quadcopter a friend had recently shown me (see video below). For those of you unfamiliar with Boston Dynamics, they are funded by DARPA and seem to be doing some of the most advanced research and development work in the realm of robotics. If you haven’t seen one of their mechanical monsters at work, you will be shocked the first time you witness one in action. The clip above demonstrates one of the latest model in their series of 4 legged robots – it’s called the WildCat. This machine is capable of bounding and galloping strides and has reached a speed of 16mph – remarkable considering how large it is.

In the future I am sure we’ll see some melding between the worlds of robotics and MultiRotors. Practically speaking, I think it is essential to integrate robotics if MultiRotors are to be used for utility purposes such as lifting objects or performing more complicated tasks like repairs. We’ll see where it goes from here and possibly even take part in some of the future development! One thing is for sure – things are going to start to get really interesting in the next few years. Strap a huge quadcopter to the back of that WildCat and look out! For now what we have for you to see is a small quadcopter outfitted with folding mechanized arms and 4 legs it can sort of walk around on. Not very useful, and a grossly inefficient tradeoff between additional weight as it applies to increased functionality. This is how ideas start though, so hat’s off to the designer of this little quadcopter:

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