A fantastic list member, Olivier, in Switzerland just brought to my attention that the Matrice 210 is the subject of another flight restriction like the one issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has posted, “FOCA recommends that drone pilots of DJI Matrice 210 keep their aircraft well away from populated areas. It appears that this type of drone presents an increased risk of crashing. Until further notice, FOCA will not issue any authorization for this type of drone. FOCA will communicate as soon as the manufacturer has taken appropriate measures to eliminate this risk.” – Source
Until the motor failure issues can be resolved, please be sure to fly in such a way that if the aircraft does lose power and crash that nobody is injured. You will be held personally responsible.
AOPA Pilot Protection Services
For those who have attended one of my free public safety UAS webinars, you’ve heard me say how important the AOPA Pilot Protection Services plan is for Part 107 pilots. COA pilots do not meet the qualifications for coverage.
AOPA just recently published this video of me talking about the legal protection for pilots.
More Advantages of ForeFlight
Again, my students know how much I love ForeFlight as my aviation planning software of choice. It is also what I use to log all my airplane and UAS flights.
ForeFlight has a feature to download and create custom content packs that you can overlay your map. From exceptional weather, obstacles, towers, and more, this is a professional aviation package for serious aviators.
The free UAS content package contains but terminal maps and flight restricted areas.
Here are some screenshots.
The airports showing UAS restrictions in my area.
A closer look at one airport. This happens to be Elizabeth City, NC.
A legend to help you understand the altitude restriction colors.
Communication Survey Results
In my last communication, I asked public safety some questions on incident scene radio communications.
The results are in.
Q: Have you ever found yourself flying a UAS at an incident scene with other UAS in the air?
A: Yes – 50%
Q: If you were unable to talk to the other UAS pilot(s) then were you able to organize airspace and operations with the other pilot(s) in some other way and maintain communications?
A: No – 69%
Q: Do you carry a VHF aviation handheld radio with you to public safety incidents?
A: Yes – 50%
Q: Do you feel public safety UAS pilots should use a standard VHF radio frequency to coordinate public safety UAS aerial operations on an incident scene?
A: Yes – 100%
Q: Helicopter aircraft that may be operating over a public safety event use 123.025 MHz for air-to-air radio communications. Do you think ground-based public safety UAS pilots should also use this frequency at incidents so helicopters and UAS have one radio frequency to communicate and coordinate on?
A: Yes – 100%
If you’d like to vote, click here.
Looking Forward to More Time in the Airplane
This storm season I’m looking forward to spending more time in the airplane flying damage assessment photo missions and sending back high-resolution images from the air to the state Emergency Operations Center. This will help state departments with the tasking and dispatch of North Carolina UAS teams for closer examination of targeted areas.
My personal goal is to help develop a use case for the inclusion of all airborne assets to work cooperatively for maximum public benefit.
Not long ago I was flying a fire department mission to examine the impact of damage from a 7-mile long line where a tornado had caused damage.
Something like this is very tough to do rapidly with a UAS, so I crawled into the airplane.
Here is the flight path in green.
We initially spotted a tree down and circled back to photograph it but we were unable to find it again. With news helicopters in the area, I made the decision that it was too risky to continue to circle to find it.
We communicated with both Sky 5 and Chopper 11 over the area to attempt to share information on damage. They had found small areas of localized damage.
There was no obvious large scale damage to be found. We made one run up and down the line in question with a visual observation made out of both sides of the aircraft at 1,000 above ground level at 100 MPH.
We made one last circle of the area the news helicopters had identified as having the worst damage but could not identify anything extensive.
However, if you were watching the news you would think the entire area had been struck with a bomb. While there was some damage, the overall condition of the are was easier to appreciate from the airplane and certainly not as severe.
Here is a photo from that flight.
A Cool Public Safety Event
While this is not UAS related, each year Camp Celebrate is held here in North Carolina by the Jaycee Burn Center. They describe it as “a weekend camp for children ages 7-15 who have survived burn injuries. Created in 1982 in response to an inability to find traditional camping opportunities for a group of young burn patients at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, Camp Celebrate was the first camping experience of its kind.”
This year we had almost 30 different department trucks transporting kids to camp.
As each truck passed me standing on the side of the road, taking pictures, the sirens and horns were blaring. You can’t imagine how incredibly loud it was.