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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

Heat Target Mystery Solved

Last night I was flying at a Hazmat scene when we discovered what looked like the heat signature of a person wandering into the scene. Two of them in fact. What made the situation difficult was I was unable to fly further forward to get a closer look and the general scene was too dark to see clearly with the ... Read More »

A Tested Easy Way to Get LAANC Approval

The FAAs Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) software solution have rolled out and I’ve finally had a chance to test it with several different providers. LAANC allows UAS pilots to get automated approvals to fly in the previously off-limits airspace. LAANC requests are checked against airspace data in the FAA UAS Data Exchange such as temporary flight restrictions, ... Read More »

Future Public Safety Tech Coming Fast. Role of Pilot Will Change.

The smartypants at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been doing some very cool things with automated UAS flight, without a pilot or GPS signal. While their work focuses on solutions for the military, clearly their work filters out into consumer consumption as well. DARPA was the leading developer of things like the internet, GPS, speech translation, stealth ... Read More »

Hey UAS Public Safety Pilots – Time to Get Recurrent

The FAA has sent out this notice to UAS Part 107 pilots. Important information for COA pilots is below the Part 107 update. The first Remote Pilot certificates were issued in August 2016 and are nearing the end of their 24 calendar month currency. Remote drone pilots must complete a recurrent training course or pass a recurrent knowledge test within ... Read More »

Will it Soon Become Illegal to Fly Below 200′

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is working on proposals for new guidance for states to develop laws from. Generally, the ULC does very good work to help states consider new rules, regulations, and laws they may want to work towards getting into statutory law. According to The Drive, “The ULC’s primary example regarding the insufficient legal preparedness revolves around nebulous ... Read More »

How Many Questions Will be On the Part 107 Recurrent Test?

The FAA has released information on the recurrent test Part 107 pilots will have to take. I was just asked if there will be 40 or 60 questions on the test. Interestingly the FAA does not say. What we do know is the allotted time for the recurrent test is 1.5 hours instead of the two hours for the initial ... Read More »

Night Flying Training Tip – View Limiting Device

I recently started using instrument flying training glasses as a tool to help teach night flying to students. The FAA describes the device as a view-limiting device. In the airplane cockpit, during instrument flight training we always called them horrible names. I always dreaded them as a student. You will typically hear pilots call them foggles. Here is an example ... Read More »

Drones Getting Closer to Being Shot Out of the Air

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced a bill (H.R. 6401 (115)) that would give the departments of Justice and Homeland Security new counterdrone authorities. It’s similar to a Senate committee-approved and White House-endorsed measure ( S. 2836 (115) ) that also would grant the departments relief from the Title 18 law forbidding the destruction of aircraft and allow ... Read More »

Think About Doing a Control Tower Tour to Open Your Eyes

Yesterday I brought along five students for a VIP private tour of the Air Traffic Control center and tower at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It is extremely helpful for those drone pilots who have not had any or much exposure to the airspace issues faced by controllers, to do a tour like this. We started in the dark radar room and ... Read More »

Pilot Encounters Drone Where It Should Not Be

The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System just shared this disturbing drone story. A private pilot sighted what was thought to be a large bird in controlled airspace. The pilot’s confusion changed to surprise when the species was identified. The pilot reported, “I departed Grand Prairie Municipal Airport at 2,500 feet with a southerly heading until I was clear of Cedar ... Read More »