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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

DJI TB55 Batteries Suddenly Failing

This is more of just an observation but after a year of use, I’ve had three of eight DJI TB55 batteries fail. They have all failed in the last month. Two of them failed on the same day. Here is what I’m seeing in trying to troubleshoot the batteries. According to DJI, the warranty on these batteries is 6 months ... Read More »

HAZMAT Flight | Flight Debrief and Lessons Learned

Here is another flight debrief from a flight of mine to help share observations and lessons learned. Flight Time: 15 minutes Mission Goals: Provide a visual overview of the scene and determine what the FLIR camera could visualize. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: It was a safe flight operation within normal limits. The FLIR footage ... Read More »

Missing Person – Suicide | Flight Debrief and Lessons Learned

Another in my publication of my flight debriefs to help share lessons learned. Flight Time: 60 minutes Mission Goals: To assist Wake Sheriff’s Office with the location of a missing 16-year-old female. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: It was a safe flight operation within normal limits. Teamwork between the pilot and Chief Barrett was excellent ... Read More »

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. https://youtu.be/vDYy3L9nvLk 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, ... 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. https://youtu.be/HJdyz-LS52M According to The Drive, “The ULC’s primary example regarding the insufficient legal preparedness revolves around ... 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 »