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Author Archives: Steve Rhode

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 »

Colorado Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems Association Starts

A new group has started in Colorado. The Colorado Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems Association can be found online at www.cpsuas.org. Founder David Spraggs said, “Over the last 18-months I’ve spoken to so many agencies from Colorado and around the Country. I really saw a need for a new professional organization to bring together Colorado public safety agencies – whether ... Read More »

Fireworks Flight Debrief

WFFD Firebird 1 Flight Debrief Date: 7-3-2018 Flight Time: 1 hour Mission Goals: Assist fire command and law enforcement in any way possible with actionable information during large public Town event. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: An excellent landing zone was identified, secured, and used for the event. Video footage was obtained for use by ... Read More »

Getting Drones Into Beyond Visual Line of Sight Flight Status Has Major Issues

Here is an interesting issue that will slow the use of UAS Traffic Management (UTM) to allow us to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Politico says, “About 90 percent of registered drones are for recreational purposes, putting them outside the reach of FAA rules, so any remote identification rule the agency passed would be next to worthless under ... Read More »

UAS Structure Fire Flight Debrief

WFFD Firebird 1 Flight Debrief Flight Time: 1 hour Mission Goals: Assist command and firefighters in any way possible with actionable information. What Went Well: The following items were conducted without incident: Although the incident location was off limits by the time I arrived due to the water supply was running down the road, a safe landing zone (LZ) was ... Read More »

Manned Aircraft Drone Database Lists Nearly 3,000 Drone Incidents

The Aviation Safety Network gathers data on complaints or reports by manned aircraft regarding sightings or misses between UAS and manned airplanes. Since the database has been recorded there have been 2,750 reports filed. This is not a comprehensive listing and does not contain many reports from the FAA after 2017. Some of them are like the examples below. The ... Read More »

NASA Flies Large Unmanned Aircraft in Public Airspace Without Chase Plane for First Time

NASA’s remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, successfully flew its first mission in the National Airspace System without a safety chase aircraft on Tuesday. This historic flight moves the United States one step closer to normalizing unmanned aircraft operations in the airspace used by commercial and private pilots. Flying these large remotely-piloted ... Read More »

FAA to Allow Flight Over People and Beyond Line of Sight in 2020 or 2021

The Government Accounting Office has released a report on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems that contains some interesting information about approval for UAS flight over people and beyond line of sight. The report says the, “FAA is developing standards designed to routinely and safely allow small UAS operations over people who are not directly involved in the operation of the aircraft ... Read More »