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Flying The Inspire 1 With Adam Savage

In this video, Adam Savage takes his favorite quadcopter, the DJI Inspire 1, to a remote location for some serious flight testing. One thing that is especially cool about the Inspire 1 is its ability to split flight and camera controls between two pilots, so Adam gets Norm from the Tested team in on the flight as well.

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FAA Expects To Clear U.S. Commercial Drones Within A Year

By: David Morgan

U.S. commercial drones

An airplane flies over a drone in the Brooklyn borough of New York January 1, 2015.

U.S. commercial drone operations could take flight on a large scale by this time next year, as federal regulators finalize rules allowing widespread unmanned aerial system use by companies, according to congressional testimony on Wednesday.

A senior Federal Aviation Administration official said the agency expects to finalize regulations within the next 12 months. Previous forecasts had anticipated rules by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

“The rule will be in place within a year,”
“Hopefully before June 17, 2016,”

– FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker said in testimony before the
U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Drone advocates expect unmanned aerial systems to transform a number of industries – from agriculture and energy production to real estate, news and entertainment, transportation and retailing.

At the congressional hearing, a senior Amazon.com executive told lawmakers that the e-commerce retailer would be ready to begin delivering packages to customers via drones as soon as federal rules allow.

“We’d like to begin delivering to our customers as soon as it’s approved,”
“We will have (the technology) in place by the time any regulations are ready. We are working very quickly.”

– Misener said

Amazon said its plans, which call for delivering packages to customers within 30 minutes, would require FAA rules to accommodate advanced drone technology envisioned by the company’s Prime Air operations.

FAA regulations proposed in February are more restrictive – requiring drones to fly during daylight hours only and to remain within an operator’s visual line of sight.

FAA officials are in discussions with industry stakeholders including Amazon and Google Inc about crafting final regulations that could accommodate more sophisticated drone systems capable of flying autonomously over longer distances.

Whitaker said in written testimony that advanced technology standards are scheduled to be completed in 2016.

The shortened FAA time-horizon for final rules follows a series of agency actions to accommodate commercial drones. FAA officials have been under pressure from lawmakers and industry lobbyists, who claim U.S. companies are losing billions in potential savings and revenues while waiting for regulators to open the way for drones.

The agency has also streamlined its process for exempting companies from a near-ban on commercial drone operations. Whitaker said the FAA is now allowing up to 50 companies a week to use drones as part of their businesses.

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Venture Capital Drone Investment Reaches New Heights

The following is a guest post by Mads Larsen, manager at DroneBlogUK. Mads has a longstanding enthusiasm for all the different facets of the drone industry.

During recent years we have seen a surge in investments into the drone industry, especially venture capitalists are showing an increasingly large willingness to take risks by investing in start-ups despite the fact that we are currently dealing with a market that is still solidifying itself.

On the regulatory side the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is expecting to have its regulations in regards to the business application of drones ready around this time next year (June 2016), meanwhile the UK is also still shaping its rules for both civilian and commercial drone use.

drone vc funding chart


Right now anyone can pick up a drone in the UK and fly it as long as it weighs less than 20kg. However, for larger drones (as well as for commercial use) you will have to seek permission from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). This all comes in light of recent cases, such as when a commercial airliner nearly collided with a civilian drone near Heathrow Airport, which sparks concern for tighter regulations.

Why does this matter to the average drone enthusiast?

What we can derive from all this is that investors are seeing a market with a growth potential that overshadows the concerns and road bumps ahead, in short: The early bird catches the worm. This growth will not primarily be found with civilian users, but instead the main areas of interest to investors is to be found in agriculture, building inspection, news and video creation as well as surveying/mapping. While this will not directly affect those of us whom fly for recreational reasons, it will have a very important indirect impact on our shared passion.

It will primarily result in greater pressure on our politicians when it comes to allowing the use of drones, and easing restrictions. The amount of jobs the industry creates increases its importance and makes it much more likely that they will ease regulation in order to attract companies to the country. Secondly, and perhaps most interesting for the civilian drone-flyer, is the fact that a growing, highly lucrative and competitive market drives innovation, while also minimizing the price tag. It is a very exciting time to be a drone enthusiast, and we look forward to experiencing all the exciting innovations this rapid growth will bring with it.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Is there reason to be worried by the development, or is it purely positive? Let us know in the comment section!

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[Infographic] What To Know Before You Fly

Alex over at http://www.dronephotographyinfo.com sent me an email the other week with a link to an infographic he put together.

Some of the information presented here I agree with, but there’s a big chunk of it I find misleading. Read below for my comments!

Click for larger image (opens in new window)

What-is-drone-photography-infographicPart of me sees this as a helpful resource, but a larger part of me feels like its misleading.

There’s not actually a real, enacted law that enables the FAA to go over / fine a pilot operating commercially unless they’re being reckless and not abiding by strict safety standards.

The FAA has publicly committed to clearer regulations by June of 2016, but in the meantime there are already thousands of professional drone pilots in the U.S. making money…most of them without going through the FAA’s recommended certification process.

That’s all it is right now. It’s just a series of strong guidelines / recommended regulations. You can still be a successful drone pilot, and earn a lot of money flying, as long as you’re a smart, ethically sound pilot who follows strict safety protocols.

Off the top of my head, I’m talking about pilots who:

  • Have gone through some kind of accredited learning platform like Drone U, Unmanned Vehicle University, DSLPros training, etc.
  • Have drone pilot insurance
  • Ask property owners for permission and working with local authorities / tower control officials where appropriate.
  • Fly below 400 ft, in the daylight, in direct line-of-sight, and at least 5 miles away from an airport.
  • Are strong, technically sound pilots who understand their UAS intimately and know not just how to operate the autonomous aspects of their system, but also how to fly manually really well.




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Meet The World’s Smallest Quadcopter

This is one drone pilot’s in-depth review of the Cheerson CX-10, a popular quadcopter model that is the smallest of its kind. This thing flies wonderfully, is very affordable, does cool tricks, and has a ton of other fun features. You can check out the Cheerson CX-10 right here.

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