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Zephyr flies to new heights in Dubai

Zephyr flies to new heights in Dubai
phyr The solar-powered Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle flew higher than 61,000 feet above the United Arab Emirates in a day/night test. Airbus Defense and Space said the test, conducted with engineers from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology,…

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Race is on to perfect solar-powered drones

Race is on to perfect solar-powered drones
Hiawatha Bray The model airplane hanging from the ceiling of Chris Bailey’s industrial-size garage in Waltham seems almost too fragile to fly, much less enter a race in which the grand prize is worth billions of dollars. But the race…

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Yellowstone drone crash pilot fined $3000

Yellowstone drone crash pilot fined $3000
A US judge has fined a Dutch tourist for crashing a drone into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. Theodorus Van Vliet was ordered to pay more than $3,000 (£1,847) for flying the unmanned aerial vehicle into the Grand…

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Commercial Drone Regulations: Canada vs the US

From Robohub:

When Canadians attempt to characterize aspects of Canadian culture, it’s not uncommon to draw comparisons with the US. I recently noticed that as I respond to questions about the Canadian regulations surrounding commercial drones, I often begin by stating that our regulatory framework is quite distinct from that of the US – here’s why…

In Canada, commercial operators can apply to obtain Special Flight Operations Certificates (SFOCs) from Transport Canada. It takes Transport Canada about 20 days to assess applications, and last year the agency issued 945 SFOCs to applicants representing a variety of industries including aerial videography, agriculture and oil and gas.

Generally, the Canadian regulations do not establish bright line rules governing drone operations – for instance they do not specify whether you need a pilot’s license to complete a commercial drone flight, or whether it is permitted to fly beyond the visual line of sight. Rather, Transport Canada assesses applications using a case-by-case approach. In order to obtain approval, applicants must show that they can mitigate operational risks to an acceptable level.

In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working to develop drone regulations since the enactment of the FAA Modernization Act of 2012. Until the framework is in place, those looking to fly for commercial purposes can only proceed by exemption. Most companies have been denied exemptions, the notable exceptions being a couple of oil companies that received approval to operate drones in remote areas of Alaska.

Last Thursday, the FAA extended regulatory exemptions to six Hollywood companies looking to film using drones. Although the Hollywood exemptions represent a move in a positive direction, the restrictions placed on the companies are quite onerous, for instance the operations must take place in a controlled closed-set environment and may only be completed below 400 feet and within the visual line of sight.

By comparison, commercial drone operations are the norm in Canada and will continue to be an exception in the US until the new rules are in place.

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First Annual New York City Drone Film Festival

Festival announces programming team promotions (NEW YORK, NY) — The New York City Drone Film Festival (NYCDFF) will be held February 21st, 2015 in New York City. Today the festival announced a call for submissions for short films shot primarily with, or featuring majority of footage from, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles.  Entry is open to …

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