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Drone

FAA Allows Six Film Companies to Use Drones

drone_AP_croppedThe Federal Aviation Administration is allowing six film companies to use drones during production.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”

This is the second time an exemption from the FAA’s ban on commercial use has been granted. In June, the agency allowed an oil company to fly drones to monitor its operations in Alaska.

According to the FAA press release, “the firms had to show their UAS operations would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions.”

In their applications, the firms said the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the “sterile area” on the set. In granting the exemption, FAA accepted these safety conditions, adding an inspection of the aircraft before each flight, and prohibiting operations at night. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents. Read more

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All Across America, It’s Raining Drones

Valleywag reports some drone owners are discovering their unmanned aerial vehicles are more HAL 9000 than DJI Phantom.

All across America, drones are crashing into trees and rooftops. The $500-plus dollar skytoys are frequently flying away from their owners, landing in lakes and marshes and urban neighborhoods, never to be found again. Lost drone posters line residential neighborhoods like the missing dog fliers of yore.

Have you seen America’s drones? “People complain about ‘flyaways’ on the forums all the time,” one drone owner tells Valleywag. Flyaways happen when drones either lose contact with its remote or simply fly away inexplicably, with the failsafe, which is supposed to return the drone “home” in case of failure, also malfunctioning. Read more

Man Detained After Drone Flies Over NFL Game

Here’s another story for the “Drones Behaving Badly” file.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they questioned a man who flew a drone over Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium during a Carolina Panthers NFL preseason game on August 17.

The Charlotte Observer reports, the man was released and the FAA was notified.

Invasion of Panther airspace is banned by both the NFL and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We have leaguewide policies that prohibit any type of drone in parking lots or in stadiums,” said Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman.

He said he was not aware of drones invading any other NFL venues.

“We are closely monitoring this issue with our clubs,” McCarthy said.

Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC tried to explain the drone problem to its viewers in the video above.

[The Hill]

Two Drone Incidents Have LA Police Calling for Regulations

drone_AP_croppedThe Los Angeles Times reports two drone incidents have local police adding their voice to those calling on the FAA to hurry up and issue regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles.

In the first incident on Aug. 4, police said a personal drone was spotted by a Canadian jetliner hovering about 10 miles east of LAX at 4,000 feet – an altitude outside Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for hobbyists with drones and and also within the airport’s Class B air space.

To fly that high and close to LAX brings with it a host of responsibilities, including having a transponder on the aircraft and two-way communication with air traffic controllers, federal officials said.

Los Angeles police learned of the drone when the airline pilot asked air traffic controllers if it was a police drone. The LAPD’s two drones are locked away in a federal building and have not been used.

In the second incident, employees on the LAPD’s 10thfloor on the northwest side of the building said they looked out their window Aug. 14 to see a drone hovering outside their window. Read more

FAA Says Final Drone Test Site Ready to Go

drone_AP_croppedThe Federal Aviation Administration today anounced the last of six test sites is “ready to conduct research vital to integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace.”

To celebrate the occasion, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, along with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and other officials, watched a drone demo at the Virginia Tech site.

“We have undertaken the challenge of safely integrating a new and exciting technology into the busiest, most complex airspace in the world,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The six test sites are going to play a key role in helping us meet that challenge.” Read more

Despite Park Ban on Drones, Tourist Crashes One into Yellowstone Hot Spring

drone_AP_croppedIn our continuing effort to keep our TVSpy readership up-to-date on the latest trend that may fly its way into every local station in the US, we bring you the cautionary tale of the tourist who defied a ban on drones at Yellowstone National Park and then crashed said drone into one of the iconic hot springs.

The Billings Gazette reports the drone is now deep within the 160 degree waters of the Grand Prismatic spring.

“Our concern is about any potential impacts to the iconic Yellowstone thermal feature,” Nash said.

Grand Prismatic is known for its vivid colors and measures 300 feet across.

Nash says few details are being released because the incident is under investigation. Read more

Senator Says New York the ‘Wild West of Drones’

schumer2 wcbs ginny kosolaNew York Senator Charles Schumer (D) is asking federal officials to hurry up and set regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The use of small drones for commercial purposes have reached new heights,” Schumer said, according to the New York Post. “Some might even say that New York City is the Wild West of drones. There are a whole lot of them that are unregulated.”

According to WCBS radio, Schumer said  drones are also being used for illegal activity.

“This year, a drone was caught flying into a maximum security prison in South Carolina carrying marijuana,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola and 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. Read more

California Firefighters Ground Civilian Drone Shooting Wildfire

drone_AP_croppedA drone shooting video of a California wildfire was grounded because fire officials feared it might interfere with efforts to contain the blaze burning near Sacramento, CA.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times, the owner of the unmanned vehicle was asked by Sheriff’s Deputies to stop flying the drone to keep it away from the low-flying aircraft being used to fight the Sand fire.

The owner was apparently operating the craft, described as a “quadcopter,” so he could “check out the fire” for his “own personal entertainment,” she said.

It was the first time CalFire had encountered such a device during their firefighting efforts, [CalFire spokesperson Lynne] Tolmachoff said. But she expects it won’t be the last.

“I anticipate it possibly being a problem in the future,” she said. Read more

Congressman Being Investigated for Wedding Video Shot by Drone

wedding video droneRep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) is being investigated by the FAA for his wedding video which featured footage shot by a drone.

Maloney is a member of the Aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the FAA.

The New York Daily News is taking credit for alerting the FAA to the drone use.

The inquiry is the result of a report in the Daily News that said the use of the helicopter-like drone appeared to violate a prohibition against flying drones for commercial purposes.

“The FAA is looking into a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, N.Y. on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions,” the agency said Thursday in a statement.

Maloney hired a New Jersey based aerial photography company to shoot the video. The company told the Daily News Maloney didn’t have FAA permission to use the drone.

Recent Near Misses with Helicopters Call Drone Safety into Question

Three drones in one week have raised safety concerns about the unnamed aerial vehicles after close calls with helicopters in New York and Cleveland.

In New York, officers piloting an NYPD chopper felt threatened enough by two drones flying over the George Washington Bridge to have the operators arrested.

The New York Post reported, “The NYPD pilots ‘observed flying object[s] at 2,000 feet in vicinity of the George Washington Bridge, then circling heading toward the helicopter,’’ a police report said. ‘The officers were forced to change their course to avoid a collision.’ One source called it a ‘very dangerous” scenario.’”

While in Cleveland a drone possibly violated a temporary flight restriction and came within 50 yards of a helicopter flying at 1700 feet. Drones are only allowed to fly as high as 400 feet. Read more

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