FAA Part 107 has made it even easier to Fly
Legally in the USA under 14 CFR Part 107. It's what we have all been
FAA Automatically Grants "blanket" COA'S -
As of March 23, 2015, the FAA will automatically
grant "blanket" COA's for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS
operator with a Section 333 exemption, provided the aircraft weighs less
than 55 pounds, operations are conducted during daytime Visual Flight
Rules (VFR) conditions and within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the
pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports.
FAA Grants UAV Permits for Agriculture & Real Estate Companies -
The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, the FAA issued exceptions
to the commercial UAV ban, permitting the monitoring of crops and real
estate use for aerial photographs of properties for sale. This is the
first time permits have been granted to agriculture and real estate
Deploys the RDASS Q1000 UAV -
HSE announces the deployment of the
new RDASS Q1000 4 rotor electric UAV. The RDASS Q1000 series is
designed to meet the hi-tech needs of the user at a price to meet any
city or county budget.
Chief Will Johnson announced that the Federal Aviation Administration
has given the city permission to get the rotors turning on the police
UAV drone project.
Supreme Court & The
4th Amendment - The US
Supreme Court has held that individuals do not generally have
Fourth Amendment rights with respect to aerial surveillance. Can the
lower courts or State, county, city municipalities outlaw the use of
UAV's for law enforcement?
UAV FAA Regulations
- For more
than five decades, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has
compiled a proven track record of introducing new technology and
aircraft safely into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Thermal images captured by an small drone allowed archaeologists to
peer under the surface of the New Mexican desert floor, revealing
never-before-seen structures in an ancient Native American settlement.
Called Blue J, this 1,000-year-old village was first identified by
archaeologists in the 1970s. It sits about 43 miles (70 kilometers)
south of the famed Chaco Canyon site in northwestern New Mexico and
contains nearly 60 ancestral Puebloan houses around what was once a
Now, the ruins of Blue J are obscured by vegetation and buried in eroded
sandstone blown in from nearby cliffs. The ancient structures have been
only partially studied through excavations. Last June, a team of
archaeologists flew a small camera-equipped drone over the site to find
out what infrared images might reveal under the surface.
"I was really pleased with the results," said Jesse Casana, an
archaeologist from the University of Arkansas. "This work illustrates
the very important role that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have for
Casana said his co-author, John Kantner of the University of North
Florida, had previously excavated at the site and the drone images
showed stone compounds Kantner had already identified and ones that he
didn't know about.
For example, the thermal images revealed a dark circle just inside the
wall of a plaza area, which could represent wetter, cooler soil filling
a kiva, or a huge, underground structure circular that would have been
used for public gatherings and ceremonies. Finding a kiva at Blue J
would be significant; the site has been considered unusual among its
neighbors because it lacks the monumental great houses and subterranean
kivas that are the hallmark of Chaco-era Pueblo sites, the authors wrote
in the May issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The images also could guide archaeologists' trowels before they ever
"Now that we know what household compounds look like in thermal imaging,
we could use it to prospect for structures at other sites," Casana told
How it works
Archaeological features like bricks and stone walls retain and emit
warmth differently than the surrounding soil, meaning heat maps can
provide an outline of rubble buried underground. Casana said
archaeologists have been talking about using thermal imaging technology
to probe ancient sites for decades, but it's been almost impossible to
"To do it, you need to get a really high-resolution thermal image
collected at the right time of day," Casana said. "It involves tasking a
plane with a very expensive sensor to fly at a very low altitude, and
thats just not something that archaeologists could afford."
Casana primarily studies archaeology of the Middle East and was leading
a dig in Syria until civil war broke out in the country in 2011. In
2012, he got a Start-Up grant from the National Endowment of the
Humanities to study aerial thermographic imaging. So far, he has tested
the technology at a site in Cyprus, a Plains Village settlement in South
Dakota and the ancient city of Cahokia near modern-day St. Louis, among
others. He said he would be taking the craft to Iraq this summer for a
new project in Kurdistan.
The uncertain future of drones for science
Archaeologists and other scientists who want to study the Earth from
above are increasingly looking at drones as a research tool as the cost
for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, goes down. But the technology is
hardly perfect, and there are legal hurdles, too.
"People who fly them for fun say it's not a question of if you'll crash
it, but when and how badly," Casana said. He found that to be true in
his trials. Hardware sometimes comes loose mid-flight and the software
on the ground occasionally freezes, Casana said. He travels with
replacement parts and backup systems like balloons and kites.
Meanwhile, the lack of regulations for UAVs in the United States makes
it difficult to implement the technology just yet.
The Federal Aviation Administration has set a goal to implement
commercial drone regulations by 2015 and recently designated six
drone-testing centers across the country to research how UAVs could be
safely introduced to U.S. skies. FAA officials have held that it is
illegal to fly commercial drones until they write those rules, though
they suffered a setback last month when a judge for the National
Transportation Safety Board overturned the FAA's decision to fine a man
$10,000 for using a drone to shoot a promotional video, Bloomberg News
To comply with these legal gray areas, Casana said he had to rely
student volunteers to operate the drone in New Mexico this summer.
("Hobbyists" have no problem flying the aircraft.) He expressed concern
that debates about drone use often ignore scientific applications.
"When legislators think about use of technology, they often don't think
about science," Casana said. "They need to come up with some
regulations. Until they do, it's really kind of hamstringing science."
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