Thursday, February 11, 2016

OK GO New Video a Must Watch!!!

OK Go - Upside Down & Inside Out
Hello, Dear Ones. Please enjoy our new video for "Upside Down & Inside Out". A million thanks to S7 Airlines. #GravitysJustAHabit
Posted by OK Go on Thursday, February 11, 2016

Monday, December 14, 2015

FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

Press Release – FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule December 14, 2015 Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette Phone: (202) 267-3883 Registration Begins on December 21, 2015, First 30 Days are Free WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations. “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.” Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft. Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register. Owners may register through a web-based system at Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft. Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years. The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016). “We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.” The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016. The full rule can be viewed here:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Commercial Drone Approval

The catch: The relaxed rules only apply to companies that already have permission to fly.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday released a new interim policy governing the use of certain small drones for commercial purposes, issuing a blanket authorization for unmanned aircraft flights below 200 feet. But the new rules won’t benefit everyone equally. The new policy only applies to the roughly 45 companies that have already obtained permission to fly through the FAA’s slow and stringent “Section 333” process.
Under existing FAA rules, there are two ways to gain clearance for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations. One can apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), which typically grant government agencies or research institutions permission to use drones under fairly restrictive circumstances, usually for research. Businesses can also apply for permission to use drones through what’s known as Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, under which the FAA can grant companies approval to fly drones commercially under certain defined parameters.
The FAA has approved only 53 Section 333 applications for roughly 45 companies thus far. Some 600 applications are still pending, stuck in a slow-moving approval pipeline. The FAA’s new policy grants any company or entity that has already cleared the Section 333 approval process a blanket COA to fly below 200 feet. In other words, those companies that are already approved to fly under Section 333 now have blanket approval to fly below 200 feet.
If all that sounds a bit confusing, here’s what it really means: If you weren’t authorized to fly before, you still can’t. But for those with Section 333 exemptions, the FAA just slashed through a whole lot of red tape. Section 333 exemptions come with a lot of bureaucratic baggage. For instance, users that simply want to test a new flight software patch or use a drone to inspect something no higher than a power line have to file flight plans with the FAA. The blanket COA essentially allows those same companies to operate much more flexibly and without so much government oversight provided they’re willing to keep their aircraft below 200 feet.
“Previously, companies that hold exemptions from the FAA still have to obtain additional air traffic control authorization for each operation,” says Brendan Schulman, head of the UAS practice group at the NYC office of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. “That approval takes on average about three weeks, which for many business applications is just not fast enough. This new policy will allow those companies to skip that step if they are operating at or below 200 feet altitude, and at certain distances from airports.” 
That’s a significant improvement over the current rules, Schulman says, removing a burden from both businesses and the FAA itself, which has to process all those flight plan applications. It’s a welcome development for the companies that already have Section 333 exemptions, says Lisa Ellman, chair of the UAS practice group in the D.C. office of McKenna, Long, & Aldridge and a former drone policy advisor to the Obama administration. But for the hundreds of companies still in FAA-approval limbo, the new rules do little to bolster their businesses.
The FAA is sensitive to the needs of business and the slow approval process, Ellman says, but with just 10 full-time staff available to process the Section 333 applications—each of which is quite complex—the going will likely remain slow. “I know from the FAA side that they feel constrained,” she says. “They feel like as a legal matter—and this is coming from their chief counsel’s office—that they have to review each exemption one by one.”
The hope is that with more commercial drones in the air as a result of the new blanket COA policy that increased FAA confidence in specific drone platforms and use cases will help speed along the approval process, at least until a final set of commercial drone rules is put in place sometime in the next couple of years. Says Ellman: “The hope is now that these different safety cases have been established—for industrial inspection, real estate, precision agriculture, and so on—that the process will start to move more quickly and they’ll be able to grant these approvals in a more timely way.”

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Leading the Drone Wars!

Companies Are Lining Up to Lead the Drone Wars

DJI's Phantom drone has become a favorite of hobbyists around the world. Image source: DJI.
In the last few years, as drone technology has improved and become accessible to the masses, everyone from hobbyists to businesses to investors has hoped that the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, would someday open the skies to drones. It's starting to do that, but its progress may not be at the pace some had hoped.
However, instead of stopping the flight of drones for commercial use in its tracks (hobby drones have been legal on a limited basis), the FAA recently proposed some fairly simple, albeit restrictive, rules on flying them. Here's what we know and what investors can expect.
What the FAA wants drones to do
Initial regulations from the FAA are essentially restricting drones to how a hobbyist might use one. Here are the four main restrictions. A drone:
  • Must remain within line-of-sight of operator.
  • Can't be flown over people not involved with the flight (think movie sets).
  • Can't exceed an altitude of 500 feet.
  • Can't operate at night.
Depending on who you are, these regulations could open up a world of possibilities or crash your hopes for wider drone usage. What's key is that the FAA is taking steps toward the coming drone revolution and will likely open the skies even more in the next year or two. 
Aerovironment's Qube drone could be a key search-and-rescue tool for first responders. Image source: Aerovironment.
Where we'll begin to see drones
One of the early uses for drones that people will begin to see will be in the real estate business. We're already seeing videos of homes pop up around the country, and now it will actually be legal to fly drones to film a home that's coming up for sale.
Search-and-rescue terms will also likely be an early adopter of drones. Aerovironment's (NASDAQ: AVAV  ) Qube drone is one example, equipped with a visual and thermal camera, autopilot, and a visual control tablet. In the future, these could be a standard piece of equipment for police, fire, and SWAT teams.
Two other areas that have already been granted a few exemptions for drones are agriculture and oil and gas exploration. In the agriculture business, drones can survey a field far more efficiently than someone can from the ground or the air, increasing productivity and yield at a relatively low cost. The line-of-sight limitation could limit the scope and style of drones used, but it's something that's manageable for the time being.
Oil and gas companies are using drones to survey and map remote locations, and that usage is set to grow even under current regulations. But not everyone is excited about the new drone rules.
Amazon's drones will be grounded
For those who follow the FAA's regulations of drones, it should be no surprise that's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) drones will be grounded for the foreseeable future. The line-of-sight provision is far too much for Amazon to overcome in delivering packages, as well as the fact that delivery drones would certainly need to fly near people.
The challenge for the FAA is ensuring safety for drones that may run automatically. It's currently unknown how the FAA could make sure drones don't run into trees, power lines, people, or one another. A crash landing could injure someone and damage property, so it's understandable that they're not just letting drones loose.
What we don't know is when more advanced regulations may begin to become available. So far, the FAA has slowly opened up drones to more testing and wider usage in a measured way. That will likely be true for automated flight, but it could be a decade before drones flying overhead is an everyday thing.
In reality, that's probably saving the drone industry from itself. Even one major accident with a poorly designed drone system could make the public lose faith in drones altogether, so even those wanting more drone flight should hope the FAA gets regulations right rather than fast.
Parrot's Bebop Drone and Skycontroller. Image source: Parrot. 
Who is ready to take advantage? 
There are a large number of companies working on drones, so picking winners and losers is tough at the moment.
There are a handful of publicly traded companies who will likely play a role in the future of drones, including Aerovironment and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , through its Insitu subsidiary. Obviously, drones would be a small percentage of Boeing's revenue, but with its wide reach in aviation it could be a big player. Both companies are approved for limited commercial flight today and will be aggressive in expanding into this market. 
Aerovironment is actually the military's No. 1 supplier of small drones and, as I mentioned above, has already launched a search-and-rescue product, Qube. With just $247 million in revenue over the past 12 months, the commercial drone market could have a huge impact on the company. I think this is a great way to get exposure to an industry with tremendous opportunity.
Parrot is a publicly traded company in Paris and makes products like the AR Drone 2.0 and the Bebop Drone (shown above). The company got a huge boost in 2014 when it began selling in Apple stores and could be a dark horse in the commercial market.
Then there's GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO  ) , which has been rumored to be making its own drone. At the very least, GoPro cameras are the standard video device on today's drones, so it has a lot to look forward to if drone sales take off.
Drones could be an $98 billion business in the next 10 years, according to BI Intelligence. For the companies that take advantage, it's a huge opportunity, so we'll see who takes flight first.
$19 trillion industry could destroy the internet
One bleeding-edge technology is about to put the World-Wide-Web to bed. It could make early investors wildly rich. Experts are calling it the single largest business opportunity in the history of capitalism... The Economist is calling it "transformative"... But you’ll probably just call it "how I made my millions." Don't be too late to the party— click here for 1 stock to own when the web goes dark.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AMA vs FAA Friend or FOE!!!!

Government Relations  

The Academy of Model Aeronautics has a long and successful history in advocating for the flying privileges of the aeromodeling community. It is one of the top reasons why modelers join the AMA and renew their membership year after year. Congress has recently passed legislation intended to prevent model aviation from being swept up in the effort to enable the operation of commercial and public use unmanned aircraft and to protect the aeromodeler from overreaching and burdensome regulation.

While this was a positive step, the FAA has recently released an Interpretive Rule that in essences diminishes the protection provided by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and arguably negates the Special Rule. The Interpretive Rule has the potential of significantly impacting the aeromodeling community and as such we need to be vigilant in responding to FAA's request for comments. It is also important to keep in mind that the FAA will likely release its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems by the end of the year, 2014. Please visit these pages regularly for the latest developments. To contact the AMA Government Relations team, email

Rich Hanson, AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

sUAS/Drone Prerecorded Broadcast


On Tuesday, November 25 AMA's Rich Hanson and Dave Mathewson answered your most commonly asked questions regarding the FAA and sUAS (Drone) legislative & regulatory issues.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Important changes to model aircraft laws in the USA

Important changes to model aircraft laws in the USA
14th July 2014
The world of FPV is an exciting area of the hobby. With technical innovations and more affordable equipment, it is one of the fastest growing areas of the hobby that thousands of modellers worldwide love.
However, FPV as we know it is in jeopardy.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the USA have announced that they are modifying the way that they interpret legislation relating to model aircraft flying. This announcement has many implications, but the two points of note that many of our customers will object to is that:
1) Flying a model FPV using goggles will become illegal
2) The FAA are able to further regulate all forms of model aircraft flying.
As the hobby has come into the mainstream over the last few years, the FAA have come under pressure from community groups and the media to address safety concerns. This is their solution.
These changes however are simply a knee-jerk reaction that is flawed and doesn’t address the issue of safety. The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) have been setting rules and regulations regarding to safety of model aviation for decades and have been doing it extremely well for all parties involved. Members are required to follow these safety rules as a part of membership. Non-members who were not following rules will continue to do so, largely unpoliced, and those who were doing the right thing will no-longer be able to fly FPV legally.
What can you do to stop this?
The easiest (but still effective) method to make your voice heard is to submit a comment to the FAA through showing your opposition to this change and let them know why you think these changes are flawed.
If you are in the US, we would also suggest you show support to the AMA, by becoming a member if you have not already signed up. They are on the side of the hobbyist as well as being large advocates for safety. This is the group you want representing your interests.
Not a US citizen so you think this doesn’t affect you?
Think again. There is a chance these changes could become a model that other nations will adopt.
Not an FPV flyer so you don’t really mind?
You should. This change sets a precedent that could very quickly expand to other areas of the hobby.
Please get your thoughts heard now, this stuff matters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



A great informative article by the guys of Flitetest:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Aairdog Auto Follow Quad, and Hexo+ Quadcopters

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Get Ready: Using Drones, UAVs, & Quadcopters for Commercial Use Could Be Legal Very Soon!!!!!!

If you live outside of the United States, there is a good chance you aren’t even thinking about this issue anymore, but here in America, the use of drones, UAVs, UASs, quadcopters, or whatever name you prefer (depending on what kind of flying vehicle it is), have been illegal for commercial usage — though that hasn’t stopped many from using them in that way. Right now they are legal for any non-commercial usage, but new rules coming this fall could expedite their legality for those wanting to use them on paid projects.

Here is a snippet from The Verge on this:

The new rule, which will be proposed in November, would allow commercial drones less than 55 pounds to be used in such activities as long as they were considered low risk to humans, structures, and other aircraft. Those approvals could come ahead of a larger reevaluation of FAA regulations covering small unmanned aircraft, expected sometime next year.

This issue has only gotten more heated as cheap UAVs have taken the industry by storm. The FAA was already planning on making rules for the use of smaller unmanned aerial vehicles by 2015, as it released this roadmap late last year, even though technically they were given permission by Congress to grant permits for commercial use back in 2012. This decision was bound to happen sooner or later, especially as the issue has been contested in court. Earlier this year, a federal administrative judge struck down a $10,000 fine from the FAA for drone usage, and stated that they were already legal because they should be considered “model aircraft.”

It will be interesting to see how this permit process will work, and how long it will take to come into effect — though the hope is that they have something in place by the end of the year. The hesitancy from the FAA is partially understandable, especially as people begin to use them more and more in populated areas. There is no question they can be extremely dangerous to both people on the ground, and other aircraft in the air, and as their popularity continues to increase, so will the accidents. The decision is certainly a step forward. Considering how much they can bring up the production values of a video for relatively little cost, it’s great that we will finally have some solid rules about the legality of UAVs for commercial use.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lockheed Martin NEW UAV's

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

US Navy fine tunes seafaring laser weapon and unmanned robocopters (video)inside

That electromagnetic railgun is cool and all, but it's not the Navy's only wargadget in progress. Apparently, the Armed Forces branch has also been working tirelessly to improve its ship-mounted lasers and autonomous helicopters since we'd last heard about them. The new laser prototype, in particular, is a beefed-up version of what we saw in 2013. It's capable of firing high-energy beams for $1 per shot, providing ships a low-cost alternative to weapons that require expensive ammunition. Within the past months, Navy engineers have consolidated the weapon's controls, so a single person can target, track and fire at threats like unmanned aircraft and attack boats using only a video game-like controller. The Navy wants to deploy this cost-effective death ray this summer aboard the same ship its predecessor occupied (the USS Ponce in the Gulf Sea), but it's still going through some final-stage adjustments.

On the other hand, a Navy helicopter with unmanned flight capability just finished two rounds of testing that proves it's surprisingly easy to use. In fact, a Marine was able to program a flight on its controller (a tablet) after only 15 minutes of training. Aside from being able to fly without a pilot, the choppers can also automatically detect and avoid obstacles such as telephone wires, as well as take the safest paths in inclement weather. These "robocopters" will be used chiefly to deliver supplies to the front lines, since resupply vessels frequently get targeted by enemies. Yes, they're like Amazon's delivery drones on a bigger, more serious scale. Even Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder compared the two: "We're talking the same concept here," he said, "the difference is, we're bringing our customer, the Marine, 5,000 pounds of ammo and water instead." The Navy didn't mention when the autonomous choppers are being deployed, so for now, you'll have to make do with the flight demo below.

[Image credit: John F. Williams for Office of Naval Research/Flickr]

Monday, April 7, 2014

DJI's latest drone has a built-in air traffic controller.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Former CEO. Colin Ginn VS dji

DJI video

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Personal drones launch to the skies.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Drone Debate, rise of the drones!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Crash proof drones, and paper air plane into a flying drone News

Turn a regular paper plane into a smartphone-controlled drone

Quadrocopter drone recovers from failures without skipping a beat (video)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Battlefield Drones

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Zazzle Store

Sunday, October 13, 2013

DJI Smashes the Competition with its Multirotor

September 9th, 2013 - Today as I was browsing my Facebook account aimlessly my eyeballs came across a little post from DJI. It read “We’re happy to announce a change to the price of the Phantom!” My first thought was “Oh no, please no — now we’re going to have even more irresponsible people buying these ready to fly (RTF) QuadCopters and operating them without regard for persons or property on the ground.” Then I thought about a little similar looking copter recently released by Walkera in the beginning of August. I tried to remember the price for that little beast. The copter is the Walkera QR X350 and it is priced at $449 in a RTF configuration similar to that of the DJI Phantom. It is one of three potential competitors out there at the moment for DJI’s Phantom. The other two are the Blade 350 QX priced at $469, and the IdeaFly Apollo, priced at $569. Up until today, all were priced below the DJI Phantom’s going rate of $679. How does DJI welcome new entrants to the Market? By crushing the competition with a drastic price cut. DJI dropped the price of the Phantom from the original $679 by $200 to $479. In my personal opinion, that is going to pretty much take Walkera’s, IdeaFly’s, and Horizon Hobbies’ entrants out of the picture. For those that were on the fence between purchasing one of these little white plastic abominations, the choice has just been made even easier. There’s no longer any need to spend an extra $200 or so. Now if you want to procure the QuadCopter with the larger user base and longer list of available accessories the price is much more reasonable. So will people experiment with the new kids on the block or just go with a solution that is already proven to some extent? DJI knows the answer to that question. Smart business move, right? Market share is everything. Or is it? Well…if I purchased a DJI Phantom a month ago or even a week ago for $679, I’d be one pretty pissed off camper right now. But hold on, DJI cares about all you past suckers (customers) out there. They want to make you happy if you’re someone who purchased a Phantom before September 9th, 2013. They’re not going to leave you hanging in the prop wash. DJI is offering those unlucky saps that purchased a Phantom before September 9th a credit voucher of $150!!! Great right? Well, it doesn’t equal the $200 price drop, but it’s something. Something is better than nothing, so now at least you can spend that money on something else that’s useful. Wrong. The voucher is only good if you use it to purchase the brand new DJI Phantom II or Phantom Vision. It seems to me that DJI doesn’t think its current customers are too intelligent. They also seem to think that if you purchase a DJI product it must mean that you’d like to shackled with a ball and chain so that you’ll keep purchasing DJI products. If I had personally purchased a Phantom before September 9th, I wouldn’t be too happy with DJI right now. I’d also have no desire to use my $150 voucher to purchase a new, improved Phantom that they’ll probably just cut the price of in a few months. Customers like to trust the companies they purchase products from, and moves like this cause consumers to quickly lose trust and feel taken. Nice Job DJI. DJI’s official release can be read here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Drone Crashlanding Accident NYC

Friday, September 27, 2013

3DR robotics News

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Sept. 26, 2013 — 3D Robotics, the leading open Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) company, today announced a $30 million Series B financing round. The round was co-led by Foundry Group, a new investor, and existing investor True Ventures, along with participation from existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and SK Ventures. As part of this round,  Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group will join the 3D Robotics board of directors.
This round of funding augments a late-2012 Series A round led by True Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. It will enable 3D Robotics to mainstream aerial robotics and surveying, making advanced UAV technology affordable and easy to use for its worldwide customer base of businesses and individuals. Working with its large community of users and open source developers, 3D Robotics has created the industry’s leading open UAV platform, APM, and is now extending that to a new generation of autopilots, software and ready-to-fly multicopter and fixed-wing UAVs.
As part of this funding round 3D Robotics will expand its development and deployment of advanced UAV applications, with a focus on agricultural crop mapping and other commercial aerial survey technology. “The opportunity to bring ‘big data’ to agriculture through low-cost automated aerial crop surveys could be a game-changer for both farming and the UAV industry alike,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. “Adding UAVs to the precision agriculture toolkit of a 21st Century farmer gives them the power to use imaging data to not only increase yield, but decrease water use and the chemical load in both food and environment.”
Starting in 2015, AUVSI, the UAV industry trade group, estimates that the first three years of integration of commercial drones into the national airspace will create more than 70,000 jobs in the United States with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion.  International prospects are much larger.  ”We’re building out a world-wide sales, service and support model that will help us build long-term relationships with local resellers that can in-turn support their local community requirements for mapping and imaging,” said John Cherbini, 3D Robotics VP of Sales.
3D Robotics also recently announced Iris, the company’s first ready-to-fly, fully-autonomous quadcopter for the consumer market.  The lightweight vehicle can conduct hands-off missions and record high definition aerial video, bringing pro-level UAV features at an unprecedented sub-$1,000 price. Iris is now shipping to developers, with consumer sales to begin in November.
In conjunction with Iris, 3D Robotics has extended its exclusive relationship with the PX4 team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), one of the world’s leading UAV research institutions. In collaboration with ETH, 3D Robotics has announced its most powerful autopilot to date, Pixhawk, which will ship in October.  Pixhawk is a new 32-bit open autopilot platform designed for improved ease of use and reliability while offering unprecedented safety features compared to existing solutions.
3D Robotics’ mission is to deliver reliable, easy-to-use autonomous navigation and sensing solutions to customers using land, sea or air based vehicles.  3D Robotics’ open UAV technology, which is in use by tens of thousands of customers already, delivers pro-level aerial robotics features at consumer-level prices to bring UAV applications to mainstream markets.
3D Robotics is a privately-held North American company with offices in Berkeley, San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
For more information on the company visit:

How 3D Robotics is building for America's drone-filled future

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Drone Hunting! Shoot down Permits Issued in States

Drone hunters: Why are Americans lining up to shoot down drones?

News reports about government spying – including the use of drones in the US – are worrying many Americans. In protest, one tiny Colorado town is issuing "drone hunting" license.

A small drone helicopter operated by a paparazzi records singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter (not seen) as she rides the Cyclone rollercoaster while filming a music video on Coney Island in New York August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
President Obama says the US government doesn’t spy on ordinary Americans with aerial drones or any other technology.
But in the tiny Colorado prairie town of Deer Trail (pop. 500), residents aren’t taking the most powerful man on earth at his word. Instead, they’ve invented a new pastime: drone hunting. And there’s lots of interest. Over 1,000 people have already applied for the novelty license, though the town won’t actually vote on the proposal until Oct. 8.
It’s a half-serious initiative intended as a symbolic protest against what many in the town, and around the country, see as an emerging and increasingly sinister American surveillance state. At the very least, the $25 licenses could raise some revenue for Deer Trail, a rickety plains outpost in a state being considered by the Obama administration for experimental use of civilian drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a stern warning that it’s against federal law to shoot down unmanned drones. "Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability,” the agency warned this week.
Concern about excessive domestic spying is politically ubiquitous. But the prospect of Western states being used to experiment with domestic drones by everyone from police to ranchers hit particularly hard in rural America. Those are the kinds of places where people proudly wear T-shirts that proclaim “I’m a right wing extremist” – a tongue-in-cheek reference to something a Justice Department report warned about several years ago.
The American West, too, is where the “black helicopter” conspiracy theories caught fire in the 1990s.
In its second term, the Obama administration has faced allegations ranging from political targeting by the IRS to revelations that the National Security Agency is trolling millions of phone calls in search of suspicious “pairings” of phone numbers that could hint at terrorist connections.
While attitudes have become more critical in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks about the NSA spying program, a majority of Americans still, by a slim margin, support such initiatives, and believe they contribute to national security.
But Republicans, especially, have become far more suspicious of such programs since 2006, when only 26 percent of GOP voters said the press should be reporting on covert surveillance programs; today 43 percent of Republicans think the press should report on secret counter-terror programs.
But while there are legitimate domestic terrorism threats in the US, the question of whom the federal spy complex may target for surveillance is what concerns most critics, giving rise to a new sort of surveillance anxiety, even amid assurances from Obama that, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”
The problem for many Americans, of course, is trusting the government when it says it can responsibly peer at phone records and Internet traffic while not stepping on the American constitutional guarantee against warrantless searches.
“If spying is narrowly construed to mean, say, warrantless wiretaps on Americans, then it's apparently true that there's no domestic spying program,” David Graham wrote in the Atlantic. “But it's also not really true, and it suggests a sort of smirking contempt on the president's part for his interlocutors, and citizens.”
That suspicion has certainly found an outlet on the Colorado prairie.
Kim Oldfield, the town clerk in Deer Trail, has just started throwing drone-hunting application envelopes in a pile after she received 983 checks worth $19,000. The local who came up with the idea, Phillip Steel, has been privately selling novelty licenses, the proceeds from which he says he’s sharing with the town.
Steel told the Associated Press he dreamed up the drone hunter idea after reading newspaper accounts of domestic spying efforts originating with the National Security Agency.
"Do we really want to become a surveillance society? That's what I find really repugnant," Steel told the AP.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Drones Gone WILD!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Civil Aviation Authority

Please use companies that have a CAA permission for aerial work!
Posted by HexCam on December 17, 2012
Posted in: Equipment.  Tagged: aerial film, aerial photography, BNUC-S, CAA, civil aviation authority, hexacopter, multirotor, norwich, octocopter, oktocopter, quadcopter, quadracopter, quadricopter, UAV.  Leave a Comment
I’m always aware that there are a few other companies about who provide similar aerial photography services to those that HexCam provide. That is the great thing about operating in a new, exciting, growing industry.

As a result you will find competitors who are cheaper and more expensive (mostly more expensive!). You may well choose one of our competitors for reasons such as they are cheaper, closer, have cameras more suitable for your needs etc. and that is fair enough! We accept that and welcome it as it gives us something to aim at.

However, if you are paying someone to use an unmanned aerial vehicle (a radio-controlled helicopter, plane or any other RC aircraft) can I please ask one thing? Please, please, please check that the company you choose has an up-to-date permission for aerial work from the Civil Aviation Authority for the aircraft they are going to use. They should be able to make the certificate available to you on request. If they don’t have it, it means they are not authorised to operate commercially in UK airspace. The CAA permission for aerial work also means that their pilots have demonstrated a level of flying competence, knowledge of UK airspace and that they know the limitations on their flying. Companies that have achieved their permissions recently may also be able to show you their BNUC-S qualification which is the new standard to achieve CAA approval.

Most insurance companies will now only issue insurance if the permission for aerial work is provided so if a company or individual haven’t got one they are unlikely to be insured for public liability.

Some might try to tell you that their aircraft doesn’t need a permission but it doesn’t matter how small the aircraft is, if they are flying for any kind of direct or indirect financial gain they must have a permission for aerial work.

Our industry, as it stands now, with a number of people moving away from a “hobbyist” approach, is very young. The CAA is really leading the world in the way it has allowed unmanned aircraft to begin to be integrated properly into UK airspace. Help us to keep it that way by only using approved companies and individuals so that the industry isn’t set back by people operating outside the legislation. If people make sure they ask then people operating outside the legislation will begin to realise that they either need to come on board or choose a different career, either way it ensures a safer, better regulated, professional industry.