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April 4, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'April 4, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'

VOL. 1, ISSUE 4 April 4, 2017
Top Stories
Rise of the fire drones
The firefighters of Menlo Park, California, pride themselves on forward thinking. Having embraced drones (with some help from friends, including a few household names), they are working to spread the word and help others do good things with robots. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Anthony Eggimann, Menlo Park Fire District.) Read more >
Five questions for Parimal Kopardekar
No single scientist has a more central role in shaping the integrated airspace of the future than Parimal H. Kopardekar, principal investigator of the NASA UAS Traffic Management program. Kopardekar has been busy in recent years overseeing this far-reaching and collaborative drone research effort, but not too busy to field five questions from AOPA Drone Pilot. Read more >
Training and Safety
Drone with AOPA
Drones and deals are up for grabs for members on the AOPA campus at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo April 4 through 9 in Lakeland, Florida. Watch drone cage demos, put your thumbs on sticks, and learn more about flying drones in a free seminar with AOPA Senior Director of UAS Programs Kat Swain April 8 at 11 a.m. AOPA members get product discounts from Drone Nerds. Read more >
Four-wheel, six-rotor Panther for sale
The Panther hexacopter by Advanced Tactics Inc. may not be a drone for everyone, but if you are looking for a heavy lifter that can haul the mail (15 pounds of it) and roll off-road on four wheels, the Autonomous AT Panther Air/Ground Robot fits within Part 107 limits and is on sale through April 5 for $2,495, batteries sold separately. (Photo courtesy of Advanced Tactics Inc. via YouTube.) Read more >
IBM patents pet-sitting drone
If anyone ever builds a drone that can dog-sit, IBM wants a piece. The company that created Watson, the computer that beat humans on the television game show Jeopardy! and now can be hired to do your taxes, has applied for a patent for a future drone that will watch pets while you work, and even train them. Read more >
Humanitarian drone to feed 100 people
The Pouncer is a concept design for a disaster relief drone made to glide into isolated areas with food, water, and more. It can be burned to cook the food it hauls, and can feed up to 100 people for 24 hours. Read more >
Near-death experience launches drone career
The Digital Circuit, an online publication covering drones and technology, recently published a brief memoir by Kevin Sebesky: "Why I Fly." It's a remarkable account of a journey that transcends quadcopters and speaks to what it means to be alive. Read more >
Drone photo workshops offered worldwide
Photographer Elia Locardi teaches drone photography in the field, with workshops scheduled in Portugal, Spain, and Singapore this year. Participants can borrow drones made by workshop sponsor DJI, or bring their own. Read more >
Regulation and Policy
FAA seeks digital ID for drones
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced at the agency's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium in Reston, Virginia, a rulemaking effort that will lead to remote digital identification of drones and their pilots. Read more >
DJI proposes drone ID with limits
DJI has been speaking out on drone policy matters, the latest example a white paper that proposes a version of digital identification process that preserves a degree of operator privacy. Read more >
Balancing CBP drones and GA in Texas
AOPA is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FAA to help pilots share airspace safely with unmanned aircraft flying border surveillance missions five days a week from San Angelo Regional/Mathis Field Airport in Texas. (Photo courtesy of CBP.) Read more >
Creditors sell the bones of Lily Robotics
The intellectual property and concept that wooed investors and customers to Lily Robotics will be sold off by the DAK Group to raise money for unsecured creditors. The would-be San Francisco maker of a waterproof, autonomous drone that captured the imagination of many filed for bankruptcy protection March 15. Read more >
Drone pilots will soon outnumber private pilots
The FAA on March 21 released its latest 20-year aerospace activity forecast, the first to include drones. The agency predicts remote pilots certificated under Part 107 will exceed the private pilot population as early as 2018, and no later than 2020. Read more >
Self-taught drones to learn bird tricks
In yet another example of new technology borrowing from nature, a British defense contractor and a British university have teamed up to marry a morphing wing with an artificially intelligent robot that can teach itself to fly, and perch, like a bird. Read more >
Featured Video
NASA's drone wizard
Many of the biggest advances in aerospace history started pretty small, and making models for NASA ranks high on our most-awesome-jobs-we-can-imagine list. Wired magazine spent some time with chief model maker Red Jensen in the shop where drones are made to test the shape of future flying. (Photo courtesy of NASA photo.) Watch the video >
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Drone Pilot Editor:
Jim Moore

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Elizabeth Linares
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