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April 18, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'April 18, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'

VOL. 1, ISSUE 5 April 18, 2017
Top Stories
Hydrogen drone passes mountain rescue test
Chinese drone maker MMC is touting recent success flying a drone powered by a hydrogen fuel cell at more than 14,000 feet on frigid mountains in China. The HyDrone 1550 claims a no-payload endurance of 150 minutes and three lives saved: a rescue operation mounted in below-zero temperatures that would ground most drones powered by batteries. MMC posted photos of subsequent mountain flight tests online. (Image courtesy of MMC.) Read more >
Five questions for John Petersen
As the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation prepares to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of one of aviation's most famous flights, John Petersen, chairman of the foundation's board, reflected on what the aviator might have thought about using drones to stop the slaughter of animals in Africa. Read more >
Training and Safety
Manned and unmanned parallels
Whether it's what kind of aircraft to buy, or deciding when and where to fly, manned pilots and remote pilots face similar decision-making processes, AOPA Senior Director of UAS Programs Kat Swain explained during a seminar April 8 at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida. Read more >
Battery care and transportation tips
The lithium-ion batteries that power drones require special care to prevent an unexpected power failure that could damage your drone, according to DJI retailer DroneNerds Creative Director Lance Knowles. Read more >
Growing season brings low-flying aircraft
The National Agricultural Aviation Association reminds all aviators that hay is made when the summer sun shines, along with other crops, and remote pilots should keep a sharp eye out for crop sprayers that fly as low as 10 feet off the ground at speeds that give them little chance to see and avoid a drone. Read more >
DJI releases new base model Phantom 4
DJI on April 13 unveiled the Phantom 4 Advanced, a replacement for the original Phantom 4 quadcopter, with a retail price $50 lower than the original and the same upgraded camera flown in the Phantom 4 Pro. Read more >
Drone delivers broadcast-quality VR
The Flying EYE announced April 13 by 360 Designs claims to be the first drone that can deliver a 360-degree virtual reality experience at 6K resolution. The system built on a DJI M600 chassis includes matched camera-lens combinations and long-distance, low-latency streaming capability. The company plans live daily demos of the $75,000 system during the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas April 24 through 27 at 5 p.m. in the VR pavilion. Read more and watch a video >
Cost vs. price of drones
Advances in technology and creation of the consumer drone market have made unmanned aircraft affordable, though the cost of owning a drone includes a bit more than just its price. Read more >
Camarillo drone experience
AOPA has teamed up with drone retailer Multicopter Warehouse to bring drones to Camarillo, California, for the first AOPA Fly-In of 2017 April 28 and 29. The Interactive Drone Experience includes a cage for demonstrations, gear and safety tips, and AOPA-member discounts on drone purchases. A free seminar at 1 p.m. April 29 will cover drone basics. Read more >
Drone Racing League unveils fastest quad yet
The Drone Racing League has unveiled the Racer 3 model, which has a top speed of 85 mph, though it will accelerate faster from a standing start than a Formula 1 car. Read more >
Regulation and Policy
FAA updates drone limits
The FAA announced April 7 that it will soon prohibit drone flights over 133 military facilities nationwide, followed days later by word that drones may eventually get faster access to other airspace. Read more >
Drone flies at UK airport
The sight of drones flying at major airports is still unusual, but it has been done under careful supervision. Test flights were conducted safely at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier this year. Now, another example is detailed with mission notes from an on-airport drone operation in the United Kingdom. Read more >
Glacier-probing drone enters market
Swiss drone maker Flyability has a specialized machine designed to crash, and bounce right back, and used it in 2016 to capture stunning images from inside a glacial crevasse. The company announced April 11 a deal to market the collision-tolerant Elios. Read more >
Drones patrol Boston Marathon
As more than 30,000 runners hit the streets April 17 for the Boston Marathon, a specialized (and tethered) security drone made by CyPhy Works was on patrol, supporting both communications and surveillance. Read more >
The future of high-end drones
Delair-Tech of France provides end-to-end drone solutions including equipment, software, and services for various industries. CEO Michael de Lagarde granted an interview to GIM International, which serves the global geomatics industry. Read more >
Drone helps reveal dinosaur tracks
Archaeologists in Australia used a quadcopter to help uncover dinosaur tracks in Western Australia, leaving one headline writer for The Digital Circuit unable to resist dubbing the effort "Indiana Drones." Read more >
Featured Video
Lightning strikes quad
British YouTube and television star Tom Scott put a DJI Phantom in the path of millions of volts at a U.K. laboratory fitted with high-speed cameras to view the results of a lightning strike. Drones were certainly damaged in the making of this video, but you might be surprised at what still worked. (Image courtesy of Tom Scott via YouTube.) Watch the video >
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