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February 21, 2017, issue of AOPA Drone PilotFebruary 21, 2017, issue of AOPA Drone Pilot

VOL. 1, ISSUE 1 FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Safety in numbers: AOPA welcomes drone pilots
After nearly eight decades of serving general aviation with safety education that is second to none; advocacy that has preserved and protected the freedom to fly; and a host of other services including insurance, financing, and legal services, AOPA has created new membership options to meet the specific needs of remote pilots. Read more >
Golden opportunity
A pilot and aircraft mechanic in the Pacific Northwest is among those putting unmanned aircraft to work on the farm. Robby Schoepflin lands his grandfather's Cessna Skyhawk on a farm and sets to work with another kind of aircraft—one that is made to capture images that help farmers make key decisions about crop management and maximize yield. Read more >
Hangar Talk: Drones on the farm
Ag pilot Robby Schoepflin and farmer Robert Blair describe how they use a computer and a fixed-wing drone to manage crops and cows in this Hangar Talk podcast. Listen to the podcast >
Training and Safety
Train like a pilot
Many people and organizations offer training for drone pilots, but not all of them are pilots. AOPA has partnered with DARTdrones, whose staff brings manned aviation expertise to the unmanned world, to offer AOPA members free and discounted drone training courses. (Photo courtesy of DARTdrones.) Read more >
Vigilant drones detect, avoid
A series of tests at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, confirmed the FlightHorizon detect-and-avoid system created by Vigilant Aerospace can deliver safety when the drone is out of the operator's sight. The system tracked aircraft and provided timely alerts and collision warnings in the controlled tests. Read more >
Drone workshops for journalists
The Poynter Institute has partnered with the National Press Photographers Association, the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska, and DJI to offer hands-on, three-day workshops for journalists who want to use drones to tell stories. Read more >
Tether for Inspire
A television professional who provides satellite trucks for the Super Bowl and other events has created a custom tether that supplies power and collects video from a DJI Inspire in flight, allowing the quadcopter to remain aloft indefinitely (until it rains, at least). The $12,000 system includes a custom ground station created with broadcast television in mind, though customers have found other applications too: At least one rancher uses it to keep an eye on his cattle. (Photo courtesy of NTP Inc.) Read more >
Pilot leads AOPA's drone plan
Like many of those who have helped harness the power of drones for beneficial uses, Kathleen "Kat" Swain was a manned pilot before she became a remote pilot, and brought the perspective of experience gained through multiple ratings, including flight instructor, to the development and operation of drones. After instructing military and civilian pilots, and flying drones for many purposes such as insurance industry support and humanitarian missions, Swain joined AOPA's staff. Read more >
Drone show focuses on business
The Small Unmanned Systems Business Expo in San Francisco, organized by sUAS News, returns in May for the fifth edition of the show focused on practical business applications of small drones. AOPA covered the event in 2016, and several AOPA members who have started drone businesses also were on hand to network and learn from one another. Learn more and register today >
Regulation and Policy
First drone flights approved in Class B
Drones took flight around Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, one of America's busiest airports, and the January mission marked the first time civilian drone flights were authorized by the FAA in Class B airspace. The drones were used to create maps to assist in planning the addition of new parking garages and a public transit station, part of a $6 billion airport expansion project. At least one expert pronounced the operation a "big deal." Read more >
Behind the Super Bowl drone show
The drone dance featuring 300 aircraft choreographed to perform with Lady Gaga during Super Bowl LI was taped in advance due to FAA restrictions on flights over people. The display dazzled the television audience, and highlighted both the capabilities of new technology and the challenges of regulating it. Read more >
Legal advice for farm missions
An attorney whose practice includes unmanned aircraft offers advice for those flying on the farm. Read more >
Uber hires NASA flying car expert
NASA engineer Mark Moore published a white paper in 2010 with a vision of a flying car that could revolutionize transportation. Uber, the ridesharing company that aims to build a system featuring such aircraft, and eventually make them autonomous, hired Moore in February to join the Google rival, Bloomberg reported. Read more >
Forecast predicts drone market growth to $6 billion
A new report from international research firm Gartner projects the world market for unmanned aerial vehicles will increase by 39 percent in 2017 to $6 billion, and reach $11.2 billion by 2020. Read more >
Drone inspects Oroville Dam
As thousands fled for high ground fearing failure of the nation's tallest dam, the California Department of Water Resources deployed a drone over the Oroville Dam and adjacent emergency spillway to assess damage caused by an emergency water release. Flight restrictions imposed by the FAA to protect helicopters dropping boulders and cement into a giant sinkhole kept other drones away. Watch the video >
Featured Video
A drone's-eye view of Australia
Zero Gravity Films captures breathtaking footage and a unique perspective of Australia in this short film that takes you through mountains and along the rocky coastline. (Photo courtesy of Zero Gravity Films.) Watch the video >
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Drone Pilot Editor:
Jim Moore

Production Team:
Elizabeth Linares
Melissa Whitehouse
Alyssa Miller
Dan Namowitz
David Tulis
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Eastern and Central United States and International:
Jeff Rockwood, 301/695-2089

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