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July 11, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'July 11, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'

VOL 1, ISSUE 11 July 11, 2017
Top Stories
FAA engages young people with drones
A senior FAA official whose job includes drone regulation and authorizations has lined up veteran flight instructors from a Connecticut flight school to help create the agency's first Aviation Career Education Academy that's all about drones. Aviation Safety Inspector Marilyn Pearson hopes the weeklong program will become a model for similar programs across the country. Read more >
Training and Safety
AOPA to host Drone Social at AirVenture
John and Martha King of King Schools, Abby Speicher of DARTdrones, and Christian Ramsey of uAvionix will participate in a networking and social event for drone enthusiasts, and those who are simply curious, on July 27 during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The 5:30 p.m. Drone Social will include a safety and airspace integration panel discussion moderated by Kat Swain, AOPA senior director of unmanned aircraft programs. Food, drinks, and conversations will follow. There is no additional charge beyond AirVenture admission, but attendees are asked to register in advance. Register now >
SkyPixel contest draws crowd
With an impressive list of prizes on the line, it's no wonder that the SkyPixel/DJI video contest has drawn more than 700 entries to date, according to one recent online report, and there is still time to add your best footage to the mix ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline. Submissions are accepted in three categories: Nature, City, and Sport. Read more >
Elevated launch pad for drones
Indianapolis drone operator Ocelleye has created a landing pad that elevates and protects drones weighing up to 25 pounds. The lightweight and portable pad has a mesh deck that allows prop wash to pass through, while keeping the drone clear of sand, dirt, and other hazards. Read more >
Inspire 2 gets an inspiring review
The DJI Inspire 2 has been out for a few months, but reviewers are still getting their hands on the new machine. One found it strong, highly crash resistant, and more intelligent, to go along with improved agility, an improved return-to-home capability, and a dual battery setup to allow longer flights. Aerial imaging takes a leap forward with the capability to mount multiple camera systems including the upgraded Zenmuse X5S. Read more >
Regulation and Policy
FAA making progress toward speedy airspace authorization
The FAA has now uploaded more than 330 airport area maps depicting the locations and altitudes where authorization to operate unmanned aircraft near an airport in controlled airspace is possible. The agency hopes to have all facility maps available by October, allowing remote pilots to quickly identify where flights may be permitted before seeking authorization. Read more >
Drone makers want more regulation, not less
Legislation under consideration in Congress would expand the legal framework of drone operations, and it is perhaps surprising that industry is calling for more regulation—at least a little more. Read more >
FAA refunding drone registration fees
Hobbyists who registered a drone and paid a $5 fee can request a refund, and expungement of the registration information from the federal database, now that a federal district court has ruled that the FAA exceeded its authority requiring non-commercial operators to register. The FAA action ran afoul of a federal law prohibiting the agency from regulating model aircraft flown by hobbyists, the court said. Read more >
Flying cameras capture fireworks
Legally filming fireworks displays with a drone is no easy task, the FAA notes, given the restrictions in place on flights over people, and at night, without authorization. Still, many hobbyists have found ways to capture the rocket's red glare from the air. Read more >
Army research rethinking drones
When you put "drone" and "military" in the same sentence, most people will immediately think of the missile-armed Predator or similar models, but the U.S. Army has drones in the laboratory that more closely resemble small animals. The research aims to create a drone that can perch like a bird. Read more >
DJI fights hacking
Russian hackers have not only created huge headaches for politicians: The world's largest consumer drone maker is also feeling the pain and fighting back. Software posted in many online forums allows users to bypass built-in geofencing, but DJI has recently updated system firmware to make the current exploit obsolete—at least for now. Read more >
Drones (still) disrupting firefighters
While firefighters are beginning to use drones of their own, unauthorized and illegal operation by other parties remains a growing concern. Firefighters taking on the Goodwin Fire in Arizona were forced to suspend aerial operations twice in one week due to drone incursions. Read more >
Terms of use not endearing
Do you read the terms of use of a product before you click "agree" and move on? A consumer who put the terms of use of DJI's GO app under the microscope came away with red flags about some dispute-resolution conditions that DJI said reflect standard corporate practice of tech companies. Read more >
Drug cartel uses drones to spy on police
Further proof that new technology will inevitably be used for evil as well as good has been unearthed down under, where Australian police were conducting surveillance on a drug cartel smuggling large quantities of cocaine, and forced to adapt when the drug smugglers used a drone to spy on the police. Read more >
Featured Video
Stunning Stockholm
At nearly 17 minutes, this aerial tour of Stockholm, Sweden, is much longer than the typical internet video. It also invites viewers to consider what's safe and what's legal. There's no sign of any trouble as the camera cruises a long-distance track over the city, but from a pilot's perspective, it prompts questions about risk and reward. Was the drone within the pilot's line of sight at all times, and what mitigations were in place in case of a system failure over those beautiful buildings? Would you make this flight? What authorizations or permissions would be required to do this in U.S. airspace? Food for thought. (Image courtesy of Swedrone Aerial via Vimeo.) Watch the video >
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