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March 7, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'March 7, 2017, issue of 'AOPA Drone Pilot'

VOL. 1, ISSUE 2 March 7, 2017
Bridging the drone divide
Helicopter operators who once viewed drones with deep distrust and apprehension are increasingly inclusive in their approach to unmanned aviation. At the Helicopter Association International 2017 HAI Heli-Expo convention March 6 through 8 in Dallas, a drone safety symposium is only the beginning. Read more >
Drone pilots join AOPA
Every AOPA member enjoys many benefits and services, including access to the aviation experts of the AOPA Pilot Information Center via toll-free hotline, online education and training products including free and discounted courses from DARTdrones, and a subscription of your choice to either AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine. Additional Pilot Protection Services come with the Drone Pilot Basic and Drone Pilot Plus memberships, protecting your manned aircraft certificate (Basic) or both your manned and remote pilot certificates (Plus). Read more and join the drone pilots enjoying the benefits of AOPA membership >
Training and Safety
DARTdrones lands $300K on 'Shark Tank'
DARTdrones, which provides hands-on and online training for drone pilots (including free and discounted offerings for AOPA members) came away from a Feb. 24 appearance on ABC's Shark Tank with a $300,000 investor, celebrity billionaire Mark Cuban, who was quick to see potential in the company's plan to grow. (Photo courtesy of DARTdrones.) Read more >
Reporting requirements for unmanned aircraft accidents
The number of pilots certificated to fly unmanned aircraft commercially is increasing, as is the number of others flying unmanned aircraft for hobby or recreational use, so it is important to be familiar with the FAA and NTSB rules for unmanned aircraft accident reporting. Read more >
National Public Safety UAS Conference wraps
Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management hosted a conference for public safety officials who wish to advance their use of drones. Read more >
DJI launches enterprise drone
The world market leader in consumer drones has created a weather-resistant workhorse able to carry multiple cameras for industrial inspection, public safety, and other demanding applications. Based on the Inspire 2, the Matrice 200/210 is a quadcopter that folds on the ground and flies with precision, and is made with extreme environments in mind. (Photo courtesy of DJI.) Read more >
Crop sensor created for DJI Mavic, Phantom models
A Minnesota company has created a specialized camera that can be fitted to recent DJI Phantom and Mavic models, making them useful tools for precision agriculture. Read more >
Backpacks for drones
Think Tank Photo has expanded its lineup of Helipak backpacks, offering models designed for specific DJI drones including the Inspire, among others. The Helipak for DJI Inspire retails online for $340, and offers lockable zippers, heavy-duty construction, and lumbar support. Read more >
Flying the Inspire 2
The DJI Inspire 2 released in November comes with a pretty steep price tag, upwards of $8,000 or more including the aircraft, camera, and accessories like a case, second remote, and spare batteries. A video professional from England put the Inspire 2 through its paces and concluded it is well worth the price. Read more >
Gasoline-powered drone shown in Australia
An Australian company has created and flown a gasoline-powered quadcopter with three-hour endurance and a 22-pound payload capacity. Read more >
Tiltrotor drone tackles range of missions
Wingcopter, the German maker of the Wingcopter tiltrotor VTOL UAS, was a finalist in the 2017 Drones for Good competition, and has partnered with UAVenture to marry the tiltorotor design with the AirRails flight control system. Read more >
New York hosts drone film festival
The New York City Drone Film Festival remains the largest festival in the world dedicated exclusively to drone cinematography. The festival, now in its third year, will feature panel discussions, screenings, and more March 18 and 19. Read more >
Drone racing league to launch in Baltimore
Racing drones continue to grow in popularity, and Global Air Media, a Baltimore-based mapping and cinematography company, plans to organize a new league that is open to adults but geared toward youth. Read more>
Regulation and Policy
Potential ‘hidden pitfalls’ for drone operators
Drone operators should be aware of some language contained in the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act. Read more >
West Virginia senators approve drone regulations
State senators in West Virginia have passed a bill that regulates drones, defining how drones may be used for journalism and law enforcement organizations, as well as by individuals. State lawmakers believe they can penalize drone operators for publishing images without the subject’s permission, another of several provisions in the bill, without conflicting with FAA regulations. Read more >
AOPA suggests alternatives to flight restrictions
The military should test technology to counter unmanned aircraft systems in existing special-use airspace as an alternative to creating two temporary restricted areas in the vicinity of the busy Valparaiso and Destin, Florida, areas, AOPA said in response to a regulatory filing by the FAA. Read more >
UPS tests delivery drone
Package delivery giant UPS has begun testing a truck-launched drone that could save time and money by carrying packages over the most expensive portion of the trip: the last mile. Read more and watch the video >
North Dakota network to take drones beyond line of sight
A two-year, $500,000 grant awarded to Harris Corp. will fund a partnership with the University of North Dakota that aims to create the infrastructure for flying drones beyond visual line of sight, and could become the first operational BVLOS drone control network in the country. Read more >
Search-and-rescue drone tested in Michigan
Eagle-Eye Drone Service found unexpected success using drones to search under water during tests in Michigan. The company, co-owned by a member of the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Dive Team, found drones to be surprisingly effective at spotting submerged objects and discerning details. Read more >
Drones to help almond growers
Researchers at California State University, Fresno are teaming up with AeroVironment to irrigate thirsty almonds more efficiently with help from drones. Read more >
DJI Phantom owners file class action suit
Allegedly harmful firmware updates that disabled DJI Phantom 2 drones have prompted a class action lawsuit. Read more >
Autorotating drone lands patent
A drone designed to automatically make a soft landing, even if every system fails, has been patented by Meteomatics, the company announced Feb. 24. The quadcopter uses aerodynamics to land without destroying itself if all else fails. Read more >
Research center opens in San Francisco
San Francisco’s Treasure Island has long been an unofficial proving ground for drones, but local educators and researchers plan to formalize independent testing and validation there. Read more >
Drone disrupts wildfire response
Firefighters in Texas were not at all amused when a small drone forced the grounding of air tankers that had been fighting a recent wildfire near Fort Worth. Read more >
Air Force buys anti-drone tech
The U.S. Air Force has purchased anti-drone technology from a company based in Israel. Read more >
Micro drone totes thermal camera
A collaboration among companies including thermal imaging leader FLIR Systems has produced a tiny drone that can capture infrared images for military operators, and fits in the palm of your hand. Read more >
Chinese drones toast trash on power lines
Fitting a flamethrower to a drone will land you in hot water in the U.S., but in China it's a new tool to remove trash from high-voltage power lines and prevent outages. Read more >
Featured Video
Colorado color captured by drone
Web designer David Leiter can take his work on the road, which helps explain how he manages to travel the world with a drone in hand and capture breathtaking views of scenic locations from above. Among the popular videos Leiter has crafted, this one, shot during an extended camping trip across Colorado, required some climbing, Leiter said.

"I slept in my truck bed for the entire two months, and drove 8,600 miles visiting places all over Colorado." He climbed 10 of Colorado's mountains that are more than 14,000 feet tall, including Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the state. "It was so cold up there, the batteries would get too cold to actually run," Leiter recalled in a telephone chat from Bali, Indonesia, where he is working on a new film, and where he does not have to keep his batteries in his sleeping bag overnight. (Photo courtesy of David Leiter.) Watch the video >
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