Posts Tagged ‘drones’
To little birds calling Weeze Airport home in Germany across the border with Netherlands it must seem like the Terminator. A group of students and former students from the University of Twente in Netherlands 54 miles northwest are coming to fly their peregrine falcon drone that flaps its wings and looks like the real thing. It is carried aloft on its own wings, not propellers. They have flown their lifelike birds for at least three years, but now it is time to test it. Weeze Airport agreed. You can see the robo-bird here. The students formed a company called Clear Flight Solutions, but they aren’t selling the robo-birds and aren’t marketing to airports. They are just testing. If you absolutely need a robo-bird that is unrelated to the university and too small to scare anything, you can get one for 100 bucks. Shown is Dutch guy Nico Nijenhuis of the University of Twente with the Weeze robo terminator.
Think you have all the ratings? If newly proposed FAA rules on drones get approved–it will take two years–as written, there will be a new type of “pilot” certificate (only required for commercial drone use) called Unmanned Aerial Systems Operator. (Can “Rocket Pilot” be far behind?) Most rule comment periods are 60 days, but apparently that limitation has been tossed away. Here’s the good news. An early draft of the regulations says you need to go to a Knowledge Test Center to take the written test. No previous flying experience, medical certificate, or pilot certificate is required. It must be repeated every two years. If you are already a pilot, you still have to get a UAS operator certificate. First there is an application process. You have to be 17 or older. Following that applicants must visit a flight instructor who signs them off for the written test. All this means we have a pool of potential pilots coming to the airport soon, since that is where many Knowledge Test Centers are located. Do you suppose if we treat them as one of the pilot community, they might actually become private pilots? How many will there be? We can be a lot more optimistic than the FAA. The FAA thinks there will only be 7,500 commerical-use drone pilots in the United States five years after the drone regs take effect. I just checked a Web photography site called SLR (single-lens reflex) Lounge Beta, and I believe the estimate I found there that there are 100,000 wedding photographers out there who want to be competitive, so could there be 20,000 who might want to get a certificate? Now then, the National Association of Realtors said in 2007 there were two million real estate agents in the United States working for 109,000 firms. A few thousand firms may want their own drone, or at least sign a contract with a local drone pilot. So, another 10,000? We’re leaving out a bunch of industries here that may send people to the local Knowledge Test Center. Welcome to aviation, folks.
Editor’s note: You can get more details about the proposed rule and AOPA’s position on safely integrating drones into the National Airspace System in the story, “Proposed rules set limits on small UAS.”
Look at the general age group in these DJI (a company that makes drones) photos posted on the drone company’s Web site. Aren’t these the youthful crowd we wanted in general aviation? And where are they? In drone pilot school. Should be a snap for those of us who are already pilots, right? You too can attend drone pilot school. It’s only one day. Select “North America” in the link above under “Select A Region” to see the schedule. DJI, the largest drone maker in the world which manufactured the drone that ended up in a White House tree, offers the school. They want to sell drones and they want to make sure you know the rules, one of which is, don’t drink and drone. If sober, you are more likely to remember you can’t fly a drone in D.C. Classes are worldwide, but classes for the United States include Boston and Riverdale, Maryland on Feb. 7, and classes later this year in Miami; Englewood, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina; Philadephia; and Salt Lake City. Remember, friends don’t let friends drone drunk. Ok, so drone enthusiasts worldwide are stampeding toward drones. And what do we do to get them to stampede to the local airport?
As AvWeb plus more than two million people have seen or reported, the University of Pennsylvania scientists of tomorrow have created a fleet of computer-controlled flying drones that can “bomb” piano keys hooked to an artificial trumpet, guitar strings or a cymbal to play a song . You can see this brief, entertaining and scary performance here.