Fun stories on the private sector use of drones:
- Toy drone regulations in U.S. knocked down
- Demand for commercial drone pilots is growing
- How about using a swarm of disposable drones to deliver disaster aid?
- Wedge-tail eagles taking out big drones
5/19/17 – The Hill – Court strikes down rule forcing toy drone users to register with govt – The FAA rule requiring every operator of every toy drone to register is contrary to a congressional law that prohibits the FAA from regulating toy drones. That is the conclusion of the federal Second Court of Appeals in DC.
This means the rules requiring toy drone operators to register with the FAA, pay a $5 fee, and mark every drone with an ID number are gone.
1/30/17 – The Atlantic – The Booming Demand for Commercial Drone Pilots – Demand for qualified and licensed drone pilots is increasing enough that training courses are emerging. Article goes into detail on one particular program. Because the licensing regime is quite simple, the courses are short and relatively inexpensive.
I’ll guess the demand for classes will continue non-stop in spite of the FAA licensing rules being overturned.
2/1/17 – IEEE Spectrum – Swarms of Disposable Drones Will Make Critical Deliveries and Then Vanish – How do you deliver aid and critical supplies in the aftermath of a disaster when the airfields are closed or there is no nearby airfield? How about dropping in supplies in two-pound increments using a disposable drone that is biodegradable except for a couple of small chips.
How about using dozens and dozens of drones made of paper, held together with tape, and programmed to spiral in to the preprogrammed target? Since they would be tossed out of an airplane near the target, the drones would have no need of propulsion.
DARPA is funding work on developing such a disposable drone.
Picture dropping a hundred of them loaded with critical medical supplies from 30,000 feet, using their 150 km glide range to deliver those supplies to a variety of hospitals and aid centers in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
9/29/17 – Wall Street Journal – Bold Eagles: Angry Birds Are Ripping $80,000 Drones Out of the Sky – The Australian wedge-tail eagle is far more aggressive than the American Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle. See photo at top of post.
The wedge-tail will attack drones, shredding them bad enough to knock them out of the sky. It has taken out several drones in the seven-foot wingspan range, each of them costing into the tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes they attack in male-female pairs, with one eagle staying high and behind to catch the target if it dodges away from the initial attack. Not a bad strategy!
The eagles can weigh up to 9 pounds and can reach up to a wing-span of 8 feet.
At one gold mine, the company lost 12 drones in 2 1/2 years, costing about $200,000. After the company starting flying drones in the morning, before the thermals grow, they only lost two in the last year.