Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Palestinians down an IDF drone with slingshot


"A Palestinian protester near the Gaza border managed to bring down what appears to be an Israeli drone with a rock and a slingshot, a video posted online revealed.
The footage by Press TV shows Palestinians hurling stones at an object which looks like a drone, with a slingshot. A heavy cloud of gray smoke can be seen, while sirens are heard in the background."

pretty good shooting there.  I wonder how high it was.

Friday, May 4, 2018

criminals using drone swarms


The FBI's Joe Mazel told a crowd at the AUVSI Xponential conference this week about a particularly organized gang that used drones to interfere with a hostage situation last winter. As Defense One reports, a swarm of small drones descended on an FBI hostage team, performing "high-speed low passes" in an effort "to flush them" from their position. "We were then blind," Mazel added.
The drones weren't just used to disorientate the FBI, though. According to Mazel, they were the crew's eyes in the sky, pushing video to YouTube so the wider group could keep tabs on the FBI's movements. This was an organized operation, too. Apparently, the drones were brought into the area specifically to disrupt the FBI's rescue efforts. Other specifics of the incident remain "law-enforcement sensitive," Mazel said, but this is just one of many more elaborate ways drones are now being used by criminals.
Surveillance is a big part of it. Criminals have taken to watching police stations to identify witnesses and other friends of the law, as well as casing out facilities to find security holes they may be able to exploit in a robbery.

* * * * *

Like any useful tool, drones can be used for good or bad.  It takes rational laws to help avoid the bad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FAA made an app for drone pilots


B4UFLY is available for free download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.
B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.
Key features of the B4UFLY app include:
  • A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
  • A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information
For more information, view the B4UFLY Q & A (PDF).

Monday, March 12, 2018

First official use of a quadcopter in crowd control?


"The defense establishment used a quadcopter to drop gas grenades on rioters in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon-based pan-Arabist satellite television channel Al-Mayadeen reported over the weekend."

Gee, weaponizing quadcopters gets the official treatment now. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

eagles will destroy your drone


"In his first 2½ years flying drones at the mine, Mr. Steven said he lost 12 drones to eagle attacks, which cost his employer, South Africa-based Gold Fields Ltd. , some $210,000. During the past year, when he focused his flying in the morning, he has lost two—with two more close calls.
​​Any successes at deterring wedge-tailed eagle attacks in Australia could provide clues in how to minimize avian obstacles in other regions."

I haven't had any bird interested in my quadcopter yet.  Hopefully it won't happen.

Friday, February 16, 2018

First crash caused by a drone?


The crash was first reported this week by telly station Live 5 News, in South Carolina, USA< which saw a copy of a police report stating that a Robinson R22 helicopter struck a tree and landed on its side.
The Robinson, which is a typical basic training light helicopter, was being flown by an instructor and a student. The instructor reportedly told police that his student was practising hover taxi manoeuvring over rough ground on Daniel Island, a peninsula near the southeast US coast port city of Charleston.
During a turn, the instructor reportedly claimed he saw a white "DJI Phantom quadcopter" headed towards them. He took control of the helicopter, allegedly to evade the drone, but the aircraft's tail rotor struck a small tree. Though he got the helo down onto the rear of its landing skids, it then turned over.

WELL.... if the pilot is telling the truth anyway.  i would think DJI would know from its database if any phantoms were flying around there.