Thursday, December 20, 2018

airport shut down by idiots

"Gatwick airport, the UK’s second largest airport, was closed for most of Wednesday night and through Thursday afternoon after it received reports of two drones flying nearby, reports The Guardian. The airport initially had its flights suspended at 9PM on Wednesday evening after the drones were spotted, and although it briefly reopened at 3am, it was forced to close once more 45 minutes later after the drone flights resumed. As of 1PM, Thursday afternoon, flights to and from the airport remained suspended."

So I guess it's gonna take some harsh penalties before idiots stop doing this.

UPDATE!  There may not have even been a drone!

"The Guardian reports that police released and exonerated a couple who had been detained as suspects, while a senior police spokesperson said that there is 'always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place.'” 

"The drone activity that disrupted pre-Christmas flights in and out of London’s Gatwick airport for 33 hours cost airlines an estimated £50 million ($64.5 million)."

Sunday, October 28, 2018

quadcopter hunter-killer

Once a rogue droOnce a rogue drone is detected and the threat level analyzed, DroneHunter safely remediates the threat, day or night, at a safe standoff distance, with no collateral damage.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

heavy lift drones

"The researchers imagined the drones as a potentially useful tool in sensitive situations like rescue scenarios. They can carry small items on their own or can be used together to move heavier objects. In one instance, researchers used two of the FlyCroTugs bots to open a door by lassoing the handle, turning it, and pulling until it opened. In another instance, the researchers handed the drone a camera and used it to explore a crumbling structure."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

drones and entertainment

"Swarms of artificially intelligent drones are starting to show up on stages around the world. Some, like the ones on Drake’s latest tour, of are tiny flying lights that float above the stage. Others, like a recent Cirque du Soleil experience, featured more complex aircraft outfitted with lampshades that produced an almost ghostly effect. Metallica even has its own drone show. This might sound gimmicky at first, but when you see them live, it’s thrilling to see these little aircraft appear out of nowhere, if only because you can’t figure out how they work"

Thursday, October 4, 2018

testing what happens if a plane hits a drone

"In a test designed to mimic a midair collision at 238 miles per hour, researchers in UDRI’s Impact Physics group launched a 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter at the wing of a Mooney M20 aircraft. The drone did not shatter on impact, but tore open the leading edge of the wing as it bore into the structure, damaging its main spar. “While the quadcopter broke apart, its energy and mass hung together to create significant damage to the wing,” said Kevin Poormon, group leader for impact physics at UDRI."

But you get to keep the quadcopter!

Monday, September 24, 2018

the government wants to be able to shoot your drone out of the sky

The 1,200-page FAA Reauthorization Bill posted by the House early Saturday morning includes a section titled "Preventing Emerging Threats" that would give the Department of Homeland Security and FBI the right to track and down drones that they deem a "credible threat" to a "covered facility or asset."

Seems to me they already have that authority.

Monday, September 10, 2018

drone deliveries at golf course

"He's explained to them how much cheaper a drone is when compared to the price of a beverage cart.
Palmiscno has also heard from the neighboring softball complex, whose organizers are open to drone deliveries from his course's restaurant. Palmiscno envisions athletes sitting around after a game, drinking beer, and having food dropped from a drone."

I still think of this as a gimmick.  How does the drone know who's getting the delivery?  Can someone reach up to the drone and get sliced and diced?  Can they steal the drone?  I have lots of questions still.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

totally solar powered quadcopter

"Developed by a student team from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the drone is built mainly from carbon fiber, tipping the scales at just 2.6 kg (5.7 lb). It has no onboard battery or other energy-storage system, but is instead equipped with an array of 148 silicon solar cells, giving it a total surface area of approximately 4 square meters (43 sq ft).

So far, it has been flown by remote control up to an altitude of over 10 meters (33 ft). As it's equipped with a GPS system, it can reportedly also fly autonomously.  "

This is cool mainly because a copter could potentially fly all day long without having to come down for more energy.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

drones used to fight wildfires

That video was filmed during daylight hours. Eight years later we now have the ability to have an unmanned aerial vehicle with sophisticated sensors orbit continuously over a fire, day and night, for 18 to 20 hours depending on the weight of its payload. If an incident management team on a fire activates a couple of these using the recently awarded Call When Needed contract, firefighters can have greatly enhanced situational awareness with near real time video.
Insitu was one of four companies that won CWN contracts in May. On the Taylor Fire in southwest Oregon on August 5, firefighters requested that the company’s ScanEagle aircraft monitor an overnight burn operation they were conducting along a ridge top road. As it orbited in the darkness at 8,500 feet, the sensors and the pilot detected a spot fire about 100 feet outside the fireline in the 'green' unburned area.
The pilot talked directly with firefighters in an engine, telling them where it was."

Another great use for a drone.  Much cheaper than a helicopter, and safer for all.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Feds worry about drone dangers

"Citing the Aug. 4 attack during an appearance of Venezuela’s president, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center issued an intelligence bulletin with the starkest of warnings: 'An attack could be conducted by one person or several people using a commercially available, off-the-shelf (drone) to target venues which attract large crowds, such as sporting facilities, concerts, and transportation terminals, or public figures.'”

Like anything useful, bad people will also find a use for any new tool.  I hope there are good ways to stop bad uses of drones.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

tinder-dry Aspen Colorado calls for drones to replace fireworks

"The US town of Aspen is swapping its annual Fourth of July fireworks display for a drone show - because of a wildfire risk in the drought-hit area.
Officials say 50 drones will light up the night sky in patriotic colours to mark Independence Day.
The 15-minute show will start at 21:15 local time (03:15 GMT Thursday).
This comes after Colorado's fire authorities introduced strict fire restrictions across huge swathes of the western state."

I approve of this use of drones.  See for example...

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?,7340,L-5159430,00.html

"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.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Marine Corps goes all in on quadcopters

"In late January 2018, the Marine Corps started issuing quadcopter drones to its infantry squads. According to National Defense Magazine, the Corps purchased 800 of the drones in 2017, which DefenseOne says are being sent out to units at rate of about 200 a week.
The Marine Corps infantry squad is a thirteen man unit and the building block of the Marine Corps. Each squad is divided up into three separate fire teams, each commanded by a corporal, with the thirteenth man as the sergeant squad leader. This gives the squad the ability to scout the battlefield without exposing friendly troops to enemy fire."

Makes perfect sense to me. Do they have solar recharging systems too?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

quadcopters smuggle cigarettes across a short border

"Smugglers are using drones to breach the border between Ukraine and Slovakia, supplying EU black markets with contraband cigarettes. (Current Time TV)"

Saturday, January 20, 2018

GoPro gets out of the drone business

"The company said its Karma drone, which cost about $800 without a camera and about $1,100 with a camera, was the second best seller in its price range. But it said a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States, as well as an extremely competitive market, makes staying in the business untenable. GoPro said it will exit the business once it sells off its remaining Karma inventory.
'When we considered the amount of investment in the category relative to the profit margins that are possible in that category, we determined it wasn't going to continue to be a sound business investment for us,' Woodman said in an appearance on CNBC Monday."

By the time GoPro came out with their quadcopter, DJI was putting a lot of smart technology into theirs, which GoPro didn't have. Crash avoidance and stuff like that caused me to wait instead of buying a GoPro, and I bought a DJI Spark instead.  I think that was the fatal flaw of the Gopro was it was just dumb compared to the DJI competitors.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

drone saves swimmers

"Two teenage boys were rescued by a brand new lifesaving drone in Australia while lifeguards were still training to use the device.
The swimmers, aged 15-17, had got into difficulties off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales (NSW).
A member of the public spotted them struggling in heavy surf about 700m (2,300ft) offshore.
Lifesavers instantly sent the drone to drop an inflatable rescue pod, and the pair made their way safely to shore."

Drones can get someplace close fast and efficiently. This is an excellent use for quadcopters.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Russians knock out 13 drones attacking air base

"The militants launched their assault during the night on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. The Russian Kheimim Airbase in the Syrian Latakia province was attacked by 10 unmanned combat aerial vehicles, while three more attempted a strike against the Russian maritime logistics base located in the city of Tartus.
All of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems “at a considerable distance from the Russian military objects,” the ministry said. Seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.
The Russian radio electronic warfare specialists also managed to override the operating systems of six more drones, and eventually gained control over the UAVs. Three of them were destroyed when they hit the ground, while another three were landed intact outside the base controlled by Russian forces."

Military sites now need anti-drone defenses.