Begun-the drone wars have_MKII.

DW1 Update: Drones in a tale of two hemispheres -  Rolleyes

Not normally very big on promoting CASA safety propaganda videos but I couldn't go past the following Prime 7 video that Cap'n Wannabe forwarded to me; mainly because for once Pinocchio Gobson would appear to be lost for words (or volume)... Big Grin  

One of the most at risk industry sectors to a low level inflight drone strike, with possible catastrophic implications, is the agricultural and aerial application mob, who are ably represented by Phil Hurst and the 4As (Aerial Application Association of Australia)

[Image: AAAA_website_Home_Banner_Small.jpg]

Two days ago Phil Hurst retweeted a @kiwicropduster tweet which had captured an excellent safety video titled "Flying Drones in rural areas", produced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

Quote:Drones in rural areas increasing pls rember aerial app ops as we cannot c them while trvling at 250 kph ovr crops

1:18 PM - 12 Nov 2017

Phil also asks a 'tongue in cheek' QON of Fort Fumble Rolleyes  :
Quote:Ummm... CASA ... Any comment? @CASABriefing

Quote:#FAA Administrator Huerta tells #FAATechCenter: your #aviation safety and #drone work is unparalleled in the world. 

[Image: DODfCiJW0AUcF-_.jpg]

Finally here is the Trump administrations adopted policy on drones, via Wired:

10.26.1708:00 AM


[Image: drone-TaFA.jpg]

WHATEVER AMERICANS THINK about drones filling the big blue skies of these United States, the president is jazzed about the idea of increasing air traffic—and he's working to make it happen. On Wednesday, Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Department of Transportation to create a plan to make it easier to fly a drone for commercial purposes in US airspace.

Other countries have pushed ahead with national drone networks, and professional operators in the US have long yearned to follow them up, up, and away. To that end, the feds are indulging them with a new effort: the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program.

This new initiative will likely excite companies such as Amazon and 7-Eleven, but this is bigger than getting a quick delivery of Soylent or Slurpees. Drones—officially known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—have shown their worth in farming, insurance, oil and gas inspections, and aerial photography. They take on tasks that are time-consuming and even dangerous for humans, like when they were used to aid search and rescue efforts during Houston's Hurricane Harvey. “Drones are proving to be especially valuable in emergency situations, including assessing damage from natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes and the wildfires in California,” secretary of transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement. They also could provide a notable economic infusion by creating up to 100,000 new jobs and adding $82 million to the US economy by 2025, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which lobbies for quadcopters and their ilk.
Of course, there's a reason the skies aren’t yet buzzing with drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which creates rules for everything overhead, values safety above all else. It's got a good thing going with commercial aircraft, and drones could easily mar its nearly perfect record. That's why commercial drones must currently kowtow to rigorous regulation. Wannabe operators must pass an exam packed with questions about tricksy airspace regulations. Without a waiver, they can't fly their drones beyond their line of sight, above 400 feet, anywhere near an airport, over people, or at night. The FAA has granted more than 1,300 such waivers and recently gave its first permanent exemption, allowing CNN to fly over crowds whenever it likes. (The news organization must still obey local flight restrictions set by cities or counties.)

The Trump administration wants to make the whole process less fussy. The newly created Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program will ask state, local, and tribal authorities for their input on how to craft rules for drones that please everyone—city authorities, park officials, professional drone pilots, private citizens, all the stakeholders who want a say in what happens in, or over, their backyards.

But the FAA doesn't want a confusing patchwork of rules.

In an effort to figure out what will work best, the DOT is accepting ideas from those local, state, and tribal authorities, who are invited to work with private-sector partners (how those partnerships will work, exactly, is TBA). Perhaps someone has a great plan for how to regulate those long flights where the drone pilot can’t watch the drone with their own eyeballs, for example. Or a proposal to only allow package deliveries in the middle of the night when the skies are calm. Or how to use counter-UAS security to keep drones away from places they’re not wanted. How to respect privacy will certainly be a big concern going forward. The DOT will pick at least five proposals out of all the projects and use those to run experiments over the next three years. Eventually, that will lead to national rules.

That's not an easy process, since these drones will have to share space with the large and small planes and helicopters that already fill urban skies. The FAA handles more than 40,000 flights a day.

“The US is far and away a much more complex airspace than nearly any other country out there,” says Jim Gregory, who leads the Ohio State University efforts for the FAA arm that tackles integrating drones into the national airspace system. Compared to Europe, for example, pilots of small aircraft have a lot of freedom to fly as they like. As long as they follow the rules, they don't have to file a flight path or get anyone's permission before taking off. You'd think that looser regulations would make for a warmer welcome for an influx of drones, but the opposite is true. “The implications of that unstructured environment make it more challenging to mix in UAS in a very dynamic and complex airspace,” Gregory says.

Meanwhile, countries with quieter skies are moving ahead. Some have already established national drone delivery networks. Rwanda went first, working with Silicon Valley startup Zipline to deliver emergency supplies of blood when roads are washed out in the rainy season. Tanzania is now doing the same. Switzerland will soon have a networkoperated by the California company Matternet, with a special permit from the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation.

Existing and wannabe commercial operators are already thrilled that things are finally moving along in the US. Flirtey, which has partnered with NASA, 7-Eleven, and Domino's Pizza on proof of concept drone deliveries, thinks fast-tracking regulations will lead to advancements everyone will benefit from, like mini mobile medical drones. “Flirtey has developed the technology to deliver emergency goods in disasters and ambulance drones that deliver life saving aid including defibrillators,” says CEO Matthew Sweeny.

The feds will release their full guidance on next steps in the coming days. They may not allow full-on flying freedom just yet, but it's possible the next time you stock up on Soylent, you'll be listening for the buzz of a drone instead of the brrrng of your doorbell.

MTF...P2 Tongue

DW1 update: 17/11/17.

Not sure what Sterlo & Barry O are playing at but yesterday the following was notified to the Senate:


Community Affairs References Committee

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

Reporting Date

The Clerk: Notifications of extensions of time for committees to report have been lodged in respect of the following:

...Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee—regulation of remotely piloted and unmanned aircraft systems—extended from 6 December 2017 to 28 March 2018.
Hmm...maybe they're just clearing the decks - Huh

MTF...P2 Cool

NAAA on SAFE UAV Ops.... Shy

Another well presented and informative, UAV vs low flying aircraft, flight safety video - this time courtesy of the US Alphabet soup mob the NAAA:

MTF...P2 Wink

Bernadi drone DM voted down -   Shy

Via the Adelaide Advertiser:

Quote:Parents who use small drones to photograph their children could be fined if the aircraft fly too close

Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser
November 27, 2017 9:18pm
Subscriber only

PARENTS who use aerial drones to photograph children opening their presents this Christmas could be hit with a $900 fine.

Australian Conservatives Senator Cory Bernardi has launched a bid to block a regulation that bans recreational users from piloting drones within 30m of people.

“This is just another example of where the heavy hand of government is impacting on harmless family fun,’’ Senator Bernardi said.

“Come Christmas time, every family that finds a drone under their tree will likely find themselves breaking the law just by using it.’’

Under former regulations, it was generally unlawful to pilot a small drone within 30m of a person “not directly associated with the operation of model aircraft”.

The old rule was interpreted by some users as meaning that the 30m buffer didn’t apply if the people being recorded gave their consent.

[Image: c89c67bd1af33c7053da78e975849942?width=650]Parents could be fined for using a drone to photograph children on Christmas morning. Picture: Mike Burton

But the new rule makes it clear that only people “directly associated” with operating the aircraft can be within 30m.

Senator Bernardi will move to disallow the regulation in the Senate today but it seemed unlikely he would get enough support to succeed.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said the 30m rule was designed to reduce the risk of people being hit by out-of-control drones.

“It’s to create a safety buffer zone so that if your drone suffers a malfunction, flyaway, strong gust of wind or whatever it might be, it doesn’t hit a person,’’ Mr Gibson said.

Drones can only be flown during the day and cannot be flown near airports and police and emergency operations, such as bushfire-fighting activities

In the Senate yesterday Senator Bernadi's attempted disallowance motion on section 8 of the CASR Part 101 was negatived... Big Grin

Quote:Direction—Operation of Certain Unmanned Aircraft


[Image: G0D.jpg] Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (16:28): I move:
That section 8 of the Direction — operation of certain unmanned aircraft, made under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, be disallowed [F2017L01370].

Thirteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.

I seek leave to make a two-minute statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

[Image: G0D.jpg] Senator BERNARDI: I thank the Senate for the indulgence. I understand this is a disallowance motion and regularly this should be debated at a later time in the day. However, I regret to say there is not enough support for this disallowance in order for it to get through, and I thought I would expedite the operations of the Senate on this important day for many people, to get through the business as we can. However, I want to make this point. This regulation changes the ability of a family to enjoy drone activity, by virtue of the fact that you are only allowed within 30 metres of an active drone whilst you are directly responsible for the operation of that drone. That means that at Christmas time—or any other time—if a family receives a drone under their Christmas tree and wants to operate it, they are unable to do so in their own backyard. It means that those who want to take a photo at a party or a family gathering cannot do so using a drone or they risk getting a $900 fine, a case that has already taken place under the previous legislation, with a wedding ceremony for a couple of Channel 9 personalities.
This is not a malicious attempt by CASA or the minister to do this. This is simply an oversight. I would encourage senators to consider the implications of this, minor though they may be for some of you. But I know there are many people in my neighbourhood who enjoy flying and using drones to take photographs of themselves and their families, even being in a public park and doing it. This is an oversight. I think it can be redressed. I think it should be withdrawn. I have written to the minister about it. I'm sorry there isn't the support for it here, but I would encourage all of you to seriously consider the implications of this for the small minority of people, albeit well-meaning people and families, who simply want to enjoy a drone with their families.

[Image: 217241.jpg] Senator McGRATH (Queensland—Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (16:30): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

[Image: 217241.jpg] Senator McGRATH: The government takes drone safety and the safety of the public very seriously. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is currently conducting a safety review of drone regulations. There have been a large number of submissions to this review. The instrument strengthened the rules which drone operators must abide by and increased the safety parameters for the public. This policy development is part of the larger package of reform in drone regulations the government is undertaking. The government does not support this disallowance motion, because it will weaken the safety protections for the Australian public.

[Image: ING.jpg] Senator GALLAGHER (Australian Capital Territory—Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (16:31): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

[Image: ING.jpg] Senator GALLAGHER: Labor cannot support the disallowance motion as we understand there's currently a Senate inquiry into the use and regulation of drones and unmanned aircraft. We are waiting for the outcome of the inquiry before we form an informed position on this matter.

[Image: 155410.jpg] Senator RICE (Victoria) (16:31): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
[Image: 155410.jpg] Senator RICE: The Greens also won't be supporting this disallowance today. The regulation that Senator Bernardi is proposing to disallow is an interim measure put in place by the minister to deal with ongoing community concerns about the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. CASA have released a discussion paper and, in addition, the Regional and Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee are conducting an inquiry into the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles. We acknowledge that the interim regulation isn't perfect, but it's pre-emptive to disallow the instrument before the work of these review processes is complete.

Question negatived.
No surprises there.... Rolleyes

MTF...P2 Tongue

DW1 update: 08/12/17

From WA's Perth Now:

Quote:[Image: 1512295122206_G761BEV8G.1-2.jpg?imwidth=...licy=pn_v1]Global Drone Solutions drone pilot and instructor Mahmood Hussein teaching student Ella Simmonds, 9, and her mother Tiffany Simmonds. Picture:Richard Hatherly

Drone pilots face new laws
Trevor Paddenburg, PerthNow
December 4, 2017 3:01AM

DRONES are at the top of kids’ Christmas wish lists but authorities are warning they should not be used by children under primary school age, while every owner may soon need to join a national register.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is reviewing regulations around drones and a Senate inquiry is examining the benefits and pitfalls of the boom in miniature un-manned flying devices.

It comes as a NSW prison recorded CCTV footage of a drone apparently dropping contraband to a prisoner over razor wire. And in South Australia, police are investigating, with a group of women being “drone stalked” late at night through the windows of their homes.

Perth-based Global Drone Solutions owner Mahmoud Hussein, who runs commercial drone courses for adults as well as basic two-hour training sessions for children and adults, said he’d seen an “absolute boom” in parents buying drones for their children and he expected that to increase at Christmas.

Mr Hussein said children were often better than adults at flying drones. “If they’ve been playing video games, they’re naturals. Young kids are great. The challenge comes in flying it at the right spot where there’s not a lot of other people around,” he said.

[Image: 1512295122206_G761BEV8R.3-1.jpg?imwidth=...licy=pn_v1]Children are often better than adults at flying drones, according to instructor Mahmood Hussein. Picture:Richard Hatherly

Mr Hussein said the smallest, cheapest drones started at $30 but he recommended buying a drone with auto-pilot, starting at about $350, for extra safety.

But KidSafe WA boss Scott Phillips said parental supervision was essential and he recommended children should “at least be primary school-aged and ideally into middle primary school” before being given control of a drone.

“If your child is using one of these things they really should be supervised. This isn’t a give-and-forget present,” Mr Phillips said.

He said drones’ in-built safety standards were high but there was a danger of cheap, inferior imports. “When something gets very popular, you often get copies coming in that don’t have the same safety standards,” he said.

Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital does not keep figures on drone-related injuries and a hospital spokeswoman said doctors had not reported any drone-related injuries.

The WA Local Government Association said it was still working on a “sector-wide policy” on drones for councils.

It is illegal to fly a drone higher than 120m and flying within 30m of a person is banned unless it’s essential for controlling the machine, according to aviation law.

Glenn Sterle, the WA politician chairing the Senate inquiry into drones, will hand down his findings this month but he said recommendations could include more strenuous rules about drones and who could operate them.

“We’ve been inundated with examples of drones landing on cars, being used for surveillance through people’s windows, zapping around public spaces,” Mr Sterle said, adding there had been almost 200 reported “interactions” between drones and aircraft.

He said they could be used by terrorists to drop dangerous itemson to crowds, and hinted at the possibility of owners being forced to join a register.

“In the wrong hands, what could that do over the MCG on grand final day? This is the sort of stuff that ... should be in the forefront of our minds,” Mr Sterle said.

“We don’t even know who owns these drones.”

Via the Herald Sun:

Quote:[Image: 71f1852a39b4bac29d95416ed1e59c47?width=1024]Live in the Casey Council area and want to fly a drone outside your property boundary? You’ll need a permit.
Drone users face Casey Council crackdown with new law aimed at nuisance operators
Megan Bailey, Cranbourne Leader
December 8, 2017 12:00am

CASEY Council has created an ambitious new law to help protect people from drone-related crime and nuisance — but the federal aviation authority says it will be almost impossible to enforce.

In what is believed to be a state first, a radical new law will require drone operators to obtain a permit to operate outside their own property, or face a $300 fine.

Casey safer communities manager Caroline Bell said people would still be able to use drones on their land.

RELATED: Prisons a no-fly zone for drones

RELATED: Drones’ near-misses with planes soaring

She said the council was “working with the drone industry to ensure private and public drone operators were not a detriment the community”.

“The council has already collected and destroyed two drones that crash landed, but has not issued any fines,” she said.

[Image: e131be52b8f9a13eef25f118c9f2f10b?width=650]CASA says the new law will be difficult to police.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, people using drones for fun must fly below 120m at all times, must not fly within 30m of people or over people and drones must be visible to the naked eye at all times.

They also cannot fly at night or through cloud or fog.

RELATED: Schoolboy drone ace flying high

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said drones could not be tracked and any drone-related crimes were reliant on witness statements, admissions of guilt, and evidence taken from the drone’s camera or chip.

He said people who used drones for fun did not have to register them as registration was only mandatory for people who used drones for commercial reasons.

“That may change in the future but at the moment there is no registration requirement for recreational drones,” he said.

“There is no way of tracking drones — we do not have any technology at the moment that allows them to be tracked and that is something that is being looked at not just in Australia but around the world.”

Penalties for drone operators breaking the CASA rules include fines of up to $10,000.

[Image: 32158c7c4715f1c6bf0b53d824e73a71]
How Drone Delivery is Saving Lives in Rural Rwanda

Mr Gibson said technology similar to automatic dependent surveillance — broadcast (ADS-B), which is an aircraft surveillance technology that uses satellites, could one day be used for drones but such technology didn’t yet exist.

Complaints about drones can be made at

The permit requirement for Casey residents will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

Residents will only need to apply for a permit if they plan on using the drone beyond the bounds of private property.

It is not known how much permits will cost.

Meanwhile in another hemisphere the FAA gets on with the business of aviation safety... Wink

Via GA News:

Quote:What happens when a drone hits a plane?
December 3, 2017 by General Aviation News Staff 2 Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Initial research by a consortium of leading universities, through the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), have begun to bring better understanding to the physical damage associated with small unmanned aircraft — or drones — colliding midair with commercial and GA aircraft.

The ASSURE research team set out to answer the question of what happens when — not if — there is a collision between a sUAS and an airplane.

“While the effects of bird impacts on airplanes are well documented, little is known about the effects of more rigid and higher mass sUAS on aircraft structures and propulsion systems,” said Mississippi State University’s Marty Rogers, the director of ASSURE. “The results of this work are critical to the safety of commercial air travel here in the United States and around the world.”

Researchers’ efforts began by first determining the most likely impact scenarios. This was done by reviewing operating environments for both sUAS and manned aircraft. The team then selected the commercial and business aircraft and sUAS based on these impact scenarios and their likely exposure to one another.

The commercial narrow-body air transport selected was characteristic of a Boeing B737 and an Airbus A320 aircraft, which represent 70% of the commercial aircraft fleet.
The business jet model represented a Learjet 30/40/50. Similarly, the team selected a small quadcopter and a light fixed-winged unmanned aircraft as representative of the most-likely threats to manned aircraft.

Researchers determined the areas of manned aircraft most likely to be impacted as being the leading edges of wings, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and windscreens.
ASSURE researchers also performed engine impact simulations on the fan section of an existing business-jet-sized, turbofan-engine model that the FAA previously used for fan blade-out testing.

The FAA/ASSURE team conducted this research to better inform the scope of the next phase of research, as well as the critical variables essential to their continued research and engine ingest testing, according to officials.

“Computer simulations, supported by material and component level testing, were conducted to determine the effects of sUAS impacts on manned aircraft,” said Gerardo Olivares, Ph.D., Director, Crash Dynamics and Computational Mechanics Laboratories at Wichita State University. “Conducting this study through full-scale physical tests would not have been possible from a cost and time perspective due to the immense complexity of the task. On the other hand, simulation enabled us to study over 180 impact scenarios in a 12-month period. To ensure results accurately predict the actual physical behavior of collisions, we have spent a lot of time developing, verifying, and validating detailed models of manned and unmanned aircraft. Once the models are validated, we can use them in the future to investigate other impact scenarios.”

Researchers observed various levels of airframe and engine damage in all sUAS collision simulations. They confirmed that energy (projectile mass and velocity) and the stiffness of the sUAS are the primary drivers of impact damage.

This research showed that the severity of the collision is also dependent on the design features of the sUAS and the dynamics of the impact.

[Image: bird-strike-1.jpg]

Bird Strike.

Commercial aircraft manufacturers design aircraft structural components to withstand bird strikes from birds up to eight pounds for the empennage and four pounds for windscreen.
ASSURE simulations show sUAS collisions inflict more physical damage than that of an equivalent size and speed bird-strike.

[Image: Drone-Hitting-Plane.jpg]

sUAS components are much stiffer than birds, which are mostly composed of water.

Therefore, bird-strike certification regulations are not appropriate for unmanned aircraft.

Additionally, regulators do not require and manufacturers do not design commercial and business aircraft to withstand collisions from other aircraft.

[Image: Drone-Hitting-Wing.jpg]

Drone hitting wing.

The ASSURE research team also conducted both physical testing and simulation on sUAS lithium batteries. Typical high-speed impacts caused the complete destruction of the battery, therefore, in these cases, there was not an increased risk of fire due to a shorted battery.

However, during some of the low-speed impacts, associated with landing and takeoff, the battery was not completely destroyed. In some of these simulations, the battery remained lodged in the airframe and there was potential for increased risk of battery fire.
The findings show the importance of properly researching and regulating the use of sUAS in a crowed national airspace system, officials say.

While design features can decrease the severity of a drone impact, sUAS pilots and the public must be aware of and abide by regulations for safe sUAS operations. It is critical that everything be done to keep these collisions from occurring through the safe separation of all aircraft, both manned and unmanned, the researchers note.

The FAA will depend on the sUAS community to help develop the technology for proper detect-and-avoid so that these aircraft do not meet in flight.

This is the first in a series of research projects conducted to understand and quantify the potential severity of airborne collisions. Future studies will research the severity of collisions with general aviation aircraft, rotorcraft, and high-bypass turbofan engines representative of those found in airline fleets today.

Because of the scope and magnitude of this research, and the impact it will have on industry and national airspace safety, the follow-on studies will be broken into multiple phases beginning this year and running through FY21.

The complete report is available at

MTF...P2  Tongue

DW1 update: 15/12/17

First from Mondaq News:

Quote:Australia: Drones: An Unsolvable Regulatory Problem?
Last Updated: 13 December 2017
Article by Maurice ThompsonJames M Cooper and Jess Harman
Clyde & Co

Australia's aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), is currently reviewing the regulations concerning the safe operation of drones. However, with the rapid development of drone technology and the increasing accessibility of drones to the general public, is it realistic to expect that regulations will be able to keep up with drones?

As of July 2017, it is estimated that there are at least 50,000 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA, commonly referred to as 'drones') being operated in Australia, mainly for recreational and sport purposes. The regulation of ever-increasing RPA-related activities is proving to be a challenge for national aviation safety authorities around the world. Dr Jonathan Aleck, the Head of Legal Affairs at CASA, recently stated that the speed of technological developments in the RPA industry posed a potentially unsolvable regulatory problem. Speaking at the IBA Annual Conference held in Sydney in early October this year, Mr Aleck stated, "the moment you put your finger on the technology, it has changed and advanced ... Every jurisdiction has a roadmap and a plan. Everyone is looking at this and struggling."1

State of play in Australia
Last year we wrote about the updated RPA regulations introduced by CASA in September 2016 (CASR Part 101), which, among other things, relaxed licensing and training requirements for recreational users of RPA and some commercial operators.
Within two weeks of the commencement of the new CASR Part 101, the Australian Government, seemingly prompted by industry pressure, announced a substantive review of the aviation safety regulation of RPA to be overseen by CASA. Separately, a Senate Inquiry was also launched to review the use and safety implications of RPA in Australia.[2]

CASA Discussion Paper
As part of CASA's ongoing review, it has released a 'Discussion Paper' to invite public response regarding the issues and concerns that have been raised following the 2016 amendments to CASR Part 101. The discussion paper focuses on several approaches that CASA could adopt to manage RPA-related activities:

1. Registration of RPA
All aircraft in Australia are required to be formally registered with CASA and display their registration number on the aircraft itself. However, under the current CASR Part 101, there are no registration requirements for drones that fall within the category of 'excluded RPA', which includes drones:
  • used for recreational purposes weighing less than 150kg (which accounts for the vast majority of drones in Australian skies);
  • used for commercial purposes weighing less than 2kg; and
  • operated by private landowners on their own property weighing less than 150kg.
A mandatory drone registration scheme could act as an effective means to deter unsafe or unlawful operation of RPA and to identify those who offend the Regulations. Contact details provided by registered operators could also be used by CASA to convey important safety information and advisory material regarding the safe use of RPA. On the other hand, there is no significant evidence in support of registration requirements acting as an effective deterrent against unsafe operations, and such requirements may simply add a layer of 'red tape' that only serves to stunt growth in the industry. Any attempt to police registration could itself prove difficult given the use of many RPA in remote areas in connection with agricultural and maritime usage.

2. Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing is technology that creates a virtual boundary to keep RPA from entering restricted airspace. Geo-fencing could be used to contain RPA within a particular area, or to exclude RPA from sensitive areas, such as in the airspace of airports, to prevent RPA interference with other aircraft activity.

Geo-fencing also raises numerous interesting problems of its own, for example:
  • what happens to a RPA once it approaches or reaches a geo-fencing area? Does it fall to the ground? Return to its owner? Is it diverted in some other direction or to another location?
  • will geo-fencing systems also impact other low flying aircraft (i.e. piloted aircraft, not RPA) in the surrounding area?
  • geo-fencing software can be installed in the RPA itself, however, the cost implications of including the software in all RPA could be prohibitive to some manufacturers or users.
Although advances in technology show promise that geo-fencing will be an integral tool to the management of RPA in the future, CASA has stated that at this time, the geo-fencing technology available does not meet the requisite levels of technical reliability.

3. Mandatory training for RPA operators
Under CASR Part 101, there are no training or education requirements for 'excluded RPA' (subject to some additional pilot licensing requirements for certain drones operated by private landowners on their own property). This contrasts with the position for commercial drone operations currently adopted in other major jurisdictions such as the US. The UK government also recently announced that it is considering the introduction of basic training for anyone operating a drone that weighs more than 250g.

All RPA operators are required to comply with the safety requirements set out in CASR Part 101, notably the 'standard RPA operating conditions'. However, there are concerns that some amateur users are either unaware or unwilling to comply with these requirements. In the absence of mandatory training, RPA users are not required to learn or demonstrate any level of practical proficiency in the safe operation of RPA before they may lawfully operate their RPA.

International approach
As part of its review, CASA is considering the approach of other national authorities and international organisations. Recently, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) proposed to introduce a single, global database requiring the registration of all RPA. ICAO has also discussed a common global framework for traffic management systems for RPA, including communications systems for control and tracking of RPA and geo-fencing to prevent operation of RPA in sensitive security, restricted or dangerous areas. Regulations on a global scale are likely to influence the Australian approach to RPA regulation going forward.

Separate reports regarding both the findings of CASA's Discussion Paper and Senate Committee are expected to be released soon. We will keep you updated with the results of the reviews at the time of their release and their likely impact on the local market.

1 As reported by T Madge-Wyld in the article 'Australian safety regulator safes drones "cannot be managed"', Getting the Deal Through, 12 October 2017 <,58100,OWF3UX,K3NV3,1
2 An inquiry is being conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) into Regulatory Requirements that Impact on the Safe Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Associated Systems:
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.[/size]

Next via the Ballarat's Courier:

Quote:Drone ban: Ballarat City Council changes laws
  • Jeremy Venosta
Shocked drone operators have vowed to fight a ban on flying remotely piloted planes they say has put them out of business overnight.

Ballarat City Council voted 7-2 on Wednesday night in favour new local laws, including a requirement for permits to fly drones on municipal land or roads.

It will affect commercial operators as well as private flyers, including children gifted drones for Christmas.

Some operators said they would ignore the law then challenge any fine in court.

Commercial drone pilot Luke Parker has been leading the push against the change.
Mr Parker said council had shut down his and other drone businesses with their regulations.

“You can’t restrict the media on the ground taking photos, but they are trying to restrict whatever they can,” he said.

“It seems like they can pass this law and pretty much shut down the whole industry.”

There are about 12 commercial drone operators in Ballarat. Mr Parker has been previously contracted by The Courier and council.

Industry experts also hit out at claims new laws were needed to regulate drones, because CASA laws already placed heavy restrictions on their use.

Drone operator Philip Rowse said it was a shock to hear about the council decision.
Mr Rowse helped the Civil Aviation Safety Authority introduce its drone regulations. The Ballarat man also manufactures auto-pilot systems, which are used in drones across the world.

Mr Rowse said he wanted to know council’s motivation for the new laws.

“It reeks of someone thinking it was a good idea to stay ahead of this issue, but there has been a lot of fear mongering,” he said.

“I am shocked this law even exists.”
[Image: r0_0_787_972_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg]

Mr Rowse said although council could ban people launching drones from public land, it did not have the jurisdiction to police airspace.

CASA regulations ban drones from flying within 30 metres of people.

This law also makes it illegal for many drone pilots to take-off or land in their own backyard, unless they live on large, rural properties.

Council’s new law has created an even larger buffer zone of 100 metres, well above the CASA’s regulation.

Cr Ben Taylor said the new laws would be reviewed and the industry’s thoughts taken into account.

“There is an opportunity so we can review that with them and come up with fair and reasonable approach,” he said. “We have to get a balance and we have to get it right – I agree we haven’t done that. We have to sit down and work it out.”

Mr Rowse said CASA rules did enough to keep drones in check.

“A lot of the perceived risks were used in the justification of this,” he said.

“But there have been zero deaths in Australia due to drones, there has been no collision with a plane.”

Enthusiasts left without options

Amateur drone enthusiasts have been left out in the cold by a Ballarat City Council decision to require permits to fly on municipal land.

It was not clear on Thursday exactly how council could seek to police airspace, usually the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

However even amateur drone pilots who have basic accreditation for flying from CASA will have to request council permission every time they take off.

It leaves the amateur pilots with very few options to pursue their hobby.

State government legislation bans the use of drones in state parks because of the fire risk created in the event a drone malfunctions and crashes.

It is also illegal for most hobbyists to fly the drones in their own backyard if they are within 30 metres of another home.

This left public parks and gardens as the only spaces left available to them, however now that option has also been removed.

Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh said council was acting on community concerns regarding drone safety.

“We certainly have had reports of people being bothered (by drones),” she said.

“We do need to protect our reserves and people’s ability to relax and enjoy and feel safe in those areas.

“There is plenty of opportunity for us to look at further details and contemplate other options going forward.”

Cr McIntosh did not answer questions about whether there should be allocated zones in parks for people to fly their drones, without having to request a permit from council.

Philip Rowse with his drone. Mr Rowse sells auto-pilot systems in Australia and overseas.

She said council was not concerned about the impact on drone operators, but instead focused on the need to ensure the community felt safe.

“We know there is an uptake in the use of drones and we need to make sure we are providing appropriate protection,” she said.

“We put local law out for people to consider it and it has been out there and come back to the council chamber for a vote.”

Cr Mark Harris said on Thursday council was attempting to control something that has the “potential to be uncontrolled and dangerous”.

“We need to have the mechanism to say to an operator operating the drone to the detriment of others, that is enough,” he said.

However this was contested by drone operators Luke Parker and Philip Rowse.

The Australian Association for Unmanned Systems, the peak advocacy group drones, also plans to contact council to discuss the rules.

Ballarat City was the second municipality to introduce anti-drone laws, following a decision by Casey City Council to introduce similar laws earlier this week.

....“But there have been zero deaths in Australia due to drones, there has been no collision with a plane.”....

Thanks very much for that ignorant statement Mr Rowse but that's the way we would like to keep it - Dodgy

Next from the West Oz:

Quote:No drones near Qld hospitals: minister
Thursday, 14 December 2017 3:33AM
[Image:]Drone pilots caught flying their craft near Queensland hospitals could be fined up to $10,000.

Drone pilots caught flying aircraft near Queensland hospitals could be fined up to $10,000 and may delay helicopters trying to rush critically injured people to treatment.

Queensland Health has launched a campaign to remind people that no drones can be flown within five kilometres of hospitals as many are expected to be given as gifts this Christmas, health minister Steven Miles said.

"Christmas is a really busy time for our hospitals," he said.

"We'll often have up to 500 patients arrive by helicopter over the holiday season and ensuring the pilots can get them to the critical care they need swiftly and safely is vital."

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority says drones also can't be flown higher than 120m, within 30m of people, and must always be in the pilot's line of sight.

"Follow the rules and have fun, but remember it is the responsibility of everyone flying a drone to stick to the safety rules at all times," CASA's Peter Gibson said.

Finally from the Trumpasphere... Rolleyes

Quote:Trump signs bill reinstating required drone registration
The FAA rules had been struck down by an appeals court earlier this year. December 12, 2017 6:03 PM PST

Drone operators will once again be required to register their aircraft with the federal government under a sweeping defense policy bill signed into law Tuesday.

The requirement that recreational drone operators register their unmanned aerial vehicles with the Federal Aviation Administration was included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Donald Trump signed Tuesday. The provision reinstates a 2015 drone registration process voided by court order earlier this year.

Drones, which are typically camera-equipped quadcopters, have become a new consumer and business phenomenon for those interested in remote-controlled vehicles, aerial photography and even aerial racing. As the aircraft have grown in popularity over the last several years, though, drones have become a concern for the government agency responsible for regulating the nation's airspace.

The FAA's drone registration system took flight two years ago, requiring hobbyists to pay $5 apiece to register drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds, or face potential criminal charges. Meanwhile, drone sales continue to climb, more than doubling in the past year.

But the agency's registration process ran in to turbulence in May when the US Court of Appeals said the registration rule violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (PDF), which states the FAA "may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft."

The FAA applauded the return of the rules.
"We welcome the reinstatement of registration rules for all small unmanned aircraft," the FAA said in a statement to TechCrunch. "Ownership identification helps promote safe and responsible drone operation and is a key component to full integration."

The registry is to be reinstated when the act is enacted, according to the text of the bill.
MTF...P2 Tongue

Update to Blackhawk grounded.

(09-26-2017, 07:06 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  
(09-26-2017, 06:03 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  "We've got a Blackhawk grounded" - due drone collision Undecided

Via Oz Aviation yesterday... Wink

Quote:Drone collides with US Army Black Hawk
September 25, 2017 by Paul Sadler 7 Comments
[Image: A_U.S._Army_UH-60M_Black_Hawk_helicopter_USMIL_750.jpg]A file image of a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. (US Military/Wikimedia Commons)

A remotely-piloted aircraft collided with a US Army UH-60M Black Hawk while it was flying at 500ft over a residential neighbourhood on Staten Island, New York on September 23.

Believed to be the first time a drone has collided with a helicopter in flight, the incident happened at about 1930 local time while two Black Hawks, from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were on a security mission for the United Nations General Assembly above the Midland Beach section of the island.

The US Army confirmed the drone struck the left side of fuselage just behind the co-pilot’s door with debris from the disintegrated drone striking one of the Black Hawk’s four main rotor blades causing minor damage.

The Black Hawk made a normal approach and landing at the nearby Linden Airport in New Jersey.

“There were no adverse impacts to the flight,” said 82nd Airborne Division spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino.

“One blade was dented in two spots and requires replacement and there is a dented window.”

A piece of the drone was found to be lodged in the oil cooler at the bottom of the helicopter’s main rotor system. An image of the collected debris suggests the drone was a DJI Phantom.

Although New York City bans drones from flying in most locations, those registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are permitted to fly above just a handful of New York’s city parks.

The US Army, New York Police Department and the FAA are investigating the incident.

Via AvWeb:

Quote:NTSB Blames Drone Operator In Collision

Mary Grady
[Image: p1c1b2t3mu1m9m8ig1i13r7d1qmb6.jpg]

The operator of a drone that collided with a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter in September didn’t see the aircraft because he was flying the drone beyond visual range, the NTSB said on Thursday. The operator also lacked adequate knowledge of the regulations and safe operating practices for drone flying, the safety board said. The incident occurred in New York, at an altitude of about 300 feet. The helicopter crew landed safely. Parts of the drone were lodged in the helicopter’s engine-oil cooler fan, and a 1.5-inch dent was found on the leading edge of one of the four main rotor blades. The drone operator was flying for fun, the NTSB said, and was unaware of the TFR in place at the time. He did not hold an FAA remote pilot certificate. Also this week, the FAA’s rule requiring owners to register small drones was reinstated.

The rule, which had required drone operators to register online, display a registration number on their drone and pay a $5 fee, was tossed out by a D.C. court in May. The new rule was attached to a defense policy bill that was signed into law this week. Also this week, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said it will offer a free, two-week online course for drone operators. The course, “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Key Concepts for New Users,” will run from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4. Participants will learn about equipment, airspace, legal requirements and flight planning, as well as how to become commercial drone operators. “We have had consistently great feedback about this course,” said Prof. Kristy Kiernan, lead educator for the class, which has been offered annually since 2015. “We are especially excited about the updates and changes we have made to reflect the most up-to-the-minute information in this rapidly changing part of aviation.” The instructors for the class include full-time ERAU faculty and experts from the unmanned aircraft systems industry. Registration is now open.

MTF...P2 Cool

BREAKING NEWS! - CASA almost liable for wrecking Xmas... Big Grin

[Image: DR1A0LqX0AI8rrv.jpg:large]

Merry Xmas everyone! Tongue

Drone vs Blackhawk: cont/-

AOPA US has a bit more goss on the collision between a Blackhawk & a drone... Wink


December 14, 2017 By Jim Moore
The owner of the DJI Phantom 4 that collided Sept. 21 with a U.S. Army UH–60M Black Hawk helicopter that was on security patrol over New York Harbor told federal investigators he had lost sight of his quadcopter minutes before the collision, had attempted to activate the automatic return-to-home function without success, and was surprised to learn it had collided with the helicopter more than two miles away.

[Image: 1213_ntsb_helo_drone_map_16x9.jpg?h=472&...E63C&la=en]
The NTSB created this map using logged aircraft data and radar data to reconstruct the path of the U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter (green) and the DJI Phantom 4 (white) in the moments leading up to their Sept. 21 collision. NTSB graphic.

Vyacheslav Tantashov, identified as the drone pilot in a document published by the NTSB Dec. 13, also told investigators he was not aware of the temporary flight restriction that was in effect, and equally unaware of regulations that prohibit flying a drone beyond line of sight, a prohibition that applies to hobbyists and commercial drone pilots alike.
[Image: ri?ph=3031bd758b4456f88ef71857ffbba1ff27...FEMDE2NG5p]
Data compiled and published by investigators offer deep insight into an accident that captured widespread media attention in the days following the first known midair collision involving a manned and unmanned aircraft. The NTSB confirmed in October that investigators had interviewed the pilot, but did not at the time detail what he told them, or how they found him.

No injuries resulted from the midair, though the helicopter made an emergency landing and required repairs including rotor blade replacement. The DJI Phantom 4, a small, unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) in the parlance of federal investigators, was destroyed.

The NTSB published photos, the interview report, and GPS data from the Phantom 4 provided by the drone pilot. The online public docket also includes radar data, and GPS data collected from the Black Hawk. The NTSB published a final report Dec. 14, and investigators determined that the probable cause of the accident was “the failure of the sUAS pilot to see and avoid the helicopter due to his intentional flight beyond visual line of sight. Contributing to the incident was the sUAS pilot’s incomplete knowledge of the regulations and safe operating practices.”

[Image: 1213_ntsb_helo_drone_rotor_16x9.jpg?h=23...CB68&la=en]
Damage to the UH-60M main rotor blade caused by the impact of the DJI Phantom 4 drone required replacement of the rotor blade. NTSB photo.

The DJI Phantom 4 launched from a Brooklyn park at 7:11 p.m., and was struck and largely destroyed by the Black Hawk’s main rotor less than 9 minutes later, about 2.5 miles away from where the Phantom had launched. The quadcopter was apparently flying an automated return-to-home program (a safety feature found in all DJI drones), having crossed roughly 2.5 miles of open water to reach Hoffman Island. The sun had set at 6:54 p.m.

According to the drone pilot interview report published along with data logs on Dec. 13, NTSB lead investigator Bill English located Tantashov after examining a piece of one of the Phantom 4’s motor arms that the Army crew had found inside the helicopter. Manufacturer data marked on the fragment was traced to the owner’s DJI account, and English called Tantashov to confirm he had lost his Phantom 4, and to arrange an interview the following day in which he would explain exactly what happened to it.

Tantashov, whose first language is Russian, was assisted by a representative who helped translate and ensure he understood what was said. The drone pilot was interviewed at his place of work Sept. 28 by English, Ed Kostakis of DJI, and Dennis Brown of the FAA Teterboro Flight Standards District Office, according to the interview report.

Tantashov told his interviewers that he had been flying drones for about two years, strictly for fun and recreation, and has no other aeronautical experience. He said his plan for Sept. 21 was to fly “over the ocean,” and he had flown in the area “hundreds of times,” often relying on the map to locate his aircraft once it was far out of sight, and too far for the aircraft’s camera view to reach his tablet. The Brooklyn, New York, park where he began the flight is about 7 miles west of the center of John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Class B airspace begins at 1,500 feet in that location. There were, however, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in effect at the time, related to travel by President Donald Trump and the United Nations General Assembly, the protection of which was the mission of the Black Hawk crew, call sign Caveman 87.

Tantashov gave the investigators access to the tablet he used with the Phantom, from which they recovered his DJI flight data from the accident flight, along with previous flights in which he flew beyond line of sight. Radar data, along with flight data from the helicopter, facilitated reconstruction of the flight paths of both aircraft in the minutes leading up to the collision. According to that data, Caveman 87 flew southbound over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 600 feet at 7:14 p.m., three minutes after Tantashov launched his Phantom 4, which he had commanded to climb to 300 feet and fly southwest over the water toward Hoffman Island, which is about 2.5 miles from the drone’s recorded launch (home) point.
The drone pilot told investigators he had been flying for about 5 minutes when he lost contact with the drone. Five minutes after launch, the Phantom 4 had reached Hoffman Island.

[Image: 1213_ntsb_helo_drone_motorarm_1x1.jpg?h=...CB9D&la=en]
This motor arm from a DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter was recovered from inside the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter that it collided with, and proved the key piece of evidence that led the NTSB to the drone pilot. NTSB photo.

“He did not attach any significance to flying beyond line of sight, he would just reference the map on his tablet,” the NTSB interview report states. “He waited about 30 minutes for it to come home,” the report continued. “It never did, he figured it failed and crashed into the water.”

Tantashov told the investigation team that he had heard of the FAA B4UFLY app, one of several airspace awareness tools available at no cost to drone pilots, though he had never used it, or any other apps beyond the DJI GO 4 app used to operate the Phantom 4. He told investigators that he knew to stay away from airports, and that there was Class B airspace nearby, and that he relied on the DJI app (his tablet had only Wi-Fi capability, not cellular, so it had no access to current data) for airspace avoidance. He said he had received no warning from the app about the TFR before launching, and was not aware of the TFRs that were in effect at that time that included the entire Class B airspace, down to the surface within its lateral boundaries.

Tantashov told investigators he was below 400 feet, and assumed “everything should be OK,” and was surprised that a helicopter could be flying at 300 feet.
The Black Hawk had descended to that altitude approaching Coney Island from the north, and maintained 300 feet while flying just offshore along the popular amusement park and beach before turning west toward Hoffman Island and Linden Airport in New Jersey, where it would land after the collision near Hoffman Island with damage to the main rotor, window frame, and transmission deck, according to the interview report.

It remains unclear what enforcement action the FAA may take, in light of apparent violation of several rules and regulations, along with the drone pilot’s cooperation with investigators.

The Special Rule for Model Aircraft governs hobby and recreational use of unmanned aircraft, and defines “model aircraft” in part as an aircraft flown “within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” The FAA also requires that an aircraft flown under this rule “does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.” Model aircraft flown by hobbyists are not exempt from TFR compliance, and are required to operate “in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization,” the FAA states in online guidance for operators. No such organization is known to endorse flying at night (the NTSB noted that the collision occurred two minutes before the end of Civil Twilight). While hobbyists are to a degree exempt from some of the limits of Part 107, which governs commercial drone operations, the FAA has broad authority to determine whether the actions of a pilot were “careless and reckless.”

[Image: 1213_dji_phantom4_16x9.jpg?h=236&&w=420&...336CDB142A]
A DJI Phantom 4 in flight. The FAA requires all pilots, both commercial and hobbyists, to keep small, unmanned aircraft in sight at all times. Jim Moore photo.

Pilots flying drones under Part 107 have preflight responsibilities that are similar to what is required of manned aircraft pilots, including the requirement to be familiar with airspace and flight restrictions. However, the FAA has not imposed such a requirement on hobbyists, in part because of limits on the agency’s ability to regulate model aircraft that were included in the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act.

In a data analysis published with the final report Dec. 14, the NTSB noted that the sUAS pilot had relied on unreliable tools for airspace awareness:

“Although the TFR airspace awareness functionality in the DJI app (GEO) was not active at the time of the incident, this feature is intended for advisory use only, and sUAS pilots are responsible at all times to comply with FAA airspace restrictions,” the final report states. “Sole reliance on advisory functions of a non-certified app is not sufficient to ensure that correct airspace information is obtained. Had the functionality been active, the sUAS pilot would still have needed to connect his tablet to the internet before the flight in order to receive the TFR information. Since the sUAS pilot's tablet did not have cellular connection capability, it is unlikely that he would have been able to obtain TFR information at the time of the flight. Because the pilot solely relied on the app to provide airspace restriction information; he was unaware of other, more reliable methods to maintain awareness.”

The NTSB also noted that the Phantom 4 did not malfunction:

“The sUAS operated as expected at all times. Although the recorded data showed a 9-second gap in telemetry, this was likely due to distance from the remote controller.”

[Image: 1213_ntsb_phantom_data_map_16x9.jpg?h=47...3165&la=en]
This Google Earth image includes overlays of selected GPS data points logged Sept. 21 by the DJI Phantom 4 which collided with a U.S. Army helicopter south of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, visible at the top of the image. The data, made public by the NTSB Dec. 13, show the Phantom reached a maximum distance from home of 2.8 miles at 7:19:03 p.m., and transmitted its final data point at 7:20:18, 2.44 miles from the home point.

“He did not attach any significance to flying beyond line of sight, he would just reference the map on his tablet,” the NTSB interview report states. “He waited about 30 minutes for it to come home,” the report continued. “It never did, he figured it failed and crashed into the water.”  - will 'ignorance is bliss' be enough to save Mr Tantashov from the FAA throwing the book at him? Rolleyes

On a somewhat related matter (i.e. illegal drone operation in sensitive airspace), I note that Senator Sterle is still waiting on answers to his Supp Estimates QON... Dodgy

Quote:Overdue Yes
Asked Of  Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 13
Portfolio Question Number 436


ACTING CHAIR: You are inconsistent you being CASA. Let's talk about the fellow who flew the drone down to Bunnings to pick up the sausage. What fine did he get? Mr Carmody: I don't know. One of my colleagues would know. Senator GALLACHER: $3,000, wasn't it? ACTING CHAIR: Let's get it out. I'd ask it to be on the record so every Australian can hear it: as long as you are a pilot and it's the first time, you're going to get away with it. Ready kids? All the kids are going to get the drones for this Christmas. There are rules that say you can't do this, but it depends on who you are. There seems to be one rule for one and rules for others. I'm waiting for whoever you can bring up, Mr Carmody, because I really want to know why a pilot can fly a drone over Parliament House and then just get a tap on the toenail. But let's hear what happened to the gentleman who flew his drone down to Bunnings to pick up a sausage. Mr Carmody: I haven't got the details. I'm waiting for one of my colleagues, who I hope will have the details of the offence. We'll have to dig it up...  Mr Carmody: Dr Aleck will have some details about penalties. Dr Aleck: I regret to say that I don't have these identified by the Bunnings event. Senator STERLE: Do you want me to google it? Dr Aleck: I recall I will confirm this that that matter did invite an infringement notice. Senator GALLACHER: $3,000 is what was reported. Dr Aleck: Whatever the penalty was, if that was the case. Senator GALLACHER: He put it on Facebook that his drone went down, picked up a sausage, came back. You looked at that and fined him $3,000. Dr Aleck: I believe that was the case, and I'm not doubting it. I'll confirm it.

Overdue Yes
Asked Of  Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 17
Portfolio Question Number 438


Senator STERLE: I'll make a statement here, rather than a question. You ping any other Australian for breaking these rules, and you don't think we're going to come back here and say, 'Here we go again'? You cannot be serious. You are the enforcers. You are the ones who lay down the rules. You are so blinded because politicians or political employees can get away with murder around your rules defend that. Mr Carmody: I'm happy to provide on notice lists of where we've provided counselling letters for similar offences. I didn't realise that, from what Senator Gallacher said, you were after a higher standard. I thought you were after the same standard. We're very happy to provide on notice where we've issued counselling letters as well, if that would help. Senator STERLE: Have you had to counsel any pilots for breaking your rules for usage of drones? Mr Carmody: I'd have to take it on notice. We've counselled a number of people. As I said, it depends on the circumstance. We've fined a number of people, and it depends on the circumstance.

Overdue Yes
Asked Of Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 19
Portfolio Question Number 441


Senator STERLE:
Have there been any discussions between CASA, the Department of Infrastructure and/or the Department of Parliamentary Services on the use of drones within the parliamentary precincts and above Parliament House? Dr Aleck: Not to my knowledge, no. Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: Not at all? Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: That's fine. I'll also let you take on notice if someone has had any further conversations between the three bodies. Mr Carmody: To clarify, if something is raised with us, a question would be raised on safety grounds or an agency, like a security agency, would put something forward to us on security grounds. Senator STERLE: I have found out since we started this questioning that the Department of Parliamentary Services has the oversight of what goes on over and above here. Mr Carmody: Yes. Senator STERLE: Please take that on notice for me. Dr Aleck: Is that just the question about whether or not we've been in contact? Senator STERLE: It is if there have been any discussions. If there have, then there are another couple of lines of questioning. If so: when, with whom, how many times, what it was about all that sort of stuff.

Overdue Yes
Asked Of  
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 28
Portfolio Question Number 447


Senator STERLE:
Mr Carmody, I know you are just going to have a read of that, but I want to be very, very precise here. Dr Aleck, I'm going to ask you, in terms of your investigation and interviewing of Mr Ashby, did your investigators ask Mr Ashby if he sought approval to fly the drone over Parliament House from any government agency, department or bodysecurity agency? Dr Aleck: I will take your question on notice as to whether he was asked if he had asked permission, but what we do have in the material in fact that's before me now is that we inquired of the AFP and of the organiser of the event, and no permission was sought of those Senator STERLE: I will come back a couple of steps. Can you tell this committee: did your investigators ask Mr Ashby or did Mr Ashby offer advice or answer your investigators' questions that he sought approval from the AFP to fly the drone? Dr Aleck: That information I haven't looked all through this yet, but I can't answer that question at the moment. I'm not aware of that, but I haven't looked thoroughly at the materials. Senator STERLE: How long would it take you to get that information? Dr Aleck: Whether our investigator asked Mr Ashby that question? Senator STERLE: Whether Mr Ashby offered an answer to your investigators that he sought approval to fly the drone over Parliament House on that day from the AFP? Dr Aleck: It shouldn't take long. Senator STERLE: Thank you. I'll wait for that answer.

MTF...P2 Cool

Good drones 1 - Bad drones 24.

How good is this – a couple of kids stuck in some hefty surf; the Life Savers didn’t even get their feet wet, just sent the drone off to drop the ‘gear’, keeping the boys afloat while they arranged a rescue. Great to see a drone professionally, safely and usefully employed. Money well spent I’d say. Well done.  

A new rescue drone was barely out of the box before it was put to use in a real rescue at Lennox Head on Thursday.

From the ABC – HERE.


Drones, parrots & singing canaries - Rolleyes 

Via ZDNet:

[Image: 5a611976e494f2e85c49b9e4-1280x7201jan182...poster.jpg]

How Australia's government-by-parrot is flying backward on drones
If Australia wants to be a leading digital economy, the government must plan ahead with a clear head, not just react to the latest tabloid scare campaigns.
[Image: stilgherrian.jpg]

By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | January 19, 2018 -- 03:16 GMT (14:16 AEDT) | Topic: Innovation

It's a cliché, but the law really does lag behind the development of new technologies. Government agencies often see the need for change, and at least start the ball rolling. But the politicians don't seem to notice until things become, well, political.

That needs to change.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), an employers' lobby group that claims to represent the interests of "more than 60,000 businesses", highlighted a key example recently: Drones.

"Drones are becoming more ubiquitous and play an important role as part of the industrial IoT ecosystem for observation, data gathering, and increasingly logistics," the Ai Group wrote in their 
submission [PDF] to the current consultation on developing a national Digital Economy Strategy.

Goldman Sachs, they write, estimated in 2016 that the total spending on commercial drones in Australia will be around 
$3.9 billion over the next five years. According to that report, the uses for drones include firefighting, aerial inspection of infrastructure such as pipelines and power grids, and monitoring crops.

It's no surprise, therefore, that in the same year Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) decided to 
update the safety regulations for drones. They came into force at the end of September 2016.

"CASA recognised that this was a necessary decision that reflects a modernisation of outdated regulations to keep up with rapid advances in drone technology," Ai Group wrote.

But just two weeks after those new regulations came into force, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee launched a 
fresh inquiry into drone safety. It is due to report on March 28, 2018.

Earlier, in April 2016, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry had also 
called [PDF] for an inquiry into emerging technology for the agricultural sector, including "telecommunications, remote monitoring and drones, plant genomics, and agricultural chemicals".

It's hardly surprising that industry has been frustrated by this seemingly scattergun approach to legislating for a key new technology.

"While there may be legitimate public concerns around drones, the alarm and reactive response from parts of government and the public highlights a bigger issue: the role of government in managing the social risks and disruptions associated with new technology," Ai Group wrote.

"It is important for regulators to be mindful that we have been through similar experiences before with other technological advances like automobiles, telephones and cameras, and more broadly industrial revolutions. As history and experience has shown with these technologies, as the public became more exposed to their presence and practicality, they not only accepted it, but embraced the positive impact that these technologies have had to their lives. Many initial concerns and fears were resolved or proved groundless, and regulation focussed on specific genuine and continuing risks, such as traffic safety or interception of telecommunications."

This is true. But on the other hand, the human species has a history of forging ahead with new technologies, and only later discovering and addressing the safety risks. I've written previously about how technology doesn't get regulated properly until 
people start to die, and how the Australian government itself has been reckless with personal data.

"Drones are yet to reach that full public comfort, and similar concerns are being expressed about other emerging technologies such as AI, robots and driverless vehicles," Ai Group wrote.

"While regulation has a role in addressing reasonable public concerns around security, safety, privacy, and environmental issues, there are also often alternative approaches to the regulatory 'stick'. In the case of drones these include technology-based responses such as geo-fencing and collision avoidance. Regulatory barriers should only be introduced where there are clear net community benefits."

Referring to regulations as "barriers" is predictable industry propaganda, of course. Food safety regulations, for example, shouldn't be seen as "barriers". The food processing industry shouldn't be seen as having a right to sell dodgy lasagne. Nor should the existence of magic technology -- when it even exists -- be seen as obliterating the need for industry to be required by law to use that technology to meet specific safety targets, and be required to prove that they've implemented it properly.

These predictable industry calls for less regulation need to be tempered with proper consideration of safety risks, and the effect of new technology on society generally. That's part of what governments are for.

Indeed, that's what government ministers and their staffers are for.
Ministers need to understand how technological trends will affect their portfolio. They need to lead the policy debate, following best-practice processes that will lead to rational policy responses.

Reacting like startled budgies to tabloid media scare campaigns isn't good enough.

Alas, these days government ministers are little more than expensive parrots, endlessly squawking the day's party-political talking points without understanding them, in the hope they'll flap their way up the greasy political ladder to ring their little bells on the top perch.

What say you #HVH?  Shy

 I thought so too - Big Grin

MTF...P2 Tongue

More on lifesaving drones - Wink

Via the FT:

Australia’s lifesavers make waves with use of rescue drones

Technology becomes popular tool deployed by first responders


A yellow flotation device is dropped from a flying drone toward two teenagers caught in a riptide in heavy seas off the Australian coast © AP

Jamie Smyth in Sydney

When two swimmers got into trouble at an Australian beach last week, onlookers held grave fears for their safety. But the quick thinking of local lifeguards resulted in what authorities billed as the world’s first ocean rescue by a drone.

“One of our trainees flew the drone 850m up the beach, spotted the swimmers and deployed an inflatable rescue pod, enabling them to get back to shore,” says Mark Phillips, a drone pilot who was training surf lifesavers on the use the devices nearby. “It took about 70 seconds while our land-based lifesavers got there in five minutes.”

The rescue at Lennox Head beach, south of Brisbane, highlights how drone technology is changing the world of lifesaving and is becoming a popular tool deployed by first responders such as firefighters, lifeguards and mountain rescue.

China’s Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology (DJI), the world’s largest civilian drone maker, last year published a report identifying 59 instances when drones have helped rescue people from life threatening situations.

These include finding 19 missing people in terrain ranging from snowbanks to mountains and swamps, as well as delivering rescue ropes and life jackets to people during floods.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg, many instances go unreported,” says Kevin On, director of communications at DJI.

He says many life-saving organisations are adapting DJI’s larger drones by adding drop boxes to deploy life jackets or bottles of water. “By attaching a thermal imaging camera to our drones, search and rescue teams are able to identify people that are lost when hiking in the wild or in difficult terrain in remote areas,” says Mr On.

Quote:"..In the broader disaster relief situations, drones could deliver medicine, food or water and vital information to rescuers.." - Eddie Bennet, chief executive of Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver group

In July a mountain rescue team in Lochaber, Scotland, used a drone to help locate a missing, injured female hiker on the Sgurr á Bhuic mountains. A month earlier a drone found two lost hikers and their dog in the Pike National Forest in Colorado within two hours of being dispatched by rescue teams.

Drones can often be deployed quicker than helicopters and get closer to the ground to search for missing people. They are also significantly cheaper to buy and operate, with a standard commercial drone costing several thousand dollars.

An added benefit of drones is their ability to respond to natural disasters and operate in dangerous situations without putting human lifesavers at risk, says Lian Pin Koh, director of Adelaide University’s Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility.

“Using drones for disaster response is gaining significant traction. By attaching sophisticated thermal imaging cameras to a drone it is possible to detect people under rubble,” he says.

In September the American Red Cross teamed up with drone maker CyPhy Works and the UPS Foundation to survey damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. It used a tethered drone, which was connected to a power source, to enable it to stay airborne for days at a time to assess flood damage and funnel aid to areas in need.

Short battery life is one of the main challenges in deploying drones in life-saving environments. DJI’s M600 model, which is used by lifesavers in Australia, has a battery life of up to 36 minutes.

Tight regulation is another. In Australia and the US, drones can only be flown during the day and in line of sight of their operator in an effort to avoid collisions with other aircraft and enhance public safety.

But in October the Trump administration launched a pilot programme to allow the testing of drones at night and outside of line of sight of their operator — an initiative that could speed up their integration into lifesaving roles.

“Safety is our paramount concern and we work very closely with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority,” says Eddie Bennet, chief executive of the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver group, which operates more than 50 drones in co-ordination with lifeguards across Australia.

But he believes drones will play a bigger role in lifesaving in the future.

“We are working closely with a company developing electronic shark deterrents, which can be dropped into the water, and we already can drop the world’s smallest defibrillator from our drones,” he says. “And in the broader disaster relief situations, drones could deliver medicine, food or water and vital information to rescuers.”

Drones used in detecting sharks

Drones are not just dropping rescue pods to swimmers in distress in Australia, they are also warning swimmers when dangerous sharks are in the water.

The Westpac Little Ripper group and University of Technology Sydney have partnered to develop shark detection software that uses artificial intelligence to analyse images captured by the drone in real time. When it detects a large shark near swimmers or surfers, the drone can use its warning siren to alert them to danger or send text messages to lifeguards on the beach.

“The algorithm we have developed learns from experience by analysing lots of video footage of sharks in the water. It has an accuracy rate of up to 90 per cent,” says Michael Blumenstein, head of UTS school of software.

The research team is working on introducing multi-spectral imagery technology, which should enable the programme to penetrate deeper or murky water for sharks. The AI drone software has other applications, such as being adapted to look for marine craft.

MTF...P2  Tongue

Debate continues on adequacy of drone rules - Rolleyes

Via the Strait Times:

Drones take off in Australia, sparking debate
 [Image: ST_20180127_JPDRONE_3718113.jpg?itok=NkrXD1NR]  A shark-spotting drone with a safety flotation device attached underneath flying over Bilgola Beach, north of Sydney, last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Concerns raised over safety and whether tougher laws needed

Jonathan Pearlman For The Straits Times In Sydney

Australians' enthusiasm for drones is growing, with the devices being used by everyone from farmers to beach lifeguards to commercial photographers.

But the proliferation of the devices has raised concerns about their safety, prompting warnings that the nation's new-found obsession could end in catastrophe.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Casa) estimates there are more than 100,000 privately operated drones in Australia - "most of which are used for sport and recreational purposes", a spokesman told The Straits Times.

But the precise number is unknown because non-commercial devices typically do not need to be registered.

Current rules, which were tightened last October, require private and recreational users to keep drones within line of sight and away from airports and aircraft.

The devices must be flown during the daytime only and kept 30m away from other people, and cannot fly 120m above the ground or at places where people are gathered, such as beaches, parks and sports fields. Some states require them to be kept away from wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

But there are concerns about whether drone operators are familiar with the rules. There have been near misses with aircraft, as well as incidents in which drones have crashed into apartment windows and landed on cars. Some councils have banned the use of drones over public land and there are growing calls to require users to pass a test.

Late last year, Casey Council in Melbourne banned people from using drones outside their own properties unless they had a licence. The penalty for breaking the rule is A$300 (S$316).

"The council has already collected and destroyed two drones that crash-landed, but has not issued any fines," the council's safer-communities manager, Ms Caroline Bell, told The Herald Sun last month.

Casa has penalised users for dangerous flying. It has issued 43 fines for breaching one or more rules, each of which can involve a fine of up to A$1,050. More serious infringements, or reckless operation which endangers a person, can lead to fines of up to A$10,050 or imprisonment.

"We look into all reports and where there is sufficient evidence of a safety breach, such as photos or video recordings of the breach and the person controlling the drone, further enforcement action may be taken," a Casa spokesman said.

A parliamentary inquiry has been examining drone safety rules. It was told there were 180 near misses involving the devices and other aircraft in 2016.

MP and former air crash investigator Barry O'Sullivan is deputy chairman of the inquiry. He said last year that he believed the current drone regulations were a "catastrophe waiting to happen".

He suggested licences may be necessary, likening the current rules to allowing children or unlicensed people to drive cars. "We must get out in front of this so we can restore, as best we can, air safety," he told The Australian Financial Review.

The inquiry's final report is due to be released in late March and is expected to call for tougher laws. In anticipation, the drone industry has insisted the current regime is adequate and that more rules would limit the growing use of the devices.

Chinese drone manufacturing giant DJI called the current rules "sensible". "Australia has a real opportunity to be an innovator in this field," Mr Adam Welsh, from DJI, told Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. "There's a lot of great use cases for drones in Australia, like using drones to survey things like power lines and utilities."

Indeed, the devices are proving useful in Australia.

At the nation's beaches this summer, lifeguards have begun using drones to spot sharks and even to perform beach rescues.

Elsewhere, they are being used to identify areas where there is a risk of landslides along coastal roads.

On Jan 18, a drone was used by lifeguards to rescue two teenagers who were dragged out to sea while swimming. The drone, which was being trialled, was used to spot the boys and drop a flotation device, which allowed them to return to shore.

Nonetheless, on Wednesday, it emerged that a drone which was part of the same trial had to be crashed into the sea after it developed a mechanical problem.

A lifeguard, who was not named, told The Gold Coast Bulletin that the incident showed drones should not be used for rescues.

"The devices should be for observation only," he said. "If a drone was on the scene and couldn't perform a rescue, all it would do is watch someone drown."

MTF...P2 Tongue

New drone 'jammer' enters the Drone Wars - Confused

Via SmallCaps:

DroneShield releases new drone defence product
Filip Karinja
January 31, 2018
[Image: DroneShield-ASX-DRO-DroneGun-Tactical-pr...40x400.jpg]DroneShield's new DroneGun Tactical product.

Anti-drone security measures are going from strength to strength, alongside the rapid take-up of drones in Australia. DroneShield (ASX: DRO), a Sydney-based technology company, has added a further product to its line-up, offering a range of options enhancing drone security and anti-drone defence.

The DroneGun Tactical product follows on from DroneShield’s MKII launched in December last year – a hand-held gun that interferes with radio waves received and emitted by moving aerial vehicles (drones).

Both products offer varying features and are designed to appeal to different user-groups as DroneShield continues its development as an early-stage drone security developer serving people, organisations and critical infrastructure from intrusion from drones.

Combined with its MKII and DroneGun Tactical products, DroneShield is hoping to progress its proprietary engineering and intellectual property towards establishing a strong footing in drone defence, an industry that’s keeping pace with the large take-up of drones now being bought en-masse by consumers.

According to DroneShield, the DroneGun Tactical is available for purchase from today [January 31st] to “qualified end-users where lawful”. At a national level, legislators in different countries are approaching the issue of suitable drone defences in varying ways. In Australia, newly-introduced laws prohibit drone use higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground, within 30 metres of people, and, drone pilots cannot fly more than one drone at a time, according to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

However, these rules do not apply to drone flyers that hold a remote pilot licence (RePL), or operate according to a remotely piloted aircraft operator certificate (ReOC), or have prior authorisation from CASA.

DroneGun Tactical product was designed following comprehensive international military end-user trials, with a number of key features, including:
  • Lighter design with less carrying requirement
  • Long-range effectiveness at 1km or more
  • Addition of 433Mhz and 915Mhz frequencies, to ensure complete effectiveness across drone models
  • Aesthetically appealing ergonomic design
  • Further alignment with standard military specifications, including standardised NATO military battery power.
Last year, DroneShield received an operational boost when its MKII product was certified as compliant for human exposure. The certification was obtained in response to the DroneGun product advancing through procurement processes with a number of major defence and other government agencies internationally, for which this was a requirement requested by several agencies.

In a further boost last year, DroneShield received an Australian Government R&D Tax Incentive award of approximately $200,000 and is actively pursuing development of further products to add to its counter-drone range.

“qualified end-users where lawful” - Wonder if that means they will be issuing them to Department of Parliamentary Services security guards? Big Grin

+Overdue Yes

Asked Of Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 19
Portfolio Question Number 441


Senator STERLE: Have there been any discussions between CASA, the Department of Infrastructure and/or the Department of Parliamentary Services on the use of drones within the parliamentary precincts and above Parliament House? Dr Aleck: Not to my knowledge, no. Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: Not at all? Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: That's fine. I'll also let you take on notice if someone has had any further conversations between the three bodies. Mr Carmody: To clarify, if something is raised with us, a question would be raised on safety grounds or an agency, like a security agency, would put something forward to us on security grounds. Senator STERLE: I have found out since we started this questioning that the Department of Parliamentary Services has the oversight of what goes on over and above here. Mr Carmody: Yes. Senator STERLE: Please take that on notice for me. Dr Aleck: Is that just the question about whether or not we've been in contact? Senator STERLE: It is if there have been any discussions. If there have, then there are another couple of lines of questioning. If so: when, with whom, how many times, what it was about all that sort of stuff.

MTF...P2 Cool

Hmmmm....model aircraft radio gear operates on those frequencies too, however *most* r/c flyers belong to and fly from r/c clubs. I know of one such club that is within the circuit area of an airport (having flown in one way or another from both - they have a pretty good relationship) and I have to wonder if this new technology will inadvertently wipe out a model aircraft or two...

Further to my previous post, I had a look at the DJI webpage to confirm my assertion that drones and r/c aircraft operate on the same frequency. I was right - both r/c models and drones operate on the 2.4GHz band, although drones can also operate on 5.3GHz.

This means that the DroneGun has to "block" both the 2.4GHz band and the 5.3GHz band in order to disable the drones.

Now, picture this...

As I said earlier, I know of at least one r/c model flying club located within the circuit area of a small local airport. Models are flown inside the circuit - in fact, many's the time I've watched them flying from above.

Now let's say there's a problem with drones in the area....somebody's flying a drone on the approach path to the airport, and the authorities are called in to deal with this menace. They can't find the drone pilot (assuming that's the first thing they'd try to do, but we *are* talking about CASA..) so they decide to disable the drone instead. So they employ the DroneGun, and the drone falls from the sky. Fine. A drone doesn't really need any forward speed to stay airborne - it relies on differential speeds from its motors to generate forward speed....take that away, and you have a streamlined anvil on your hands...or head.

A radio controlled aircraft, however, flies *exactly* the same way as the real thing does. The engine/prop developes thrust, which propels the aircraft through the air. If you disable communication between the transmitter and receiver, you have a problem. On the one hand, the throttle may go to idle, which means the aircraft descends and eventually crashes. Or, the throttle may stay at its current setting, in which case, the aircraft does whatever it's trimmed to do. Until it runs out of fuel (or battery power, in the case of electric models) and crashes. Or the throttle advances to full power, in which case the model is likely to climb. Until it runs out of fuel or battery power, and crashes.
The point being, the model will keep flying, at least, for a while. And without any sort of control from the ground, you have a rogue aircraft, and the potential for a collision until the model crashes.

Now, most models carry enough fuel for a flight time of around 15-20 minutes under normal throttle settings. I have one that will stay at full throttle for 25 minutes, but that's another story.. How far, assuming all the planets line up, can that model travel in that time? Where will it crash? How bad will the injuries be to any person it hits on the way down? Or, even worse, how much damage can it do to any aircraft it hits? I would wager it'll be more that a have a propeller spinning at upwards of 10-15,000 (yes, that's THOUSAND) rpm, and those props are pretty touch. I've seen the damage they can do to an errant finger, and it ain't pretty. Furthermore, the bigger the model - and we can get models 25kg plus - the more kinetic energy in the collision. I guess the trade off is the bigger the model, the more chance you have to see and avoid....but not much!

There are more things in heaven: below 400’.

Choc frog for CW – highlighting just another area CASA have ‘ignored’. Whether by design or ignorance is immaterial. They are supposed to be the epicentre of all matters ‘safety’ related and should have seriously considered the ‘frequency’ bands in use; and, the ramifications of using ‘the DroneGun’. It’s just tough luck if an errant drone gets ‘taken down’ over the freeway you happen to be doing 110 KpH along and it lands on your windscreen – ain’t it?

Why, Oh why, don’t’ CASA talk to the Radio Modellers folk; they have great rules, top training and; as dedicated enthusiasts, are full bottle on the ‘details’ surrounding operating ‘unmanned’ projectiles, capable of great speed, which, translated into kinetic energy, has the potential to create havoc. FCOL – you need to have the family pooch secured for road travel – a 10 Kg dog accelerated at even a lowly 30 Kph can create a ‘problematic’ situation – even a cricket ball is potentially lethal.

I get annoyed when slick, glib, get off the hook answers are provided to serious matters. Drones are, in so many ways, useful. However – as the potential risk matrix expands, the government has a right to expect a qualified, sensible response from the very expensive ‘advice’ team they employ i.e. CASA.

The problem with sicking your head in the sand is, that your arse is exposed; sans sand, as 'twere..

(You only need listen to the first 40 seconds - then it becomes horrible).

Oh - The sexual life of a camel
Is stranger than anyone thinks;
At the height of the mating season,
It tries to bugger the Sphinx.

But the Sphinx’s posterior orifice, is blocked by the sands of the Nile.
Which accounts for the hump of the Camel
And, the Sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

Toot - toot.

Oh, and something else to think about...

If you happen to go to almost any r/c flying club in the country, you'll often see not just one aircraft flying, but many. At the clubs I used to fly at, it was not uncommon for up to half a dozen aircraft to be flying at the same time. This, of course, was in the pre-2.4GHz days, when frequencies were often shared between various members, and you had a key system so that if one person was using channel 7, nobody else could use it until he was down.

With the advent of 2.4GHz, transmitters are uniquely bound to individual receivers, so there's next to no chance of inadvertently zapping someone else's aircraft out of the sky if you switch on your transmitter. In fact, theoretically, if you had 100 club members, you could see 100 aircraft in the sky.

Now what does this mean in terms of the DroneGun? Well, imagine 100 rogue aircraft in the sky at the same time....

Back in about 2005/2006 there was a model aircraft on the market that had, of all things, an autopilot. This was a training aircraft, and you could program it to fly straight and level if the student got disoriented. If I recall correctly, it only worked if the sun was within certain angles above the horizon of all things, although I can't remember exactly what triggered it.
Anyhow, a new pilot turned up at our club with this aircraft, and told me he'd disabled the autopilot function. When I asked why, he told me it was because CASA didn't want model aircraft flying without any means of control from the ground.

A Dronego in Las Vegas - TICK TOCK Barnaby... Dodgy

Via KTNV CH 13 action news Las Vegas.. Wink

Video shows drone coming close to plane landing at McCarran
Tom George
7:26 PM, Feb 2, 2018
11:09 AM, Feb 4, 2018


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A shocking viral video showing a drone coming close to a plane landing near McCarran Airport in Las Vegas is now being investigated by the FAA.

The video, shot by an unknown drone pilot, shows the drone taking off from what looks to be the parking lot at Whitney Ranch, then flying dangerously close to a Frontier passenger plane heading to land at McCarran Airport.

It's unclear when the video was shot and who was behind the controls.  The video has gotten the attention of the FAA.

Drone expert Steven Williams said he's shocked by what he saw in the idea.  Williams, who is with Alpha Drone, said it appears to be a racing drone.  He says without a GPS, manual controls allow for more movement.  

"You know, if he was to hit the plane or there were any transmission signals that could interfere with that plane, he could honestly jam something in the plane, anything could happen," he says.

Regulations allow a maximum of 400 feet for flying drones.  In this case, Williams estimates the drone was at least 1,500 feet in the air.

Henderson Police are also investigating this case, and the FBI was made aware of it as well.

In cases like this, people can get a nearly $1,500 fine from the FAA, and a federal criminal fine of up to $250,000 and three years in jail.

MTF...P2  Cool

I the people at JB HiFi know the regulations? I saw some DJI drones (as well as other cheaper ones) in there the other may well be worth seeing how much the staff know.

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