UAV

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drone Pilot Part 107 Resources

Drone aviation is potentially a multi-billion dollar industry, and it's just in its infancy. Drone flying has the potential to do great things in our world, and it's fun. AviationBull supports and encourages responsible and professional drone flying.

This page aims to compile useful study/reference resources needed by a commercial drone pilot flying sUAS under the FAA's Part 107 rule for Remote Pilots. It should help aspiring Remote Pilots study for the FAA's written knowledge test. This knowledge is also useful for drone pilots who are aren't flying for money.

(This page launched on 25 January, 2017, and it's a work in progress. Bear with us while we build it. If you have suggestions, please let us know!)

Commercial sUAS? It's Easy! Just Do It!

If you've been reading AviationBull for a while, you'll know that I'm not the biggest fan of drones. (We're going to call them unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, for the rest of this post because that's the term the FAA's going with.) I've narrowly avoided a couple near midair collisions with UAS in Afghanistan that would have killed me and my crew if not for our actions. Despite the dangers inherent with UAS, they are the way of the future. There is no stopping that.

Specific Recommendations: How to Integrate UAVs into the National Airspace System

I just wrote about the pressure the FAA is feeling to allow UAV operations in the National Airspace System. Although I'm not a fan of the idea in general, I realize it's going to happen some day. As such, I'd like to present some of what I think should end up as regulations for UAV operations. I don't mean this to be a complete list. Please take a minute to read through them and leave a comment with your feedback.

The FAA has contracted the RTCA Special Committee 203 as the body to help them figure out this issue. I don't presume to think any of them read AviationBull, but I hope these points make it to them. As someone who's shared plenty of airspace with UAVs, here are some things we need before we let them into our national airspace system:

"Pressure" on FAA to Approve UAV Operations in Civilian Airspace

AviationBull has been covering developments in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) issues for some time. The operational and economic benefits offered by UAVs are enormous - they can fly longer and cheaper than equivalent manned aircraft in most cases. Most importantly, they can operate in dangerous conditions that would otherwise put a pilot at risk.

Though these benefits are great, there is one key fact preventing UAVs from flooding our skies: Right now, UAVs are completely incapable of operating safely in the same airspace as manned aircraft.

As Google and the AP report, the FAA is thankfully taking the careful approach to UAV certification in spite of growing pressure.

Top Gun for a New Millennium - UAVs at Sea

One of my dad's friends was in the Navy and I was raised up to think that: "If it doesn't have a tailhook, it's not a real airplane." Although, I didn't end up choosing that path (and I abandoned that philosophy,) I have a great deal of respect for Naval aviators. They definitely do some tough flying and have a lot of fun at it.

For better or for worse, it appears that we may all be losing the opportunity to land fast jets on floating postage stamps sooner than we thought. A recent article at Navy.mil notes that the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) will be the carrier used to test a new Naval combat aircraft. For the first time in history, this aircraft will be a full-size combat jet...without a pilot. Specifically, it looks like Grumman's X-47B will be the first UCAV tested on an aircraft carrier.

Bat-Plane?

This catapult launched UAV is being developed by the folks at Northrop Grumman and is an addition to their BAT series of UAV's. Now, how I could load the trusty 172 on there? If it happened to succeed I think I could talk the wife into putting one in the back yard!

How Do You build SA in a Trailer?

Huntsville, AL, is home to the US Army's Redstone Arsenal. It's a big R&D site for the Army and deals with everything from rockets (it is in Huntsville) to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A recent Huntsville Times article on al.com discusses the need for more UAV airspace. All branches of the military have UAVs and they all need room to train operators. Beyond that, many other government agencies such as police and disaster relief departments want UAVs.

Unfortunately, the only place they can fly right now is in restrictred airspace. No pilot wants more of that airspace, so the only other option is to find a way to give UAV operators enough situational awareness to operate safely in normal civil airspace. That leads many to ask: how can we give UAV operators enough SA to safely operate in this airspace?

No UAVs for Police...at Least for Now

Government Technology.com recently reported that the FAA has upheld a decision to prohibit US police forces from using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs.) Honestly, I'm very glad to hear about this decision, but I don't think that it will last for long. It's a hot issue with strong feelings on both sides.

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