CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

By Thomas Nguyen

CNN has recently received a ‘first of its kind’ waiver associated with its drone operating license with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing CNN to fly its drones over open-air crowds of people at altitudes of up to 150 feet above ground level with no restrictions regarding crowd density. This is a big deal because this waiver sets a new precedent that would now allow operators to fly drones over people. As of today, the FAA has issued 1,317 Part 107 waivers with only seven of the waivers allowing drone operations over people – and, when allowed, limiting those flights to closed set operations and only when the drone is tethered. Further, the waivers limited the flights to a maximum height of 21 feet above ground level. 

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DOJ and FAA Issue New Security Concerns in UAS Operations

DOJ and FAA Issue New Security Concerns in UAS Operations

By William D. Ezzell

This week, the UAS world witnessed two concerning developments related to national security. On Wednesday, newly appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Wray warned that terrorist organizations are actively seeking drones as a means to wage attacks. “I think we do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones.” Wray elaborated even further, “We’ve seen that overseas already with growing frequency. I think the expectation is that it’s coming here imminently. I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and quite difficult to disrupt and monitor.”

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Steer Clear from Military Bases if You Want to Keep Your Drone (and Yourself) Out of Trouble

Steer Clear from Military Bases if You Want to Keep Your Drone (and Yourself) Out of Trouble

By Thomas Nguyen

There has been a growing security concern posed by drones, especially in light of increased use by both private citizens and companies. With the aim of keeping personnel and equipment safe in connection with its domestic military bases, the Pentagon recently issued classified rules that provide guidance to the U.S. military on how to deal with private and commercial drones that are found flying over or around its domestic military bases.

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Trump Administration Launches Review of U.S. Export Policy on Military Drones

Trump Administration Launches Review of U.S. Export Policy on Military Drones

By Melissa Miller Proctor

As has been reported recently by Defense News, the Trump Administration has launched a formal review of the current policy on U.S. military drone exports, which was rolled out under President Obama in February 2015. U.S. manufacturers are hoping that the Trump Administration may be considering relaxing controls on international sales of military Unmanned Aerial Systems (“UAS”) to key allies and strategic partners around the world. For years, industry has argued that the current controls on military UAS have put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.

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Army Drops DJI Citing Cybersecurity Concerns

Army Drops DJI Citing Cybersecurity Concerns

By Thomas L. Gemmell

According to a Department of Defense memorandum referenced by sUAS News, the U.S. Army and Navy have concluded that there are cybersecurity risks associated with using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or “drones,” manufactured by Dajiang Innovation (DJI), the world’s most prolific developer and manufacturer of commercial and hobby drones. Citing research memoranda by the Army Research Laboratory, DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities, dated 24 May 2017, and Navy, Operational Risks With Regards to DJI Family of Products, dated 24 May 2017, the Army directed the Service to discontinue all uses of DJI products, including “all DJI UAS and any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GSS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.” The ban is significant given that the Army had "issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets.” Without going into detail, the Army noted that the order was “Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.”

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