President Trump Directs Drone Integration Pilot Program to Accelerate Low-Altitude Operations

President Trump Directs Drone Integration Pilot Program to Accelerate Low-Altitude Operations

By Thomas L. Gemmell

Today President Trump directed the Department of Transportation to launch a new initiative to test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments. The program, called “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program,” is designed to provide regulatory certainty and stability to UAS operators, local governments and communities.

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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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FAA Establishes Committee to Develop Rules for Identifying UAS Vehicles

FAA Establishes Committee to Develop Rules for Identifying UAS Vehicles

By Bradley R. Gardner

As the number of unmanned aircraft operating in the skies continues to increase, it has become critical that authorities be capable of identifying the owner or operator of a UAS vehicle that is being operated in an unsafe or illegal manner. Unlike traditional aircraft, there are currently no rules or even guidance for requiring UAS vehicles to electronically broadcast identifying information. In order to come up with a solution, in late June the Federal Aviation Administration created an Aviation Rulemaking Committee tasked with: Identifying and recommending technologies for remote identification and tracking of UAS vehicles, identifying requirements for meeting the security and public safety needs of government agencies, including law enforcement, for remotely identifying and tracking UAS vehicles, and evaluating the feasibility and affordability of the potential solutions, and determining how well those potential solutions address the needs of the relevant government agencies. Committee members include representatives from more than 70 stakeholders, including manufacturers, UAS operators, law enforcement agencies, and research groups. A full list of the Committee members can be found on the FAA's website.
 

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