April 2014

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  • Ten Things You Need To Know Before Buying a UAV
    Ten Things You Need To Know Before Buying a UAV

    eBee Aerial Mapping UAV

    Posted: 4/24/2014
    There has been a lot of talk recently about the use of UAV?s and drones for commercial use in the United States. We have seen You Tube videos of Amazon Drones preparing to deliver items to your door at a moments notice. News articles from Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal talking about a Judge ruling the FAA has no authority over using UAV?s for commercial use. The 60 Minutes TV show has done two stories about the use of drones in the past few months. Still there are a lot of unanswered questions, and concern over what you need to know about UAV?s before you or your company purchase one. Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions and concerns when people are considering a UAV purchase.

    #1. Can I fly my UAV anywhere?
    The short answer is NO. While there is currently no official UAV Law on the books, and it is often unclear exactly what the FAA regulations are?. Your best first step is to contact your local FAA Field Office for guidance. Often this can result in a verbal authorization by the local FAA office, or a more formal written authorization may be required.
    Generally, you will need to fly below 400 feet, you cannot fly within 3-5 miles of an airport and the operator of the UAV must maintain direct visual contact with the UAV at all times without the use of binoculars or telescopes. However, owners of mines, construction sites and farms, can generally fly their own properties with little required from the FAA depending upon the weight and type of UAV or UAS. Again, check with your local office. They can let you know any potential issues and requirements that may or may not be needed to fly your sites.

    #2. All UAV?s are NOT created equal:
    There are many categories of Drones, UAV?s and UAS?s that the FAA currently regulates usually based upon size and weight. Each of these categories is regulated differently and have their own set of rules and requirements. Some categories require the operator to be a licensed pilot. Some have strict guidelines for how and where you can fly the units. Some categories of UAV?s allow companies to fly only in conjunction with Municipalities, Government Agencies or Universities, while other units can be flown under much less constrictive guidelines by property owners. Choosing the right UAV, under the right FAA guidelines for your type of work, will insure that you get the correct unit for your particular application. Currently the least regulated of the FAA categories is the UAS class, especially the UAS?s which fall under the ?Model Aircraft Rule.

    #3. Does the UAV that you are looking to purchase fall under the Model Aircraft Rule?
    The Model Aircraft Rule is the least regulated of all FAA guidelines currently in effect. This exemption covers UAS aircraft (the smallest and lightest class), under 4.5 pounds (lighter is generally better). The FAA considers these units exactly like a model plane that you or your children would purchase to fly recreationally. While you still cannot fly these near an airport (Generally between 3 and 5 miles depending upon the local FAA guidelines) or above 400 feet while keeping the unit within sight, most other restrictions are not in place with these units. Less restrictions means more areas that you can fly and work in. To be sure if the unit you are considering falls in or out of this exemption, contact your local FAA field office. They can let you know.
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  • US airworthiness assessment completed by the eBee
    US airworthiness assessment completed by the eBee

    Posted: 4/16/2014
    The SenseFly eBee unmanned aircraft system recently completed an airworthiness assessment, an Federal Aviation Administration-accepted public aircraft process, at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center.
    This is a photo of the eBee unmanned aircraft system.
    The SenseFly eBee unmanned aircraft system recently completed an airworthiness test at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center. (Courtesy photo by Zachary Aaron Balge) A man prepares to launch an unmanned aircraft.
    Zachary Balge launches the eBee unmanned aircraft system during airworthiness assessments at the NMSU PSL UAS Flight Test Center. (Courtesy photo by Baptiste Tripard)
    The eBee is now being flown under the NMSU FAA Certificate of Authorization to develop safety of flight procedures for mapping extractive industry projects such as open pit mining and oil and gas operations.

    The NMSU Flight Test Center is performing research with NewFields Aviation & Robotics Services to develop procedures enabling unmanned aircraft systems to collect and provide high-resolution remote sensing data to enhance the safe and efficient operation within the extractive industry sector.

    The SenseFly eBee unmanned aircraft system, which has both extensive field flight experience in Europe and with U.S. public entities for disaster relief and infrastructure operations, is the UAS selected by NewFields Aviation & Robotics Services.

    "This research effort will enable the FAA to obtain and assess the data collected during these flights to establish validated procedures for the safe use of UAS for extractive industry applications" said Dennis Zaklan, deputy director of the NMSU Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center.