Flying Robot international Film Festival entries are open

The Flying Robot international Film Festival (FRiFF) is back again for a second year.

The international drone film festival screening will take place in October of 2016 in San Francisco.

FRiFF, which awards cash prizes to the winners, was founded in 2015 by Eddie Codel, a fellow San Francisco based live video producer, aerial filmmaker and drone nerd.

Flying Robot international Film Festival friff

Last year, the competition saw 153 films from 35 countries. 20 finalists films were aired the night of the film festival, including one of my favorite drone films to date “Running into the Air,” by Sebastian Woeber of Austria. That film won in the Cinematic: Postcard category.

See more of Drone Girl’s coverage from last year’s film festival here.

How to enter the Flying Robot international Film Festival:

Submissions are now open through July 15th for a $10 entry fee. Between July 15th and August 15th, the price increases to $15. Films must be less than five minutes, and while it doesn’t need to be 100% aerial footage, aerial footage should be central to the story being told.  You can submit your film here.


Drone sale: DJI’s Inspire 1 has never been this cheap

Here’s a sweet drone sale you need to know about. DJI’s Inspire 1 has never been this cheap.

Here are some of the discounts:

With such a sweet deal on the Inspire 1, does this mean a new Inspire is coming soon? With the revolutionary sense and avoid technology in the Phantom 4, it makes sense that a new version of the Inspire 1 would come with a similar technology.

Either way, happy flying, and buying!

Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide

The Part 107 Aeronuatical Knowledge Test for UAS operators is expected to be made available in August.

But eager commercial drone operators without a pilot’s license can get a head start on studying now.

The FAA released its Part 107 UAS online training course, which anyone can register and take for free. The course is designed for part 61 pilot certificate holders who have a current flight review (in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56) and wish to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating. But, anyone without a pilot’s license can take the training course.

“Applicants for a part 107 remote pilot certificate who do not hold a part 61 pilot certificate (or part 61 pilot certificate holders without a current flight review) may incorporate this training into their self-study curriculum to help prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test,” according to the test page.

To be clear, that means this is a training course for people who already hold a Part 61 Pilot’s certificate. If you don’t have a pilot’s license, this is simply a wonderful, free training course to supplement your test studying. Continue reading Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide

Drone pilot Arvel Chappell found not guilty in first Los Angeles criminal drone use trial

Arvel Chappell
Courtesy Arvel Chappell

A Los Angeles jury returned a unanimous “not guilty” verdict in favor of Arvel Chappell III, the first person charged under the City of Los Angeles’ recently enacted anti-drone ordinance. The case was the first to go to trial on a drone-specific criminal charge in the city.

The verdict was delivered Tuesday, particularly significant because it came on the same day that the Federal Aviation Administration  released long-anticipated rules that now allow the commercial use of small drones without special permission.

35-year-old Chappell is a filmmaker and was accused of  flying a drone near the Los Angeles Police Department’s heliport on December 12, 2015. The flight forced a police helicopter coming in for a landing to change course to avoid a collision.

The City Attorney said Chappell was flying the drone higher than 400 feet, at night and within a quarter of the heliport without permission. Continue reading Drone pilot Arvel Chappell found not guilty in first Los Angeles criminal drone use trial

Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense is ready for preorder

The Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense Technology today announced it is now available for preorder.

The Intel RealSense R200 Camera and Intel Atom processor adds intelligent obstacle navigation through a combination of specialized cameras and sensors.

typhoon h with intel realsense
The new Typhoon H looks slightly different than what was first released.

The Intel system is able to map and learn its environment in 3D, so it can recognize and learn obstacles and then plan an alternative route to navigate around it.

The Intel announcement is an upgrade for the previous collision prevention system Yuneec used in its original Typhoon H. The previous Typhoon H (check out my review here) used ultra-sonic collision prevention which stopped the Typhoon H from hitting obstacles but left it hovering in that position, unable to navigate around obstacles.

DJI’s Phantom 4 is, in most instances, currently able to navigate drones above obstacles if it can see the top of the obstacle (a Phantom approaching a small tree is intelligent enough to fly over it, but a Phantom approaching a wall with a roof over it wouldn’t be able to determine a way to avoid the wall and would also hover in place). Continue reading Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense is ready for preorder

FAA Part 107 UAS Aeronautical Knowledge Test: everything you need to know (except the answers)

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that drone operators will have to pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test as one of the requirements for legally flying drones commercially.

Here’s a rundown of the entire announcement of its long-awaited Part 107 ruling.

Among the requirements to fly a UAS commercially include flying below 400 feet, flying only during daytime and flying less than 100 miles per hour. But the standout requirement is that commercial drone operators will need to take a written, in-person, drone-specific, aeronautical knowledge test.

“It’s a great idea,” said Logan Campbell, CEO of drone consulting firm Aerotas. “It forces people to understand how to keep the national airspace safe, which is really what the FAA cares about most.”

Drone operators with existing Part 61 pilot certificates can bypass the in-person, written exam and instead take an online course. But for drone operators without that, they’ll have to take the test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

The FAA has released a drafted document of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards, outlining what you can tentatively expect from the test. Here’s the tentative information we know for now:

Where you can take the FAA’s UAS aeronautical knowledge test:

The test can be taken at one of the 696 testing centers in the United States. Here’s a list of locations where you can take the aeronautical knowledge test. Applicants need to schedule the testing appointment in advance and bring a government-issued photo ID.

What are the expected areas this commercial drone test will cover?

The FAA’s draft says test areas include:

  1. Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  4. Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  5. Emergency procedures
  6. Crew resource management
  7. Radio communication procedures
  8. Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  10. Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  11. Airport operations
  12. Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures

Get more in-depth information about each of these topics here.

How do I study for the UAS aeronautical knowledge test?

Continue reading FAA Part 107 UAS Aeronautical Knowledge Test: everything you need to know (except the answers)

DroneSeed is sending drones to change the forestry industry

DroneSeed is the latest example of how drones are taking jobs — but in a good way.

The $200 billion forestry industry depends on manual labor to plant seeds in the ground, with work crews using shovels for the chore. One human worker typically can plant 800 seeds in a day, but DroneSeed predicts its device can plant 800 seeds per hour. It’s back-bending work — literally. Workers have to do 1,000 backbends a day and carry small trees up and down hills. Some estimate the work involved in one day of working as a seed planter is equivalent to running two marathons each day.

DroneSeed’s drones blasting fertilizer and seeds into the ground at 350 feet per second.

DroneSeed says its solution is good for the environment, worker safety and investors. DroneSeed’s drones currently have a flight time of about 30 minutes; after changing batteries, the drones can cover an acre within 1.5 hours.

Read more about DroneSeed in the full article I wrote over at


How to make money in drones (through investing)

Want to know how to make money in drones? Investors can now hop on the drone bandwagon, without even having to get into the digital cockpit.

The nascent drone industry has been rapidly growing, with PricewaterhouseCoopers valuing the drone industry at over $127 billion. And a new ETF has paved the way for investors to try and take a piece of it. The PureFunds Drone Economy Strategy ETF currently comprises 41 companies that are involved in the drone industry.

“People really believe in the potential of the drone industry,” Andrew Chanin, CEO of PureFunds said. “This is a way for investors to get exposure.”

The drone ETF’s holdings currently include military drone manufacturer AeroVironment Inc. and consumer consumer-drone manufacturer Parrot. There are also companies that make produce drone components of drones like Ambarella, which supplies many of the chips for the cameras in high-end, commercial-grade drones and  Flir, an Oregon-based sensor manufacturer that focuses on thermal imaging and makes drone cameras for drone behemoth Chinese-based drone-making giant DJI.

I wrote about the ETF over at Get everything you need to know here.

Drone Girl

Reporting on drones, sometimes with drones