Category Archives: News

No. of FAA-licensed drone pilots crosses 100,000 milestone

The drone industry just marked a huge milestone this week, as the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has now issued more than 100,000 Remote Pilot Certificates.

The benchmark figure only represents pilots registered to fly commercially, and does not include the many thousands more who fly drones recreationally — as well as the pilots who fly unlicensed. (The FAA has only cracked down on one pilot for flying commercially without a license, though pilots expect many more are skirting the law.)

And the 100,000 milestone may dispel any fears that the drone industry was nothing more than a bubble. Sales numbers are growing in line with the growth in registered pilots, as U.S. dollar sales of drones increased 33 percent in 2017, according to The NPD Group.

A Remote Pilot Certificate is required in the U.S. by the FAA to fly drones for commercial purposes under Part 107. Those regulations required that drone operators pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test. The test can be taken at one of the 696 testing centers in the United States and asks questions on topics such as air traffic, weather and safety. Upon passing, pilots receive a license, which is good for two years.

The rule that requires drone pilots obtain the Remote Pilot Certificate went into effect on August 29, 2016, with a huge chunk of America’s pilots obtaining their certificates in Sept. 2016.

A whopping 1,338 people completed the test within two days of it being made available back in 2016, and thousands more have followed. Within three months, the FAA had issued nearly 23,000 drone pilot licenses. Continue reading No. of FAA-licensed drone pilots crosses 100,000 milestone

How to build and use a drone catch rig to get incredible aerial-to-ground footage

The following is a guest post by Sasha Rezvina, the Director of Marketing for Aerobo.

When you think of drone shots, you probably picture those graceful high-and-wide, distant aerials.

Not shots like this one:

It’s dangerous to fly so close to people, not to mention illegal most places. It’s incredibly difficult to get a tight, low-to-the-ground steady shot of a subject.

But the shot was pulled off—legally—with a drone. So how did they do it?

The aerial cinematographers at Aerobo executed the shot using a maneuver called a drone catch. A drone catch enables you to start a shot in the air, but then transition it to what looks like a Steadicam shot. As the drone descends, someone on the ground catches it and continues moving the camera manually from the ground, as the drone pilot carefully shuts off the drone.

The drone catch rig enables you to capture a long-take, transitioning seamlessly between aerial and on-the-ground shots. And if you have some basic tools and a drone, you can make one and try it for yourself. Here’s how.

Building a drone catch rig: the gear you’ll need

This guide explains how to build a drone catch rig for the Inspire 2— the same drone that was used for The Greatest Showman. Why is the Inspire 2 a good pick to build a drone catch rig with? 1: The gimbal is sophisticated enough that the shot isn’t compromised when the drone is caught, and 2: the landing gear is large enough such that any handles are on a lower plane than the camera and gimbal.

The DJI Inspire 2 quadcopter drone

This rig requires less than $100, and should take you no longer than 30 minutes to build. Here’s all the equipment you need to start with: Continue reading How to build and use a drone catch rig to get incredible aerial-to-ground footage

Google’s Project Wing drone delivery service spins off into own company

Big news from Alphabet, the company formerly known as Google, hit this month around its Wing drone delivery service.

Project Wing is going to become an independent business within Alphabet, the company formerly known as Google. Wing had formerly been a part of X, which is Alphabet’s research and development arm working on projects such as Makani, an energy kite project.

Wing is building a drone delivery system as well as an unmanned-traffic management platform.

According to Alphabet, the purpose of X is t develop and de-risk early-stage technologies, turning them into products that can be the foundation for large, sustainable businesses.

Google X Project Wing spinoff drone delivery UTM
Courtesy Google

“Once a team is ready to polish products or scale operations, they’re ready to graduate from X,” according to a statement from X.

James Ryan Burgess is the new CEO of Wing, and Adam Woodworth will be Wing’s CTO. With the spinoff, Wing now also has a new logo: Continue reading Google’s Project Wing drone delivery service spins off into own company

3 charts show how police, fire and rescue agencies use drones

At least 910 state and local police, sheriff, fire and emergency service agencies in the U.S. now have drones — an increase of 82% over the last year.

To put that into perspective, that’s twice as many public safety agencies using their own drones as the number that are using their own manned aircraft.

That’s according to a report from the Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone.Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone public safety

The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College compiled a database of all known law enforcement and emergency response agencies that are reported to own at least one drone, based on local media reports and government records.

The biggest sector of public safety to use drones? Law enforcement agencies. Continue reading 3 charts show how police, fire and rescue agencies use drones

Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

Intel’s drone team has an extreme obsession with breaking drone swarm records, again, and again, and again.

Intel has its hands in a variety of aspects of the drone industry, ranging from providing software for Yuneec’s consumer drones to making its own enterprise-grade drones. But its most media-friendly vertical seems to be its drone light shows.

And Intel doesn’t just love to put on light shows. They seemingly love to make them bigger and bigger.

Intel just marked its 50th anniversary as a company, and to celebrate, launched 2,018 of its Shooting Star light show drones into the air above its campus in Folsom, Calif.

With 2,018 drones in the air at once, Intel set a new Guinness World Records title for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.

Intel’s first Guinness Book of World Records-approved drone swarm record was set at the end of 2015, when it sent 100 drones in the sky above Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, near Hamburg, Germany, syncopated to a live orchestra. Continue reading Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

DJI eases geofencing restrictions, allowing enterprise users to fly drones over sensitive areas

DJI just made a change to its software that eases geofencing restrictions it implemented years ago — now making it easier for drone pilots to fly over sensitive areas such as near prisons, power plants and airports.

The Chinese dronemaker this week overhauled its “Fly Safe GEO Unlock program” by now allowing pilots to request authorization to fly in sensitive areas through a streamlined application process, which would essentially allow them to receive a code unlocking their drone in less than 30 minutes.

DJI has had geofencing in some form as early as 2013. Geofencing is a software program that creates a virtual “fence” around a drone, preventing it from flying into certain areas. The geofencing limitations were broadly expanded in 2015 in response to the growing popularity of drones — and drone crashes.

Perhaps the most famous example of geofencing being implemented is in Jan. 28, when DJI forced its users to download a firmware update that would prevent drones from flying within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington, D.C. The firmware update was made in the wake of reports that a government employee in D.C. was flying a DJI Phantom at 3 a.m. on  and lost control of it, causing the drone to fly onto White House property and crash.

While the news was largely applauded by the drone industry as a means of preventing users from mistakenly breaking the law and getting their drone into a dangerous situation, it was troubling for users who need to fly in restricted areas for legitimate reasons, such as inspecting air craft or machinery. Continue reading DJI eases geofencing restrictions, allowing enterprise users to fly drones over sensitive areas

Take this drone research survey, and you could win a DJI Spark

Want to share your opinions and experiences on the drone industry? Want to win a DJI Spark in doing so?

Drone industry research firm Skylogic Research is in the midst of conducting its third annual Drone Market Sector drone research survey. The firm is seeking industry experts to participate in what it says will be a brief 10-minute survey.

As an incentive for participation in the survey, all respondents will receive a free summary report of the research results (a $95 value) and can enter to win a free DJI Spark mini drone package (a $425 value) or one of two $100 VISA gift cards.

The survey is intended to shed light on questions like “Who’s buying what types of drones from which makers at which prices and for what uses?” and “How much are service providers, business buyers, and public agencies using flight management and data analytic software for image-based projects?”

The survey will be in market for four weeks, and results will be available in September.


Take the survey here.



Amazon isn’t the only site running Prime Day 2018 drone deals — check out B&H too

Today may be Amazon Prime Day 2018, but Amazon isn’t the only site offering mega Prime Day 2018 drone deals today.

Amazon is running a slew of drone deals today, including $300 off the DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo ($999 after discount) and$50 off the Spark Fly More Combo ($499 after discount). But you can get those same deals directly from the DJI site, meaning you don’t need to pay the more than $100 for the Amazon Prime membership fee just to snag a great deal on drones.

And another online electronics rival retailer is also offering up a ton of great deals today. New York City-based B&H Photo is also running specials.Amazon Prime Day 2018 drone deals DJI Phantom 4

B&H is offering the Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter for $1,399, an $100 savings. It is also selling the DJI Zenmuse X5 Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal for just $1,099, a $200 savings. Continue reading Amazon isn’t the only site running Prime Day 2018 drone deals — check out B&H too