Category Archives: News

Drone operators with military background want to boost commercial drone market

There’s a new drone startup in town — Flyspan Systems, a consulting group made up of some of the most well-connected drone operators out there.

The Irvine, Calif.-based consulting agency is made up of a balanced team of seven engineers, business strategies and drone industry experts. Founder Brock Christoval specializes in aircraft systems engineering, while co-founder Vinny Capobianco is more on the mechanical engineering end of things.

And where did they get their experience from? They worked for the United States Department of Defense working on – you guessed it – drones.

“We’re from the military side, but everything is just peeking its way into the commercial market,” Capobianco said.

They won’t say just what their involvement in military drone use was, but they have a passion for doing everything possible to develop the commercial drone market. Continue reading Drone operators with military background want to boost commercial drone market

Drone wildlife photographer unveils ground-based drone

beetlecam-8UK-based wildlife photographer and drone operator Will Burrard-Lucas has released a new version of his remote-control camera buggy – the BeetleCam Hybrd.

The photographer is known for his stunning, close-up videos of the African wildlife, which we wrote about a few months back. Now, the same technology is available to the public with Burrard-Lucas’ new company, Camtraptions Ltd.

The BeetleCam Hybrid is an updated version of his BeetleCam, which allows you to position a DSLR camera on the buggy, protected by a strong, light-weight shell and stabilized by a gimbal.

“This gimbal allows the camera to stay perfectly level, even if the BeetleCam is moving over uneven surfaces,” a news release stated. “The operator can also smoothly control the camera pan and tilt without moving the base.”

The BeetleCam Hybrid will be shipping in April.

Photo courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas

YouTube drone video turns into mysterious police visit

What started as an innocent post to YouTube by a drone operator of a local mountain biking club turned into a visit by possible fake police officers.

Drone hobbyist Adam Crouchley used a DJI Phantom to shoot footage of the Hamilton Mountain Bike Club, which was shared on their Facebook page and to his YouTube account on Feb. 27.

The next morning, Crouchley awoke to police at his door, informing him someone lodged a complaint about him and that ‘the DJI Phantom is a bad quadcopter.’

“He continued to try and educate me about how the compass and GPS works, by feeding me information that was incorrect anyway,” Crouchley wrote on his blog. “I thought it was really unusual that the police officer was making a point about this particular machine of mine.”

It turns out, the officers that came to his door were not assigned to come to his door, and there was no job lodged with the police department or the Civil Aviation Authority to talk to him.

At one point, Crouchley considered they may not have even been real police officers. Continue reading YouTube drone video turns into mysterious police visit

NPPA surveys use of drones in news gathering

The National Press Photographers Association launched a new study on the use of drones in news gathering in parternship with the Holland & Knight law firm.

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“Many people want to use these devices for newsgathering but are afraid to do so,” NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said. “How media organizations along with individual journalists seek to have the government strike an appropriate and acceptable balance between First Amendment protected newsgathering activities versus safety and privacy concerns are questions we need to answer.” Continue reading NPPA surveys use of drones in news gathering

Want to write for Drone Girl? We want your submissions!

Surely you have feelings about drones, and we want you to share them here!

Drone Girl is now accepting article submissions so you can get your voice heard! Maybe you’ve talked your families’ ears off about the wondrous things a drone can do, or perhaps you’ve found some awesome drone video that must be shared.

Here's a selfie of Drone Girl! If you join our team, we'll share your drone selfies too!
Here’s a selfie of Drone Girl! If you join our team, we’ll share your drone selfies too!

Maybe you just want to post once, or maybe you’d like to post once a week. Either way, I want more voices on Drone Girl (you don’t have to own a drone, and you don’t have to be a girl…you just have to write riveting content about drones)! Send me a message with the subject line DG Reader Submission and let’s chat about posting it here!

Here are some ideas of posts I would love to see:

  • Product Reviews
  • Top Photos
  • Flying Tips
  • How-To’s
  • Drone News Commentary

They can be serious or silly, filled with GIFs or packed with powerful prose. Either way, if you are interested in joining the Drone Girl team, then I’m interested in hearing from you!

11 Disney movies where happy endings would have changed with a drone

11. Magic carpet gets laid off as happy couple opts to save money and explore the whole new world with a drone


10. Rapunzel spends rest of life in her tower, curiosity for floating lanterns quelled by “follow-me” drone


9. Wendy loses will to fly to Neverland, after Mr. Darling gives her a toy drone instead as a “grown-up” present

peter pan Continue reading 11 Disney movies where happy endings would have changed with a drone

FAA announces public research and test sites of drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today the six public entities that will serve as research and test sites for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

“These congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years,” an FAA news release stated.

The sites are:

  • University of Alaska. The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation. Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations.
  • State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen. Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.
  • New York’s Griffiss International Airport.Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.
  • North Dakota Department of Commerce. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.
  • Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.

This information follows the Nov. 7 announcement of the UAS Roadmap, which focuses on the regulations, policies and procedures necessary to UAS’ into FAA-regulated airspace.

Related posts:

Al Jazeera explores drone journalism, featuring Drone Girl herself

ajAl Jazeera’s Listening Post feature this week takes a look at drones and how they are becoming tools of the journalistic trade.

“More and more news stories, particularly those on television, now include video shot by drones,” the latest update on Al Jazeera’s Listening Post page states. “Listening Post’s Will Yong reports on the potential – and some of the pitfalls – of the media’s unmanned eyes in the skies.”

You can listen to me, Sally (aka Drone Girl), talk drone journalism alongside our friend Matthew Schroyer, founder of on the latest Listening Post episode here.

In other drone journalism news, the BBC has an entire news story taught by drone. Their bird’s eye view of a protest rally in Thailand is told via drone, including a stand-up.

Happy flying!