Category Archives: News

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.

Many private companies have also put together training sessions (either in-person, webinars, practice tests, etc). that provide a clear look at exactly what you’ll need to know for the test. Check out my guide on UAS aeronautical knowledge test training courses here.

Some options include:

  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos. This is what I used to study for my test — and I passed on my first time — so I can guarantee it’s a good program! Use coupon code DroneGirl50 to get $50 off.
  • UAV Ground School is Gold Seal’s online Part 107 course. Sign up for free and take the first three lessons without charge. The course offers unlimited quizzes from a database of 400 practice questions and includes Flash Cards for additional practice. It’s normally $199, but use promo code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to just $174.
  • Drone Launch Academy offers another great online training course led by FAA-certified Advanced Ground Instructor David Young. Use coupon code DroneGirl50 or this link to get $50 off.
  • DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course. Use coupon code dronegirl10 to get 10% all DARTdrone courses site wide!

But a free and instant option comes from the FAA itself. 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

Part 107 is out, making commercial drone use legal in breakthrough ruling

Part 107 is out, which means that any drone operator can legally make money in drones without the onerous restrictions of getting a manned pilot’s license, applying for a Section 333 and waiting for it to be approved.

Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration finalized the first operational rules for commercial use of drones.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

Here are some of the requirements for pilot’s wanting to fly a drone commercially:

  • Operator must hold a remote pilot airman certificate or be under supervision of someone who does
  • To get that certificate, operator must pass an inperson test or if the operator holds a pilot certificate, must complete a training course online
  • Report incidents causing injury or damage greater than $500
  • Ensure the drone complies with existing registration requirements

Still there are limitations. Here are some of the standout ones:

  • Aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs
  • Visual line-of-sight only
  • No flying over people
  • Daylight-only operations
  • Maximum groundspped of 100 mph
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level

The rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years, according to industry estimates.

“This is a step in the right direction for the FAA,” said Logan Campbell, founder of drone consulting firm Aerotas. “A number of industries can benefit from these rules the instant they go into effect, such as surveying, real estate photography, constructing or cell tower inspection.” Continue reading Part 107 is out, making commercial drone use legal in breakthrough ruling

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


Drones fly at America’s Got Talent

America’s Got Talent’s latest episode featuring feats of engineering, science and creativity as drones graced the stage.

Japanese multimedia dance troupe Elevenplay used drones and lights to create a stunning visual performance. The troupe, headed by director and principal choreographer Mikiko, is known for incorporating advanced technology into their work, and in the past has used projection mapping, lasers and iPads in their performances.

And judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel were impressed. Mandel and Klum gave the group a standing ovation.
Continue reading Drones fly at America’s Got Talent

Drone combat and racing entertainment complex to open in San Francisco

Drone Sports World is going to become the next big thing.

Drone racing is already pretty sweet, having garnered media attention in the wake of the inaugural World Drone Prix in Dubai earlier this year, when  15-year-old winner Luke Bannister walked away with a $250,000 prize, and later when ESPN announced drone racing would air.

But drone combat is on my mind recently. It’s fast-paced and high-action. It draws cheers and groans from the crowd.

And it’s going to become the next date night adventure for residents and tourists in San Francisco._MG_0974

I got the scoop from Aerial Sports League’s Marque Cornblatt, who let me in on a little secret. The Aerial Sports League is opening up to the public with an entertainment complex where people can learn how to build, race and combat with drones inside the Palace of Fine Arts — located just a couple miles from Drone Girl HQ. It’s both racing and combat — and family fun. Continue reading Drone combat and racing entertainment complex to open in San Francisco

Here’s how DJI’s Snotbot drone works to research whales

Courtesy DJI

The concept of a “Snotbot” has been one of my favorite uses of a drone to date ever since I learned how NOAA’s Wayne Perryman was using drones to collect whale snot back in August of 2013.

For years now, researchers have been mounting collection devices on drones and flying them over whales as they blow fluid in the air, allowing scientists to collect better samples at less risk and lower cost without the whale even noticing.

DJI today released a video featuring Dr. Iain Kerr, CEO of Ocean Alliance, who explains how it all works. Continue reading Here’s how DJI’s Snotbot drone works to research whales