Category Archives: Reader Submissions

A waterfall flight with a not-so-happy-ending

Remember earlier this week when I showed you the video of the slack liners? How I asked about how terrifying flying over water can be, as you risk losing your drone?

Whelp, I got a brave reader submission willing to share his video. The intro is beautifully shot, both in terms of ground and drone footage. Let’s just say, the ending is not-so-happy. *Spoiler alert: it ends up in the Nile.

The pilot, Petr Jan Juračka, built the drone, a 3DR ArduCopter Quad C Frame, and took it to Arru Falls in Uganda.

“After our escapade at the falls, we visited the second-largest waterfall in Africa, Murchison Falls,” he wrote. “One of the rotors on our drone unexpectedly shut down at 150s altitude, and we are sorry to say the quadcopter now rests at the bottom of the Nile among the skeletons of hippos and crocodiles.”

Sorry to hear about the rotor malfunction. You’re probably not alone though (the other voters will tell you that).

Thanks Petr Jan Juračka for the submission!

 

Why it’s okay to say ‘drones’ (seriously, that’s what they’re called)

The following piece is an excerpt from a story written by Andrew Chapman, CEO of Skymount, a Vancouver-based company  that provides civilian aerial drone services. Chapman chatted with me as well as a few others in the drone space, including Mike Winn of San Francisco-based Drone Deploy. Read the full story here.

Within some parts of the industry there is a strange aversion to the word ‘drone’, and a great deal of effort is being spent in trying to install some other label in its place.

Even if we all agreed it was a good idea to change from drone to another name and went to great expense launching a worldwide marketing blitz to advertise it, at best we could succeed only in changing the terminology within our industry while the rest of the world continues calling them drones. It is a futile exercise.

For better or worse there is no central arbiter of the english language, it is an organic and evolving beast, a product of the constant flow of media and literature references running through our society. Our industry itself is a tiny, tiny dot within the maelstrom of media discussions and debate around the uses and impacts of this technology for humanity, and no amount of drum beating will convince the much larger majority to stop using a word that they’re perfectly happy with.

Google can also help to show us what images are associated with these terms. When we do an image search for ‘drone’ the results are a fairly balanced mix of military and civilian examples (slightly more commercial than military):

google_image_search_drone

However, when we search for ‘UAV’ and ‘UAS’ the images returned are almost entirely military:

google_image_search_uav

 

The story continues on Skymount.com.

The Wild West: the time has come to adopt UAV safety systems

Bundeswehr Holds Media DayThis post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Drone Girl. Got a news tip, commentary or are otherwise interested in working with Drone Girl? Contact us here!

The following post is a guest piece by Davis Hunt, the Owner of ViewPoint Aviation, a company focused on UAS’s. Davis has 20+ years experience in commercial aviation and the UAS sphere. ViewPoint Aviation is eagerly working within the UAS community to safely and efficiently integrate drones into the NAS.

The emergence of the UAS industry (non-defense specific) represents a landmark moment in aviation history. The UAS industry will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and create technologically innovative solutions for a variety of industries.

Even with the unbound potential of the unmanned marketplace, the UAS industry has to overcome two perceptions that have been established by media reporting to date: drones as a weapon and drones are for spying. As a commercial operator, these are biases that I encounter literally every day, and do my best to overcome.

In the process of overcoming these perceptions, we are literally in the midst of the “wild west” mindset of an industry. With the Pirker case headed for the Court of Appeals, and realistically, any non-binding cease and desist letter from the FAA not providing actual deterrent, everyone feels equal footing in UAS operation. Continue reading The Wild West: the time has come to adopt UAV safety systems

Second-take: Recent drone near-miss adds weight to justification for UAV rules

A past Drone Girl article discussed the Florida “Near-miss” drone accident, in which the FAA revealed that a drone may have collided with a US Airways airplane in Tallahassee, Fla. Now, Brock Christoval, Founder of Flyspan Systems who also sits on an FAA advisory board is offering a different opinion on the matter. Here’s his take:

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F-4 Phantom Model UAV

The recent near mid air collision near the Tallahassee airport is a cause for concern. It adds weight to the justification for having rules to operate UAV’s.

The main concern from the recent incident is that that drone was in close proximity to the commercial aircraft. The commercial pilot reported of a UAV that was shaped like an F-4 Phantom. The maximum gross take off weight for this type of UAV is around 40 lbs. That’s roughly the size of a very large bird. Amateur model pilots most often use this type of aircraft and it most likely had a small turbine for its propulsion. An aircraft that size could easily take out an engine on a large commercial aircraft. Continue reading Second-take: Recent drone near-miss adds weight to justification for UAV rules