Layoffs hit drone-maker Yuneec, and could be as high as 70% of U.S. staff

It’s been a year of downsizing for the drone industry, and Typhoon drone maker Yuneec is the next to take a hit.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed on Friday that Yuneec laid off staff in its Americas division, as first reported by Gary Mortimer of SUAS News.

“After careful analysis of our 2016 results, we concluded that we upsized operations faster than our growth required,” according to a statement issued by Yuneec. “With much reflection, we made the difficult decision to scale back our business structure to a secure balance between operational costs and revenue.”

Because the company is privately held, Yuneec’s spokeswoman would not comment on how many people were cut, though Mortimer reported that the layoffs could be as many as 50 to 70% of staff. Continue reading Layoffs hit drone-maker Yuneec, and could be as high as 70% of U.S. staff

Nominate a “Women to Watch” award winner, announced at the Drone360 ASCEND conference

Odds are, you know an awesome woman in the drone industry. She could be a stellar pilot, a talented artist, a rockstar businesswoman, a brilliant engineer or an entrepreneur.

So many women are shaping the drone industry, and I’ve written about many of them here (though there are far too many to profile all of them!).

Women and Drones, in partnership with Drone360 magazine and the ASCEND drone business conference, is announcing a global search for women impacting the drone industry. The Women to Watch Award Committee is conducting a global search for women impacting the drone industry through achievements in technology, business, governmental relations, advocacy, education, research, journalism, agriculture, and more. Nominations can be submitted online at WomenAndDrones.com.

Submissions will be accepted until May 15, 2017.

Award recipients will be honored at the ASCEND Conference & Expo, July 19-21, 2017 in Portland, OR. In addition to this Award, ASCEND will provide a meaningful platform to help women share ideas, network with like-minded professionals, and be recognized for their accomplishments.

A roundtable discussion for Women in Drones will be offered as a networking breakfast session (which I’ll be speaking at!).

Nominate someone today, and I’ll see you in Portland!

Ask Drone Girl: B4UFly, what do the grey circles mean, and can I fly my drone there?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about using apps to figure out where you can legally fly drones. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I am about to receive my first real drone, the Phantom 3 Advanced.
My question is on the app it shows airports in an orange circle so obviously NO FLYING. but if I live in a city close by and it’s got a grey circle what’s that mean ?

Hey there!

It’s great to check where you can legally fly your drone BEFORE you actually purchase it. Many people buy their drone, and THEN realize they live a mile from an airport and can’t fly in their own back yard.

To answer your question, first I’d need to know what app you’re using to figure out the colors you’re referencing. There are TONS of apps out there to check where you can and can’t fly. There’s the FAA’s own B4UFly app, but in my opinion the interface is difficult to use. There are lots of other drone apps out there that do the same/similar job, but better. Check out Airmap, KittyhawkHover, or Skyward, which was recently acquired by Verizon.

Personally, I use Airmap, so I’ll walk you through their app to figure out whether you can fly there.

Here’s where I live (San Francisco): Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: B4UFly, what do the grey circles mean, and can I fly my drone there?

The Drone Girl meet up is THIS WEEK!!

We are so close to the first ever Drone Girl meet-up!

I’m thrilled that this is finally happening. While I’ve had the joy of meeting hundreds of you at various events around the world, I’ve never had one meet-up for all of you readers.

I want to thank my friend Siggi Hindrichs, an entrepreneur in residence at Samsung NEXT, who worked so hard to help make this meet up FINALLY happen!

You’ll hear from my friends Jessica Mooberry, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Stanford University’s Peace Innovation Lab and humanitarian UAV practitioner, Gretchen West, Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovell, and Abbe Lyle, Creative Director and Pilot at Visual Law Group, who will each be giving TED-style talks.

And I want to thank YOU all for your enthusiasm to attend! Please reserve your free ticket (so we can get a count of how much food to provide!) here.

The event will be held this Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. at 201 Spear Street in San Francisco. See you there!

And if you want to stay updated for future events in the Bay Area, join our Facebook group here.

6 things drone enthusiasts should look out for at SXSW (including Amazon drones!)

Going to South by Southwest (SXSW)? There’s loads of things to do for drone enthusiasts at the popular tech and culture festival happening this week in Austin, Texas. Theres also loads to do for donut enthusiasts — I’m looking at you, VooDoo Doughnuts. From Amazon Prime drones to panels, here are the things that drone lovers shouldn’t miss:

  1. Amazon Prime Drones: Two Amazon Prime Air drones are on display for the first time ever at Amazon’s Resistance Radio immersive experience. According to NBC News, an older model of a Prime Air drone was tucked away behind a secret bookcase entrance. There, the curious crowds got their first in-person look at the devices — all under the watchful eye of a security guard.

Continue reading 6 things drone enthusiasts should look out for at SXSW (including Amazon drones!)

Ask Drone Girl: how do I even get started with drones?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about getting started with drones. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I was wondering if you have any recommendations on where to start in learning about drones? I’m totally new to this, and looking for a maybe a new career change. What would be a good drone to get to start out, and where would you recommend getting a drone pilot license if I got that route?

-Nicole

Hey Nicole,

Welcome to the drone world! Rules are constantly changing, and it could be difficult to know where to look.

Here’s where I suggest you start:

  1. Buy a cheap, toy drone.  Never flown a drone before? Don’t just drop $1,000 on a quality drone. Buy a $30 drone to see how you like it. These drones can be hard to fly, but they’ll ensure you actually like flying. Mastering flying a cheap, toy drone, also ensures you’ll be a pro pilot by the time you get your fancy, advanced drone. You would way rather fly the $30 toy drone into the pool than your new DJI Mavic, right? Trust me, I’ve heard way too many stories of this happening. Here’s an excellent guide from UAV Coach explaining the basics of flying.
tdr spider
Learn to fly on something you can afford to crash, like this $25 TDR Spider drone.

2. Learn the rules. There are different rules depending on whether you intend to fly for hobby (you are simply flying to have fun) vs. for business (you are making money off your flying). The best site to get this information is on the Know Before You Fly site, which was created by AUVSI and the AMA in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration. On this site, you’ll learn requirements about having to register your drone, the rules about where you can fly, and more.

These include things like: Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: how do I even get started with drones?

What is FPV freestyle, and how is it different than drone racing?

The following piece is a guest post by FPV drone pilot BMac. Check out his YouTube Channel BMac FPV or his website FPV Drone Pro.

FPV drone racing is blazing a path to becoming the next big E-sport of the world.

While drone racing has been happening for years, some say drone racing became an official sport in 2016 when the Drone Racing League pitted the world’s best drone pilots against each other in high speed obstacle courses and hosted a Drone Nationals event. DRL recently received sponsorship from Allianz insurance to solidify a new 6 race series in major venues across the globe called “The Allianz World Championships.”

But before flying through extravagant obstacle courses, the people who are now professional drone racing pilots started out doing tricks and maneuvers in places they thought looked cool or offered challenging architecture.  This is the heart and soul of FPV Freestyle.

What is FPV Freestyle?

While drone racing simply involves completing an obstacle race course in the fastest possible time, FPV freestyle involves navigating tight corners, under trees, around obstacles and through small openings all while doing tricks. Pilots must do all that while having an understanding of their spatial positioning to avoid hitting the ground while doing a power loop or clip a race gate.

Below is a list of the suggested trick difficulties from the drone national championships official rules.  Each trick is awarded points based on difficulty. Continue reading What is FPV freestyle, and how is it different than drone racing?

Drone sightings as reported to the FAA are up (and that’s not a bad thing)

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released its report of a drone sightings — and they are at an all-time high.

The FAA’s list, includes pilot, air traffic controller, law enforcement and citizen reports of potential encounters with drones.

The latest data, covering reports between February and September 2016, shows 1,274 possible drone sightings, vs. just 874 drone sightings for the same period in 2015.

It makes sense — as sales of drones rise, more drones have the potential to be spotted.

But the high number of drone sightings isn’t a bad thing. The FAA has yet to verify any collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone.

“Every investigation has found the reported collisions were either birds, impact with other items such as wires and posts, or structural failure not related to colliding with an unmanned aircraft,” according to an FAA news release. Continue reading Drone sightings as reported to the FAA are up (and that’s not a bad thing)

Drone Girl

Reporting on drones, sometimes with drones