FAA spokesman Les Dorr, in a Poynter story about a journalist’s use of a radio-controlled aircraft to film airborne video, once again publicly stated the FAA’s claim that commercial use of radio-controlled aircraft is prohibited. The Spokane, Wash.,-based Spokesman-Review ran the journalist’s video of a polar-bear swim event on its website.
An FAA enforcement case against the operator of a commercial drone or unmanned aircraft system (UAS) may lead to a determination of whether the FAA has regulatory jurisdiction over model radio-control aircraft and whether the agency can prohibit the commercial operation of such aircraft. This is believed to be the first FAA enforcement action against the operator of a radio-controlled model aircraft.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued a new 25-year “roadmap” for the ongoing development, production and use of unmanned aircraft, ground and maritime systems through 2038. The roadmap forecasts that Pentagon spending on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will continue growing through 2015; thereafter the rate of spending will decline.
The Federal Aviation Administration has designated universities and other public entities in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia to establish research and test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), fulfilling a key requirement of Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act.
AINtv has been looking at new unmanned aerial vehicle designs in the works to meet evolving surveillance and other special-missions needs.
Online retailer Amazon said it is developing a delivery system that will use UAVs to fly packages to customers. The Seattle-based company said its goal is to deliver a package within 30 minutes of dispatching an aircraft from a fulfillment center.
France and the UK have agreed a common military staff requirement for a future medium-altitude long-endurance (Male) UAS, according to Gen. Denis Mercier, commander of the French Air Force. However, he cautioned that the move would not automatically result in the development by European industry of a Male UAV “because there is no money available at the moment.” European aerospace leaders have been pressing for the launch of a “Euro-Male” development program.
Early next year Cassidian’s Sagitta unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research project should reach its critical design review. A range slot has already been booked for an August 2015 first flight, and the clock is ticking as the Sagitta team prepares to meet that deadline.
Some elements of the 3m x 3m tailless flying wing are already fixed, such as the outer shell shape, and the core elements have been tested independently. Now the process of integrating the elements together is being undertaken and should be completed at the end of next year.
Two UK airports announced earlier this year the creation of a National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) for the testing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the first such nongovernment venture in Europe. West Wales Airport at Aberporth and Newquay Airport in Cornwall, southwest England, have linked up to jointly offer to UAS developers (Unmanned Vehicles area, Stand 645) their facilities and runways, along with access to large offshore testing areas.
The FAA last week released its roadmap outlining current and future policies, regulations, technologies and procedures that will be required as demand increases to safely integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into civil airspace. The roadmap details items such as new or revised regulations, policies, procedures, guidance material, training and understanding of systems and operations to support routine unmanned aircraft operations.