Researchers Use Slow Motion to Study Hummingbird Flight; Will Improve Drone Stability

Hummingbird

Drones have evolved from hobbyist toys to professional tools as the FAA partnered with CNN to establish a drone usage protocol for journalists and started issuing exemptions allowing commercial use.

In order for these tools to succeed in the fields above, let alone search and rescue missions, commercial delivery and monitor livestock farms, they need to be more reliable and able to operate in less-than-ideal weather.

Australian and American researchers took a high-speed camera and set out to find out how ruby-throated hummingbirds cope in turbulent winds.

The study could lead to drones getting ‘tails’.

[Read more…]

Dramatic Aerial Views Of Hong Kong Taken From A Chocolate Delivery Drone (Plus 5 Essential Flying Tips)

drones-eye-view1Admittedly, I’m not wild about the idea of “delivery drones”, but this video taken with one is pretty cool. The video condenses the 14-minute trip from Kowloon to Hong Kong into a 2-minute array of sweeping coastlines, dramatic cityscapes, and serene hillsides. While the drone did successfully deliver a chocolate bar, the real purpose of this flight was to bring attention to safe UAV flying habits, which the producers accomplished in the well thought out description of the video on it’s YouTube page. Definitely worth a read, but first, check out the clip: [Read more…]

The Saga Continues: DJI Pushes Mandatory Update Preventing Phantoms From Flying Over Washington DC

white-houseA couple days ago we reported on a DJI Phantom being crashed into the lawn of the White House. News later surfaced that the unidentified man responsible for crashing the drone (who, I kid you not, works for the National Geospacial Intelligence Agency ) was intoxicated at the time of the flight. The New York Times reported the man claimed the drone belonged to a friend who was letting him borrow it. He was attempting to fly the drone from the window of his apartment, which is located near the White House. When the drone failed to come home, the man texted his friend noting he was afraid it may have crashed onto White House property. He then decided to just go to bed.

The next day, the man turned himself in. He was questioned by authorities before being released without being charged with a crime.

Obama responded by recognizing there are a lot of good uses for UAVs, but efforts needed to be taken to ensure they are not dangerous or invading people’s privacy. He also noted the necessity to establish a “framework that ensures we get the good and minimize the bad.” [Read more…]

Some Genius Tried Flying His DJI Phantom At The White House; Crashes It Into Obama’s Lawn

White House by Diego Cambiaso

White House by Diego Cambiaso

Anyone who even remotely follows photography related news will know how difficult and trying it has been to get the FAA to establish new guidelines on the flying of drones. The current rules allow individuals to fly the unmanned aircraft for recreational purposes; however, there are very strict regulations in place for those wishing to use the aircraft for commercial purposes. To some, this seems slightly backwards, mostly in part because the public often has the tendency to do stupid things. Things that a trained, professional drone operator most likely wouldn’t do. Like attempt flying a Phantom over the front lawn of the White House. [Read more…]

CNN Partners With FAA To Establish New Protocol For Drone Usage By Photojournalists

8746586571_1ea6d66c3d_kIn a statement issued on January 12th, from CNN, the news agency revealed it has teamed up with the FAA in an effort to experiment with various UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles). CNN reports the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) between them and the FAA will serve as a means to establish new regulations and a framework regarding the safe integration of drones into news gathering practices.

CNN also stated they and the FAA will combine it’s study with Georgia Tech Research Institute, with whom CNN had partnered with in the summer of 2014 to conduct similar research. In the statement found on CNN’s website, FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, explained the partnership:

“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities. We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”

[Read more…]

What’s An Officer To Do? BBC Photographer Arrested While Operating Drone Mid-Flight; Police Land Drone Themselves

Photo by Vicki Burton

Photo by Vicki Burton

A veteran photojournalist who works for several different news agencies in British Columbia, including the BBC, was arrested for “disturbing the peace” while taking aerial photographs of a burning building. The photographer, Eddie Mitchell, maintains that he was operating the drone legally. Mitchell says not only does he currently hold a Civil Aviation Authority license for drone operation, but he also had permission from the land owner where he was filming. [Read more…]

Arizona Real Estate Photographer Is First To Be Approved By FAA To Use Drones For Aerial Photography

14539721843_74f0d502dd_kThough you’ve probably already seen your fair share of drone captured real estate photos, up until today, those images were taken illegally according to the policy currently in effect by the FAA. Presently, the FAA restricts nearly all commercial usage of drones. In order to legally operate a drone for commercial purposes, one must first request an exemption from the FAA’s rules. To date, the FAA has issued a mere 14 exceptions from a total of 214 requests.

Douglas Trudeau, a real estate photographer from Tuscon, Arizona, is now the proud new recipient of an exemption, making him the first (and only) real estate photographer on the exempt list.  [Read more…]