Remotely Piloted Systems
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Remotely Piloted Systems
This is a media curation page for the PIRatE Lab's AARR Program.  We are developing practical, low cost programs to monitor resources in our coastal zone (the land near the ocean and the ocean near the land) with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs aka "drones") overhead and subtidal Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) .  Enjoy!!  
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EmNTSB Calabasas, CA Helicopter Crash B-Roll

Drone-based mapping of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site.
PIRatE Labs insight:
Drone-based mapping has become standard issue for most advanced crime scene investigations and post-disaster assessments, particularly when time-sensitivity is an issue.
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London's Heathrow Airport appears to have worked out how to jam drone signals to stop climate-change protesters from shutting down its airspace

London's Heathrow Airport appears to have worked out how to jam drone signals to stop climate-change protesters from shutting down its airspace | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
A video posted by the campaign group Heathrow Pause shows activists about to launch drones near the West London airport. But when they try, none work.
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DJI Demands Withdrawal of 'Misleading' Drone Strike Video

DJI Demands Withdrawal of 'Misleading' Drone Strike Video | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Last month, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) published an article and video showing what happens when a drone collides with an airplane
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Plane Thief Said He Trained on Games, Didn’t Plan to Land

Plane Thief Said He Trained on Games, Didn’t Plan to Land | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
The man who stole a plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Friday night didn’t have a pilot’s license but still managed to perform complex maneuvers in the air.
PIRatE Labs insight:
Our simulators are getting good...but really?!?

This is behind a paywall so the relevant comments for our pilots to be aware of are here: 

The Horizon Air ground worker who stole a twin-engine airliner and took it on a wild ride over Puget Sound said he had experience on personal flight-simulators he called “videogames” and never intended to land the plane. 

 Some of rogue pilot Richard Russell’s own statements to air-traffic controllers could provide clues to law-enforcement and aviation officials investigating how he managed to perform aerobatic maneuvers in a sophisticated plane. Mr. Russell, who stole the 76-seat turboprop from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night, didn’t have a pilot’s license, according to the airline. But during radio communication with air-traffic controllers who were urging him to land, Mr. Russell, 29 years old, repeatedly referred to his experience with computerized flight-simulator programs. 

Government and industry air-safety experts said Saturday that the references suggested he had access to personal desktop simulators—perhaps depicting the same Bombardier Q400 model he stole on Friday—that can realistically replicate the performance of aircraft systems, airborne maneuvers and even instructions from air-traffic controllers. Such simulator software is widely available for purchase and can be run on normal home computers. 

According to an unofficial audio recording of Mr. Russell’s radio communication with controllers on Friday, a controller talking on the open channel said that “he is just flying around” and that Mr. Russell could use some help controlling the aircraft. Mr. Russell quickly responded, “I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some videogames before.” At another point, he said, “I know how to put the landing gear down.” He then added, “I really wasn’t planning on landing it.” 

Mr. Russell’s seeming familiarity with at least some of the controls—he specifically mentioned the system that regulates cabin pressure—suggests a strong understanding of cockpit layout and aircraft operations. But his level of flying skills, including engaging the plane’s autopilot and performing maneuvers that would be daunting even for an experienced Q400 pilot, nevertheless surprised some experts.
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From Minimal to Catastrophic, How Much Damage Can a Drone Do to an Airplane

From Minimal to Catastrophic, How Much Damage Can a Drone Do to an Airplane | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
The FAA's Center of Excellence for UAS Research released a report evaluating the severity of UAS collisions w/ manned aircraft with surprising results.
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Firefighters are getting increasingly frustrated with drones

Firefighters are getting increasingly frustrated with drones | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
It’s wildfire season in the US, and fire departments are issuing pleas to hobbyists to stop flying their drones anywhere near the blazes. When a drone is in the sky, firefighting planes and helicopters are grounded or kept away, because a collision could be disastrous. More than a dozen hobby drones—sent up by thei
PIRatE Labs insight:
This is lots of fear mongering.  To be sure there are idiots up there there intentionally or unintentionally screwing with public safety, but to act as if this is a major threat is overblown.  Do we need to discuss the examples from California that were mostly PR and press fodder rather than true threats/dangers?
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Weight Standard for Low-Risk UAS | UAV Expert News

Weight Standard for Low-Risk UAS | UAV Expert News | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Industry leader DJI Finds FAA’s Weight Standard for Low-Risk UAS to be 'Deeply Flawed' and its weight standard “far too low”.
PIRatE Labs insight:
Amen to that!  The days of UAV-realted rule-making by folks who know nothing of the technology nor risk should soon end...but I'm not holding my breath.
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The moral dilemmas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The moral dilemmas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it

Should your driverless car value your life over a pedestrian's? Should your Fitbit activity be used against you in a court case? Should we allow drones to become the new paparazzi? Can one patent a human gene?

Scientists are already struggling with such dilemmas. As we enter the new machine age, we need a new set of codified morals to become the global norm. We should put as much emphasis on ethics as we put on fashionable terms like disruption.

This is starting to happen. Last year, America's Carnegie Mellon University announced a new centre studying the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence; under President Obama, the White House published a paper on the same topic; and tech giants including Facebook and Google have announced a partnership to draw up an ethical framework for AI. Both the risks and the opportunities are vast: Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and other experts signed an open letter calling for efforts to ensure AI is beneficial to society:

"The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.


Via Trudy Raymakers, Ivon Prefontaine, PhD, Mark E. Deschaine, PhD, Stephania Savva, Ph.D
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AirVu & DeDrone Secures Presidential Debate Against Rogue Drones

AirVu & DeDrone Secures Presidential Debate Against Rogue Drones | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
According to acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, the presidential debate of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, was “(…) arguably the most signif…
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Drones Near a Wildfire | UAV Expert News

Drones Near a Wildfire | UAV Expert News | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Recreational drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems sometimes called UAS have become increasingly popular in the past few years.
PIRatE Labs insight:
Rhetoric is search of a real problem.
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No apparent survivors in Texas balloon crash, officials say

No apparent survivors in Texas balloon crash, officials say | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Authorities say it is likely no one survived after a hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught fire and crashed in Central Texas.
PIRatE Labs insight:
This horrible crash with no fatalities shows that it is not just drone pilots that should be on the look-out for high power lines, and similar such obstructions.
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Flyability and Sky-Futures Announce Technology and Delivery Partnership for Drone Based Internal Tank Inspections

Flyability and Sky-Futures Announce Technology and Delivery Partnership for Drone Based Internal Tank Inspections | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Current internal tank inspection techniques require people to climb inside dangerous and potentially chemically hazardous tanks. This process is fraught with danger, time consuming and delivers low quality data sets. The Flyability and Sky-Futures drone based solution allows inspections to take place without personnel entering the tank, significantly reducing risk to life and improving both…Read more →
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Drones reportedly spotted near two large B.C. wildfires

Drones reportedly spotted near two large B.C. wildfires | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Drones were reported near the Siphon Creek and Beatton Airport Road fires, near Fort St. John.
PIRatE Labs insight:
Again, these guys were probably wanting to image the flames.  To say that they amount to a justified reason to ground helos is simply messed-up.  I have seen helicopters operate near power lines, seen news helicopters operate near water dumps, etc.  All of these things are risky and potential hazards.  But our professional pilots and firefighters know how to manage these risks.  Drones are another example of this.  To be grounding management tools int he face of these much great danger/issue needing attention is crazy.
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Teenager is killed after she is hit by model plane | Daily

A schoolgirl was killed after being hit by a model plane as she walked with her mother and sister on Dartford Heath
PIRatE Labs insight:
From Mitchell B
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Delivery robot spontaneously bursts into flames in California

Delivery robot spontaneously bursts into flames in California | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
An autonomous food delivery robot burst into flames on a Berkeley, California sidewalk on Friday. Kiwi, the startup that makes and manages the one hundred-strong fleet of robots, issued a statement to say that the fire was quickly extinguished by a passerby before the city’s fire department arrived and doused the machine in foam.
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David Sanger on the perfect weapon

David Sanger on the perfect weapon | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
The longtime New York Times national security reporter talks about his new history of cyberwar, why we need a public debate, and how cyberattacks make nuclear war more likely.
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NTSB Aviation Incident Final Report Blackhawk DJI Phantom collision

NTSB Aviation Incident Final Report Blackhawk DJI Phantom collision | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
Ladies and gentlemen the results are in, and as expected the Phantom operator was operating beyond visual line of sight, and with no idea of the regulations he or she should have been complying with. Interesting that the NTSB has looked at previous log files and noted that the operator flew above 400’and that they …
PIRatE Labs insight:
Gary does a GREAT run down of this first-ever proven collision of a drone (UAV) with an aircraft (U.S. airspace or elsewhere).

Read this as a cautionary tale.  There are about 12 ways this could have been avoided, starting with common sense and basic safety as a starting consideration.
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Illegal & Dangerous Low Flying Helicopter

This private helicopter was flying over houses and very, very low over the water surface between Leo Carrillo State Beach and County Line Beach. At time
PIRatE Labs insight:
While we hear much about dangerous drones, we rarely hear threatening or negative descriptions when our airplanes crash onto our freeways or (as here) helicopters fly way, way below their targets airspace.  One of these aircraft flying this way can kill more people or cause WAY more damage than a Phantom 4.
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CNN journalist evades DJI GEO restrictions in Iraq

CNN journalist evades DJI GEO restrictions in Iraq | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
A big fanfare from around the world last week as Kevin Finisterre revealed that DJI had initiated no-fly zones for war-torn areas. DJI drones are being used to drop primitive ordinance with deadly results. Fast forward one week and CNN reporter Gabriel Chaim used the old tinfoil trick to cover the GPS on his DJI …
PIRatE Labs insight:
Well...that didn't take long!
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After a cheerleading competition at Disneyland, tragedy as plane crashes in Riverside neighborhood

After a cheerleading competition at Disneyland, tragedy as plane crashes in Riverside neighborhood | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
A teenager was among three people killed when a small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Riverside, police said Tuesday. 
PIRatE Labs insight:
I do not want to make light of this tragedy, but I think it is important to note  that (for all the fear and worry about drone use in our National Air Space) a crashing drone weighing only a few pounds and lacking liquid fuel is unlikely to kill folks or destroy structures like our tens of thousands of privately operated airplanes can.
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Two injured as airliner swerves to avoid suspected drone

A Canadian airliner with 54 passengers on board had to swerve to avoid an unmanned flying object near Toronto early on Monday, slightly injuring two cabin crew, in the most serious case of its kind in Canada, officials said.The Porter Airlines Bombardier
PIRatE Labs insight:
Yes but much of this is incorrect.  Indeed, if you look to the left of the story in the menu you can see a story noting that the previously reported "drone strike" on the British Airways plane was indeed not a drone...but the main story reports that that was a good report.  Passing on half-truths and incorrect statements might be okay for presidential candidates, but our media is supposed to do a better job of this.

Quality reporting matters.
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Report: Most drone accidents caused by the tech and not the operator

Report: Most drone accidents caused by the tech and not the operator | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
More drones, more problems.
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Luke Aikins Sky Dives from 25,000 Feet with no parachute! 

PIRatE Labs insight:
Absolutely amazing!  Funny how the FAA permits this...

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The FAA Has Never Fined Anyone for Flying a Drone Commercially

The FAA Has Never Fined Anyone for Flying a Drone Commercially | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it

For all its talk about how flying a drone for commercial purposes without its permission is illegal, the Federal Aviation Administration has never fined a drone company simply for flying a drone for money, according to documents obtained by Motherboard using the Freedom of Information Act. 


Over the last several years, the FAA has repeatedly said that operating a drone business is illegal until it enacts specific drone guidelines. In the meantime, it has begun issuing what are known as “Section 333 exemption,” which allows companies to fly with permission under strict guidelines. The FAA has given out 5,292 of these waivers and has a massive backlog of them to get through still.  


After seeing a list of what the FAA says are all of the drone-related fines it has ever given out, you wonder why anyone who has a drone business would ever bother getting a 333 exemption.

PIRatE Labs insight:
The FAA's whole approach to "regulating" has been nothing short of an utter failure: the folks who try to follow the rules are penalized.  The folks who do whatever they want, are all good to go.

Total fail.
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US Aims to Recover El Faro VDR in Next Few

US Aims to Recover El Faro VDR in Next Few | Remotely Piloted Systems | Scoop.it
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board hopes to recover the voyage data recorder from the cargo ship El Faro | Posted by
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