This category contains 58 posts

Sometimes the Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

Great article on new UAS technology…. More too come soon



So today I was invited to a UAV product launch, with a company I’ve discussed before Drone Deploy, and . However this story has a couple of twists, actually 3 in total. But before we get to that, let’s go back to how it all started.

Drone Deploy was founded by Mike, Jono and Nicholas, 1 Ex-Google and 2 Cambridge Ph.D.’s. Back in the early days in their home in South Africa they decided to try and turn their hobby of RC flying, into saving Rhinos from being poached. That idea sat in their collective minds, and with their passion for RC flight and Engineering knowledge, fast forward and they founded Drone Deploy back in 2013. That’s a pretty noble start, Drones for Good, rather than setting up to just make a quick buck and check out. And I believe that is what makes Drone Deploy what it…

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Watch: Garth Brooks stops show to serenade Iowa woman battling cancer

Way to go Garth Brooks… much watch this one.

MINNEAPOLIS — Garth Brooks took a moment to honor a woman fighting cancer during a concert in Minneapolis.

Teresa Shaw traveled from Iowa to see Brooks in concert, according to KARE.

During the song, The Dance, Shaw held up a sign that read, “Chemo this morning, Garth tonight. Enjoy the dance.”

An usher brought Shaw up to the front row where Brooks spotted her, sang to her, gave her his guitar and kissed her on the forehead.

Brooks then took Shaw’s sign up on stage, held it up and said, “You have all my strength. You have everybody’s strength in here, and you go kick cancer’s a**!”

Shaw has been fighting stage-three breast cancer since June.

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Illinois Community Raises Funds, Support for Injured FFA Member Hayden Schaumburg

National FFA Organization Blog

Hayden Schaumburg is like so many other FFA members. He’s active in his Watseka FFA Chapter as its president, serves his state FFA association and participates in other school activities. This willingness to get involved has made Hayden a well-known member of his Watseka, Ill., community.

And that involvement is why so many are rallying around Hayden as he fights back from a tragic accident.

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Great post…..

Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Issues new drone safety guidelines in Canada #colbyuas

From The Canadian Press

Oct 21, 2014

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has launched a public campaign to help make sure Canadians are flying drones safely.

Raitt announced new guidelines for the increasingly popular unmanned aircraft, and trumpeted the Transport Canada website, which gives operators of drones an easy-to-read list of do’s and don’ts.

Online ads and a social media campaign are to follow.

Those flying drones for commercial use or using devices over 35 kilograms must apply for a special permit from the federal regulator.

Transport Canada has seen a spike in those applications, issuing 945 certificates last year — a 500 per cent jump from 2011.

Drones are being used for a range of purposes — from hobbyists to farmers surveying crops and even movie productions looking for an epic aerial shot.

Most drones range in price from a few hundred dollars for personal aircraft up to $200,000 for commercial grade units and can be operated with a controller, similar to ones used for video games, or by a tablet or an iPhone.

Transport Canada states that UAVs can not be flown higher than 90 metres, to limit safety concerns with other aircraft, and are required to be within the line of sight of the pilot or someone who is in contact with a pilot.


Helping Canadians understand their responsibilities and comply with Canada’s safety laws
October 21, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – Transport Canada

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today launched the Government of Canada’s safety awareness campaign for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), or drones. The national campaign will help ensure UAV users—both recreational and commercial—understand the rules of the skies and always think safety first.

The first phase of the campaign, unveiled today, provides the public with new safety guidelines and an easy to follow infographic that clarifies when to apply for Transport Canada permission to fly their UAV. This winter, the second phase of the campaign will include search engine and social media advertising, awareness videos and a simpler process to apply for permission to fly. Transport Canada has also launched, which provides Canadians with the information and advice they need to fly their UAV safely and legally.

The safety guidelines introduced today complement the existing requirements and will help ensure Canadians understand the risks and responsibilities of operating an unmanned aircraft. In addition to respecting the Canadian Aviation Regulations, UAV operators must follow the rules in all acts and regulations, including the Criminal Code as well as all municipal, provincial, and territorial laws regarding trespassing and privacy.

Quick Facts
-Transport Canada regulates the use of all aircraft, manned and unmanned, to keep the public and our airspace safe and secure.
-Canada has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996.
-Transport Canada is now working to develop new regulations that will help safely integrate unmanned aircraft into civil airspace, while maintaining the safety of those on the ground and in the skies.
-Operators must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate if they use their UAV for commercial purposes or if it weighs more than 35 kilograms (regardless of how it’s used).
-If a UAV is operated without a Special Flight Operations Certificate and should be, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company.
-If an operator does not follow the requirements of their Special Flight Operations Certificate, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a business.
-Flying an UAV too close to passenger jets or closer than 8 kilometres to airports can lead to criminal charges and steep fines for individuals and companies.

Quote “As Minister of Transport, it’s my job to make sure we keep our skies safe for aircraft of all sizes. This campaign will help build awareness so that Canadians always think safety first and understand how to operate their drones safely and legally.” The Honourable Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport

Related Products

Infographic: Flying a UAV? You may need special permission from Transport Canada:

Safety Guidelines: how and where to fly your UAV:


Great post from Illinois Corn Growers. Nice Job Garret!

Small UAC coalition challenges safety comments by FAA official. #colbyuas

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The following statement has been issued by Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small UAV Coalition:

“The Small UAV Coalition is extremely disappointed with the comments of the FAA Deputy Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety related to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). At a time when the FAA is currently behind schedule in developing a rule for commercial use of small UAVs, any conclusory and indiscriminate statement about the safety of UAVs when only a handful of commercial operations are allowed is simply not credible. It is profoundly dismaying as well as unproductive for a senior official of the agency tasked with writing a rule on small commercial UAVs to question the technological safety of UAVs when hundreds of companies can demonstrate that the technology is safe but have been frustrated in doing so due to delays and restrictive processes at the FAA. UAVs have been operating safely in other regulated countries for years.”

About the Small UAV Coalition:

Leading technology companies founded the Small UAV Coalition to pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the United States and aboard. Chief among the organization’s goals is to advance a regulatory environment that will support safe, reliable, and timely operation of small UAVs.

Members are: 3DR, Airware, Aerialtronics, Amazon Prime Air, DJI Innovations, Google[x] Project Wing, GoPro, Parrot, PrecisionHawk, and Skyward IO.

For more information on the Small UAV Coalition, please visit, contact, or follow @smallUAVs on Twitter.

UPDATED Oct 15… AC 91-57 (Cancelled) – Model Aircraft Operating Standards @FAANews #Colbyuas


From Academy of Model Aeronautics.    October 15th. 

AC 91-57 Cancelled in Error

Last Friday, Oct 10th, it was announced that FAA Advisory Circular 91-57, “Model Aircraft Operating Standards”, published in 1981 was cancelled. This obviously caught the aeromodeling and sUAS community by surprise and left a lot of unanswered questions.

In a communication earlier today with Jim Williams, Executive Manager of the FAA UAS Integration Office, it was learned that the announcement was premature and the cancellation notice on the FAA webpage was posted in error.

FAA does plan to cancel AC 91-57 in order to reconcile the outdated AC with current sUAS policy and the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” provided by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. However, this will occur at a later date and will be accompanied by additional information and an explanation as to the reason for the cancellation.

AMA members are encouraged to become familiar with the provisions of the Special Rule and continue to operate their model aircraft safely and responsibly in accordance with the National Model Aircraft Safety Code and the AMA Safety Program.

Special Rule for Model Aircraft

AC 91-57 – Model Aircraft Operating Standards
Rich Hanson
AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

Oct 10th.

Seems like FAA is moving forward with updating the rules for UAV flight in the United States.

From the FAA:

Cancellation Notes AJV-11 Memo from Gary Norek

Date Cancelled October 10, 2014

Date Issued June 09, 1981

Responsible Office AJV-8, Air Traffic Procedures Description

Outlines, and encourages voluntary compliance with, safety standards for model aircraft operators.

This memorandum is to request cancellation. of AC 91-57 Model Aircraft Operating Standards.

This AC is superseded by statutory language in the FAA Modernization and Reform. Act of 2012, Section 336. The FAA has issued an interpretation regarding the scope of the special rule and the FAA’s enforcement authority over model aircraft as affirmed by the statute. The new interpretation also provides guidance to the model aircraft industry. Therefore the guidance in this AC is no longer applicable. A new AC is under development and will be coordinated with the appropriate offices.

A copy will be provided to your office for posting to your database.

If you have any questions regarding this request please contact Jackie Jackson. AJV-115 at 202 267 8177.

FAA Guidelines for Unmanned Aerial System use in the Movie Industry, is Agriculture next? #colbyuas





Oct 6th

By Chad Colby

Some exciting news in recent weeks about the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for commercial activities here in the United States.   The movie industry has been allowed to use this new technology.

Yes to many these, the guidelines might seem too much.  But honestly it seems very well thought out.

Step in the right direction, review below.

The operator proposed the following conditions and/or limitations, which were accepted by the FAA.

  1. The unmanned aircraft (UA) must weigh less than 55 pounds (25 Kg), including energy source(s) and equipment. Operations authorized by this grant of exemption are limited to the following aircraft described in the operator’s manual: Astraeus Aerial Cinema System V.3CS UAS aircraft variant, serial #001 onward (V.3). Proposed operations of any other aircraft will require a new petition or a petition to amend this grant.
  2. The UA may not be flown at a ground speed exceeding 50 knots.
  3. Flights must be operated at an altitude of no more than 400 feet above ground level (AGL), as indicated by the procedures specified in the operator’s manual. All altitudes reported to ATC must be in feet AGL.
  1. The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC at all times. This requires the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on the PIC’s FAA-issued medical certificate.
  2. All operations must utilize a visual observer (VO). The VO may be used to satisfy the VLOS requirement as long as the PIC always maintains VLOS capability. The VO and PIC must be able to communicate verbally at all times.
  3. The operator’s manual is considered acceptable to the FAA, provided the additional requirements identified in these conditions and limitations are added or amended. The operator’s manual and this grant of exemption must be maintained and made available to the Administrator upon request. If a discrepancy exists between the conditions and limitations in this exemption and the procedures outlined in the operator’s manual, the conditions and limitations herein take precedence and must be followed. Otherwise, the operator must follow the procedures as outlined in its operator’s manual.

    The operator may update or revise its operator’s manual. It is the operator’s responsibility to track such revisions and present updated and revised documents to the Administrator upon request. The operator must also present updated and revised documents if it petitions for extension or amendment. If the operator determines that any update or revision would affect the basis for which the FAA granted this exemption, then the operator must petition for amendment to their exemption. The FAA’s UAS Integration Office (AFS-80) may be contacted if questions arise regarding updates or revisions to the operator’s manual.

  4. Prior to each flight the PIC must inspect the UAS to ensure it is in a condition for safe flight. If the inspection reveals a condition that affects the safe operation of the UAS, the aircraft is prohibited from operating until the necessary maintenance has been performed and the UAS is found to be in a condition for safe flight. The Ground Control Station, if utilized, must be included in the preflight inspection. All maintenance and alterations must be properly documented in the aircraft records.
  5. Any UAS that has undergone maintenance or alterations that affect the UAS operation or flight characteristics, e.g. replacement of a flight critical component, must undergo a functional test flight in accordance with the operator’s manual. The PIC who conducts the functional test flight must make an entry in the UAS aircraft records of the flight. The requirements and procedures for a functional test flight and aircraft record entry must be added to the operator’s manual.
  6. The operator must follow the manufacturer’s UAS aircraft/component, maintenance, overhaul, replacement, inspection, and life limit requirements. When unavailable, aircraft maintenance/component/overhaul, replacement, and inspection/maintenance requirements must be established and identified in the operator’s manual. At a minimum, requirements for the following must be included in the operator’s manual:
  1. Actuators / Servos;
  2. Transmission (single rotor);
  3. Powerplant (motors);
  4. Propellers;
  5. Electronic speed controller;
  6. Batteries;
  7. Mechanical dynamic components (single rotor);
  8. Remote command and control;
  9. Ground control station (if used); and
  10. Any other components as determined by the operator;
  1. The Pilot In Command (PIC) must possess at least a private pilot certificate and at least a current third-class medical certificate. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.
  2. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), the PIC must have accumulated and logged, in a manner consistent with
    14 CFR § 61.51(b), a minimum of 200 flight cycles and 25 hours of total time as a UAS rotorcraft pilot and at least ten hours logged as a UAS pilot with a similar UAS type (single blade or multirotor). Prior documented flight experience that was obtained in compliance with applicable regulations may satisfy this requirement. Training, proficiency, and experience-building flights can also be conducted under this grant of exemption to accomplish the required flight cycles and flight time. During training, proficiency, and experience-building flights, all persons not essential for flight operations are considered nonparticipants, and the PIC must operate the UA with appropriate distance from nonparticipants in accordance with 14 CFR § 91.119.
  3. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), the PIC must have accumulated and logged, in a manner consistent with
    14 CFR § 61.51(b), a minimum of five hours as UAS pilot operating the make and model of UAS to be utilized for operations under the exemption and three take-offs and three landings in the preceding 90 days. Training, proficiency, experience-building, and take-off and landing currency flights can be conducted under this grant of exemption to accomplish the required flight time and 90 day currency. During training, proficiency, experience- building, and take-off and landing currency flights all persons not essential for flight operations are considered nonparticipants, and the PIC must operate the UA with appropriate distance from nonparticipants in accordance with 14 CFR § 91.119.
  1. Prior to any flight operations authorized by this grant of exemption, the PIC and VO must have successfully completed a qualification process, as outlined in the operator’s manual. As this is a requirement stipulated by the operator, the test must be developed and implemented by a qualified person designated at the sole discretion of the operator. A record of completion of this qualification process must be documented and made available to the Administrator upon request.
  2. Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of motion picture filming (or similar operations), a flight demonstration, administered by an operator-approved and -qualified pilot must be successfully completed and documented. This documentation must be available for review upon request by the Administrator. Because the knowledge and airmanship test qualifications have been developed by the operator, and there are no established practical test standards that support a jurisdictional FAA FSDO evaluation and approval of company designated examiners, the petitioner will conduct these tests in accordance with the operator’s manual.
  3. The UA may not be operated directly over any person, except authorized and consenting production personnel, below an altitude that is hazardous to persons or property on the surface in the event of a UAS failure or emergency.
  4. Regarding the distance from participating persons, the operator’s manual has safety mitigations for authorized and consenting production personnel. At all times, those persons must be essential to the closed-set film operations. Because these procedures are specific to participating persons, no further FSDO or aviation safety inspector approval is necessary for reductions to the distances specified in the petitioner’s manuals. This is consistent with the manned aircraft procedures described in FAA Order 8900.1, V3, C8, S1 Issue a Certificate of Waiver for Motion Picture and Television Filming.
  5. Regarding distance from nonparticipating persons, the operator must ensure that no persons are allowed within 500 feet of the area except those consenting to be involved and necessary for the filming production. This provision may be reduced to no less than
    200 feet if it would not adversely affect safety and the Administrator has approved it. For example, an equivalent level of safety may be determined by an aviation safety inspector’s evaluation of the filming production area to note terrain features, obstructions, buildings, safety barriers, etc. Such barriers may protect nonparticipating persons (observers, the public, news media, etc.) from debris in the event of an accident. This is also consistent with the same FAA Order 8900.1, V3, C8, S1.
  1. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a pre- determined location within the security perimeter and land or be recovered in accordance with the operator’s manual.
  2. The UAS must abort the flight in the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies in accordance with the operator’s manual.
  3. Each UAS operation must be completed within 30 minutes flight time or with 25% battery power remaining, whichever occurs first.

    In addition to the conditions and limitations proposed by the operator, the FAA has determined that any operations conducted under this grant of exemption must be done pursuant to the following conditions and limitations:

  1. The operator must obtain an Air Traffic Organization (ATO) issued Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) prior to conducting any operations under this grant of exemption. This COA will also require the operator to request a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) not more than 72 hours in advance, but not less than 48 hours prior to the operation.
  2. All aircraft operated in accordance with this exemption must be identified by serial number, registered in accordance with 14 CFR part 47, and have identification (N- Number) markings in accordance with 14 CFR part 45, Subpart C. Markings must be as large as practicable.
  3. The operator must develop procedures to document and maintain a record of the UAS maintenance, preventative maintenance, alterations, status of replacement/overhaul component parts, and the total time in service of the UAS. These procedures must be added to the operator’s manual.
  4. Each UAS operated under this exemption must comply with all manufacturer Safety Bulletins.
  5. The operator must develop UAS technician qualification criteria. These criteria must be added to the operator’s manual.
  6. The preflight inspection section in the operator’s manual must be amended to include the following requirement: The preflight inspection must account for all discrepancies, i.e. inoperable components, items, or equipment, not covered in the relevant preflight inspection sections of the operator’s manual.
  7. Before conducting operations, the radio frequency spectrum used for operation and control of the UA must comply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or other appropriate government oversight agency requirements.
  1. At least three days before scheduled filming, the operator of the UAS affected by this exemption must submit a written Plan of Activities to the local FSDO with jurisdiction over the area of proposed filming. The 3-day notification may be waived with the concurrence of the FSDO. The plan of activities must include at least the following:
    1. Dates and times for all flights;
    2. Name and phone number of the operator for the UAS filming production conducted under this grant of exemption;
    3. Name and phone number of the person responsible for the on-scene operation of the UAS;
    4. Make, model, and serial or N-number of UAS to be used;
    5. Name and certificate number of UAS PICs involved in the filming production event;
    6. A statement that the operator has obtained permission from property owners and/or local officials to conduct the filming production event; the list of those who gave permission must be made available to the inspector upon request;
    7. Signature of exemption-holder or representative; and
    8. A description of the flight activity, including maps or diagrams of any area, city, town, county, and/or state over which filming will be conducted and the altitudes essential to accomplish the operation.
  2. The documents required under 14 CFR §§ 91.9 and 91.203 must be available to the PIC at the Ground Control Station of the UAS any time the aircraft is operating. These documents must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.
  3. The UA must remain clear and yield the right of way to all other manned operations and activities at all times (including, but not limited to, ultralight vehicles, parachute activities, parasailing activities, hang gliders, etc.).
  4. UAS operations may not be conducted during night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1. All operations must be conducted under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Flights under special visual flight rules (SVFR) are not authorized.
  5. The UAS may not be operated by the PIC from any moving device or vehicle.
  6. The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the PIC.
  1. The UA may not operate in Class B, C, or D airspace without written approval from the FAA. The UA may not operate within 5 nautical miles of the geographic center of a non- towered airport as denoted on a current FAA-published aeronautical chart unless a letter of agreement with that airport’s management is obtained, and the operation is conducted in accordance with a NOTAM as required by the operator’s COA. The letter of agreement with the airport management must be made available to the Administrator upon request.
  2. Any incident, accident, or flight operation that transgresses the lateral or vertical boundaries of the operational area as defined by the applicable COA must be reported to the FAA’s UAS Integration Office (AFS-80) within 24 hours. Accidents must be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) per instructions contained on the NTSB Web site: Further flight operations may not be conducted until the incident, accident, or transgression is reviewed by AFS-80 and authorization to resume operations is provided.

Unless otherwise specified in this grant of exemption, the UAS, the UAS PIC, and the UAS operations must comply with all applicable parts of 14 CFR including, but not limited to, parts 45, 47, 61, and 91.

This exemption terminates on September 30, 2016, unless sooner superseded or rescinded. Issued in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2014.

Read full article here:

Remember the hobby guidelines:


2014 Fall Photos Updated 9/29

Be sure to check out the Fall Photo album, so many amazing views from this fall from the field.   Adding more very often, so be sure to return to see more.

Exciting updates very soon about UAV technology for 2015, going to be game changing.  Looking forward to sharing what I learned, very very soon.   Hints: new data processing, sensors (more than Hero4), flight systems, etc etc

Plan is to have Colby UAS class in late October, mid November & December.  Much more coming soon.

Please keep safe during this fall season.

thanks, Chad

2014 Fall Photos Updated 9/29.




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