garymortimer writes: Project Endurance, previously part of the DARPA Excalibur laser weapons program, focuses on miniaturizing component technologies, developing high-precision target tracking, identification, and lightweight agile beam control to support target engagement.
The program also focuses on the phenomenology of laser-target interactions and related threat vulnerabilities. Ultimately the program seeks to develop pod-mounted lasers for drones and planes.
garymortimer writes: Look, up in the sky! It's a bird it's a plane it's a PETA Air Angel! Just in time for the first day of bowhunting season in Massachusetts, PETA supporters took one of our brand-new "Air Angel" drones for a test flight, and the winged bunny's virgin mission went off without a hitch.
garymortimer writes: The aircraft is Aerovel’s 20-kg Flexrotor, which combines VTOL and small footprint with Hawaii-to-West Coast range. The carrier is a 4-metre skiff equipped to launch, retrieve, and service Flexrotor automatically. In what are believed to be the first-ever flight cycles of an unmanned aircraft based on an unmanned boat, Flexrotor launched from the remotely-controlled skiff while underway, climbed out as a helicopter, transitioned to wing-borne flight, imaged the skiff while flying at low and high speeds, transitioned back to thrust-borne flight, and retrieved autonomously onboard. The aircraft then shut down, was automatically refueled and restarted, and repeated the first flight, finally being secured onboard in a docking station. Aircraft and skiff then came ashore, and were driven 100 miles home into the setting sun.
garymortimer writes: The Fotokite, an ETH spin-off project, is a tethered flying platform that lets a user spontaneously access unique vantage points in varied environments. Working with partners such as the BBC, we are working to make the Fotokite a viable, useful, live-streaming TV & journalism tool. For this, the user should be able to quickly and accurately frame the precise shot, simultaneously controlling both the position and the attitude of the platform.
At the core of the Fotokite approach is the “keep it simple” philosophy. To allow for attitude control, without overloading the user, we can use either an IMU-equipped screen or an IMU-equipped immersive display such as the Oculus Rift or the Google Glass.
garymortimer writes: Davy Kong, Advisor, External Communications Americas for ConocoPhillips has confirmed that their trial aircraft had an engine failure during tests in Alaska.
Patrick, As you may know ConocoPhillips and its collaborators successfully completed the first approved commercial use of an unmanned Airborne System (UAS) in U.S. controlled airspace. However, during a second test flight, the aircraft experienced engine failure and – as it is programmed to do – aborted the flight into the water. The aircraft was recovered.
garymortimer writes: Sascha Fuchs (L), head of ATG Sitec GmbH, and Thorsten Kanand, head of AirRotorMedia, demonstrate how a quadrocopter drone can carry a rig for marking telephone cables with artifical DNA on September 30, 2013 near Kremmen, Germany. The two men have a contract with German communications provider Deutsche Telekom to tag overhead telephone cables across Germany in an effort to fight theft of the cables, which has shot up in recent years with the value of copper.
garymortimer writes: On September 1, 2013, and again on September 15, 2013, Hindi piloted his drone following Wing Pointe pigeon shoots. Both times the drone recorded video of burning, which showed a further pattern of illegal activity committed after the illegal shoots had ended.
The DEP was called after the Sept. 15 incident. An inspector discovered that Wing Pointe had burned spent shotgun shell cartridges along with plastic bottles, aluminum cans and other business waste. Shockingly, the DEP only gave the gun club another warning and is taking no further legal action.
garymortimer writes: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that can fly fast, hover efficiently and carry a lot of cargo. Thanks to rapid prototyping, a team of Boeing Phantom Works engineers in Philadelphia designed and built a flying subscale model of the innovative Phantom Swift in time to be part of Boeing’s proposal for DARPA’s vertical takeoff and landing X-Plane competition.
The scaled model of the Phantom Swift went from being an idea to a flying prototype in less than a month. It will serve the team as a flying laboratory.
garymortimer writes: During their 10-week research internship at the AFRL Discovery Lab, the trio was tasked with 3D printing a fully functional aircraft from a Makerbot Replicator 2X. The idea behind the project was that a plane could be quickly and cost effectively manufactured using 3D printing. The airframe could be printed for $16 worth of plastic in a matter of hours.
A hearty congratulations to Paul Braun whose Kickstarter project was designed to bring joy to others. He has succeeded in his goal and autistic children have built and flown their own drone. With it learning some of the freedoms that come with flight and journeys into their imagination of what they might see. The sUAS News hat is firmly tipped to Paul and the team.
Follow the links to see the videos the children created.
garymortimer writes: Spotted in the city — located in the southern province of Guangdong with a population of roughly 8 million — by a Weibo user who posted the photos on the Chinese social network, the drones are eight-rotor helicopters, or octocoptors, operated by the delivery service SF Express, whose logo was conveniently plastered on the side of the drone. The company admitted to running trials of the service after media reports picked up on the photos.
garymortimer writes: Hydra aims to develop a distributed undersea network of UUVs and UAVs able to operate independently for weeks or months at a time to complement manned ships, submarines, and aircraft as an alternate means of delivering various capabilities above, on, and below the ocean’s surface.
The UAV payload will feature encapsulated air vehicles that fit into the standard Hydra modular enclosure. The air vehicle payload that will be ejected from the mothership, float to the surface, launch, fly a minimum range, and conduct several different types of missions.
Undersea payloads will launch, dock, and recharge from the mothership and collect intelligence information. After their missions they will download information to the mothership, which will communicate it to command authorities.
garymortimer writes: Online forums suggest that there were actually three different operators flying at the recent Bull Run incident. Among them Digital Thunderdome, who apparently were not flying the incident aircraft but another lofting a Red Epic.
Flight over crowds should never occur and cannot be considered safe practice.
Earlier this year whilst filming in London for the UK version of the X Factor TV show a similar incident took place and was subject to a CAA safety notice. Unlike the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia the USA does not have regulations or safety systems in place for commercial civil UA operations. According to an FAA representative speaking to Patrick Egan of sUAS News at the recent AUVSI conference rules are due for public release and comment before 2013 is out.
garymortimer writes: Participants flying unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones, RC airplanes, etc.) have developed a set of best practices for flying at Black Rock City this year.
The best practices came out of a July 17“Drone Summit” at Burning Man headquarters that had 40 in attendance and an estimated 100 on a teleconference. Burning Man organizers arranged the summit following participant complaints from BM2012 that included UAVs flying over crowds at the Man burn, one UAV flying at the Temple burn, and a concern that UAVs with cameras were invading peoples’ privacy.