Drone Sprayers: Uses, Laws & Regulations, Tips to Save Money (2018)

Interested in drone sprayers?

Drones are really just aerial platforms from which to do things. Most people associate drones as data collection platforms where you mount sensors such as cameras, LIDAR, etc., but drones can also be used for the delivery of all sorts of other things besides just drone package delivery or medical delivery.

I’m a commercial pilot, current FAA certificated flight instructor, aviation attorney, and professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I distilled into this article some of the important points that I have used as I have assisted clients in obtaining approvals successfully. I’m also familiar with the non-aviation related legal issues that are extremely important for drone sprayer operations.

Read the guide here

2018 Silicon Valley Drone Show (sUSB Expo) Presentation Videos

Video presentations from the 2018 Expo are now being uploaded to the sUAS News YouTube channel. The information and data in these presentations are expert level. It is all covered in the line up: applications, C-UAS, liability, policy, standards, insurance, UTM and market forecasts, just to name a few of the relevant topics.

Among the roster of drone experts and newsmakers this year are Adam Fine, Dropcopter, Rob Thompson, Falcon Foundation, Jeff Parisse, RAS Consulting and Investigations, Mike Blades, Frost and Sullivan, Biren Gandhi, Jincai Yang, Shenzhen UAV Association Int., Terry Miller, Transport Risk Management and Gene Robinson, Drone Pilot Inc. and more!

Make sure to hit subscribe and notify when visiting so you don’t miss any of the great presentation content uploaded from the sUAS News and the 2018 sUSB Expo!

Kespry Announces Drone-Based High-Resolution Thermal Inspection Capabilities for Commercial Property and Industrial Facilities

Kespry’s thermal drone inspection solution provides radiometric temperature data, enabling pinpoint accuracy for identifying damage. (PRNewsfoto/Kespry)

Kespry, the leading drone-based aerial intelligence solution provider, today announced new high-resolution thermal inspection capabilities for commercial property and industrial facilities. Thermal building inspection is critical for organizations as they look to reduce investment risk in the $750 billion combined commercial real estate, insurance, and management industry. Until today, property managers, owners, and insurers were forced to rely on expensive and inaccurate manual inspections or low-resolution, first-generation drones to determine the health of a roof. By providing a fully-autonomous, simple-to-use, and high-resolution drone inspection solution, Kespry is reducing the cost of inspections for large-scale commercial buildings and delivering more accurate damage assessment.

For the commercial property industry, drone roof inspections including thermal imaging solve two critical problems. First, they identify previously-unseen damage to roofs, mechanical elements, piping, and other infrastructure unapparent in traditionally-infrequent manual inspections. This enables proactive and preventative maintenance, and uncovers minor issues before they can turn into highly-costly, impactful problems. Secondly, they enable fast and safe inspections to support insurance underwriting and risk mitigation during property ownership transactions.

“Accuracy really matters when billions of dollars of property and facilities are at risk,” said George Mathew, CEO of Kespry. “Manual inspections and first-generation drone flights are slow and inaccurate ways of attempting to understand the state of a roof and the risk that issues may have on organizations’ productivity. These earlier approaches leave surveyors, risk assessors, and roof inspectors guessing at the specific location of leaks blocked drains, or damage to building infrastructure, all of which can have serious impacts on assets inside. The new Kespry solution for commercial roof inspection solves these problems.”

Kespry’s thermal inspection solution is based on radiometric temperature analysis, providing actionable data to people inspecting roofs. Radiometric analysis means that a specific temperature is displayed for a specific point on a roof. In contrast, non-radiometric thermal drone data simply shows general temperature differences and changes in an area, making it hard to determine whether there is a specific point of damage or concern.

Additionally, Kespry uniquely creates thermal inspection views that combines pixel-level thermal data with high-resolution imagery. This enables users to granularly determine the specific location of heat damage rather than rely on the grainy, poorly-defined visual cues of earlier drone-based solutions. With Kespry, more accurate damage assessments can be conducted, reducing the need for follow-up manual inspections once a thermal anomaly is identified.

The Kespry commercial roof solution also incorporates accurate roof dimensional analysis. With this feature, users can get the dimensional data they need to complete an inspection report or pinpoint areas of concern faster and at lower costs.

“For too long, commercial property firms have relied on randomly-conducted, dangerous manual roof inspections to protect billions of dollars of property,” said Mathew. “We know commercial property professionals must juggle multiple responsibilities. By providing actionable, radiometric-thermal data integrated with high-resolution visual data, and delivering roof dimension data, Kespry’s commercial roof inspection solution gives owners and insurers less to worry about, while saving them millions of dollars in repair and lost productivity costs.”

To learn more, visit: https://www.kespry.com/commercial-property

DJI Encourages UK Drone Pilots to Familiarise Themselves with New Laws

New Regulation Limits Drone Flight Distance From Airports and Sets Height Restriction

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, would like to remind UK drone pilots that as of today, Monday 30th July, it is a criminal offence for drone pilots to fly drones above 400 feet (120m) and/or within a kilometre of airport boundaries, unless prior permission is obtained from the CAA.

“Flying drones is fun and the vast majority of drone pilots, whether for pleasure or commercially, already fly safely and responsibly. However there are a small handful of individuals who choose to misuse drone technology and tarnish the reputation of their fellow pilots. These new laws will grant the appropriate authorities more power over a few bad actors and allow responsible users greater freedom,” said Christian Struwe, Head of Public Policy Europe at DJI.

“Drone technology, despite being very much in its infancy, has already brought numerous benefits to both society and the economy; revolutionising fields such as emergency response, construction, filmmaking, agriculture and conservation, allowing professionals to do more work faster, safer, more efficiently and at a lower cost. With the help of responsible drone pilots, we can continue to highlight the power of drone technology.”

The new laws are also aided by DJI technology which has been implemented in drones and through its DJI GO apps since 2014. Automatic altitude limitations within the apps are set at 120m (400ft) as default and can only be changed if the user makes the conscious decision to do so.

When first introduced in 2014, DJI’s geofencing system used GPS positioning to warn or restrict drone pilots from entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns, such as airports. The system was further enhanced in 2016 to include the capability for live updates of temporary flight restrictions and other changing hazardous conditions such as wildfires, while also adding flexibility for drone pilots with authority to operate in those locations.

DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing civilian drones and aerial imaging technology for personal and professional use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more accessible, reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries for applications in filmmaking, construction, emergency response, agriculture, conservation and many other industries.

Blade Scimitar 170 FPV [VIDEO]

Blade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF BasicBlade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF BasicBlade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF Basic

This impact-resistant racer has what speed demons need! Get the scoop, direct from Blade:

The Blade® Scimitar™ 170 FPV RTF brings a combination of convenience and performance to a 4″ racer, perfect for backyard cruising or racing with friends. Feature-rich and ready to go, the Scimitar 170 includes everything you need to be flying right out of the box. The 4S power system consists of 1407-3000Kv motors for remarkable response and power and 20A 4-in-1 ESC with BLHeli-S and Dhot 600 compatibility. A F3 flight controller efficiently handles the quad, while relaying the user-configurable data to the on-screen display via the Betaflight OSD. A 600TVL CMOS camera with 2.1mm lens transmits video through the Spektrum™ variable power video transmitter to an included Spektrum DVR monitor. Additionally, you can change your frequency and channel directly from your Spektrum radio and choose between 25, 200, and 600mW power modes. Everything is contained in an impact-resistant pod. All the vital electronics are protected and you still have easy access to the USB port and video transmitter. Additionally, optional propeller guards to help protect your propellers, motors, and frame in the event of a crash (not capable with included transmitter). Don’t want the added weight? Simply remove them from the new interlocking motor bolts with a twist, no tools required.

Features:

  • 4″ propellers
  • F3 Flight Controller: Betaflight & Betaflight OSD
  • 4-in-1 20A ESC: BLHeli-S & DShot 600 compatible
  • 1407-2820KV FPV Racing Motor
  • Video transmitter: 25/200/600mW 32 channel, variable power, and Spektrum TX control
  • Camera: 600TVL CMOS w/ 2.1mm lens
  • Durable 4mm carbon fiber frame with replaceable arms
  • Injection molded plastic pod: Covers all vital components
  • Spektrum Telemetry RX: Provides valuable flight data and allows for forward programming of VTX and FC

SPECIFICATIONS:

Type: Multi Rotor

Completion Level: RTF

Main Rotor Head Type: Multi-Rotor

Main Blade Material: Plastic

Main rotor Blade Length (Range): 4”

Main Motor Size (Range): 1407-3000Kv

Battery: 4s 1000mAh

Length: 170mm

Height: 47mm

Main Frame Material: Carbon

Flying Weight (Required): 416g

Approximate Flight Time: 3 minutes

Number of Channels: 6

Experience Level: Beginner

Recommended Environment: Indoor/Outdoor

Assembly Required: No

Approx Assembly Time: Less than 1 hour

#BLH02200 – Scimitar 170 FPV RTF – $499.99

#BLH02250 – Scimitar 170 FPV BNF Basic – $299.99

Visit BladeHelis.com

Blade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF BasicBlade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF BasicBlade Scimitar 170 FPV RTF & BNF Basic

The Registration Task Force Debacle, A Retrospective

The goals of the Registration task force and “emergency’ rulemaking –

FAA Statement –

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

Every day, the FAA receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations. Pilot sightings of UAS doubled between 2014 and 2015. The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

————————————————————————————-

Consequences? Now that’s a hoot. Readers of the sUAS News already knew there were few if any consequences based on pilot registry information.

https://www.suasnews.com/2017/07/faa-not-enforce-action-based-pilot-registry-information/

I’m on the fence about the education part. At this point, I’d reckon someone would have to be hiding in a cave in Afghanistan (or possibly a shut-in, living down the street from a military academy in Pakistan) without any form of modern communication for you to argue that you were unaware of rules for flying drones. Whatever the case, the point of sale (POS) drone registration was shot down by Best Buy and Wal-Mart. A one-liner that discussed rules and FAA on a document that had to be signed would be a powerful enforcement tool.

Was this folly just a feigned administrative remedy with the safety of the NAS crammed in the middle of two people in the back seat of an automobile? If you go back and read through the prepared statements and cheerleader rah-rah stuff the “advocacy” and lobby front groups parroted, you’d wonder if we are in some kind of Ingmar Bergman screenplay.

The list of purported “experts,” some of whom have since burrito bombed out, left for the quiet life or to work for companies who didn’t lose one hundred million dollars plus after shooting themselves in the foot based solely on conjecture.

Task Force Members include:

Nancy Egan – 3D Robotics

Richard Hanson – Academy of Model Aeronautics

George Novak – Aerospace Industries Association

Chuck Hogeman and Randy Kenagy – Air Line Pilots Association

Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air

Ben Gielow–Amazon Retail

Justin Towles – American Association of Airport Executives

Brian Wynne – Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

Parker Brugge – Best Buy

Douglas Johnson – Consumer Electronics Association

Brendan Schulman – DJI

Paul Feldman – General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Dave Vos – GoogleX (Co-Chair)

Tony Bates – GoPro

Matt Zuccaro – Helicopter Association International

Mike Fergus – International Association of Chiefs of Police

John Perry – Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors

Brandon Declet – Measure

Randall Burdett – National Association of State Aviation Officials

Sarah Wolf – National Business Aviation Association

Baptiste Tripard – Parrot

Tyler Collins – PrecisionHawk

Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition

Thomas Head – Walmart

Then there is the justification for regulating mall kiosk toys extrapolated from this report (then MITRE): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a532158.pdf

I was just in China, and, in a nutshell, the U.S. drone industry has been denied access to a large part of the purported 82 billion USD market as the FAA dithering made us take a decade off. Some of the much-heralded drone firsts were first done a decade or so ago.

A warning to other would-be grousers and objective reality buffs, bringing up points like these gets the marginalization effort turned up to eleven, and I can feel the heat generated by those consternated. However, anyone who thinks I am going to all of the sudden feel bad about pointing out the dysfunction and absurdity of an airspace integration process with these types of conspicuous problems is either a nut or in hard-core denial. All I am after is FAA policy that will allow us to be leaders in this technology, and if you can’t wrap your head around the concept, I just don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been highlighting some of the same issues for just about 14 years now; not going away. Try the mantra for yourself… Small business, jobs and STEM.

The justification for the ID and Tracking claptrap is a retread of the same wheel of suffering. You don’t have to be the house dick (or a shill for the Chinese toy drone industry) to figure out that the “emergency” registration scheme fell well short of the mark. I don’t want readers to misconstrue this analysis as an effort to assign blame for any previous waste(s) of time and taxpayer money. No, I am attempting to offer up some commonsense solutions before this before this becomes the next ill-fated calamity or casualty of political fallout.

I have to give credit where credit is due, and the UASIO starting out with ID and Tracking requirements is like a breath of NUAIR. However, we must think about the practicalities of enforcement first, or we may very well find ourselves back at square (peg) one. WTF?! I know, I know, consider it the new Egan charm offensive where I lavish praise and promise not to swear in mixed company.

You could be reading witticisms much like these all the day long on Twitter if you follow @thedronedealer

If you have a little extra time and want to read up on some good fiction, umm, I mean how to destroy an industry politically –

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2015/10/22/2015-26874/clarification-of-the-applicability-of-aircraft-registration-requirements-for-unmanned-aircraft

see also Administrator v. Pirker, NTSB Order No. EA-5730, at 12 (Nov. 17, 2014) (affirming that the statutory definition of aircraft is clear and unambiguous and “includes any air aircraft, manned or unmanned, large or small.”). Because UAS, including model aircraft, are aircraft, they are subject to FAA regulation, including the statutory Start Printed Page 63914requirements regarding registration set forth in 49 U.S.C. 44101(a), and further prescribed in regulation at 14 CFR part 47.

UAV Components presents ‘Micronav’ – A versatile ground control platform for robotic solutions

UAV Components have introduced the Micronav, a dynamic ground control platform that enables developers and producers to improve the reliability and professional experience of their robotic solutions.

To meet the high market demand for a smaller ground control station, the Micronav offers a flexible and rugged performance in a smaller size. The Micronav is based on the Panasonic FZ-M1, a favourite of the toughest industries and the ideal tool for today’s mobile workforce. The Micronav make a professional customizable ground control solution that drives efficiency and productivity in ways never before possible.

It is critical for UAV Components to deliver the market’s most versatile platform, which enables the end user to operate effectively in any condition. The Micronav has a MIL-STD-810G, 5′ drop, and all-weather IP65 dust and water-resistant design. Besides its rugged qualities, it also has features such as user-replaceable and long-life batteries and improved sensitivity for use with heavy gloves, the operating system Windows 10, and 4G LTE multi carrier broadband.

A tailored high-quality ground control station has proven to be in high demand. No two robotic and/or UAV solutions are identical; therefore, customers seek a solution that goes hand-in-hand with their specific operations being carried out by the robotic tool. Therefore, the Micronav can be tailored with custom radio/video links links, Ethernet, software, and unique engraving.

Since 2015, UAV Components has had the honour of delivering custom ground control systems based on its Aeronav platform. As of today, it has created more than 100 robotics solutions that implement the Aeronav platform in close cooperation between the company and its clients.

www.uavcomponents.net

Windgo – Drone Chute™ Systems & Methods for Receiving Packages Delivered by Unmanned Vehicles Patent # 10,026,054

Protects methods of embedded sensing and receiving packages from unmanned vehicles. WINDGO’s Drone Chute™ is comprised of a collapsible package receiver adapted to be movably coupled to a building.

The package receiver may be configured to receive the package well above ground to increase safety and security of the package and unmanned vehicle. Technologies for package loading and delivery to an intended destination (business, home, restaurant, etc.) are well underway, as demonstrated by Amazon’s Prime Air, UPS and Flirtey (in partnership with 7-Eleven).

However, the myriad factors and dynamics of actually receiving the packages at destination are addressed by WINDGO’s unique Drone Chute™ collapsible package receiver, notification and building attachment methods.

DJI Introduces Enterprise Shield Drone Protection Service Plan

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today announced DJI Enterprise Shield, a new customizable drone protection service plan designed to meet the diverse needs of today’s commercial drone operators. DJI Enterprise Shield is the first comprehensive coverage plan of its kind that covers DJI’s trusted line of enterprise products, providing broad accident coverage, repair and replacement services, free shipping and rapid delivery, and the option to share coverage across a fleet of enterprise products.

“Professional drone operators rely on DJI systems to complete their missions with high performance and minimal downtime, and they have told us they want that same level of reliability and flexibility in an aftersales solution,” said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Partnerships at DJI. “This was the inspiration behind DJI Enterprise Shield – a plan that gives our enterprise customers the peace of mind they need to focus on their missions.”

DJI Enterprise Shield is available in two tiers and protects a variety of DJI Enterprise products including the Matrice 200 Series drones and the Zenmuse Z30, X4S, X5S, XT and XT2 payloads. It provides coverage for one year from activation and covers a broad range of situations including those caused by pilot error, signal interference, and water damage.

Enterprise Shield Basic

Enterprise Shield Basic covers two product replacements for damaged DJI drones and payloads (with the exception of XT and XT2) covered by the plan within the one-year coverage period, at a small corresponding fixed fee. Free two-way ground shipping is used when sending products in for replacement. Replacement products issued under Enterprise Shield Basic meet new product performance and reliability standards.

Enterprise Shield Plus

Enterprise Shield Plus covers unlimited repair services and product replacements to damaged drones and payloads within the coverage amount selected by the customer. Free two-way overnight shipping is used to send operators a new product in exchange for their damaged product. The plan also covers free repair services for DJI’s Zenmuse XT and Zenmuse XT2 thermal camera payloads. DJI will provide operators with the option to use a replacement device on loan for these payloads while their original product is under repair. Enterprise Shield Plus also provides the option to share coverage across multiple DJI products, helping commercial drone operators protect an entire fleet using one plan.

Enterprise Shield Plan Comparison

Service

Enterprise Shield Basic

Enterprise Shield Plus

Product Repair Service

No

Yes

Product Replacement Service

2

Unlimited

Product Replacement Fee

Small fixed fee depending on product

Free

Shipping Speed

Free Two-day Ground

Free Overnight

XT & XT2 Repair Service

No

Yes

Shared Fleet Coverage

No

Yes

Availability

Enterprise Shield is available today for DJI customers in the United States, Canada, and Mainland China. Enterprise Shield only provides services in the country or region where it is purchased.

For more details, including information on specific pricing and replacement costs, supported product models, and detailed parts coverage, please visit the DJI Enterprise Shield website at https://enterprise.dji.com/enterprise-shield.

DJI Commends UK Government’s Positive Action to Nurture the Drone Industry

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, welcomes today’s proposals from the UK Government to address concerns about irresponsible drone use and encourage wider use of drones to benefit society and the UK economy.

“This consultation on new measures to help prevent drone misuse highlights the commitment of Baroness Sugg and the government to proactively support drone technology and its potential to significantly contribute to the UK economy,” said Christian Struwe, Head of Public Policy Europe at DJI.

“The vast majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, and DJI supports measures to deal properly with the small number of people who intentionally misuse this technology,” Struwe said. “Governments, aviation authorities and drone manufacturers are working together to help ensure drone pilots understand rules and regulations, and this cooperative spirit is making the UK safe for drone operations.”

Drone technology is revolutionising fields such as emergency response, construction, filmmaking, agriculture and conservation, allowing professionals to do more work faster, safer, more efficiently and at a lower cost. Drone enthusiasts also find joy in flying their aircraft for fun, finding new vistas for aerial photography and video, and using drones to teach youth about science and technology.

Just this year, police forces have used drones to save the lives of three individuals who had gone missing in dangerous circumstances. Lincolnshire police rescued an unconscious man from a ditch in February; Devon, Cornwall and Dorset police found a man on a cliff’s edge in May; and Norfolk police found an elderly man lost in a marsh in June.

Drone technology has brought these benefits to the UK while proving itself as a safe addition to UK skies. DJI has led the industry in developing technology to help ensure drones operate safely:

  • In 2014, DJI pioneered geofencing systems for its drones, using GPS position to warn or restrict drone pilots from entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns.
  • In 2016, DJI upgraded its geofencing programming to include the capability for live updates of temporary flight restrictions and other changing hazardous conditions such as wildfires, while also adding flexibility for drone pilots with authority to operate in those locations.
  • In 2017, DJI introduced a knowledge quiz for all pilots who are operating drones in the UK airspace.
  • DJI built automatic altitude limitations into its flight control apps to help pilots ensure they fly at safe altitudes. DJI developed sense-and-avoid systems for recent drone models, which use sensors to identify obstacles and either stop short of them or navigate around them.
  • DJI’s AeroScope system allows authorities to remotely identify and monitor airborne drones.