Rotor & Wing Magazine :: Military :: Unmanned

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January 11, 2016
Advocates for less stringent U.S. regulation of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) might be losing the struggle for public opinion, if newspaper editorials since registration went into effect are any indication.  Newspapers large and small have said the risks small drones pose to other aircraft, to the privacy of people on the ground and to national security justify the FAA’s registration...
January 7, 2016
Efforts to make small-drone operations more accountable and safe are growing as the ranks of drone fliers increase.    Since Dec. 21, when the FAA began requiring registration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with maximum takeoff weights of more than 0.55 lb to fewer than 55 lb, more than 180,000 aircraft have been registered, the agency’s head told the Consumer Electronics Show in Las...
January 5, 2016
  Photo courtesy of Urban Aeronautics, Ltd.   An Israeli company’s AirMule unmanned lift-fan demonstrator has made its first untethered, autonomous flight, the manufacturer reported.    The single-engine, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) prototype made the untethered flight Dec. 30 at Megiddo Airfield, about 50 nm east-northeast of Urban Aeronautics’ headquarters on the...
December 28, 2015
Northrop Grumman has won a multi-million-dollar contract to develop a vertical-lift, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS) prototype to support U.S. Navy reconnaissance needs at sea.    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced the $132.5 million contract Dec. 24 for phase 3 of its...
December 21, 2015
The FAA’s recently published drone registration rule provides a few hints about what commercial drone applicants might expect in 2016. The Dec. 16 Interim Final Rule most immediately applies to drone hobbyists operating under the “model aircraft” definition—aircraft used for non-commercial purposes and within visual line of sight. These applicants have been provided an online...
December 18, 2015
The Chance-Vought/LTV tilt-wing XC-142A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Five U.S. museums with military themes made a top-20 list compiled by the entertainment and business review website Yelp.   Yelp based its ratings on the number of reviews its users posted on the website and the star ratings they assigned to the museums.  ...
December 14, 2015
The new FAA small-drone registration rule requires aircraft owners to pay $5 for the required paperwork.  That fee is required for registration of any aircraft (manned or unmanned), per FAA procedures and congressional guidance. “The fee is the same for registering a Cessna 172 or a Boeing 787,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday in announcing the registration rule...
December 4, 2015
The U.S. Army is assessing when to test technologies for countering threats from small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The threat that such aircraft pose within the U.S. and abroad “is an ongoing concern,” the service’s Rapid Equipping Force said in a Nov. 6 “sources sought” announcement. Continued technology improvements are making small drones “more available and at...
December 3, 2015
Photo courtesy of The Pennsylvania State University The FAA should “expedite its work” in developing data on the actual risks posed by midair collisions of manned aircraft with small unmanned ones, all 26 members of a U.S. task force urged the agency, according to their Nov. 21 report on small drone registration. As those members wrestled with the question of the lower weight limit that should...
December 1, 2015
A small drone’s accidental threat to people on the ground was the only hazard considered by a U.S. task force that recommended registration procedures for such aircraft.  The Transportation Dept. task force on Nov. 21 said all unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing between about 0.55 lb and 55 lb should be registered with the FAA. That range covers maximum takeoff weight, including the drone...
December 1, 2015
Petty Officer 1st Class Daryk Brekke, an aviation maintenance technician at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, offloads toys from a MH-65 at Oahu’s Kalaeloa Airport Nov. 29 as part of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. Photo by Petter Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle, U.S. Coast Guard The U.S. Coast Guard in Hawaii is partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to...
November 25, 2015
Small drones are not unmanned aircraft and should not be allowed to fly unrestricted in civil U.S. airspace without further testing, one aerospace and defense firm argues in a new report. The report was issued just as a U.S. Transportation Dept. task force was concluding that drones as small as 0.55 lb should be registered with the FAA, in part because of the threat that vehicles that small pose to...
November 24, 2015
Kaman Aerospace Group has received its first K-MAX orders from a Chinese customer, the company said. Lectern Aviation Supplies Co., Ltd., an aircraft and parts dealer and aviation services company based in Hong Kong, ordered two of the coaxial utility helicopters for a 2017 delivery, Kaman said, with the...
November 23, 2015
Top FAA and U.S. Transportation Dept. officials already have already begun reviewing a draft rule requiring registration of small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A department-created task force on the topic delivered recommendations Nov. 21 after its 25 participating organizations unanimously agreed on them, according to the director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, Earl Lawrence. But U.S...
November 13, 2015
Next week’s business aviation trade show in Las Vegas will include two seminars on unmanned aircraft systems and a special exhibit section on drones. The show, held Nov. 17 to 19, is hosted by the National Business...
November 6, 2015
The U.S. isn't alone in its concern about how to regulate civil drones. France is concerned, too. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx prepared last month to launch a drone registry task force (which wrapped up three days of deliberations yesterday), a top-level French government agency noted that “current regulation [in France] is inadequate and must be reformed to better prevent and...
November 3, 2015
The U.S. Transportation Department's drone registration task force gathered today in Washington, D.C., to start work on recommending requirements for marking and tracing ownership of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A key question for the 26 task force members was framed by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta: What products should we exclude...
November 2, 2015
“There’s something very wrong with recreational drones,” a top columnist for The New York Times wrote, indicating criticism of unregulated use of the devices is moving beyond the aviation and technical communities. Gail Collins is a 20-year veteran of the Times and currently opines for the paper on American politics and culture. On Oct. 31, that included a column entitled...
October 29, 2015
Anyone who doubted the FAA’s appreciation of threats posed by small drones to safe helicopter flight may find fuel for added skepticism in the members of the agency’s new task force. Of the 25 groups with representatives named today to the task force on how to create a registry of small unmanned aircraft systems, only one—Helicopter Assn. International—is focused on rotary-wing...
October 27, 2015
U.S. Transportation Department officials said that registration is a critical step in the persecution of UAS operators who violate the law. Responding to media questions during an Oct. 19 press conference, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx explained that law...
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