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The FAA Just Approved US's First Commercial Drone

First Commercial Drone Flight Issued by FAA

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BP Secures Permission to Fly Drones

Whether the FAA has legal rights to govern Drones or not, they are making deals and oil company BP of all people are the first to get permission from the FAA to fly them. AeroVironment, contracted with BP and flew their first commercial flight under this permission on Sunday to patrol BP's pipelines in Alaska.

Only time will tell what this means to the vast numbers of enthusiasts who are already using drones commercially or want to. It's clear the FAA intends to govern the use of small UAV's in US Airspace. We'll let the politicians sort out those jurisdictional issues with waiting ears.

See the full story at USA Today

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Old Jun 12, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
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The aircraft used for the 1st FAA approved commercial drone flight was an RQ-20A Puma. This confirms what us little guys have been fearing: you gotta pay to play. In this case, you'll need a battle tested UAV from a company with multi-million dollar defense contract(s). None of us can say for sure what the final rules will be for operating in the NAS, but the will not favor anyone using hobby-grade platforms.

And you can be assured that in the eyes of the FAA, even a $10,000 Octo flying a Red will be considered "hobby grade".
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Old Jun 12, 2014, 04:01 PM
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United States, TN, Clarksville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn View Post
The aircraft used for the 1st FAA approved commercial drone flight was an RQ-20A Puma. This confirms what us little guys have been fearing: you gotta pay to play. In this case, you'll need a battle tested UAV from a company with multi-million dollar defense contract(s). None of us can say for sure what the final rules will be for operating in the NAS, but the will not favor anyone using hobby-grade platforms.

And you can be assured that in the eyes of the FAA, even a $10,000 Octo flying a Red will be considered "hobby grade".
+1
It's sad but so true!
I might have to move out of the US soon
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Old Jun 12, 2014, 11:54 PM
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I'm pretty sure they've stated all along that BLOS operations would be highly restricted but I think they will make room for those with 10k octos and REDs, so long as it's within LOS.
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 12:34 AM
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As I said in that USA Today story, this approval was premised on using surplus military hardware and is not reflective of the future rules. Congress specifically demanded Alaska operations in the 2012 Act.
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Interesting.... Wonder what frequencies they are allowed to operate on?
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Yes, that's a real issue. I did hear from someone I won't name at AUVSI that it's an issue because the default hardware uses restricted military spectrum (of course). So they need to modify the radios and then approve the modification. I think.
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Old Jun 14, 2014, 05:31 PM
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edit....corrected
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 07:28 PM
buyer of the farm
United States, FL, DeLand
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We need to quit calling them drones. The military does not like their UAVs being called drones because they want to stress that every one of them has a pilot in the loop. These are piloted vehicles with a pilot in the loop who does not happen to be in the cockpit. In military history the term drone is confined to towed gunnery targets for anti-aircraft gunners.

In the commercial realm, the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) hates the term drone. They prefer the term UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), which they use exclusively.

The FAA hates the term drone, as it implies no intelligent control possible and possible military association. They also use the term UAS.

Hobbyists hate the term drone. Emphasizing personal control of the aircraft, we call it first person view or FPV, relating to the primary appeal of the system to our hobby.

"Drone" is an outdated term, originally used for towed AA targets, conveying entirely negative connotations which have nothing to do with any of the craft used by any entity flying them today. When you call something a drone, you are using a pejorative term like "kike" or "wop" or "redskin"....you may continue at your leisure. That the news media chooses to use a pejorative term to refer to our aircraft means nothing other than to point out their unfittedness to report that news, which we already knew. They stopped gathering news long ago and simply gossip today.

No matter. We should refuse to participate. If homosexual people can popularize the semi-ridiculous term "gay," and they did and it is an accepted part of the language today (just try saying gay in a pejorative sense. Ridiculous certainly does not mean it wasn't an ingenious choice) then we must seize the language for our own and only use a non-pejorative term for our craft. UAS or UAV are the best we have right now. Let's use 'em!

I am especially disappointed that staff of RCG in a signed "news" article, would use a pejorative term to refer to our aircraft. Especially since RCG is the #1 website by miles dedicated to the promotion and support of the RC hobby! Call me a "kraut" if you wish. That's relatively harmless. But call our UAS "drones" and you drive a stake into the heart of our hobby. It's just as unprofessional as our "news media." Stop that!
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 07:48 PM
buyer of the farm
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dupe. Original post vanished and reappeared. Magic!
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 07:58 PM
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1. Popular terminology for a device is not the same as a racial slur. Not even close.
2. Too late.
3. We can expand public imagination about what "drones" can do. Jeff Bezos did it last year. You seemed to be saying that in your penultimate paragraph, then went back to suggesting we can control language by refusing to use common terminology (we can't).
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 08:05 PM
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Pejorative terms often are part of the popular language. Wasn't long ago that we had a popular term thoughtlessly used to refer to just about all dark skinned people. We did not surrender to popular usage but instead declared war on that term. It is nearly extinct today.

Yes, popular terminology for devices can be pejorative, as can place names. The county I live in was, until the 1920s, called Mosquito County. It had been called that since the early 1800's. Every person throughout the world, when referring to our county and inlet from the Atlantic Ocean referred to them as Mosquito County and Mosquito Inlet. Our governing officials seized control of the language, renaming them Ponce Inlet and Volusia County. Try a Google search for Mosquito Inlet today. Not only can we change the language, but we must. If homosexuals can do it against active resistance we can do it without the same level of prejudice directed toward us. It's important.

When we're in a conversation and somebody says "drone" we need to hijack the conversation for a second and say "you mean UAV. Our planes are not drones." When we are writing an article we need to use the terms UAS and UAV exclusively, as does the US military, the AUVSI and the FAA . Language is power.

The military agrees. UAVSI agrees. The FAA agrees. Why are you contrary?

We have an obligation to act in our own best interest.
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 09:11 PM
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Don't want to get to far off topic but I simply agree the word "drone" is incorrect AND has a negative connotation. We all should use something else..

Anyway, I think this is another step forward and in the right direction--regardless of the military grade plane and huge company application.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Media drives the use of the word "drone". Good luck.

I personally don't care what you call them, just let me fly them without any legal hassle - real or contrived.
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Old Jun 16, 2014, 01:14 PM
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While we are at it, please also stop referring to the United States Postal Service as "snail mail." It is offensive to our public servants. And don't call them servants either.
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