Avionics News December 2014 - 30
UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
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six aerial photo and video production companies - a
first step in allowing the film and television industry
regular use of unmanned aircraft systems. To maintain
the exemption, the companies must employ private pilots
to operate the unmanned aircraft, keep the UAS within
line of sight at all times, and restrict
flights to the set.
NIST's UAS, known as Super Bat, had been used for
wildfire research in central Texas. Now it was searching
for the missing woman. Archer
volunteered to assist the UAS
crew during the search.
"The UAS was launched
PLANNING FOR THE BOOM
autonomously from a catapult
Archer sees unmanned aircraft
and flew predefined routes for
systems as an inevitable part of our
30 to 45 minutes, taking many
national airspace system. At Galaxy
hundreds of high-resolution
Aviation, he has begun spooling
aerial photographs," Archer said.
up for the demand with plans to
"Pilot Gene Robinson landed it
create an FAA-approved TCAS-like
system for UAS. He is working on
Robinson, who conducts UAS
a partnership with a local university
search and rescue operations
to research and test the systems.
for RP Search Services, another
"We're in the process of
nonprofit organization focused on
developing an avionics solution
Gene Robinson of RP Search Services
finding missing individuals, used
to help UAVs with the sense
the UAS to scour open fields in a
and avoid issue," Archer said.
2-mile grid. Unfortunately, the photos didn't reveal any
"Navigation and communications are the biggest
clues to the missing woman's whereabouts, but it saved
challenges of integrating unmanned aircraft into our
law enforcement hundreds of man-hours - hours they
airspace. The vehicles and the pilots need to be able
were able to redirect to other areas of the search.
track and communicate with each other."
In September, UAS enthusiasts counted another major
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milestone. The FAA granted regulatory exemption to