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Reports of an increase in near collision incidents around the country

Federal Aviation Administration reports reveal a steady expansion in drone operations near aircraft, and around major airport.
The report covers a span of four years between 2014 to 2018 and discloses that there were 95 reported drone sightings in the Las Vegas area alone.
The FAA has said the quantity of drone sightings reported to the authorities is projected to double in 2019 compared to the previous calendar year.
If a pilot can see a drone from the cockpit then it is too closely operating near aircraft and certainly in a range of creating a very dangerous conditions for the aircraft, both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft.
If a drone is sucked into the main  rotor or tail rotor blades of a helicopter the effect are catastrophic.  If it is sucked into one of the  intake of a jet engine, it can flame out the engine and have devastating effects and consequences especially when the aircraft is taking off or landing.
There have been numerous reports by pilots of near-collisions with UAV’s operating with a less than 5 kilometers distance from aircraft as required by FAA.
The FAA spokesman further said that drone pilot schooling is only a part of the solution and advanced collision avoidance technology is needed on all aircraft to assist identifying rogue drone operators which are increasing at a an alarming rate.
NASA is also investigating a procedure to track drones from the air and the new devices could possibly be rolled out by 2019.   Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University is also working on a system that can track drones and their activities near airport.   The system works by sensors mounted on roof tops that track UAV’s and monitors their activity until it leave the 1 kilometer distance from the restricted area.
Such technology can greatly increase the safety of aircraft around airport where such accidents could occur.

Drones and Agriculture

To improve food efficacy for the long run, improved plant counts, checking overall well being and damage assessment and general health conditions even  losses from disasters, drones have been used to do the job with great efficiency.  Drones can be used for taking a vertical aerial photograph of an area which can be useful in detecting over use of plant watering,  plant damage from insects and general plant health along with collecting other data necessary for efficient production.
High productivity is essential for farming success.   Farmers have to count on timely and accurate information which may be easily and cost efficiently provided by drones that detect, monitor and record such conditions.
Drones can measure plant life, supply data for educated decisions making and more efficient farming techniques.   Pollinating crops and appraising harvests well being and general health are just some of the things being done by today’s agricultural drones.  This is the future of farming that can help assure food security for the world and assure a continued supply for generations to come.
This technology is now in use where large areas of land are used for farming,  such as Canada and Brazil and United States.
Monitoring of the spread of a disease is crucial to prevent spreading and devastation of the crop.   Drones can provide a valuable service including  planting of seeds, even spreading of pesticides.  These technologies are already being implemented in developing countries that provide food to the world and assist farmers carryout  more cost effective operations.   These technologies are used together with artificial intelligence and the internet.  Welcome to the future!

Dilithium Crystals to Power Drones like the Starship Enterprise.

The sort of dilithium crystal installation that powered the Star Ship Enterprise  is perhaps not that far away.   Lasers happen to be considered potential solutions for beaming electricity straight to drones,  by focusing on their power cells affixed to the aircraft.  The US military’s  separate research teams are investigating the concept.
The craft could operate without any batteries whatsoever, assuming they run along a system of  electricity relaying lasers aimed through GPS based monitoring systems.  The aircraft could have  backup  batteries on board having enough capability to safely land if needed.

Thanks to the help from diamonds the future is now.
The caliber of this type of laser beam and therefore its ability to present consistent and strong enough light to drones tends to weaken with distance.   Researchers  thinks their solution may be a similar concept as the dilithium crystals that power the Star Ship Enterprise of Star Trek fame.
A Laser beam maintains its integrity within much longer ranges and  with the use of ground based networks .  The diamond enhances  the electrical  sources and sends the  drones flying amazing distances, and without having to waste its energy capability by hauling  batteries.
Exactly the very same technology could also be employed to beam energy and data.   Diamonds,  are great heat conductors and transparent to light.  They could have a top quality laser beam that creates a lot of warmth, and exudes that warmth, enabling more power to pass through.
Satellites orbiting at up to 700 kilometers could  virtually produce a column of light with exceptionally minimal divergence. A laser ray’s tendency to distribute and weaken as it gets further from its source has always been a problem.  However , the laser light itself would nonetheless be harmless to those that might look to it or intersect its ray.
Drones have arrived in the  US airspace, and now they are multiplying.   By 2022  it is estimated that  700,000 of these  unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could function as stated by the FAA, delivering packages, observation traffic, surveying , aerial imagery and filling additional yet to be discovered markets.  To do that they will probably need enough power to spin its rotors and run its own on board detectors and sensors.   Most will get it done with on board batteries.
Today’s  advanced laser technology is more robust enough for anyone’s power requirements.  Even laser pointers with only 5 watts can be enough to power a drone nearby.  The issue is,  the fact that solar cells mounted onto a drone would want to be small enough to function and power the drone and still be useful enough without undermining the drone’s mission.

A professor at Stanford University, states that they have developed an artificial diamond that can help.  At LakeDiamond , CEO Pascal Gallo says, that the Organization’s lab -created such a diamond and, if the Swiss company has its own way,  drone’s could stay aloft indefinitely.   Lake Diamond’s gemstones are purer than natural diamonds along with formulations  within their fascia.  It is made by recycled carbon atoms in a crystalline pattern they are etched with a grating onto the face that produces a mirrored effect that determines the width of the beam. The existing test system that the company has made uses a 1.554 micrometer laser to supply 4 watts of power, the equivalent of 10,000 laser pointers.   It can power little hands sized drones large enough to transport camera system to get extended amounts of time at distances of up to ten meters. The next step, would be one hundred watts of electrical power to cover up to 100 meters, something  they expect to attain within the next year.

Drones Violating Airspace

Experts say it’s projected that drone violations occur in controlled  airspace which violate FAA regulations at the rate of 4-5 per day over the US controlled airspace.   FAA said that the drone  in Las Vegas was likely breaking numerous FAA rules in highly restricted air space.  Presently there is about a half a mile radius distance around the Las Vegas airport which is designated as a ” no-fly” zone for drones.   It is irrelevant if you ask permission for a drone flight within that area from the local air traffic  control tower   because you will  not be allowed so near to the runway threshold at end  of the final approach end of the runway and especially if its so close to the congested  Vegas Strip.   A Drone Company helicopter spokesperson declined to speak about the sighting.   The air traffic controller at the Vegas tower immediately asked the sighting helicopter pilot additional questions, according to radio transmissions.   The Air traffic controller radio transmissions revealed that  a  Robinson 44  tour flight helicopter pilot observed a drone flying under his aircraft around 5:00 p.m Tuesday evening with about  400-500 foot clearance.   This is the time for rush hour traffic  on the ground and it is believed the drone was taking video or photos of the traffic below.  This is also the the most active time for helicopter sightseeing  tour operators in that area.  Because the area is heavily congested with ground  traffic and tour helicopters frequently use that same flying  corridor above Interstate 15 to make a final approach into Las Vegas’s  International Airport.
An FAA  official confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into the incident such as these and could not give additional information regarding this e incident since it was under investigation.    Drones have come under attack in the Las Vegas area  recently as this year  since a Boeing 737 passenger airplane came dangerously close to a drone on final approach into the Las Vegas International Airport.

Power Plant Aerial Inspections

Aerial Inspections of Power Plant

Small unmanned aircraft are helping to assess power plant reactors and other industrial complex buildings. The work is completed in just 2 days, giving high-quality high resolution video feed data which saves the company hundreds of hours in manpower when done manually.   Energy companies are using the  newest state of the art technological advances  to provide safety and decrease the  cost of operations for their clients with aerial drones that survey ,inspect and can deliver these inspections. With the capability  to deliver real time, high-resolution images and videos, the drones are providing better quality data feeds and helping  security do a better job of securing such high profile sites.
Industry  has started using drones several years ago to survey and  they fly a drone  and do aerial , exterior and even interior inspections at very low altitude.

Commercial Power company operations have been using drones to inspect turbines, gas lines, power lines, and  substations., and even large scale mapping.  They  partner with the FAA to operated their unmanned aircraft for the utility industry nationwide.   Energy Companies realize that the  savings and safety greatly benefits the ground crews that used a drone to inspect dangerous structures such as uneven cooling towers.  The average the inspections require a crane or low flying aircraft  and requires weekly inspections. By eliminating the crane, scaffolding and other climbing equipment the inspectors don’t have to climb up dangerous areas and keeps the crew safely on the ground which greatly improves their safety.   These advantages save thousands of dollars in insurance costs.  The industry is always looking for  new ways  to improve plant operations and inspections and helping people reach higher levels of excellence that drives down the costs.    An Energy Company in Orlando Florida  has announced it is the first utility company in the nation to use drones beyond the line of sight  of the operator for power line inspections. These drone aerial photo flights are now also taking place in Florida and soon corporation will operate drones remotely to conduct inspections of power lines in other states.

Construction Progress Drone Photography

Construction site managers  often use aerial photography specialists for  construction progress drone photography to save time and money by capturing an oblique aerial photography from all points of the compass around a construction site providing digital imagery, or aerial maps, in 3 dimensional formats in high resolution  4K color video that can be shared in real time or sent electronically within anywhere around the world in minutes.  Construction site aerial photography is now the norm for most construction companies, and developer

Drones reduce travel time for construction personnel by providing information about what’s going on to other team members like the safety team, the cost control team, and design team and to other who  contribute to the success of the project. Drones can share data without actually going to the job site.

They can improve safety. In the days before drones, for example, measuring the roof of a house for solar panels or roof replacement would require a workman to climb up to the roof with a measuring tape, which often produced inaccuracy and lots of danger to the worker if the roof had a high roof pitch or multiple stories high structure.

Such dangers are magnified on a construction site of skyscrapers and other large structures.  In the old days  workers seeking access to the exterior of a high rise would be lowered over the side in a swing platform that was lowered from the roof and hung from cables.  These swing platforms are unstable, awkward and very dangerous in windy conditions.

Falling off of roofs  made up about one third of  deaths in the construction industry in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That number is drastically  reduced by the deployment of drones for quality control inspections, observation, and similar missions.

Drones are also used to check the quality of steel connections in a bridges, under the structure, above and on the side and other awkward locations, sometimes difficult for workers to get to.

Drones help building planners decide where to situate new building structure. At a 89 room hotel building in downtown Tampa FL  the developer deploys a little drone to the exact height and location of a planned fifth floor terrace to help decide how best to take advantage of the view.

Monthly progress reports can be provided in video or still photo updates. Flying the drone down the  same routes on construction developments sites shows the entire property as the project progresses.

Drone drops from Sky and FAA Drone operating rules

In a recent internet post we noticed a drone was conducting an inspection of a tall building’s window.   Apparently this inspection was in a big city amidst high rise buildings with high pedestrian street traffic. (This operation over a populated  area was already an  FAA violation which specifically states:   “You currently cannot fly a small UAS over anyone not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, or not inside a covered stationary vehicle” .

Also this flight was being conducted between tall buildings.  DJI Drones have satellite GPS guidance and loss of signal from obstructions is common.  But a total loss of signal is not.  Needless to say one should keep the  GPS signal strong enough to avoid this from happening.   It also appears this operator did not have his drone set on GPS Auto P Mode but rather may have had it on a Manual  setting which explains why the drone drifted and crashed into the side of the building.  Gusts of strong wind currents are common between tall city buildings and can easily push around a small drone under windy gusty conditions.  Rarely are there zero wind conditions amonst downtown buildings.    FAA also recommends drones not fly in winds greater than 10 mph.  A wind gust can easily reach 28 mph suddenly and is  enough to slam it into a building if its not on Auto GPS mode.

Here are the FAA Operating Rules for Drones:

  • When you are manipulating the controls of a drone, always avoid manned aircraft.  Nowadays, DJI has firmware that won’t even allow you to start the drone in a vacinity of an airport.
  • Never operate in a careless or reckless manner.
  • You must keep your drone within sight.  Alternatively, if you use First Person View( an smart phone or tablet to view what the drone sees, you must have a visual observer always keep your aircraft within unaided sight (for example, no binoculars).
  • Neither you nor a visual observer can be responsible for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at a time.
  • You can fly during daylight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) or in twilight with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • Minimum weather visibility is three miles from your control station.
  • The maximum allowable altitude is 400 feet above the ground, higher if your drone remains within 400 feet of a structure.
  • Maximum speed is 100 mph (87 knots).
  • You currently cannot fly a small UAS over anyone not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, or not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • No operations from a moving vehicle are allowed unless you are flying over a sparsely populated area.
  • You can carry an external load if it is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controlability of the aircraft.
  • You also may transport property for compensation or hire within state boundaries provided the drone, including its attached systems, payload and cargo, weighs less than 55 pounds total and you obey the other flight rules. (Some exceptions apply to Hawaii and the District of Columbia.)
  • You can request a waiver of most restrictions if you can show your operation will provide a level of safety at least equivalent to the restriction from which you want the waiver.

See the drone drop from sky.  Click here.

Drone video of devastating fire

This drone video was uploaded by the Sacramento Bee newspaper  and shows the devastation caused by the Carr fire which plowed  through Shasta County and is similar to one posted after last year’s firestorm which roared through Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood and other parts of Sonoma County and surrounding areas.   The Bee’s video by Randall Benton, posted Aug. 4, shows the town of Keswick and a nearby neighborhood that was destroyed by the wildfire.    Click to see here   the VIDEO: Devastated Coffey Park neighborhood as seen from the air.    Several comments on the video refer to last year’s fatal firestorm, that killed a total of 44 people in Northern California and destroyed more than 6,400 homes.    As of Aug. 13, the Carr fire has burned more than 202,000 acres, destroyed 1,077 residences and killed at least seven people.