Ahead of Independence Day, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a safety reminder for drone operators. "As you celebrate the Independence Day holiday, keep safety in mind. Know the aviation safety rules while flying your drones and celebrating the 4th."
The Tampa Bay Times highlights a new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine that states safety regulators are hindering the spread of commericial drones by being too cautious about the risks. "The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine said in a report Monday that federal safety regulators need to balance the overall benefits of drones instead of treating them the same way that they oversee airliners. Academy experts said in a strongly worded report that the Federal Aviation Administration tilts against proposals for commercial uses of unmanned aircraft without considering their potential to reduce other risks and save lives. For example, they said, when drones are used to inspect cell-phone towers, it reduces the risk of making workers climb up the towers. The study on the FAA's work on integrating drones into the nation's airspace was requested by Congress last year."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is hosting a summer webinar series to help drone operators submit waiver requests for an operational waiver. "During the webinars, FAA experts will address the waiver application process, when to apply for a waiver, common waiver requests, common waiver application mistakes, as well as risk management, hazard recognition, risk analysis and assessment. Each webinar is live – ask FAA experts your most pressing waiver questions!"
The Local Denmark details how a drone played a "decisive" role in combating a violent fire. "Without the drone, firefighters would have been unable to spot the heat coming from the area until smoke and fire began to escape, Hansen explained. 80 firefighters and 20 fire engines were involved in the response to the fire, Ritzau reports. The drone, which has specialist optical and thermal cameras, is put to use around once every month, according to the fire chief. As well as in firefighting, it is also used in police searches as well as at sea, for example if an oil leak is suspected."
TIME has published a special report on the impact of drone technology. "These consumer drones can fly vertically, like helicopters, and are similar to remote-controlled airplanes but with more sophisticated technology such as GPS, wi-fi and obstacle-avoidance sensors. They’re being used by tech-savvy farmers to monitor and spray crops, by researchers to measure environmental pollution and by Hollywood studios to capture action-packed footage for blockbuster movies. Drones are even saving lives, as first responders in places like Menlo Park, Calif., use them to coordinate operations and search for missing hikers. (Sixty-five people have been rescued by drones, by one estimate.) And of course, drones are being flown by hundreds of thousands of amateurs, who use them for everything from taking vacation photos to buzzing around their local park."
Discover Magazine published a story on a drone rescue near the Kilauea lava flows in Hawaii. "The USGS team was able to find the resident with the drone and have them follow it out of the lava flows and vegetation to safety. Think about that: A drone used to map the flows then used that data to help guide a resident from the hazard zone! Not only that, but the drone was able to send real-time images and video of the lava flows to emergency responders to help them more efficiently help residents and know where to send people as the evacuation progressed."