Welcome To Above The Fray Aerials

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Photo Of The Day 10.25.16

University Of Maine To Offer sUAV Course

UMA To Offer Maine’s First Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) Course In University Setting







” Is Maine poised to become the training hub for an ever expanding $82 billion industry with business, first responder, and military applications?

  It will when plans unfolding at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) take shape. The first step is already in place.

  President James F. Conneely and officials in the Aviation program have announced that in October, UMA will be the first institution of higher learning in Maine to offer an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or “drone” course. Scheduled to begin on October 27 at the Augusta campus, the 7 week intensive UAV course will offer a path for individuals to seek an FAA remote pilot’s license. Registration information is available online at www.uma.edu or call 1-877-UMA-1234.

  The non-credit course will serve both licensed pilots and non-pilots alike, with enrollment open to the general public. Planning is underway for the UMA Aviation program to offer a comprehensive series of UAV courses, preparing graduates to successfully sit for the FAA exams required to work as a professional UAV pilot. Starting salaries for pilots holding commercial FAA licenses and this remote pilot certificate can exceed $100K-a-year.”



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Photo Of The Day 10.24.16

Camera Drones Banned In Sweden

Sweden Bans Flying Camera Drones In Public Places





” In a huge blow to the aerial photography and camera drone industry in Sweden, the country’s highest court has ruled that it is illegal to fly camera drones in public places because they qualify as surveillance cameras.

  The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled yesterday that cameras mounted on drones require a permit under camera surveillance laws. At the same time, the justices decided that dash cams or cameras mounted on bicycle handlebars are not surveillance cameras (because they’re operated in the owner’s immediate vicinity) so they won’t require a permit.”






” If you wish to use a camera drone in a public place now, you’ll need to pay a hefty fee to apply for a permit. County administrators will then decide whether your use of the “surveillance camera” provides a legitimate benefit that outweighs public privacy. If not, your request to fly will be shot down.

  Basically, aerial photographers will now need to go through the same process as someone wishing to set up a surveillance camera in a public location.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.23.16

AMA Offers Part 107 Ground School To Members

Academy Of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Now Offering 107 Remote Pilot Test Preparation Through UAV Ground School


UAVGS and AMA Logo / UAVGS & AMA Logos (PRNewsFoto/UAV Ground School)


” The Academy of Model Aeronautics serves as the nation’s collective voice for approximately 195,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in the US and Puerto Rico. Recently appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), the AMA is the only community-based organization acknowledged by the FAA. AMA members have a strong safety record due to well-established safety guidelines and educational programs. The partnership with UAV Ground School offers Academy members a $75 discount towards FAA Part 107 test preparation and expands on the Academy’s long-standing safety and educational efforts. 

  The UAV Ground School program (UAVGS) is produced by the nation’s pilot education leader Gold Seal, who has prepared over 45,000 private pilots for their FAA Knowledge Test. UAVGroundschool.com is a program taught by FAA certified instructors and uses FAA compliant materials that are presented in an online, interactive, multimedia format allowing students to learn at their own pace. Built-in testing with real FAA test questions, an extensive documentation library, and flash card quizzes complement the program.  The program is created specifically for those wanting to increase their knowledge, become a professional UAV/drone operator and wishing to gain full FAA certification. In the months of August thru October 2016, UAVGS student registrations have approached the 3,000 mark.

  UAV Ground School graduates may sit for the FAA Remote Operator Knowledge Test at any FAA testing center in the United States. Passing the FAA Knowledge Test and becoming a legal and safe operator gives graduates a major leg up as commercial UAV uses continue to explode.”



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Photo Of The Day 10.22.16

A Review Of Autel Robotics’ X-Star Premium

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium 4K Camera Drone Review




” The X-Star Premium is similar in price and features to such camera drones as the Phantom 3 Professional, Yuneec Q500, or Walkera QR X350 Premium. I got a chance to review Bob’s new X-Star when he recently purchased it and brought it to the field to try it out. I thought you might want to get a look at it as well. Enjoy!

The X‑Star Premium is a sophisticated yet amazingly easy-to-fly quadcopter, designed for superb aerial imagery. The 4K camera, integrated with a 3-axis stabilized gimbal, can record crystal clear Ultra HD videos or take 12 MP photos. An intelligent flight control system and autopilot functions power the quadcopter. It stays safe with precision positioning via dual satellite navigation and our Starpoint Positioning System.

Breathtaking scenes deserve to be captured at a world-class quality. That’s why X‑Star Premium is equipped with a 4K Ultra HD camera that has 108 degree FOV. Take video at 4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120, or 720p240 and take 12mp photographs. View the world from above in wide-angle perspective, vivid color, and stunning clarity. “


Orange X-Star


Max. Take-off Weight 3.52 lbs (1.6 kg)
Hover Precision Horizontal: ±6.5 ft; (±2 m); Vertical: ±3.2 ft (±1 m)
Max. Yaw Rate 150°/s
Max. Inclination Angle GPS Mode: 20°; ATTI Mode: 30°
Max. Ascent/Descent Speed Ascent: 13.4 mph (6 m/s); Descent: 6.7 mph (3 m/s)
Max. Horizontal Speed 35 mph (16 m/s)
Diagonal Wheelbase 13.8″ (352 mm)
Propeller Size 9.4″ x 5.5″
Video Link Frequency 902 MHz~928 MHz
Receiver Frequency 5.727 GHz~5.8 GHz
Flight Modes GPS · ATTI · IOC
Weight (Battery & Propellers included) 3.13 lbs (1.42 kg)

Still Photography Modes 12 mp Single shot, Bursts, AEB, Bracketed frames, Time-lapse
Video Recording Modes 4K Ultra HD plus QHD, FHD, HD, and Superview settings
Max Frame Rates 4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120, 720p240
Max Field of View 108°
Supported SD Card Types Micro-SD, 4 GB – 64 GB, Class 10 or UHS-1
File Formats FAT32/exFAT, Photo: JPG/DNG/JPG+DNG, Video: MOV/MP4

Rechargeable Li-Po Battery
Capacity 4900 mAh
Battery Voltage Charging 14.8 V
Flight Time Up to 25 minutes

Operating Frequency (RF Receiver) 5.727 GHz ~ 5.8 GHz
Video Link Frequency 902 MHz ~ 928 MHz
Max Control and Video Transmission Distance FCC: 1.2 miles (2000 m)
Transmission Power (EIRP) RF- FCC: 125 mW
Operating Current/Voltage 400 mA / 3.7 V (App disconnected)
1400 mA / 3.7 V (App connected)
Battery 6000 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
Power Consumption 5.2 W
Weight (battery included) 1.85 lbs (840 g)”



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Photo Of The Day 10.21.16

A Bird's-Eye: Nature Trail - David's Lane , East Hampton , NY

A Bird’s-Eye: Nature Trail – David’s Lane , East Hampton , NY

Introducing The Hover “Passport” Selfie Drone

Hands On With Hover’s Self-Flying Camera Drone, Which Launches Today






” A year or so ago a new type of drone hit the (preorder) market. It was the self-flying camera drone – a device that promised to combine camera and AI technology to create a drone that you could essentially throw in the air to follow you around and take photos and videos.

  Some of these drones include Snap, Lily, Staaker and Hover. Most of these companies have raised tens of millions of dollars in either equity or preorders, but have taken a while to actually ship a product.

  But today Hover is announcing that its first camera drone – named Passport – is going on sale today for $549 – a $50 discount on its eventual retail price of $599. We had a chance to try out Passport over the last week or so and were very impressed.”



Image result for Hover Passport



” But of course Hover isn’t a full-featured drone like DJI’s Inspire or Phantom. While it does shoot 4K video and have a 13MP camera, it’s meant to be more of a close-up camera or tripod – not a true arial camera. The WiFi connection will drop when it gets about 60 feet away from you, and it’s just not meant to fly that high. The WiFi connection did drop once or twice on me, but this was before I even asked the company what the limit was – so it was definitely occurring when I was pushing past that 60 feet boundary. But when the connection drops the drone will just hover in place so you can walk closer and reconnect the WiFi.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.20.16

CAA And VisitEngland Present ‘400ft Britain’ – A Photo/Video Contest Promoting Drone Safety

Drone’s Eye View – CAA And VisitEngland Launch ‘400ft Britain’





” Today sees the launch of ‘400ft Britain’, a drone photography and videography competition hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in partnership with VisitEngland to educate people about using drones safely while celebrating the UK’s beautiful countryside and supported by leading aviation players.

  The competition is aimed at images of the countryside as drone flyers need to observe the UK Drone laws which prohibit flight over congested areas or within 50 metres of a person or building.

  The competition runs until 31 January 2017, giving new droners the chance to hone their skills before setting outdoors to capture something uniquely, beautifully British. With autumn just breaking and winter on its way, the CAA and VisitEngland expect some stunning imagery to be submitted through the simple hashtag #400ftBritain either via Twitter or Instagram.

  Entries will be hosted at www.400ftBritain.com throughout the course of the competition, with winners picked in February 2017, and an exhibition planned for the New Year to showcase the very best submissions, before the UK’s first official ‘Drone Photographer and Videographer of the Year’ are both announced. The winners will be picked by a panel of photography experts and will win an exclusive Phantom Flight School drone holiday.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.19.16

A Bird's-Eye: Sierra Boat Company - Carnelian Bay , Lake Tahoe , CA

A Bird’s-Eye: Sierra Boat Company – Carnelian Bay , Lake Tahoe , CA

Check Out “In The Robot Skies” , The First Film Shot Entirely With Drones

An Amazing First In Film: The Motion Picture Shot Entirely With Drones




” It’s no surprise that a movie shot entirely by drones has surveillance as the main topic: even though hobbyists love to use drones to grab images for many different purposes, many can’t deny that part of the stealth appeal of drones is their ability to peer into people’s lives.

  In the Robot Skies is said to be the first work of fiction shot completely by pre-programmed flight UAVS, and it raises a lot of questions about society and urban planning.

  Achieved architect Liam Young is the man at the helm of this pinnacle film, which premieres these days at the London Film Festival. The film is set within the throngs of a total police state, where the drones gathering footage are truly the main characters governing the story.”



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Photo Of The Day 10.18.16

QinetiQ And CAA To Crash Drones Into Airliners

Drones Will Be Crashed Into Passenger Jets In Mid-Air To Test Safety

Image result for drones vs airliners



” Drones will be deliberately smashed into passenger jets as part of a radical testing programme triggered by fears of a catastrophe in British skies.

  Ministers ordered the tests after a series of near misses, some near major airports.

  They have committed more than £250,000 to pay for a private study of what would happen if a drone struck a window or the fuselage of a plane.

  The secretive tests were ordered by the Department for Transport, in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Ministry of Defense.

  They are being carried out by QinetiQ, whose experts have the run of 5,000 square miles of restricted airspace in Snowdonia, Wales.

  The move is in response to growing concerns from pilots that drones, which contain heavy lithium batteries, could pierce a plane windscreen.

  It comes as the Department for Transport prepares to finally publish a long-awaited consultation on the future of drones.

  The number in the skies has spiralled in recent years amid a growing clamour for their use in industry as well as leisure and photography.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.17.16

The Drone Girl Shares Her Part 107 Knowledge Test Experience

I Passed The FAA Part 107 Test! Here’s What It’s Like (And How I Studied)





” This week I am super excited because I now have my remote pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. I wanted to tell you a little bit about my experience, how I studied, and what to expect.

  I took the test in Oakland, Calfornia at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. There are nearly 700 FAA-approved testing centers around the U.S.!

  While most testing centers do take walk-ins, it’s best if you call ahead. The FAA has designated two private companies to administer the test— either Computer Assisted Testing Service (also known as cats) or PSI / LaserGrade Computer Testing. I chose LaserGrade just because it’s the closest to where I live.

  Call the testing center, where you should be prepared to select your test date, tell them which location you want, and have your credit card on hand to take the test. It does cost $150, which goes to the testing facility.

  Then, bring ID. You need to bring proof of residency, so if you still haven’t updated your driver’s license address from your parent’s house (like me), then make sure you bring a water or electricity bill to prove your current address.

  They’ll provide you with a pen, scratch paper and calculator, but if you would rather bring your own approved calculator, you’re allowed to do that. You’re even allowed to bring in your own magnifying class!

  I showed up on test day, and everyone was super nice! I had to wait a bit for them to set up, and then was walked into the testing room.”


Read more about Sally’s experience here . Her experience was remarkably similar to mine .

Photo Of The Day 10.16.16

Man Uses Ushahidi And Drones To Create “Crisis Maps” Of Disasters

When Disaster Strikes, He Creates A ‘Crisis Map’ That Helps Save Lives




” Back in January 2010, Patrick Meier, a Ph.D. student in international relations at Tufts University, was checking email at home, with CNN on in the background, when he was jolted by a breaking news alert. An earthquake had struck Haiti, and tens of thousands were feared dead.

” I froze,” he says. “Just paralyzed.”

  His girlfriend, Christine Martin, a fellow student whom he wanted to marry, was doing research in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Meier tried everything he could think of – phone calls, social media, Skype, text messages – to get in touch with her or anyone else who might know if she was safe, but couldn’t get a response.

” It was one of those life and death moments when everything stops,” he recalls, “and you know this moment will define what trajectory the rest of your life takes. Either the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with is no longer there, and that’s completely changing my life. Or the person is safe and alive, and will come home and I’ll get to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her.”

  Sitting around and waiting wasn’t an option. “I’m going to go crazy if I don’t do something,” he remembers thinking.

  What Meier decided to do was create a map – a real-time, constantly updated, online map of the earthquake damage that could be shared widely to help aid efforts.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.15.16

InVisage Technologies Unveils The Latest In Drone Obstacle Avoidance

Quantum Film Sensor Stops Delivery Drones Crashing Into Things




” A sensor due for launch early next year allows small drones to sense and avoid obstacles with the aid of quantum film.

  The drone revolution could see fleets of uncrewed aerial vehicles crisscrossing cities delivering pizza, cleaning windows and inspecting infrastructure. But this will only be possible if they can avoid trees, buildings and other hazards autonomously while flying at speed.

  InVisage Technologies of Menlo Park, California, has built a low-cost sensor that can rapidly detect obstacles up to 20 metres away, using a technique called structured light. The SML-20 projects laser dots that are distorted by any object they strike, allowing the sensor to infer the location and distance of obstacles ahead.”



Image result for InVisage Technologies



” Previous structured-light sensors have not worked well in daylight. Like the spot from a flashlight, the projected pattern is lost in the background glare, and a laser bright enough to be detected in full sunlight would not be safe for human eyes.

  The new sensor solves the problem by using an infrared pulsed laser, which operates at a wavelength at which water vapour absorbs most sunlight before it reaches ground level, reducing the glare.”



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Photo Of The Day 10.14.16

3D Printed Exoskeleton Turns Phantom 4 Into S&R Drone

Turn A DJI Phantom 4 Into A Search & Rescue Drone With The EXO 1 Exoskeleton



EXO 1 -  Search & Rescue Exoskeleton - Frame 3d printed View 1





” The DJI is a fantastic all-purpose drone, but with the EXO 1 exoskeleton, it becomes a dedicated search and rescue tool. The 3D-printed add-on quickly attaches to the drone and adds a host of features key to making the drone a valuable tool for first responders.

  There are GoPro mounting points at various locations around the exoskeleton that can be used for cameras, lights and any number of the various devices and accessories that have adopted the mounting design. Plastic zip-ties are used to connect the kit to the drone.

  The designer points out that the mounting points work well with Knog Qudos lights because of their small, but powerful, lights and GoPro mounting ports.”



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Photo Of The Day 10.13.16

How A Drone And Twitter Helped Rescue NC Man & Dog Trapped By Hurricane Floodwaters

2 Strangers And A Drone Help Rescue Veteran Trapped By N.C. Flooding




” In this unlikely tale, two strangers and a drone played crucial roles in rescuing a man trapped in his flooded home in Hope Mills, N.C.

  Drone photographer Quavas Hart decided to take his drone out on Sunday to capture images of some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.”



This image of flooded homes in Hope Mills, N.C., prompted a dramatic rescue.

Image by Quavas Hart



” ” I happened to come across this neighborhood that was completely submerged in water,” Hart tells The Two-Way. He posted a picture on Twitter showing the dramatic scene of a cul-de-sac with floodwaters up to the eaves of the roofs.

  As it turned out, Navy veteran Chris Williams and his elderly dog Lana were trapped in the house with one blue shutter to the right of the picture.”


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Photo Of The Day 10.12.16

Intel Enters The Commercial Drone Market

Intel Announces Commercial Drone: Intel Falcon 8+ System


Image result for Intel Falcon 8+ Drone

” In the past few months, Intel has been hard at work in the drone space announcing the first consumer drone, the Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel® RealSense technology for intelligent obstacle navigation, and the Intel Aero Platform, a platform for developers to build their own drones from the ground up.

  Intel is also extending our innovation – with our Drone 100 light shows and through enabling a Volocopter with our drone technology. We’ve quickly accelerated our efforts to develop new drone technologies. Although our technology has already touched drone enthusiasts, developers and global businesses, we look to achieve even more.

  Intel is focused on continuing to create innovative new technologies and to lead in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) segment – especially in the commercial space.”



Image result for Intel Falcon 8+ Drone



” In the commercial UAV industry, the AscTec® Falcon 8 drone is available in the market and continues to be the leading platform for this segment. The Falcon 8 offers the best performance and weight-to-payload ratio in the entire market; the highest stability in harsh conditions; easily exchangeable and deeply integrated payloads; best-in-class safety, including unmatched robustness against magnetic field disturbances; high-precision GPS; and one of the world’s largest drone reseller and support networks to properly support your drone business and daily operations.


    Today, at the 2016 INTERGEO drone conference in Hamburg, Germany, we are building on the AscTec Falcon 8 system and announcing the release of the Intel Falcon 8+ for North American markets. This advanced system includes the Intel Falcon 8+ UAV, Intel Cockpit for ground control, as well as the Intel Powerpack to power the UAV. The Intel Falcon 8+ is our first Intel-branded commercial drone.”



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