Zacc Dukowitz

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  1. Recently U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao named Michael Chasen, the CEO of PrecisionHawk, the new chair of the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC is a broad-based committee that advises the FAA and other government officials on drone rules, with the aim of helping to identify challenges and prioritize ways to improve. The committee has representatives from a variety of stakeholders in the drone world, including private companies, government officials, and non-profit organizations. We wanted to sit down with Michael to hear more about what the DAC does, what he hopes to accomplish in his new role, and his vision of the future of the drone industry. Read the interview with him to hear what he had to say. Also, what do you think the DAC should be focusing on? Chime in here on this thread to share your thoughts.
  2. Last week the FAA announced that recreational drone pilots will now have to obtain prior authorization to fly in controlled airspace around airports. They also highlighted the upcoming release of a knowledge test for recreational drone pilots, although we still don't have a lot of information about what the test is going to look like. Read today's article to get our key takeaways from the announcement, and to learn more about the new prior authorization requirement for hobbyists.
  3. Less than a month after launching the biggest drone delivery network in the world in Ghana, Zipline is in the news again, this time for raising an impressive $190 million in funding. Along with the funding, Zipline has received a new valuation from its investors of $1.2 billion. Read today's article to learn more about Zipline and their plans to expand their medical drone delivery services internationally, as well as launch here in the U.S. What do you think—will we see Zipline drones making medical deliveries here in the U.S. soon? Share your thoughts here on this thread.
  4. There's a lot of work for commercial drone pilots out there right now, but pilots are having trouble finding it. Why? Because bigger companies are often reluctant to engage directly with independent business owners (i.e., "dronepreneurs") and would prefer to go through larger entities when they hire contractors—which is why drone service providers are on the rise. Read the article we published earlier this week on how drone service providers are helping to meet the growing demand for drone pilots, and how commercially certified drone pilots can get in on the action. The piece also has some specifics toward the bottom about PrecisionHawk's ongoing hiring efforts for commercial drone pilots—you can jump straight to that section here. What do you think? Are there more pros than cons to working for a drone service provider? Share your thoughts and opinions here in this thread.
  5. As drones become more and more commonplace, some authorities have taken to employing their own counter-UAS measures—and apparently airports are on the list, since the FAA recently issued a statement reminding them not to use their own CUAS. Read today's article to learn more about the statement, and for some discussion of the ongoing tension between local and federal authorities around how drones are regulated. How do you think things will shake out with federal and local drone laws over the next few years? Chime in on this thread to share your thoughts and opinions.
  6. DJI just released the Osmo Action, a small, powerful waterproof camera made to go head-to-head with GoPro's Hero 7 Black. Read today's article to learn more about DJI's new camera, and chime in here to share your thoughts—are you excited about the release? Do you think the Action might be better than the Hero 7 Black?
  7. Last week Flyability released the Elios 2, a new, fully revamped version of their drone for indoor inspections. Why is the release of the Elios 2 important? Because it’s probably the best tool—not just drone, but overall solution—for indoor inspections on the market right now. Read today's article to learn more about what makes the Elios 2 stand out, and how people are already using it in the field for inspections in tight, hard-to-reach places. Are you excited about the release of the Elios 2? Chime in on this thread to share your thoughts.
  8. Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) just issued its first-ever approval for BVLOS drone flights for several drones created by Parrot-owned senseFly, including the eBee Classic and the eBee RTK. Drones intended for BVLOS operations in Brazil must have their design approved by ANAC. Once a drone is approved, any licensed Brazilian drone operators can fly that drone BVLOS up to 400 feet in the air if he or she meets a list of criteria, including holding insurance and possessing a risk assessment document approved by ANAC. senseFly is no stranger to working through government processes to obtain BVLOS approvals—they hold BVLOS approvals in China, Spain, Denmark, and France, and recently participated in BVLOS testing through Project Honeycomb in Canada, which led to a Guinness World Record related to flying BVLOS. How do you think the new BVLOS approval will impact drone adoption in Brazil? What industries do you think will use it first, and most? Chime in with your thoughts here on this thread.
  9. Zipline just announced the launch of the largest medical drone delivery network in the world. The deliveries will take place in Ghana, where 148 different vaccines, blood products, and life-saving medications will now be available on-demand via drone delivery. Read today's article to learn more about the delivery network. In recent months we’ve seen the FAA issue several significant approvals for drone deliveries in the U.S., all related to companies involved in the UAS IPP (UAS Integration Pilot Program), a federal program created to test different types of drone operations prohibited by the FAA’s Part 107 rules. Zipline is also a UAS IPP partner, and we wouldn't be surprised to see them start making drone deliveries here in the U.S. before too long. Are you excited about the launch of Zipline's network in Ghana? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  10. Yesterday U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elain Chao announced that Alphabet Inc.’s Wing Aviation, a drone startup that originated at Google X, has been awarded the first air carrier certification ever given to a drone company. Read today's article to learn more about Wing's certification and how they got it. What do you think—will Wing start delivering to your city soon? Chime in with your thoughts on this post, curious to hear if people think we'll actually see commercial drone deliveries happening in the U.S. this year, or if they're still a ways off.
  11. Ryan Deremo is a Drone Pilot Ground School alum and owner of the aerial services company SkyFly Cinematics, which is based in Los Angeles, CA. Ryan started his aerial work doing shots for wedding and real estate, and eventually broke into movies and television—in fact, we interviewed Ryan a while back on how to get started doing movie and T.V. work with drones. I recently sat down again with Ryan to hear about his experience as the drone pilot on set for the new Hollywood film Breaking and Exiting, a dark romantic comedy about suicide prevention and awareness. Check out the interview here to learn about Ryan's work on set, and chime in with any thoughts or comments you might have.
  12. The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and DJI recently announced a partnership to create, test, and deploy DJI drone technology in emergency response situations. This new collaboration is the continuation of an ongoing partnership between DJI and the LAFD. Regarding use cases, the LAFD plans to continue using drones across a variety of emergency response situations, including incident response for swift water rescues, hazmat operations, urban search and rescue missions, hot-spot identification, and aerial mapping to help manage wildfire response. Read today's article to learn more about the partnership and the LAFD's leadership in bringing drones into regular use in public agencies. Currently there are over 900 public agencies using drones in their operations—do you think that number will grow exponentially over the next few years? Chime in on this thread to share your thoughts.
  13. Matternet and UPS have been given permission to conduct regular drone deliveries of blood samples on the WakeMed hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. While the FAA has previously allowed drone deliveries on a case by case basis, either for the purposes of demonstration or for smaller-scale tests, it has never before allowed drones to make routine commercial package deliveries, also known as “revenue flights.” We speculated recently that the UAS IPP tests could help pave the way forward for commercial deliveries, and to see Matternet receive the FAA’s first approval for commercial revenue-generating flights in order to deliver medical samples seems to be a good sign that this will be the case. Read today's article to learn more about the new drone delivery program at WakeMed, and chime in on this thread to share your thoughts. Do you think the WakeMed delivery program will provide a model that could be expanded to other scenarios, or are we still a ways off from seeing drone deliveries hit the mainstream?
  14. Drone manufacturer Skydio is under fire for promoting a video they made of a rollerblader using their R1 selfie drone as he rolls along the West Thumb Geyser Basin boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park. The video appeared on Instagram with the caption “Thermal tour a la rollerblade” and was viewed over 10,000 times in one week before it was taken down due to complaints. Did Skydio know it was breaking the law by shooting the video, or was the whole thing a big mistake? Read today's post for our thoughts and for a short overview of illegal drone use at Yellowstone, and make sure to comment here to share your own opinions.