Zacc Dukowitz

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  1. We recently interviewed Tyler Dobbs, Government Affairs Director at the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), to learn more about what the AMA does for hobbyist drone pilots, when hobbyists might get access to LAANC for instant airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace, and to hear his opinion on how hobbyists are represented in policy-making. The AMA is one of the largest model aviation associations in the world—it's a self-supporting non-profit, whose primary aim is to promote the development of model aviation as a recognized sport and worthwhile recreation activity. They currently boast a membership of over 195,000. Read the interview with Tyler here, and chime in on this thread to share your thoughts on the AMA, LAANC access for hobbyists, or anything related to the hobbyist conversation.
  2. Earlier this week the Los Angeles Police Department sent a letter to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners asking to make their drone program permanent, and the request was quickly and unanimously given preliminary approval. Read today's article to learn more about the development of the LAPD's drone program and what they plan to do if they get final approval.
  3. A new invention called the Podder can turn a drone into an ultra-efficient Johnny Appleseed, allowing the drone to fire seeds rapidly into the earth. The Podder can be attached to many popular drone models, and shoots seeds using a pneumatic firing module. Read today's article to learn more about how the Podder works, and about some other approaches to planting seeds by drone being used in the field today.
  4. In the last three months AirMap has been on a partnership streak—in March alone the company announced five new partnerships, with another one following this month. Check out today's article to learn more about each of the companies AirMap has partnered with, and how these partnerships are helping drive adoption of its UTM platform all over the world. What do you think—is working toward a global UTM framework a good thing? Is it even possible? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  5. Amid ongoing concerns about unauthorized data sharing, DJI recently announced the release of their Government Edition, a comprehensive drone solution made specifically for use in high-security situations by government agencies around the world. Read our recent article to learn more about Government Edition, and about the different proactive steps DJI has taken in the last week to try and combat privacy concerns. What do you think—is DJI sharing data with the Chinese government? Are you excited about Government Edition and the possibilities it might present for ensuring privacy of data? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  6. Walmart is currently on track to file more drone-related patents than Amazon for the second year in a row—since June of 2018, Walmart has filed 97 new drone patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), while Amazon has filed only 54. Read today's article to learn more about all the ways Walmart is looking into using drones, including having them provide customer service in its huge Supercenters. Assuming Walmart and Amazon are in a war over consumer deliveries, does owning more patents mean you're winning, or is that a little too simplistic? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  7. According to Lume Cube, their new Strobe is the first consumer friendly anti-collision drone light that’s compatible with every drone on the market. Check out today's article to learn more about all the features the Strobe offers, as well as some information on how FAA requirements around night flying might change in the not-too-distance future.
  8. Uber recently announced that they’ll be testing fast food delivery by drone in San Diego this summer—but their approval from the FAA is still pending. Drone deliveries will not be made directly to people’s homes, but rather to “designated safe landing zones,” where couriers working for Uber Eats will then unload and deliver the package directly to the customer’s door—read yesterday's article to get the details, and to learn more about what Uber needs to do to get approval.
  9. Heard of the DJI STORM? It's a new, giant big rig drone made just for high-end aerial cinematography, but DJI didn't announce it's release anywhere. The only reason we know it exists is because of a YouTube video DJI shared recently—read today's article to learn more about the STORM, and to hear some thoughts on why they're being so secretive about its release. Have you heard about the STORM? We'd love to hear your thoughts—chime in on this thread to share what you know.
  10. The FAA recently issued a Part 107 waiver to the Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Washington, D.C. to fly over people using a drone equipped with a parachute. According to ParaZero, this is the first time a drone with a parachute has ever been approved by the FAA for flights over people. Read today's article to learn more about the waiver and how it was obtained, and chime in here to share your thoughts on the progress being made on flights over people—are we moving fast enough? And what about that NPRM the FAA issued in January to change the rules about flights over people?
  11. If you’re a drone service provider looking for continuing education that will allow you to add new services to your repertoire, or to brush up on the ones you currently offer, InterDrone 2019 might be the event for you. The conference offers eight different industry tracks for drone pilots, including construction, precision ag, and inspections—check out today's article on InterDrone for some example sessions taken from different tracks, and to learn more about the conference. If you know you want to attend, make sure to use promo code PSUAVCOACH1 to get $150 off a three-day pass, or just use this link and the discount code will be automatically applied.
  12. Yesterday Amazon Prime Air unveiled its new delivery drone at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, NV, an event put on by Amazon focusing on AI and related technology (MARS stands for Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space). The new drone is fully electric, can fly up to 15 miles, and can deliver a package weighing less than five pounds, which is the weight of 75—90% of most purchased items, according to Amazon. Prime Air says that they will begin deliveries “in the coming months” but they’re vague on the details—exactly where and when have yet to be announced. What do you think—will we see Prime Air drones making regular deliveries soon? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  13. It’s been a year since the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) winners were announced, and a lot has happened since then. We wanted to pause and take a look at how far we've come in the first year—the result is this week's article, which summarizes each of the ten programs and the progress they’ve made since 2018, specifically when it comes to securing approvals for types of flying prohibited by the FAA’s Part 107 rules for small unmanned aircraft, like flying over people or Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). Are you pleased with the progress made in the first year? Do you think the UAS IPP is helping ease tensions between local and federal authorities? Take a look at the article, and chime in here to share your thoughts.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.