Drone News Roundup: Drones Flies Inside Nuclear Waste Vault, Tracking Team Members in Real Time on 3D Drone Models, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
16 February 2023

This week we’re covering a mission conducted with Flyability’s Elios 3 inside a nuclear waste storage vault built in the 1960s, which is located on a Department of Energy site.

We’re also covering a new software offering from SkyBrowse that lets you track the location of team members in a drone 3D model in real time, a fun Pikachu drone light show, an infographic from Women and Drones highlighting female demographics in aviation, and a new Part 135 certificate awarded to Flytrex’s partner Causey Aviation Unmanned for BVLOS package delivery by drone.

Now let’s get to those links!

Watch a Drone Fly Inside a Nuclear Waste Storage Vault Built in the 1960s

Historic Drone Mission Delivers Data for Calcine Retrieval at Idaho Site

Flyability’s Elios 3 was recently used to collect LiDAR data inside a storage vault made to hold nuclear waste that was built in the 1960s. The project was carried out by the Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC), a contractor with the Department of Energy. The vault holds several large storage containers, each of which contains nuclear waste in the form of a granular substance called calcine. It took over a year of planning to prepare for the mission with the Elios 3. The stakes were incredibly high the day of the flight, since the IEC needed the LiDAR data so that it could 3D map the vault to plan for extracting the calcine. In the end, after all that planning, the first 7-minute flight collected all the data the team needed and the project was a resounding success.


Tracking Team Members in a Live 3D Drone Model

TacBrowse - Live Operator Tracking in 3D

Drone 3D modeling software SkyBrowse has released a new offering called TacBrowse that supports tracking of team members in a live 3D drone model. The target use case for the software is to track police offers in real time during tactical operations in a 3D model, making it easier to know where everyone involved in an operation is in three dimensional space. Given how chaotic situations involving active shooters or armed pursuit can be, the ability to know exactly where all your team members are on a live 3D model could be quite powerful for improving response times and literally save lives.


Fun Pikachu Drone Light Show Creates Pokémon Characters in the Sky

Pikachu Weekend took place last Saturday and Sunday in Singapore, and one of the highlights was the drone light show featured in the Instagram post above.  The light show took place three different times over the weekend, in the sky over a resort called Marina Bay Sands. In addition to the light shows, Pokémon characters were part of an art display, with figures from the game featured in places throughout the gardens, arranged so that visitors could take colorful selfies. The drone light show was produced by a Singaporean company called SKYMAGIC, which has put on other noteworthy drone light shows, including London’s 2022 New Year’s Eve Show.


Women and Drones Shares Demographics on Women Pilots

Credit: Women and Drones

Women and Drones recently shared demographic data for women pilots in the U.S., which was drawn in part from information released by the FAA. To visualize the data, the organization created the infographic shown above. The graph on the upper right stands out, clearly illustrating the growth in the number of women drone pilots from the launch of the Part 107 rules in 2016 to today. Another standout datapoint is the fact that there are more women drone pilots than women commercial and transport pilots combined, with almost 25,000 drone pilots compared to a combined total of about 17,000 for the other two categories. Follow the link below to see demographic data from Women and Drones on the breakdown of women pilots by region and state.


Flytrex Partner Causey Aviation Unmanned Receives the Fifth Part 135 Certificate Ever Issued

Credit: Flytrex

The FAA’s Part 135 certificate is the only path to conducting BVLOS package delivery by drone in the U.S., and it’s incredibly hard to get one. Up until a week ago only Amazon Prime Air, UPS’ Flight Forward, Alphabet’s Wing, and Zipline had Part 135s. Now a fifth company has been added to the list—Causey Aviation Unmanned. The company is a longstanding partner of drone delivery company Flytrex, and its Part 135 will be used to make deliveries with Flytrex. The Part 135 for Causey is noteworthy because they are the first smaller company to achieve the certification, a process that is so notoriously expensive and time-consuming that it has seemed like smaller companies might not stand a chance of getting one. According to Flytrex, it’s taken years of rigorous training and testing to get to this point.


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