Drone News Roundup: Flying a Drone at 28,000+ Feet on Mt. Everest, Global Donations of Drones to Ukraine, and More!
BY Zacc Dukowitz17 March 2022
This week we’re covering a video highlighting drone footage captured at over 28,000 feet on Mt. Everest for a documentary created by National Geographic.
We’re also covering stories about countries around the world donating drones to Ukraine, senseFly’s drone being added to the Blue UAS 2.0 list, the use of drones by Connecticut State Troopers to catch truckers suspected of smuggling illicit goods, and the FAA’s announcement that the application period for LAANC service providers will open soon.
Now on to the links!
Flying a Drone at 28,300 Feet on Mt. Everest
This short clip from the documentary “Lost on Everest” features drone footage shot at over 28,000 feet of altitude on Mt. Everest. The drone allowed explorers to capture aerial footage from the safety of their tent, without having to walk the mountain on foot to get the shots they wanted. According to the documentarians, this was the first time a drone had ever been flown at this height on the mountain. The documentary was made by National Geographic.
World Rallies to Send Drones to Ukraine
Credit: Finnish volunteer group
Countries around the world have been sending support to Ukraine as it fends off the ongoing Russian invasion, including sending drones. Here’s a list of just some of the drone-related donations that have been made recently:
- In Canada, the government is sending cutting-edge surveillance cameras made for use on military drones to Ukraine.
- In Finland, a volunteer group raised over $57,000 to buy and hand deliver 140 DJI Mavic Mini drones to the Ukrainian military to help with their reconnaissance efforts.
- In the Netherlands, a volunteer group called Eyes on Ukraine is sending 187 DJI Mini 2s to be used for aerial surveillance, and to record the actions of the Russian military as evidence of possible atrocities committed. The group plans to continue sending drones “until there are no more drones to buy, or when the Ukrainians indicate that their demand is met.”
- In Wales, a member of the national legislature named Mick Antoniw of Ukrainian descent sought to raise over $56,000 to buy drones for Ukraine and ended up raising over eight times as much. The money was reportedly used to buy Parrot ANAFI drones, which will “allow medics to identify the injured and fatalities in the rubble and chaos resulting from Russian attacks on civilian buildings.”
senseFly eBee TAC Added to Blue UAS Cleared List
senseFly’s eBee TAC has been named to the Department of Defense’s Blue UAS 2.0 cleared list, which are drones approved for use by federal agencies. Over 100 companies responded to the DOD’s call for proposals from drone companies that wanted to participate in Blue UAS 2.0, but only 11 were selected. The Blue UAS 2.0 list was created to “increase the diversity, capability and affordability of UAS” available for government use. AgEagle bought senseFly from Parrot for a reported $23 million last October.
Connecticut State Troopers Use Drones to Catch Truckers Skipping Weigh Stations
Credit: Connecticut State Police
Connecticut State Police, along with several other partners, recently tested the use of drones to identify truckers who weren’t stopping at a mandatory weigh station in Greenwich, CT. Weigh stations are important checkpoints to help prevent the transportation of illegal or harmful devices and materials, and truckers who attempt to evade inspection are breaking the law. Using a drone, State Police were able to observe trucks trying to skip the weigh station and “divert at the NY-CT state line,” and pull them over.
FAA Announces Application Period for LAANC Service Suppliers
A new application period for LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) service providers will open on May 2, 2022. In order to be considered, applicants must have a mature product at the time of application, according to the FAA.
LAANC is the FAA’s system for providing instant airspace authorizations for drone operations in controlled airspace at or below 400 feet. It’s used to inform drone pilots of where they can and can’t fly, and to alert air traffic personnel regarding where and when drones are operating in the area.
At the moment, there are eight LAANC providers: Airbus, AirMap (via DroneUp), Airspace Link, Aloft (via the FAA’s B4Ufly app), Avision, Skyward, UASidekick, and Wing.
Here is the application schedule for companies who want to become LAANC service providers:
- Application Period: May 2—June 3, 2022
- FAA Submission Review: June 6—July 8, 2022
- Technical Interviews: July 11—August 12, 2022
- Formal Onboarding: August 18—October 14, 2022
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