Drone News Roundup: Diving the Tallest Building in the World by FPV Drone, Drones to Predict Volcanic Eruptions, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
10 February 2022

This week we’re covering a drone video of an amazing FPV dive down the tallest building in the world.

We’re also covering NASA’s work to use drones for predicting volcanic eruptions, the FAA’s TFR for the Super Bowl this weekend, a law proposed by three senators to criminalize various types of illegal drone activities, and the FAA’s announcement that it’s issued a million airspace authorizations via LAANC.

Now let’s get to those links!

Diving the Tallest Building in the World by FPV Drone

Diving the Tallest Building in the World - Burj Khalifa FPV

The city of Dubai, which is located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), contains the world’s tallest building. Called the Burj Khalifa, it has 160 stories and stands about 2,716 feet in the air. The building is iconic—it was featured in a hair raising fight scene in the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and more recently Emirates airlines shot a commercial at the building in which  a flight attendant stands on the very top of it (the shot was captured by drone).

So why are we talking about all this? Because the video above features an incredible FPV dive down the building, which was shot by Johnny FPV. And because the UAE recently issued a country-wide ban on recreational drones following a drone attack on an oil facility and airport in Abu Dhabi, in which drones reportedly carried “ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones.” Which means that this video shot at the Burj Khalifa could be the last one that will ever be made there. Lucky for us, it’s incredible.

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Predicting Volcanic Eruptions by Drone

nasa-volcano-monitoring
Credit: NASA

From Iceland to Tonga to the Canary Islands, there have been lots of volcanic eruptions lately—and they often seem to happen with almost no advance warning. But what if we could forecast these events? New research being conducted by NASA aims to do just that. Flying a drone made by Black Swift Technologies BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) at the Makushin Volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, scientists working with NASA have started working on a way to perform routine monitoring of volcanoes, with the goal of helping authorities warn communities about the onset of dangerous volcanic eruptions. While drones have been used to study volcanoes, this is the first time we’re aware of hearing about using drones to predict them.

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The FAA Has Issued a TFR for the Super Bowl This Weekend

Super Bowl LVI is a No Drone Zone

The FAA has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for the area surrounding the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, where the Super Bowl will take place this Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 10a.m.—2:30p.m. PST—Restricted operations in the area surrounding the SoFi Stadium begin, with drone operations prohibited for one nautical mile and up to 3,000 feet in altitude.
  • 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. PST—TFR in place in the area surrounding the SoFi Stadium, with drone operations prohibited for a 30-nautical-mile radius and up to 18,000 feet in altitude.

Drone operators who enter these TFRs without permission could face drone confiscation, civil penalties that exceed $30,000, and potential criminal prosecution.

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New Senate Law Seeks to Criminalize Illegal Drone Use

new-senate-drone-law
Image source

A new law proposed in the U.S. Senate seeks to criminalize a range of illegal drone activities. These include flying for clearly criminal purposes—using a drone strapped with explosives to stage a terror attack, using a drone to traffick contraband, like drugs or weapons, or using a drone to intentionally damage infrastructure—as well as negligent drone operations, like interfering with ongoing wildfire or first responder operations. Called the Drone Act of 2022, the drafted law is the bipartisan creation of Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

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FAA Hits 1 Million LAANC Airspace Authorizations

laanc-faa-one-million
Credit: FAA

The FAA recently announced a big milestone: it has now issued one million instant airspace authorizations via LAANC. LAANC stands for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, and it is the streamlined process for granting airspace authorization based on the location and altitude at which drone pilots plan to fly. When LAANC was launched back in 2018, it addressed an urgent pain point for drone pilots by changing the wait times for airspace authorizations from 90 days—or even more, in some cases—to less than a minute.

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