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Gowdy Brothers Featured In USA Today

Buying a drone for Xmas? What you need to know


LOS ANGELES – Drones are expected to be one of the hottest gifts for the holiday season. But buyer beware -there’s a lot more to owning a drone than taking home that new video camera.

Drones, on view in major force here at the International Drone Expo, which ends today, are legal for non-commercial use only. Industry experts, we interviewed here said photographers, real estate agents and others who want to use drones for their businesses need to put in a good 20 hours getting approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration.

And everyone needs to obey local rules–many cities, including New York and Phoenix, have banned the use of drones.

“The rules are pretty simple,” says Steve Petrotto, a product manager for Horizon Hobby, a Champagne, Illinois drone re-seller. “Don’t fly by airports, don’t fly over 400 feet, and don’t fly for commercial purposes.”

That can be arranged–with what’s called a 333 waiver from the FAA, which requires 20 hours of training to learn how to fly–airplanes. Yes, that includes learning how to take off and land a plane. You’ll also need a sport pilot’s license.

Stephen Gowdy, who runs the Gowdy Bros. Aerospace company from Shakopee, Minnesota, offers 333 waiver assistance, helping applicants fill out their paperwork and process the applications for around $1,500.

Companies like Amazon and Google are looking to drones to deliver products more efficiently than traditional delivery services.

At the Expo, we saw drones of every shape and variety on display–from a $30 mini drone toy to a $150,000 unit that was pitched as a helicopter.

That new eagerly awaited new drone from GoPro, called Kharma, wasn’t on display here, nor was that new Drone from DJI that can operate in the dark.

Edward Ren from AAE Technology in China displayed a huge new $250,000 model aimed at flying for way longer than a few minutes.

The larger FEE drone, “is for stability,” says Ren. “It’s for high altitude flight. Takes better wind resistance, and gets a high altitude. For law enforcement. This a drone for people who need go very far away, and needs to stay in the air for a very long time.”

The FAA predicts sales of over 1 million drones in 2015, and that easily dwarfs the 250,000 airplanes and helicopters that currently occupy out air space, says Keith Kaplan, the interim CEO of the Unmanned Ariel Vehicle Systems Association.

“‘They won’t be flying at the same time, but have to think about, you’re a responsible pilot now,” he says.

Follow USA TODAY Tech columnist Jefferson Graham on Twitter: @jeffersongraham

Source: USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/12/12/buying-drone-xmas-what-you-need-know/77178980/

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FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2015
Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883

Registration will be free for the first 30 days


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.  Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

Owners may register through a web-based system at www.faa.gov/uas/registration

Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed here:www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf

Source: FAA http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=19856

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