Fox News Story: AviSight Using Drones for Cloud Seeding

 

Drones are used for aerial photography, surveillance, news coverage, and rescue operations. Now a group of scientists and researchers are figuring out if drones can make it rain. The science is called cloud seeding, and it is being tested in Nevada at an FAA site, four hours north of Las Vegas.

Seeding clouds involves releasing flares of silver iodide from a plane’s wing to generate more ice particles in a cloud. This aims to help a cloud’s ability to produce and enhance precipitation. The weather conditions need to be right for this to take place–cloud cover and even the presence of storms are optimal.

The process has been around for decades and usually involves a piloted aircraft flying into a storm. Now, The Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems in conjunction with the Desert Research Institute has conducted tests with unmanned drones. They hope to have drones conduct cloud seeding flights in the future. The Governor of Nevada’s office has helped fund the project.

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AviSight Works With Nevada Agencies on Historic Beyond Line of Sight Drone Cloud-seeding Flight

HAWTHORNE, Nev., Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Nevada Drone Industry set a new long-distance record for aerial package delivery flying a fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) under beyond line of sight conditions.  The backdrop was an urban environment set among the scenic area of Walker Lake with the Nevada-headquartered Drone America flight team flying more than 39 miles to deliver a package to the Hawthorne Industrial Airport in the City of Hawthorne, Nevada, the same town where the Country’s first urban drone delivery was performed in Spring of 2016.

 

This record-setting beyond line of sight (BLOS) mission was flown under the Nevada UAS Test Site’s FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and led by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, which manages the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site on behalf of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).  The Drone America Savant™ unmanned aircraft reached an altitude of 1,500 feet AGL and completed a one hour flight beyond line of sight for a total distance flown of over 39 miles on February 15, 2017.

“Nevada’s emerging UAV industry has made tremendous strides since first receiving the FAA UAS Test Site designation a few short years ago, and it is with incredible pride that the State can now declare that our drone effort has broken an industry record by successfully completing the longest ever beyond visual line of sight drone delivery,” said Governor Brian Sandoval.  “This achievement is a testament not only to the skill of the team at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and Drone America, but also the support that has been shown by the entire State of Nevada to support this important initiative.  Nevada is changing the future of transportation, and I congratulate all those Nevadans who share in this milestone – this is one for the record books.”

“Statewide support of the drone industry in Nevada has helped to usher in this historic UAV milestone,” said Steve Hill, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “With each flight, NIAS makes history, but this most recent achievement is truly one for the ages, and something that we should all be incredibly proud of.  I thank the teams at NIAS and Drone America for ensuring that Nevada continues to lead one of the most innovative transportation industries into the future.”

“Today we demonstrated an important milestone, one that can make a positive impact upon humanity.  For many years Drone America’s team has been focused upon building turnkey solutions that are both commercially viable yet also have a beneficial effect upon the world in which we live.  Remote critical package delivery can include such items as medical equipment (AED) and supplies such as vaccines, EpiPens, anti-venom, even a Search and Rescue survival package.  These achievements bring us closer to becoming a self-sustaining, Nevada-based, and American-made corporation that gives back,” said Mike Richards, CEO and Founder of Drone America.

The Drone America Savant UAS delivered the package to the Hawthorne Industrial Airport and the cargo consisted of emergency supplies in a simulated lost hiker scenario.  The package was not dropped from the UAV but instead was meant to be recovered from the hold of the fixed-wing platform upon landing.  The UAS operation incorporated multiple ground safety visual observers and an aerial safety observer in a Cessna 206 fixed-wing aircraft flown by AviSight.  “We were thrilled to participate in this historic event.  The ability to fly these systems BLOS will be critical to the commercialization of this technology for multiple industries,” said Michael Frechette, CEO of AviSight.

“The Nevada UAS Test Site is fortunate to have the City of Hawthorne and the Hawthorne Army Depot’s support of our Nevada UAS Industry Growth.  This is a great example of public-private partnership between the U.S. Army, Drone America, the City of Hawthorne, and NIAS,” said Mark Barker, Director of Business Development and Marketing for NIAS.

Following the historic package delivery BLOS flight, Drone America CEO, Mike Richards presented the package flown to the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site Director, Dr. Chris Walach, overseeing the UAS operation.  Walach received this package on behalf of the State of Nevada.  “Today was a new long distance flight record in Nevada and in the National Airspace.  From last year, Nevada holds the FAA record for the first package delivery to an actual customer in a residential neighborhood in Reno, NV and in the National Airspace and now we have demonstrated that commercial UAS technology is capable of flying long distance while safely integrating UAS into the National Airspace with manned aviation traffic.  We are a major step closer to commercial package delivery on a large scale in Nevada and in the National Airspace,” said Dr. Chris Walach.

About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development:Created during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is the result of a collaborative effort between the Nevada Legislature and Governor Brian Sandoval to restructure economic development in the state. GOED’s role is to promote a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, to stimulate business expansion and retention, encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, attract new businesses and facilitate community development. More information on the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can be viewed atwww.diversifynevada.com.

About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS): The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site leads the growth of the Nevada Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Industry through business teaming relationships, collaborating with primary research institutions on UAS research and development, and enhancing the Nevada UAS Industry knowledge base to attract new and permanent business and create jobs in the State of Nevada.  Learn more at www.nias-uas.com.

About AviSight: AviSight is an aerospace and remote sensing services company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs Aerospace systems, Remote Sensing technology, Analytics, and Data Collection/Distribution systems for commercial and government clients. For more information about AviSight please visit www.avisight.com/.

About Drone America: Drone America strives to be one of the World’s Top Providers of Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles, high tech equipment and services. Our mission is to use UAS technologies as a means to survey, protect, and preserve human life and strategic resources around the Globe. For more information about Drone America please visit  www.droneamerica.com/.

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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nevada-based-consortium-using-drone-america-uav-completes-first-long-distance-beyond-line-of-sight-urban-package-delivery-300412223.html

AviSight Drone Academy Sept 27-30 in Las Vegas

The AviSight Drone Academy is Sept 27-30 at the South Point Casino Las Vegas. There are 1 Day, 2 Day and 4 Day classes. Learn how to fly a drone from the experts. Full course will teach you what you need to know to pass the FAA’s Part 107 test for drone pilots and how to fly a drone.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW!

FAA Releases Part 107, New Drone Rules

The rule comes into effect in 60 days time…. August 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the first operational rules (PDF) for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.

The rule’s provisions are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. The regulations require pilots to keep an unmanned aircraft within visual line of sight. Operations are allowed during daylight and during twilight if the drone has anti-collision lights. The new regulations also address height and speed restrictions and other operational limits, such as prohibiting flights over unprotected people on the ground who aren’t directly participating in the UAS operation.

The FAA is offering a process to waive some restrictions if an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. The FAA will make an online portal available to apply for these waivers in the months ahead.

“With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”

Under the final rule, the person actually flying a drone must be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If qualifying under the latter provision, a pilot must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take a UAS online training course provided by the FAA. The TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

READ MORE AT sUAS NEWS

AviSight Drone Academy Announces Summer Schedule

AviSight, the nation’s premier drone services company, has announced its upcoming AviSight Drone Academy training class.

The next course will take place June 28-July 1, 2016 at the South Point Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

The course includes modules on current regulations, airspace requirements, flight operations, maintenance, sensors, power systems, and all other aspects of drone operations. Classes range from 1 to 4 day courses.

The 1-Day Course is for the Beginner/Hobbyist.

The 2-Day Course is for the Professional/Small Business operator.

The 4-Day Course is for those who wish to become a Drone Master. Both the Professional and Drone Master courses focus on the anticipated FAA Part 107 regulations.

“This is a great opportunity for those wanting to learn this exciting new industry from the best in the business, said Lt. Colonel (Ret.) James Fleitz, Co-Founder of AviSight. “Knowing FAA rules is critical and we make sure our students understand those rules, along with the mechanics of flight,” he added.

The expert AviSight Drone Academy staff includes professionals with diverse backgrounds that include Emmy Award winning television/news professionals, film industry experts, public safety experts, and pioneers of military drone operations. When students complete the course they will receive an official AviSight Drone Academy certificate.

Additional Classes will also be held later this summer – July 26-July 29 and August 23-August 26, 2016. You can visit AviSightDroneAcademy.com for more information — or you can CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

READ FULL RELEASE ONLINE HERE

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About AviSight: AviSight is an aerospace and remote sensing services company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs Aerospace systems, Remote Sensing technology, Analytics, and Data Collection/Distribution systems for commercial and government clients. For more information about AviSight please visit – http://avisight.com/

FAA Administrator Makes Major Drone Announcements

Speaking recently at a conference in New Orleans, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the agency is establishing abroad-based advisory committee that will provide advice on key unmanned aircraft integration issues. He also announced plans to make it easier for students to fly unmanned aircraft (PDF) as part of their coursework.

Huerta said the drone advisory committee is an outgrowth of the successful stakeholder-based UAS registration task force and the MicroUAS aviation rulemaking committee.

Those panels were set up for a single purpose and for limited duration. In contrast, the drone advisory committee is intended to be a long-lasting group. It will help identify and prioritize integration challenges and improvements, and create broad support for an overall integration strategy.

“Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety,” Huerta said. “We know that our policies and overall regulation of this segment of aviation will be more successful if we have the backing of a strong, diverse coalition.”

Huerta said he has asked Intel CEO Brian Krzanich to chair the group.

Huerta also announced the FAA, in the very near future, will start allowing students to operate UAS for educational and research purposes.

READ MORE HERE FROM sUAS NEWS

Here’s What Drones Will Do For Local TV, AeroJournalism

Soon you’ll be able to livestream from your drone. In January, Periscope started letting people with a GoPro broadcast live footage, and today it opened up support for drones from its iPhone app, too.

Periscope’s app now connects with DJI drone remotes so that users can control broadcasts by switching the feed from their smartphone’s camera to the drone. In a blog post today, Periscope pointed out a recent example, by restaurant review site Zagat, which used a drone to show viewers around Ryder Farm in Brewster, N.Y.

In addition to the support for drones, Periscope is also adding a search feature for looking up specific livestreams by keyword or topics. The search bar recommends searching for hashtags like #music and #food. Users can also tap on hashtags to add them to their own livestreams.

READ MORE HERE FROM TV SPY

AviSight Part of Historic Drone Flight in Nevada

RENO – For the first time in aviation history, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft has successfully tested a cloud-seeding payload during an experimental flight in Nevada.

Flown at Hawthorne Industrial Airport under the state’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site designation, the Drone America Savant™ aircraft reached an altitude of 400 feet and flew for approximately 18 minutes on Friday, April 29, 2016.

The Savant™ aircraft – named the “Sandoval Silver State Seeder” in honor of Governor Brian Sandoval’s dedication to the success of the state’s UAS industry – deployed two silver-iodide flares, successfully testing and demonstrating its ability to perform unmanned aerial cloud seeding operations.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the state of Nevada and everyone involved,” said the project’s lead scientist, Adam Watts, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at DRI and an expert in UAS applications for ecological and natural-resources applications.

Led by the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and supported by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development through the Knowledge Fund, this first-of-its-kind project is helping Nevada address the ongoing impacts of drought and explore innovative solutions for natural-resource challenges such as augmenting regional water supplies. The research team combines more than 30 years of weather modification research and expertise at DRI with the proven experience in aerospace manufacturing and flight operations of Reno-based Drone America, and the industry leading unmanned aerial data services of Las Vegas-based AviSight.
“We have reached another major milestone in our effort to reduce both the risks and the costs in the cloud seeding industry and help mitigate natural disasters caused by drought, hail and extreme fog,” said Mike Richards, President and CEO of Drone America. “With a wingspan of 11-feet, 10-inches and its light weight design (less than 55 pounds) the Savant™ is the perfect vehicle to conduct this type of operation due to its superior flight profile, long flight times and its resistance to wind and adverse weather conditions.”

Drone America performed the test flight under an FAA agreement in partnership with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS). This flight was the first use by DRI of the Nevada Test Site’s Certificate of Authorization (COA), which grants authority to operate the Savant™ at altitudes up to 1,200 feet.

“The Nevada-based research and flight teams that produced these trend-setting results are clearly leading the industry with this innovative technology. Conducting this unmanned cloud seeding test flight is a first flying in the National Airspace System and in Nevada,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Director for the FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site.

AviSight performed aerial support for the test flight with their manned aircraft, recording both infrared and HD video of the flight to support future system refinements and plans to conduct UAS flights beyond visual line-of-sight

“This is an important step for Nevada and the unmanned aerial industry,” said James Fleitz, co-founder of AviSight. “This collaborative effort highlights the diverse applications of unmanned systems and showcased the ability of this technology to support scientific advancements.”

Together with Drone America and AviSight, DRI researchers plan to create weather forecasts and conduct flight planning for manned and unmanned aircraft; conduct tests of cloud seeding operations using manned and unmanned systems as well as existing ground generators; and estimate the effectiveness of UAS cloud seeding applications across DRI’s current Lake Tahoe Basin operations area.

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