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.

AviSight is First to Fly FAA Approved Drone At Airshow

A joint collaboration between AviSight and WDRB-TV in Louisville, KY. The Thunder Over Louisville airshow is the weekend before the Kentucky Derby and was broadcast live on WDRB, titled “Thunder on WDRB.” This multi-hour live broadcast featured many reporters and cameras all along the Ohio River covering the event from many angles. After months of coordination with the Louisville FAA FSDO Office, we were granted authorization to fly our UAS (Drone) under the airshow’s COW (Certificate of Waiver).

These UAS flights gave WDRB-TV an unprecedented aerial view of the crowds coming to Thunder along with the Louisville skyline. In addition, WDRB-TV reporters were able to take live UAS video and cut to it during their live shots in the field. UAS flights were conducted under FAA 333 exemption rules and standards. 2-way radio communication was established to local air traffic control (air show – air boss) through VHF airband radios and with a communications officer in the command center. This facilitated immediate contact to the UAS for take off and landing clearances.

Because this was a successful deployment of UAS inside the congested airspace of an airshow, we hope this will be used by the FAA as a model for future UAS operations at airshows nationwide.

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