Print 8 comment(s) - last by Dave1231.. on Jun 11 at 8:10 AM

BP secure the first license for its AeroVironment Puma AE drone

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the very first license to fly commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over U.S. land. However, within the next five years, the FAA reckons that there will be over 7,000 commercial drones flying the friendly skies.
The first license was issued to BP, which will use the AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE to “survey BP pipelines, roads and equipment” in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Puma AE is a hand-launched drone that was originally designed for military applications, but is now also being used in the private sector. The 13.5-pound drone has a length of 4.6 feet and a wingspan of 9.2 feet. In can travel at up to 51 mph, has an operating altitude of 500 feet, and can stay aloft for 3.5+ hours.

"These surveys on Alaska's North Slope are another important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "The technology is quickly changing, and the opportunities are growing."
The FAA first selected six aerial done test locations back in December, and the first commercial test site opened in North Dakota in late April. But while things are just getting started with regards to commercial licensing, it may be a while before Amazon starts dropping packages off at your doorstep with UAVs.

Sources: Federal Aviation Administration, AP/Yahoo! News

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Unmanned Drones?
By GTVic on 6/10/2014 4:08:23 PM , Rating: 3
A manned 'drone' would be an oxymoron. Unmanned seems ultra superfluous.

RE: Unmanned Drones?
By sorry dog on 6/10/2014 7:42:40 PM , Rating: 3
Lots of drones are manned... remotely.

RE: Unmanned Drones?
By sorry dog on 6/10/2014 7:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
But apparently your not alone in that thought.

FAA license?
By wookie1 on 6/10/2014 3:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't the FAA just lose a court case a couple of months ago that basically says they have no jurisdiction over unmanned craft? I recall the judge mentioning that they could then claim to regulate paper airplanes and such. Did that only cover un-powered craft or something?

RE: FAA license?
By sorry dog on 6/10/2014 7:41:59 PM , Rating: 3
Sort of. The issue is that FAA was trying to expand the definition of the their own existing rules to regulate people who fall in sort of a gray area between hobbyists and commercial aircraft. The FAA's position is that there is no gray area, but the judge said if you strictly applied that logic then paper airplanes and kite would be regulated.
Basically the FAA has to rewrite their rules, but that ain't no easy task. Existing manned aircraft and exponential growth of drone flights are on a collision course....Figuratively and literally.

What I worry about is that drone use is approved without the drones really showing the ability to see and avoid which are the rules that all VFR aircraft abide by. And once the big money gets behind drone use, I see general aviation then having to jump through extra safety hoops and other additional operational limitations because the drones aren't capable of true VFR flight.

By HardwareDufus on 6/10/2014 9:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
Can't use Drones for Search and Rescue... but for Finding Oil.. Oh yeah.

why BP?
By Dave1231 on 6/11/2014 8:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
Why give the first licence to BP? A company shown to be incompetent and environmentally lax. Pipelines need proper inspection, not by drones even with cameras. BP will trumpet this as an environmental victory when it has yet to be proven as such.

Drone License?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/10/14, Rating: 0
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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