- LAST NEWS: NASA Includes Swedish UAV in BVLOS Testing
- LAST NEWS: Germany Plans New Drone Regulations
- LAST NEWS: Drone World Expo 2017 – Registration Now Open
- LAST NEWS: $1M Prize for Bridge Inspection by Drones
- LAST NEWS: South Korea to Train 1,700 Drone Operators Annually
- LAST NEWS: Leidos Pilots New Service for UAS
- LAST NEWS: First BVLoS Power Line Inspection Flight in New Zealand
- LAST NEWS: DARPA Awards Phase 2 Gremlins Program Contracts
- LAST NEWS: Amazon Patents Drones with Telescoping Landing Legs
- LAST NEWS: US Air Force Buys Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells
USAF Tests Drone for C-17 Post-Flight Inspection
The 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force used a quadcopter to conduct a maintenance inspection of the exterior of a C-17 Globemaster III here March 6, 2017.
The C-17 was on loan from Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington. It was the first time the CTF flew a small unmanned aerial system on the flightline and the second time the CTF has used a sUAS in a new application that shows promise. The winds remained manageable and allowed the test team to conduct three sorties with the quadcopter, which was fitted with a video camera. Live video was assessed by the team that included maintainers, to determine if the quality was adequate for routine inspections. The video recorded from the quadcopter’s camera will be analyzed to see if it is clear enough to see smaller details of the cargo plane’s exterior such as structural abnormalities, rivets and cracks.
Maj. Dan Riley, the CTF director said, the test was so successful that the maintainers used the data to sign off their preflight external inspection, a first for the Air Force. “This could save (maintainers) a lot of time,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Jaburek, of the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord. “When we go on top of the airplane, we can only walk on certain parts and then we have to hook and unhook our (safety harness) very few feet.”
Inspections that would normally take 45 minutes to an hour could be done just in a few minutes with a quadcopter if it’s successful. Maintainers also would not need a lift to inspect a C-17’s tail, Jaburek said.
Capt. Justin Merrick, a CTF lead engineer said, the CTF got the idea from seeing a video online showing a commercial airline company using a sUAS to inspect a plane.
“(Leadership) encourages us to go out and conduct tests, so after we saw some videos online we contacted some maintainers here and they were very enthusiastic to help out,” Merrick said.
Riley added that this first test on the flightline could pave the way for future sUAS tests and test procedures.
“Another reason we’ve conducted this test is to open the aperture on flying a sUAS near the airfield, which has been frowned upon in the past,” Riley said. “As we execute these missions it establishes a baseline for how operations can be conducted safely, not only here at Edwards, but at other bases as well. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have so far without the support of the 412th Operations Group and test wing commander in breaking down some of the barriers to these types of operations.”
Riley said the CTF is looking at a variety of other missions in the near future such as roof inspections, airfield inspections and environmental-concern area inspections. In February, the newly formed CTF began testing a quadcopter to determine if it was possible to use the sUAS to calibrate the 412th Range Squadron’s telemetry antennas on base. Those tests also yielded positive results.
The CTF was officially activated last July and its mission is to provide agile, innovative flight test capabilities for emerging technologies and to explore the Air Force warfighting capabilities of tomorrow. Current focuses are on the use of sUAS for testing and operational use, and on autonomous systems’ development and use.
Region: USA and Canada
2017-03-23Drone World Expo 2017 – Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for Drone World Expo 2017. From October 3-4, the 3rd annual Drone World Expo will once again gather thousands of thought leaders, end-users and decision makers in the commercial drone industry at the San Jose Convention Center.
2017-03-20DARPA Awards Phase 2 Gremlins Program Contracts
DARPA recently completed Phase 1 of its Gremlins program, which envisions volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs)—or “gremlins”—that could be launched and later retrieved in mid-air. Taking the program to its next stage, the Agency has now awarded Phase 2 contracts to two teams, one led by Dynetics, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.) and the other by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.).
2017-03-20Amazon Patents Drones with Telescoping Landing Legs
A diagram shows how an Amazon drone could land on a sloping surface while keeping its main frame level, thanks to telescoping landing legs. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)
2017-03-17US Air Force Buys Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells
US Air Force security forces, as well as other military personnel and federal law enforcement agencies, may soon be getting a new tool to take down small commercial drones: shotgun shells with a net. The special cartridge is just one system the Pentagon has been looking at to manage the growing threat from small and readily available quad-and hex-copter-type unmanned aircraft.
2017-03-15US Deploys Gray Eagle Systems to South Korea
The U.S. military is deploying a new Gray Eagle attack drone system in South Korea as it moves to bolster capabilities against a growing threat from the North.
2017-03-10New York Power Authority Tests Drone Inspections
A team from the New York Power Authority joined some Ontario Power Generation representatives to fly a drone around the Robert Moses Dam and St. Lawrence spillway as part of NYPA’s research into launching its own drone inspection program.
2017-03-09USAF Pays $15.6 Million for Anti-Drone Systems
The US Air Force awarded a $15.6 million contract to ELTA North America Inc., to deliver 21 “counter-unmanned aerial systems,” according to a Feb. 21 Pentagon announcement.
2016-11-30Type-Certifiable Predator B Takes Flight
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), has announced that its Type-Certifiable Predator B (TCPB) variant completed its first flight test at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., on November 17th.
2016-11-21FAA Evaluates Drone Detection Systems Around Denver
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose serious threats to safety. The FAA is coordinating with our government and industry partners to evaluate technologies that can be used safely to detect drones near airports.
2016-11-17New York Makes $30M Public Investment in Drones
The state of New York is pouring big money into making its central territory an international draw for unmanned aerial system (UAS) innovation.Govenor Andrew Cuomo announced Nov. 10 that $30 million in public funds would be applied toward the creation of a 50-mile-long research corridor to aid in the development of a UAS traffic management system and bolster the state’s standing as an innovation hub.
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
2012-04-05 Hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Flies ScanEagle