About the Author

Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek.

Haye can be reached at haye@dronedj.com or @hayekesteloo

 

Haye Kesteloo's Favorite Gear

Yesterday

Caught in the act! The drone captured footage of a 33-year-old man as he pointed a rifle to the drone, just before it crashed to the ground, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said. The man from White City, OR faces accusations he shot down a $1,000 unmanned aerial vehicle Tuesday evening, reported KVAL. The shooting of the drone happened around 5:35 p.m. at the Hoover Ponds recreation area near White City.

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Aerial firefighting operations battling Bear Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains, were briefly suspended after a drone was seen flying in the area. The crucial firefighting operations in the Santa Cruz Mountains were stopped around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday earlier this week, as officials worked to remove a drone from the area, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office officials.

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The Liverpool Echo reported that a man was arrested after a foiled drone drugs drop-off at the Walton Prison in Liverpool, England. Prison staff had sighted the drone flying over the prison on Thursday, October 19, around 12:40am with a package hanging below it. Merseyside police officers came out and located a man in a nearby field. The package contained not only drugs but also mobile phones and tobacco. Very similar to the drop-off attempt we reported on earlier in Michigan. The suspect in this case fled but was apprehended in a backyard on Stuart Road North in Bootle. The drone and controller were located in the field. Another package was later found under a van on Stuart Road North. It contained mobile phones, cannabis, and tobacco.

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CNN has another exclusive as it received the first waiver of its kind from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones over crowds. The news network announced on Wednesday that it received approval to fly a Vantage Robotics Snap drone up to 150 feet in the air over crowds and groups of people. Up till Wednesday, this was strictly off-limits, but it seems that the FAA has changed its mind. The safety features of the Snap drone may have played an important role in acquiring the approval as this drone comes with cages over its rotors to prevent injuries.  The drone only weighs 1.37 pounds and recent research has indicated that weight is an important factor in reducing the risk of injury.

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The Australian Government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) launched a dedicated website today, called DroneFlyer, to help people new to flying drones the rules of the game. It is a really nice and user-friendly website with easy-to-understand information for anybody getting into drones, whether you are an 8-year-old who got a drone for his birthday or you are thinking about starting a career as a commercial drone pilot.

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If you happen to be at the Adobe MAX conference in Las Vegas and you want to have a good look at the new DJI Zenmuse X7, then today is your last chance. DJI is one of the Gold Sponsors at the 2017 Adobe MAX and they have a booth there as well, where you can see all their latest products and test fly some of their drones. So if you are at Adobe Max 2017 in Las Vegas be sure to stop by. Adobe MAX runs from October 16 to 20.

Today is the last day!

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October 19

Skyward has been approved as an automated, fast-track approval process to allow commercial drone pilots to gain instant access to controlled airspace. This is a huge step forward as it reduces wait times for commercial drone operators to mere seconds whereas the traditional approval process could take months.

Skyward, which is owned by Verizon, is the first FAA-approved vendor to begin administering the automated Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) approval process. They have announced that the system will go live this fall at the following four airports: Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), San Jose (SJC), and Lincoln (LNK). The FAA plans to include 49 airports in the program by the end of next year.

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After Police departments in Boston and Los Angeles, Hong Kong is now testing drones outfitted with thermal cameras to fight terrorism, catch bad guys and help with search and rescue operations. The Hong Kong’s elite police squads have recently begun testing with thermal drones. The drones manufactured by DJI, the world’s largest manufacturer of unmanned aircraft vehicles, that recently had its products banned by the US army, were being considered for anti-crime and antiterrorism operations, police officials told the Post. The drones would not be used for surveillance at protests and rallies.

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October 18

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to soar like a bird along mountaintops in the Swiss Alps? Very few people get to see the snow-capped mountains this way. However, this amazing drone video “Elevations” brings it right to your screen.

The short film, “Elevations,” was made by Montreal-based Swiss physicist Gabriel Kocher, who has a second career as a drone racer (Gab707). He finished second in the Drone Racing League’s Allianz World Championship earlier this year. The drone in the short movie races over a rocky valley up the face the face of a mountain. On its way up it passes over waterfalls, flies around moutaintops and captures breathtaking 360-degree views.

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Amidst protest, the civilian board overseeing the Los Angeles Police Department voted 3-1 in favor of the LAPD using the pilot program. On Tuesday the Los Angeles Police Department signed off on a year-long test of drones. The LAPD is the largest police department in the U.S. to do so.

According to the proposal, the drones will be specifically used by the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division SWAT Team in “dangerous, high-risk tactical situations and improve situational awareness capabilities during natural disasters and catastrophic incidents.”

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The FAA said on Monday, that hobbyist drones are becoming a problem in the California wildfires that continue to burn. So far at least two drone incidents have been reported in which unauthorized amateur drones were interfering with firefighters.

Earlier last week in the Santa Rosa area, where the mail was still being delivered after the fires had gone through, there was a drone incursion reported. Last Sunday Cal Fire helicopters were halted in Petaluma after a drone had been spotted.

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DJI is one of the Gold Sponsors at the 2017 Adobe MAX. Adobe had some major announcements this year at their annual Adobe MAX conference. Our Micheal Steeber was present and reported on Adobe’s new cloud-based Lightroom CC and Adobe Sensei. DJI has a booth as well, where you can see all their latest products as well as test fly some of their drones. So if you are at Adobe Max 2017 in Las Vegas be sure to stop by. Adobe MAX runs from October 16 to 20.

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October 17

Ever wanted to go drone racing in Tokyo Japan? Well starting Saturday, October 21 you can in the 535 m² “DJI Arena By JDRONE Tokyo” Arena. The drone space does not only feature a flying-area but also a retail store and will offer technical support. The Tokyo DJI Arena will be managed and operated by Authorized Dealer Japan Circuit in partnership with DJI Japan.  expand full story

It has been a little quiet around Alphabet’s Project Wing, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any progress. Over the last few years, Project Wing has made thousands of test flights and now they are ready to start making deliveries. The test market is Queanbeyan, South Eastern Australia, where two merchants have signed up for Project Wing. Guzman y Gomez, a Mexican food chain, and Chemist Warehouse, a chain of pharmacies. These companies will receive orders from test consumers, who’ve purchased items using the Project Wing app on their smartphones. Project Wing’s drones will then fly out and make the deliveries. The first burrito delivered by drone in Australia is now a fact. Believe it or not, this actually happened before when Google delivered Chipotle Burrito’s via drones to Virginia Tech college students in Blacksburg.

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October 16

DJI just released an official statement on the report of a plane striking a drone in Quebec that we wrote about earlier today. Currently, it is not known (or at least not officially) what kind of drone and what brand exactly has collided with the commercial airliner. However with DJI being the largest drone manufacturer, chances are, it may have been one of their products. DJI states that they are ready to assist the Canadian aviation authorities. The collision took place at about 1500 feet of elevation and DJI’s drones are programmed by default to not exceed 4oo feet. In their release, DJI stresses that many people are using drones safely and responsibly and that DJI is pioneering new technologies such as geo-fencing and AeroScope to allow for safer sharing of the airspace.

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Dan Nystedt from Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada was flying his drone to capture some beautiful fall scenics in 4K when his eye caught a moose standing in a lake. As Nystedt moved his Phantom 4 Pro in for a closer look at this majestic animal, a wolf comes charging out of the bushes and a battle for life and death ensues. Another example of how drones bring wildlife to life.

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On Sunday the Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said that for the first time in Canada a drone had collided with a passenger airplane. The commercial Skyjet plane was struck as it was approaching Jean Lesage airport in Quebec City on Thursday. Garneau confirmed that the airplane only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely. He was extremely relieved that nobody got hurt. He continued to say:

“This should not have happened. That drone should not have been there. It could have been much more serious. If the drone had collided with the cockpit or the engine, the incident could have been catastrophic.”

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October 15

BBC News just reported that an Airbus 319 narrowly missed a large drone while approaching Gatwick Airport. A UK Airprox Board report revealed that 130 lives were at risk when a large diameter drone passed directly over the wing, in between the wingtip and the fuselage. An “airprox” is when distances between aircraft are seen to compromise safety. The incident happened on July 9th when a drone was “flown into conflict” with the Airbus 319. According to the report, there had been a high chance of collision.

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October 14

Late in August DJI launched their “Bug Bounty” program after hackers had been able to bypass DJI’s geo-fencing. Around the same time, the US army stopped using DJI’s products because of ‘cyber vulnerabilities’. Apparently, the program has been quite the success and DJI is now planning to make the first payouts, according to DroneLife. The combined payout is in excess of $30,000 to multiple researchers.

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October 13

Even though most homes have completely burned to the ground and the homeowners have left, the mailman is still doing his rounds, as captured on video by drone pilot Douglas Thron. The almost eerie and apocalypse-like short film Thron uploaded to YouTube shows the extent of the devastation. Apart from the mailman doing his job, the streets show no sign of life. Houses are burned to the ground and skeletons of cars are still sitting in the driveways. Why would the USPS deliver mail to homes that no longer exist?

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