This week, we have four stories for you with a lot of new stuff. We have a new drone announcement from BRINC. We have a Tennessee lot that could ban Non-NDA drones from government use. Furthermore, we have a new FAA CBO and then also potentially a new DJI drone. So let’s get to it. All right, your first story.
This week is a soon-to-be released new drone from BRINC Drones. BRINC released an image as a teaser with the date 3/2/2023, suggesting that we’ll hear a little bit more and get a better look at the new public safety drone at the beginning of March. There’s not a lot of information available at the moment.
There is an image of the drone. You can see a variety of different lights. You can see a camera, and then several sensors. I think they’re taking a page from the DJI book here and trying to get some hype going about this. BRINC is known for its Lemur and then the Lemur S, which are FPV platforms that are specifically designed for law enforcement.
Tell us what you think this will be and what you would like to see potentially from a law enforcement drone, if this is what you’re using.
Tennessee Autel and DJI drone ban
Your second story this week is a bit of a frustrating one, with a Tennessee bill that would ban state and local agencies and law enforcement from purchasing or using drones and telecommunications equipment.
That is banned under the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, you may have heard that term. The bill would essentially ban DJI and Autel Robotics aircraft for use in any public safety setting, or even services that are provided to public safety.
Now we saw a similar situation in Florida. This would unfortunately result in many departments that are losing capabilities, and then they would also be paying far more for products that are not doing the job properly for them. Overall this would actually hurt public responders, including some of our students. So, we’re not a big fan of this.
Now, I do want to make a bit of a side note here. I usually don’t try to mention anything with an opinion on these updates that I. We’ve seen this as well in the past in Florida. It’s had some pretty drastic effects, and we’ve heard that directly from our students; it’s not something that we’re making up. Now, to be clear, there is definitely a need for us to push for American-based drones, and I’ve said this in the past; I’ve been somewhat vocal about this.
But the problem is that we are simultaneously hurting the people who are using drones every day and generally to save lives. And this could be their lives because you have firefighters who are using. To make sure, they don’t send other firefighters into the middle of a fire.
You have police officers every day that are using drones to save lives, but also to search for missing kids somewhere. Forcing them to use equipment that is more expensive and less capable is not the solution. We need to. A replacement. Sure, let’s make it an American made drone that is high quality and that is available, but we can’t downgrade our public safety users and tell them to use something inferior that is a lot more expensive.
A lot of these places have budgets that they have to stick to. They’ve already spent the money. And they might end up with a brick that can’t fly. I did want to make a side note, and I know a lot of our students would be affected by this, and I’m just not a big fan. All right.
Your third story this week is about a new CBO for recreational flyers. STEM +C is a robotics and aviation STEM program that’s designed to get kids and teachers interested in aviation. They were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week as the fourth community-based organization or CBO. We’re actually happy to share that.
The STEM +C, we’ve worked with them in the past. They actually help us also with TRUST. They recommend that you use our TRUST program. We work with them. They’re located here in the same area that we are. They do a lot of great work with teachers and kids, getting them interested in aviation, which is one of the things that I’m genuinely interested in in the position that I currently hold.
We’re also happy to share that the STEM-C guidelines appear to follow both the FTCA and the FPV Freedom Coalition guidelines. They’re pretty easy to find on their website, at least compared to what we saw from the AMA. Now the guidelines are pretty long—16 pages—but seven of these pages at the end appear to be definitions.
Make sure that you read the guidelines, and that they work for you. But if you’re working with STEM programs, I think between the FTC and the Flite Test Community Association and in STEM Plus, you will be getting some excellent information in this case. So make sure that you find out if this is the right CBO for you.
DJI Mini 2 SE
And your last story this week is about a new DJI drone on the horizon. We’ve seen pictures of a DJI Mini 2 SE surface this week online. The actual specs are not available yet, but it is rumored that the camera will be able to record videos at 2.7K. It uses a 12 megapixel sensor, offers 31 minutes of flight time, and has a price tag of about $369.
We’ve talked about this in the office. We’re trying to figure out the difference between this and the actual Mini 2. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference, but DJI has a history of creating cheaper offerings for older drones. We saw that with a Mini SE that came out around the same time the Mini 2 was being released.
So, they used the old, I call it chassis. They used the old frame that they had from the mini. They changed the software a little bit to limit the capability of the sensor, even though it was mostly the same sensor. And then they sell it for less, which, I think, is smart.
And it, puts a cheaper drone in the hands of people who don’t necessarily want to spend that much money on their larger drone. Mini 2 SE will let you know when we find out more, but please let us know what you think in the comments.
And then, to finish, I did want to mention one more thing.
Texas Drone Workshop
Our industry friends, Adrian Doco and Jared, are doing in-person work. A drone in-person workshop in Houston, Texas. That’s going to be from February 18 to 19. You’ll learn from a lot of industry experts in photography, mapping, oil and gas. They actually have quite the lineup. You’ll see there’s an in-person component on Sunday.
On Saturday, you will be sitting in the classroom and learning. If you’ve watched our channel, if you’ve taken some of our courses, some instructors there will look very familiar, because we’ve worked with them in the past. I’m happy to be sponsoring the event with the Pilot Institute.
You can actually get 25% off the tickets by using the coupon code PI25 during checkout, and that’s going to save you a little bit of money. That’s it. That’s all we’ve got. As always, subscribe, and we’ll see you next week.
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