Welcome to the Weekly UAS News Update. This week, we have five stories for you, two of which are coming from St. Louis. Firstly, Wing has unveiled a new, larger drone designed for heavier packages. Then, we have two stories from DJI. Let's get to it.
UAS Bill BB199
The first story from St. Louis concerns a bill, referred to as BB19, which includes concerning text for recreational UAS operators. Lines 19, 20, and 21 state, and I quote:
“Any person who operates a drone or any unmanned aircraft in the city of St. Louis shall have a valid Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA and shall be in compliance with all standards set forth under FAA Small UAS Rules Part 107.”
Yikes! There is no exemption for recreational or 4489 operations, which is not good.
The bill also introduces restrictions on operating a drone within 1500 feet of other aircraft, including City of St. Louis drones. As well as no-flight zones that can be established by the city, required standby distances from public safety vehicles, and publicly owned buildings.
This rule, of course, is not applicable to any city department or city agencies. Vic Moss, from the Drone Service Provider Alliance, reached out last week to give UAS operators a voice, but we need more people to do so in order to change this to something more reasonable, or preferably, no rules at all.
St. Louis Surveillance Drones
Speaking of St. Louis, here's an update on the plan to use drones for surveillance. We discussed this topic last week and the week before. Despite serious pushback from a business owner who wanted to use drones for surveillance and charge people to watch the footage live, the company is not backing down.
They've been told to cease and desist by the city, and now they've sent a letter to the city threatening a lawsuit if permits for operators were required. Instead, they will offer a free trial at a different time and location.
They are also asking for operators to join them for a fee. If you pay $99, you can fly with them; for $199, they'll pay for your ticket somewhere; and there's another option for $299.
Currently, there's a GoFundMe set up by the company with a goal of getting $10,000, but they've only raised $20 so far. If you think there's a link between the two St. Louis stories, you're absolutely right. When limits are pushed like this, municipalities are forced to take drastic actions.
So please, don't be that person who ruins it for everyone else. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. This is a clear case where such actions should be avoided.
New Larger Wing Delivery Drone
Next up, Wing has unveiled a new drone with double the payload capacity of their current flagship. The drone has a 5-pound payload capacity and can maintain a 12-mile round trip, which is a significant improvement.
Wing says the new drone will be deployed within 12 months to all their operating sites. Approximately 70% of the deliveries are currently completed using one drone, and 30% using multiple drones. This new drone could reduce the number of trips required to deliver the same goods.
DJI Mic 2 Launch
Our fourth story includes two updates from DJI. The first is about the DJI Mic 2. DJI has released new mics with 8 GB internal storage, 14 hours of recording, 820 feet of range, AI noise canceling, 32-bit float recording, and an all-in-one case. They are compatible with USB-C, Lightning, and 3.5mm TRS analog output.
The cost for two mics and a transmitter is $349, and for one mic and a transmitter, it's $219, or $99 per microphone. We did a review video where we put them to the test against Rode's microphone and the original DJI mic, so go take a look at that.
The final story is another release from DJI for the enterprise market. They've released software called DJI Modify, which appears to be a mesh editing tool. This software pairs with DJI Terra to provide modifications to 3D models. Initially, Modify is only compatible with DJI Terra models, which can be exported as PLY or OBJ files for third-party or online sharing. The cost is surprisingly low for this kind of software, at almost $1,600 plus taxes for the year, and it comes with a six-month free trial.
Additionally, Pilot Institute has a new app for course viewing. If you've been wanting to watch courses offline while on the go, this new app is a significant improvement over the previous Teachable app. It is available on both Android and Apple platforms, providing more functionality. Make sure to head over to the course page for details on how to download it.
And that's it. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you next week. I must say, this new mic right here is going to be our go-to for recording anything in the field.
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