Volcanos (again), Star Wars, and other News

Good Morning America flew a DJI drone over the erupting Bardarbunga Volcano at the northern edge of the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland. The pilot is part of DJI and they were a mile away from the volcano as they flew the drone over the center of the volcano. According to Iceland Magazine, the use of UAS is unregulated in Iceland, but before traveling with your drone consider the export limitations.

They got some great video from it – getting views that are next to impossible with manned aircraft due to the heat. The video says it all, so I’ll leave it at that.

A Galaxy Far, Far Away — coming to airspace near you:
Millenium Falcon
This video is going viral, but probably among a different crowd than Grumpy Cat.  A Star Wars / UAS enthusiast has build a realistic looking Millennium Falcon quadcopter.  You can check out pictures from the development and watch the first flight.  I hope its technical specs are similar to the real one, particularly when it comes to speed.

News Wrap-up
Alibaba, Asia’s largest internet company, is beginning to make test deliveries with UAS.  The tests are a one time delivery of ginger tea to volunteers. In the meantime, Amazon’s attempt to test Amazon Prime Air have made no progress.
A family member who works for Launch NY, a group dedicated to helping small businesses in Western New York succeed, informed me about the “World Cup of Drones” in the UAE on Feb 6 and 7.    There is a “Drones for Good” Competition that will net the winner $1 million (US).  You can find the semi-finalists here and put in a vote for the winner.
I posted a video of a hawk attacking a UAS the other day. A recent study by researchers published in Biology Letters determined that mallards, greenshanks, and flamingos were unaffected by drones of various shapes, sizes and colors. The only exception was when the drone approached the bird from overhead – this scared them. However, the researchers acknowledge that they did not perform any tests with birds of prey, and did not discount the videos of hawks attacking UAS.
Eight more 333 Exemptions were issued by the FAA on January 30 and February 2, 2015.  Two of the eight were amendments to entities who received exemptions in the first round.  They can be viewed on the FAA website, but are generally similar to previous 333 exemptions in terms of waivers and limitations.  The amendments were made to allow for additional aircraft types, but did not expand the scope of operations; the latter would require going through the lengthy Federal Register process.

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