News Updates – Drone Insurance and Drones at JFK

Some recent news articles relating to drones:
I’ve written about insurance for drones and spoke about it this past spring.  An article entitled “Recreational Drones: Do Homeowners’ Insurance Policies Provide Coverage?” by Tom Schrimpf and Russ Klingaman of the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, analyzes homeowners’ applicability to UAS.  It is important to remember that this is general analysis and one must consult their policy to determine the scope of coverage.  It is even more important to remember that commercial use of the UAS will almost certainly exclude you from coverage.
I often remind clients that an important, but often overlooked, benefit is that the insurance company will often provide you with an attorney to defend against a claim.  Again, your policy will discuss this potential benefit.
Lockheed Marin has launched the first portion of its UAS traffic management system.
Lockheed is working with NASA and its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) program to develop further tools, and the goal is to increase communication between manned pilots and UAS operators.  One can access the site at https://www.1800wxbrief.com/afss/#!/.
This announcement couldn’t come at a better time, as news sources are reporting that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an intelligence assessment to law enforcement stating that terrorists are using UAS in increasing numbers overseas and that they could be used as a potential weapon domestically. Dr. Gregory McNeal took a different tack because he believes that payload limitations and lack of stealthiness tend against the use of UAS.
Also, there were three recent alleged UAS sightings by pilots near New York’s JFK International Airport last weekend.  This is only weeks after an unidentified object, presumed by many to be a UAS, was caught on video near a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747.  I’m curious as to the true nature of this particular object since it appears to be overtaking a Boeing 747 in the video, which is going to be travelling at well over 100 knots.  Also, I caution against immediately presuming these are drones.
ufo-sighting-at-jfk
Just a reminder to all that airspace within 5 miles of airports is restricted and one shouldn’t be flying in that area without explicit authorization (see for example this post – skip to the part about the Philadelphia Philles).  I realize there is a debate as to whether UAS are “aircraft,” but I usually take the conservative approach.

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