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Airspace Management Decongestion & Deconfliction Issues

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* Readers can decide for themselves what the latest GAO report on regulatory efforts over UAV integration in the US national airspace may say about the Administration’s priorities, or the state of the US economy as a whole: “As of December 4, 2014, FAA granted seven commercial exemptions to the filmmaking industry allowing small UAS operations in the airspace. However, over 140 applications for exemptions were waiting to be reviewed for other commercial operations such as electric power line monitoring and precision agriculture. […] A 2014 MITRE study found that Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada have progressed further than the United States with regulations that support commercial UAS operations.” [Emphasis DID.] * That said, US lawmakers expressed alarm [WaPo] about the risks posed by cheap drones used in civilian airspace at a House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee hearing yesterday (full video). * And they have a point, as deconfliction is a serious issue. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently disclosed [BBC] that a “serious risk of collision” had occurred last July between a small rotorcraft UAV and an Airbus 320 about to land in Heathrow. * For reference, here’s the list [PDF] of small commercial UAV operators approved […]

* Readers can decide for themselves what the latest GAO report on regulatory efforts over UAV integration in the US national airspace may say about the Administration’s priorities, or the state of the US economy as a whole:

“As of December 4, 2014, FAA granted seven commercial exemptions to the filmmaking industry allowing small UAS operations in the airspace. However, over 140 applications for exemptions were waiting to be reviewed for other commercial operations such as electric power line monitoring and precision agriculture. […] A 2014 MITRE study found that Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada have progressed further than the United States with regulations that support commercial UAS operations.” [Emphasis DID.]

* That said, US lawmakers expressed alarm [WaPo] about the risks posed by cheap drones used in civilian airspace at a House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee hearing yesterday (full video).

* And they have a point, as deconfliction is a serious issue. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently disclosed [BBC] that a “serious risk of collision” had occurred last July between a small rotorcraft UAV and an Airbus 320 about to land in Heathrow.

* For reference, here’s the list [PDF] of small commercial UAV operators approved by the UK CAA.

* Flight Global: Danish army operates Puma UAV in civilian overland exercise.

* Textron received a certificate of authorization from the FAA to start Aerosonde operations at the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) test site.

* Airports in the Arabian peninsula are becoming increasingly busy since they positioned themselves as inter-continental hubs between Europe, Asia, and Africa. A significant amount of airspace in the region is reserved for military use. The UAE has been working to alleviate the pressure and better coordinate military and civilian airspace uses, something that China would be well advised to emulate. The National | Emirates 24×7 (May 2014) | NATS airspace management company.

Russia-India

* The biggest announcement during Vladimir Putin’s state visit in India has so far been in the nuclear energy sector. Prime Minister Modi said that “Russia has been India’s foremost defence partner through decades. Even as India’s options have increased today, Russia will remain our most important defence partner.” The possibility of joint work on helicopters designed in Russia and made in India for local and re-export purposes was also on the agenda. Economic Times | Hindustan Times | Business Standard.

Sat Storage

* The GAO asked in another recent report whether DoD should look more closely at its satellite storage costs and risks. These costs can add up to surprising amounts.

Skunk Works PR

* Reuters looks into the reasons behind Lockheed Martin’s decision to open up (to some extent) its Skunk Works division dedicated to secret projects.

Europe

* The French Army released its 2014 “Grand Rapport” [PDF, in French], which provides an overview in numbers of their equipment and missions.

* Today’s video comes from 2 of the 4 Dutch F-16s currently in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, filmed as they recently escorted [in Dutch] 2 Russian Su-34s flying to the Kaliningrad exclave:

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