In Flight USA Has Joined the Exciting World of Drones 

By In Flight USA Editorial Staff

The team at In Flight USA welcomes readers to our new section dedicated to small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), more generically referred to as “drones.” Our regular readers may wonder what drones have to do with Cessnas, Pipers, and other such GA type flying, but one needs to look at the history of In Flight USA. Over the last 33 years, we have covered all aspects of aviation, from typical GA subjects, to airshow activities, military coverage, business aviation, space-related, ventures and a wide variety of industry news. Most important, we strive to publish current news and product information, seldom more than just a few days old.

It is no wonder that the staff of In Flight USA would take a close look at the newest arrival to the National Airspace System, and have no doubt, drones are in the airspace formally thought to be the domain of “contemporary” flying machine. Since implementation of FAR 107 just over a year ago, more than 80,000 individuals have obtained their FAA sUAS Certificates, enabling them to operate ever increasingly sophisticated drone variations for commercial purposes. News stations, moviemakers, the real-estate industry, public utility companies, construction firms, law enforcement, and too many other applications to name are now using drones of some kind for some purpose. With millions of drones now in use, ranging from toys to the Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (Space Plane), drones are the fastest growing side of aviation around the world. Any publication that does not report on this explosive use of American Airspace is just not serving the needs of aviation fans… besides… they are INCREDIBLY fun!

We invite readers to learn with us, as In Flight USA pros explore this new world. In this issue alone, we find that major airshows exist for drones, and that ICAS is not the only aerobatic organization in town. Did you know the “drone simulators” exist, learning the lessons taught by large aircraft simulation? How about auto stabilization and programing, so a “family” drone can stand off at a safe distance and video a soccer game? To be sure, watching the Red Bull pylon races is exciting, but imagine wearing a 3-D viewing device and racing a drone around pylons, viewed from INSIDE the Drone!  You can sit in a chair, munch on nachos, drink a cool beverage, and get air sick all at the same time… sound like fun?

This is only the beginning. Join us for the fun and information as In Flight USA adds yet another facet of aviation to our pages for you, our readers, to learn from and most importantly… enjoy.


Editorial: Pilot Report by a Newbie

By Ed Downs

The Dromida Drone was a learning experience for this writer. (Courtesy Dromida)Like it or not, drones (Unmanned Aerial Systems) are becoming a major player in the National Airspace System.  This writer decided last year to add one more pilot rating to the list I now have by becoming an FAA UAS pilot.  Sure enough, I visited, took the UAS pilot training course, fought my way through the IACRA process (electronic 8710 form) and presto, I was a drone pilot … sort of.  Yes, I had the plastic in my pocket, but had never actually flown a drone.  Leaving that small detail behind, In Flight USA reached out to drone manufacturers, inviting them to submit news announcements that might help us provide the most current information to our reader base of contemporary (real?) pilots. In Flight USA is even attending the Drone World Expo, being held in San Jose in early October.  But, the results of our outreach have been mixed, as the gaming and business world of drones has been slow to pick up on the fact that they are a part of the family of flying machines, mixing in with airplanes stuffed with people.  But that suddenly changed, about two weeks before this October issue went to print.

An e-mail announcement from Hobbico Inc. suddenly showed up. Don’t recognize the name?  Hobbico is the largest distributor of model products in the world, with more than 400 brand names and some 60,000 products. Do the names Revell Model, United Model, Tower Hobbies, Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, or Hobby Lobby ring a bell?  Yep, this employee-owned company holds a leadership role in the world of drones, ranging from toys to professional commercial versions.  The announcement addressed a new, low end, drone that probably falls into the “toy” category, but seemed to have some of the features normally reserved for the big guys. With a Wi-Fi connected camera that take photos and videos (direct to an app on your smart phone), hand controller, 3D goggles and all the accoutrements needed to fly (including spare rotor blades and even a small screw driver), my interest was piqued.  With an MSRP of $89.99, this intrepid aviator figured, “how about getting hold of this critter and actually learn how to fly a drone, from the perspective of a pilot report.”  Thus, began a trip into the world of technological humiliation, ending with an enlightenment about the world of drones that exceeded my expectations.  Yep, an old dog can learn new tricks.

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