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Archer Aviation planning full transition flights of their Maker aircraft, drone shuts down Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, protecting sporting events with drones, using lasers for drone communications, RQ-4 Global Hawk end-of-life, alligator attacks drone, a Remote ID device from Aerobits, and the Zephyr UAS flies for 26 days.

Archer Aviation Maker eVTOL.
Archer Aviation Maker eVTOL.

UAV News

Archer Flight Testing Gains Momentum, On Pace to Achieve Transition Flight By Year End

Archer Aviation Inc. announced it is confident it will achieve its goal of flying full transition flights with its Maker aircraft by year-end. Flight tests of the full-scale 12-motor eVTOL demonstrator aircraft with a Tilt Propeller System (TPS) have been successful.

Maker successfully completed its first hover test flight in December 2021 and since then the engineering team has focused on the development and testing of the systems needed for a full transition to horizontal flight.

Errant drone briefly shuts down D.C. airport

Air traffic was shut down at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for 45 minutes. There is no information about who was operating the drone, if it was taken down, or if it was retrieved.

The DHS told Congress that TSA has reported nearly 2,000 drone sightings near U.S. airports since 2021. Pilots had to take “65 evasive actions” after drones came too close or disturbed aircraft.

World Cup to use drones to help protect stadiums

Utah-based Fortem Technologies has reached an agreement with Qatar’s interior ministry to provide the interceptor drones at this winter’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Fortem’s “DroneHunters” that shoot nets will be able to bring down small rogue drones. These are autonomous, radar-guided drones.

Laser-Controlled Drones Can Evade Signal-Jamming Countermeasures

The counter-drone technology that physically attacks rogue drones with a net or a projectile requires that you track the drone’s movement. On the other hand, signal jamming doesn’t require such precise tracking. But now British company QinetiQ has a way to remotely operate drones without the communication signals that can be jammed. The new system uses lasers or Free-Space Optical Communications (FSO, or FSOC) signals.

Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk drones headed for retirement in FY27

The US Air Force plans to phase out all remaining RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drones by fiscal 2027. Northrop Grumman was informed they should expect that the fleet will reach its end of life by that date. In a statement, an Air Force spokeswoman said, “Our ability to win future high-end conflicts requires accelerating investment in connected, survivable platforms and accepting short-term risks by divesting legacy ISR assets that offer limited capability against peer and near-peer threats.”

What a snap! Moment alligator leaps out of Brazilian river and devours nosy fisherman’s drone in mid-flight

A Brazilian man was testing his new drone and had seen some alligators, so he flew back to the spot. The drone hovered over one of the alligators who eyed the drone for a few seconds. The gator then lept out of the water, grabbed the drone, and swam away.

Video: Alligator leaps out of Brazilian river and snatches drone in mid flight

The most advanced Remote ID with WI-FI and BLE technology

Aerobits has launched an advanced version of the idME PRO device that can broadcast on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It provides enhanced identification and tracking for UAS and works with MAVLINK devices. The Wi-Fi can connect to the Pixhawk drone controller via a JST connector. The Bluetooth Low Energy (or BLE) provides surveillance and drone operator identification capability via smartphones or tablets.

US Army conducts high-altitude experiments with Zephyr UAS

The U.S. Army wants to implement ultra-long endurance stratospheric UAS capabilities. During a June 2022 test flight, the Airbus-developed Zephyr UAS flew for 26 days, breaking its own record set in 2018. The Zepher achieved a number of firsts, including the first flight into international airspace, first flight over water, longest continuous flight utilizing satellite communication controls, and the farthest demonstration from its launch point while carrying a commercial, off-the-shelf payload.

The Army Futures Command is conducting stratospheric experimentation at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona by the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space (APNT/Space) Cross-Functional Team (CFT), which is based in Huntsville, Alabama.

UAV Video of the Week

Inside look at Amazon’s top secret drone testing facility

NBC’s Erin McLaughlin reports for TODAY on when you could see them in your own backyard.

Screengrab from video.

Video: Inside Look At Amazon’s Top Secret Drone Testing Facility

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