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Drones, Henry H. Perritt Jr., Eliot O. Sprague Apr 2014

Drones, Henry H. Perritt Jr., Eliot O. Sprague

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Abstract

Drone technology is evolving rapidly. Microdrones—what the FAA calls “sUAS”—already on the market at the $1,000 level, have the capability to supplement manned helicopters in support of public safety operations, news reporting, and powerline and pipeline patrol, when manned helicopter support is infeasible, untimely, or unsafe.

Larger drones–"machodrones”–are not yet available outside battlefield and counterterrorism spaces. Approximating the size of manned helicopters, but without pilots, or with human pilots being optional, their design is still in its infancy as designers await greater clarity in the regulatory requirements that will drive airworthiness certification.

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