Avionics News January 2018 - 13

nies, not taxi companies, thereby bypassing many of the outdated regulations that
govern (and control) the taxi industry.
I use Uber and Lyft a fair amount and
consider them to be an upscale, technologically-advanced taxi service. They pick
me up; they drop me off; they bill me for
my ride; and it's a job, albeit a part-time
job, for the driver. From the outside, it
sure seems like a taxi service. But the taxi
industry is controlled, regulated, and often restricted to not
only assure safety but, some
would argue, limit competition. But argue that you are a
technology company offering
"ride-sharing" opportunities to
the drivers and passengers, and
you bypass the taxi rules.
We are seeing the same
approach to drones. There are
technology companies offering
airborne ride-sharing, augmented package delivery, critical medical supply deliveries, and search-and-rescue support
during natural disasters. The Federal Aviation Administration,
U.S. Department of Transportation and governments worldwide are responding to this new drone technology the same
way they responded to ride-sharing: Our world is changing!
This new technology is overwhelming society and governments. But is it truly new? While spending time with Coyne,
and certainly with the experience of the lunch delivery, the
topic of drones was front and center. Since leaving the CASA,
Coyne has been the technical director at Unmanned Aircraft
Systems International and quite active in the drone industry.
In addition to his regulatory and advocacy work with the
drone industry, he also found time to co-author a book on
drones titled: Drones in Society.
It was in reading his book and debating modern aviation trends, while taste testing Scotland's finest, that a few
thoughts about drones surfaced.
The first thought was that it is ironic that the technology
industry would hitch its wagon to a 100-year-old operation
and somehow convince the world it is new and novel. Yes, the
history of unmanned aircraft dates to the mid-1800s, where
the history of unmanned airplanes dates back as early as 1913,
when the U.S. Navy provided a flying boat to test and evaluate the Elmer Sperry gyro-based autopilot. The Hewitt-Sperry
Automatic Airplane first flew in 1917. In 1918, Charles
Kettering successfully flew the Kettering Bug, a computer-

ized, auto-piloted biplane programmed to
carry a bomb directly toward a predetermined target.
Where did the name drone come from?
Following World War I, the development
of radio-controlled aircraft for military use
continued, primarily for targeting purposes:
the target drone. One of the early efforts
was the British Royal Navy's conversion
of de Havilland Tiger Moths into radiocontrolled aircraft for anti-aircraft targeting.
This version of the Tiger Moth was designated the DH.82B Queen Bee. It is documented in multiple sources and likely is the
origin of the modern term "drone."
For the next century (yes, 100 years),
the unmanned aircraft fell into two primary
categories: military or recreational (radio-controlled models). The recreational radio-controlled model aircraft date
back to the early 1930s. The unmanned aircraft in the
military range from concepts like the early Kettering Bug
where the aircraft was a one-time-use aircraft designed
to deliver explosives, not necessarily different than
today's missile systems; or beginning during the Spanish
American War where the Army was using unmanned aircraft
for photo surveillance; or as demonstrated with the Queen Bee,
the use of an unmanned aircraft for target practice for ground
and airborne weaponry.
None of this would be possible without an 1898 patent -
yes, 1898!
It was in 1898 that Nikola Telsa patented his "Method
of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving
Vessels or Vehicles" (No. 613,809). Telsa described the possibilities for his new radio-control technology:
The invention which I have described will prove useful in many ways. Vessels or vehicles of any suitable
kind may be used, as life, dispatch, or pilot boats or
the like, or for carrying letters, packages, provisions,
instruments, objects or materials of any description,
for establishing communication with inaccessible
regions and exploring the conditions existing in the
same ... and for many other scientific, engineering or
commercial purposes.
So, with this 100-year-old "new technology," what
changed? Certainly, the unmanned aircraft was, in fact,
widely used throughout the 20th century. I suggest that
technology, specifically computer technology, allowed for
the development of a compact, lightweight flight management
Continued on page 22
avionics news

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january

2018

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News January 2018

No label
Avionics News January 2018 - Intro
Avionics News January 2018 - No label
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover2
Avionics News January 2018 - 1
Avionics News January 2018 - 2
Avionics News January 2018 - 3
Avionics News January 2018 - 4
Avionics News January 2018 - 5
Avionics News January 2018 - 6
Avionics News January 2018 - 7
Avionics News January 2018 - 8
Avionics News January 2018 - 9
Avionics News January 2018 - 10
Avionics News January 2018 - 11
Avionics News January 2018 - 12
Avionics News January 2018 - 13
Avionics News January 2018 - 14
Avionics News January 2018 - 15
Avionics News January 2018 - 16
Avionics News January 2018 - 17
Avionics News January 2018 - 18
Avionics News January 2018 - 19
Avionics News January 2018 - 20
Avionics News January 2018 - 21
Avionics News January 2018 - 22
Avionics News January 2018 - 23
Avionics News January 2018 - 24
Avionics News January 2018 - 25
Avionics News January 2018 - 26
Avionics News January 2018 - 27
Avionics News January 2018 - 28
Avionics News January 2018 - 29
Avionics News January 2018 - 30
Avionics News January 2018 - 31
Avionics News January 2018 - 32
Avionics News January 2018 - 33
Avionics News January 2018 - 34
Avionics News January 2018 - 35
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Avionics News January 2018 - 38
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Avionics News January 2018 - 40
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Avionics News January 2018 - 53
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Avionics News January 2018 - 71
Avionics News January 2018 - 72
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover3
Avionics News January 2018 - Cover4
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