Can You Fly a Drone in Sedona?

Situated near Flagstaff, Sedona is a desert region in Arizona with forests, canyons, and buttes. It’s beloved as much for its natural beauty as for its arts.

If you’ve always wanted to visit Sedona and you’re finally making it happen, naturally, you may wonder – can you bring your drone with you?

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

You can fly a drone throughout much of Sedona but not in Wilderness Areas or Sedona Airport and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. You’re also required to follow FAA guidelines when in the skies.

If you have a trip to Sedona in the cards, this is the article for you.

In it, we’ll discuss in-depth whether you can use a drone in this part of Arizona, highlight all the off-limits areas, and go over Arizona’s flight rules.

Don’t miss it!

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

Under Public Law 112-95, Section 336 and the FAA, commercial and recreational pilots can operate a drone in Sedona.

However, the desert town has a lot of off-limits places, so let’s review.


Sedona is only 18.31 square miles, yet still contains several airports. One is the aptly-named Sedona Airport, and the other is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

As a drone pilot, you’re prohibited from flying within five nautical miles of an airport. Given the tiny size of Sedona, this will make planning flight routes difficult but not impossible.

Military bases

Across Sedona’s borders, you’ll find a couple of military bases. These too can complicate your flight plans, as you’re not allowed within five nautical miles of a military base either.

Wilderness Areas

Drones are strictly prohibited in Wilderness Areas throughout the United States. That’s been the case since 1964, when the Wilderness Act went into effect.

The goal of that act is to prohibit industrialization that prevents designated areas from existing that solely protect wildlife and nature.

Sedona has two Wilderness Areas, Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Munds Mountain Wilderness.

Neither area is small. The Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is 47,195 acres, while Munds Mountain Wilderness is 18,150 acres.

Designated Primitive Areas

Further, Sedona law restricts drone access in designated Primitive Areas.

The United States Forest Service once used these lands, which have since mostly converted to Wilderness Areas. 

Other restricted airspace

Always use a drone map when operating your UAV in Sedona. The above areas all constitute restricted airspace, but other restrictions could exist throughout the town.

Also, stay vigilant for temporary flight restrictions, which only affect your drone plans for a limited time but are still enforceable.

4 fantastic places to fly a drone in Sedona

Although Sedona restricts drone access to many places throughout the town, if you know where to look, you’ll find an exceptional selection of spots where you can take breathtaking footage.

Here are some of our favorites.

West Fork Oak Creek Trail

About 9.5 miles from Sedona is the West Fork Oak Creek Trail. As you stroll along the trailhead, you’ll spot canyons, a stream, and cliffs.

The buttes here are a trademark red, and when autumn arrives in Arizona, the fall foliage will take your breath away.

Charge up your drone battery, as you’ll surely want to stay here for a while!

Devil’s Bridge Trail

Venture out to Yavapai County to hike the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead.

Only moderately difficult, the entire hike (round trip) is 1.8 miles, so you won’t have to sweat it out too much if you’re trying to look professional for a drone project.

The route takes you across sandstone arches, so you’ll have lots to film or photograph here.

Schnebly Hill Vista

Along Schnebly Hill, you’ll find a vista with a clearance area to witness the beauty of Sedona.

While the Schnebly Hill Vista isn’t all that far from the Munds Mountain Wilderness, it’s well outside of the wilderness boundary line.

Many drone pilots have flown here before, so you shouldn’t have to stress about restrictions. If anything, keep in mind that the crowds here can be rather plentiful.

Since it’s often such a populated area, consider scheduling your drone flight either earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds.

Courthouse Butte

We also recommend exploring Courthouse Butte while you’re staying in Sedona. The butte near Oak Creek in Yavapai County is just a bit southward of Sedona. The peak of the butte is 5,454 feet.

You don’t have to ascend that high up, of course. That’s what you have your drone for!

You can take some aerial shots of the tall, tree-lined butte that will make a fantastic addition to your portfolio.

Drone operation rules to know before visiting Sedona

With your plane tickets and hotels booked, it’s time to jet off to stunning, warm Sedona.

Before your plane touches down, make sure you’re privy to the following drone rules, which apply to Arizona as a whole.

Do not launch your drone closer than 328 feet to wildlife

Sedona drone law prohibits drone pilots from vertically approaching birds or animals with their UAVs.

Further, you cannot launch your drone any closer than 328 feet or 100 meters from local wildlife.

It’s no secret that drone exposure can cause unfortunate behavior in wildlife, including aggression and sometimes even abandoning their young.

Do your part to preserve Sedona’s great wildlife!

Have your drone license and registration ready

As a safe drone pilot, you must have a current drone license and an active registration (as required), both issued by the FAA or another body with authority.

Let’s start by discussing your registration. Commercial pilots must register their drones, but it’s optional for recreational pilots, depending on the weight of their UAVs.

If your drone weighs 0.55 pounds or under, you don’t have to register it. For all other drones that require registration, you can register for up to three years.

Next, let’s go over licenses. Hobbyists must carry a TRUST certificate issued by the FAA after passing The Recreational UAS Safety Test.

That license doesn’t expire but don’t lose it on your trip to Sedona, or you’ll have to take the exam again.

Commercial pilots need the Part 107 license, aka the Remote Pilot Certificate. You can only obtain this license by passing the Part 107 exam administered by the FAA.

Your certificate is good for only two years, but you can recertify online for free.

Avoid critical facilities

Arizona drone law mandates that pilots fly no closer to critical facilities than 250 vertical feet and 500 horizontal feet.

Examples of these facilities include hospitals, courthouses, power plants, and water treatment facilities.

Do not interfere with emergency response efforts

When firefighters, police departments, and other emergency responders arrive on the scene, do not get in their way with your drone.

You could prevent people from receiving the life-saving services they need!

Do not fly higher than 400 feet

You cannot operate your drone more than 400 feet from the ground throughout Arizona. It’s your responsibility to gauge the allowable height and fly your drone within that range.

Maintain a visual line of sight on your drone

You must also keep eyes on your drone the entire time you fly. If you operate your drone so far out of range that you can’t see it with the naked eye or when wearing contacts or glasses, you’re beyond VLOS range.

You must bring your drone back or operate it with a spotter who can watch it beyond your visual line of sight.

Do not fly your drone in inclement weather

Arizona is known for its hot and humid weather, but the sun can’t shine every day.

On those less-than-perfect days with strong winds and rain, refrain from operating your drone. The weather makes flying a UAV too dangerous.

You could also end up with a damaged, broken drone!

Sedona is a desert town in Arizona known for its towering buttes and appealing arts scene.

You can fly your drone here but must avoid designated Wilderness Areas, Primitive Areas, military bases, and airports.

Follow FAA drone rules when you take to the sky, and remember to avoid wildlife with your drone especially. Stay safe and have fun out there!

Can You Fly a Drone in Queenstown?

Queenstown in New Zealand is on Lake Wakatipu on the South Island shores near the Southern Alps.

The area features mining towns, vineyards, and a healthy adventure sports scene with jet boating, skiing, and bungee jumping. You’d feel right at home piloting your drone around.

Can you fly a drone in Queenstown, New Zealand?

You can operate a drone in parts of Queenstown but not any restricted airspace near the Queenstown Airport unless you have Air Traffic Control approval. When flying over someone’s personal property, you must have their permission.

In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about safely and legally flying a drone in Queenstown.

Make sure you keep reading, as you won’t want to miss it!

Can you fly a drone in Queenstown?

Queenstown is a quaint town measuring only 3,361 square miles. If you look at the town on a drone map, you’ll see all sorts of colors across this area, so let’s talk further about what those mean.

First, we’ll discuss the red areas. These represent controlled airspace.

For those who don’t know, drones can only operate in uncontrolled airspace. The Queenstown Airport is in this red area, restricting where you can use your drone unless you have permission.

In the next section, we’ll discuss those permissions and the difference between shielded and unshielded drone operations, so be sure to check that out.

Yellow areas on the map indicate Low Flying Zones. The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand, the leading aviation authority in the country, establishes these zones.

An LFZ prohibits all drone activity unless and until the CAA deactivates the flight restriction.

You’ll also see some blue circles on the map hidden among the red areas of Queenstown. The blue areas denote aerodrome boundaries.

You cannot fly within four kilometers or 2.49 miles of an aerodrome in New Zealand, so keep your distance.

Further, to enter the blue areas, you’d need a drone license or certificate from the CAA, either the Part 61 or Part 149 license.

You also require an aerodrome operator’s agreement but not approval from Air Traffic Control.

Shielded vs. unshielded drone operations

If you’re interested in flying inside the red zones of Queenstown, you must know about shielded and unshielded operations so you have the appropriate permissions.

Let’s delve into both types of drone flights now.

Shielded drone use in Queenstown

If you’ll fly your drone within 100 meters or 328 feet of any object that could stop your drone, that’s a shielded operation.

For example, you’d use your drone within 328 feet of trees in a forest or any building in Queenstown.

When you have permission to engage in shielded operations, you can fly your drone within 4 kilometers or 2.49 miles of an aerodrome in both uncontrolled and controlled airspace.

You can also operate your drone at night.

However, you do have limitations. Your drone cannot ascend over the top of the object in question, whether that’s the top of the tree line or over a building.  

Unshielded drone use in Queenstown

If your drone flight doesn’t quite fit the parameters of the above description, you’ll engage in an unshielded drone flight.

Depending on where you want to use your drone, the protocols vary.

If you’ll stay within 4 kilometers or 2.49 miles of an aerodrome and fly exclusively in the blue parts of a drone map, you must have Air Traffic Control permission. So how exactly do you obtain that permission?

First, you have to create an account on AirShare.

Once you make your account, you can log your flight. If Air Traffic Control approves your flight, you’ll receive an email mentioning as much.

Even with approval, you must still contact the Queenstown Air Traffic Control Tower ahead of launching your drone. When your flight will conclude, you need to reach out to the air traffic control tower again.

You must also have a spotter who can watch traffic patterns while you use your drone.

If they see any manned aircraft in the vicinity, you should plan accordingly by getting out of their flight path while granting them the right of way in the meantime.

A bystander can also assist with safe launching and landing.

Further, you must have a CAA qualification of some sort. Even if you don’t have a Part 61 license, the standard for recreational and commercial pilots in New Zealand, you need at least a Model Flying NZ Wings Badge.

If you cannot provide some training qualification, you must have a spotter with you who has more advanced flight experience and the correct qualifications.

If you want to engage in an unshielded flight in a red area of a drone map, you must contact Air Traffic Control and receive their permission following the steps described above.

You must also contact the Queenstown Air Traffic Control Tower ahead of launching and landing your drone.

Flying over private property in Queenstown

Even if your drone operations don’t occur around or near an airport or heliport in Queenstown, if you’ll fly near private property, you must know the rules for doing so.

In 2015, the CAA enforced a new law that mandates that drone pilots have flight consent when flying over private property.

That consent can come from the property owner themselves or someone managing the property.

That goes for every piece of private property you’ll fly over with your drone. For example, let’s say you’re planning a flight path across 10 houses.

Well, for every one of those 10 houses, you’d need to obtain permission. That’s the case even if you know the inhabitants of the property or if they’re complete strangers.

Every property owner reserves the right to say no, which will cause you to have to deviate from your original flight path.

Obtaining other consent

You’re not necessarily free and clear to use your drone even if you don’t fly in any restricted airspace or over private property.

If you plan to operate a drone over a boat, you need the boat owner’s permission. Barring that, you must get consent from everyone on the boat before you can launch your drone.

When soaring over a lake, you must have Harbour Master permission.

If you’ll venture out to the Queen’s Chain foreshore, you must contact Land Information New Zealand first and have them approve it.

You’ll also need permission if your drone flies over reserves, parks, foothpaths, and roadways. You can contact the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Queenstown drone laws to remember before your flight

The CAA requires all drone pilots operating in Queensland to follow these rules.

Do not ascend over 400 feet from ground level

Most countries in the world limit drones to an altitude of 400 feet. In New Zealand, the same restriction applies. That’s approximately 120 meters up.

Keep your drone in your visual line of sight

Visual line of sight or VLOS is an acronym to always have on your mind when using your drone. For safety reasons, you cannot legally allow your drone to venture beyond where you can naturally see it.

You can’t use a smartphone, monitor, or binoculars to track the zone but your own two eyes.

If you can’t maintain VLOS on your own, please bring a spotter who can.

Give manned aircraft the right of way

We mentioned this before, but it’s worth reiterating. You must always yield to manned aircraft, staying out of their flight path whenever possible and giving them the right of way if you interrupt their operations.

Do not fly at night (unless you have permission)

You’ll recall that shielded drone operations in Queenstown permit you to use your drone at night. However, you cannot fly after sundown if you’re engaging in unshielded operations.

Limit hazards to aircraft, property, and persons

As the drone pilot, you’re wholly responsible for what your UAV does. Engage a fair distance from other unmanned aircraft to avoid collisions.

Limit how far you fly from property both public and private. Stay away from individuals and crowds, and do not do anything to risk their privacy or wellbeing.

Don’t fly a drone weighing 25 kilograms

In New Zealand, the drone weight restriction is 25 kilograms or 55.12 pounds. You cannot fly if your drone weighs at least that or more.


Queenstown is a town in New Zealand known for its high-octane sports. You can bring a drone to Queenstown, but you’ll have to obtain many permissions depending on where you want to fly it.

Those permissions range from Air Traffic Control to a private property owner in the case of flying over Queenstown’s neighborhoods.

In addition, you need the appropriate drone license and must always follow CAA rules.

Can You Fly a Drone in Kalbarri National Park?

In Western Australia’s Mid West region near Perth is Kalbarri National Park, a hidden gem along the Murchison River.

The river’s gorge makes for an attractive stopping point; the same goes for the carefully-preserved sandstones throughout.

You’ve fallen in love with Kalbarri and eagerly want to use your drone here.

Can you fly a drone in Kalbarri National Park?

Kalbarri National Park permits drone pilots, but you cannot fly across trails, lookouts, and recreation sites when you see crowds. You must also reach out to the Parks and Wildlife Office ahead of your flight and obey CASA rules.

It’s not every day you get permission to use a drone in a national park.

This guide will walk you through all the rules so you can enjoy Kalbarri and, more importantly, keep the park accessible to other drone enthusiasts too!

Can you fly a drone in Kalbarri National Park?

Kalbarri National Park is a natural wonderland. You can stroll over Meanarra Hill, ascend more than 100 meters on the Kalbarri Skydrop, witness the coast from Pot Alley, or spend some time on Red Bluff Beach.

According to Kalbarri’s official website[1], Kalbarri National Park permits drones within the park. However, you must obey Civil Aviation Safety Authority rules when in the skies.

Additionally, you must contact the Kalbarri Office of Parks and Wildlife on the day you plan to visit your drone before you launch it. You can reach them by phone at (08) 9937 1140.

Further, you’re forbidden from operating your drone too close to crowds.

When you see park visitors on any trails, lookouts, or recreation sites throughout Kalbarri, you’re to fly in a different area of the park.

In this case, it doesn’t appear to be enough to keep your distance. You should vacate the area.

Rules to follow when using your drone in Kalbarri National Park

Besides every relevant CASA drone law, Kalbarri National Park enforces the following laws when using your drone in the park.

Contact the relevant authority before each flight

If you’ll spend several days exploring Kalbarri National Park with your drone, it’s not enough to notify the Kalbarri Office of Parks and Wildlife just once.

You need to get in touch with them or the relevant authority each day you’ll fly.

This way, the office has advance notice of your arrival. You’ll receive word on where you can fly so you won’t get in the way of park management operations for that day.

Be flexible and willing to work with the park agencies.

Avoid drone use in areas of emergency operations

Australia sometimes experiences bushfires, even within Kalbarri National Park.

CASA rules require drone pilots to keep a fair distance away from any emergency operations within the park as they pertain to wildfires or other emergencies.

Use the Emergency WA[2] website to actively track bushfires and burns around Australia on any given day.

If you see several emanating from Kalbarri National Park, you might want to rethink attending that day, or at least see if the wildfires become less severe as the day goes on.

You cannot use your drone over people

CASA law prohibits drones from flying over people.

The Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 aka the CALM Act, which the Conservation Commission of Western Australia created, also bars drones from:

  • Gorges
  • Lookouts
  • Beaches
  • Trails
  • Parking areas
  • Campsites
  • Campgrounds
  • Day-use areas
  • Picnic areas
  • And recreation sites where crowds gather.

Never disturb wildlife with your drone

Kalbarri National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including ospreys, kangaroos, and echidnas. You can also see more than 800 unique wildflower species here.

As you fly through the park with your drone, never broach wildlife sanctuaries, nests, homes, or other environments.

Do not use your drone to antagonize, chase, or upset the wildlife either.

Do not annoy visitors or endanger their health or lives

You shouldn’t ever use your drone close to park visitors, which should limit the rate of incidents between drone pilots and visitors.

Nevertheless, Kalbarri National Park guidelines prohibit pilots from annoying visitors with their drones in any way.

You shouldn’t fly close to others, stalk them, or use your drone in a loud fashion.

You should also avoid endangering the lives of others with your drone such as flying too close to them or dropping something from your drone.

Where in Kalbarri National Park should you fly your drone?

Kalbarri National Park has no shortage of beautiful, breathtaking spots to visit across its 706.6 square miles.

While your ability to see these areas depends on the rate of wildfires and the number of people congregating, you won’t be disappointed with these spots if you get a chance to explore them!

Shell House and Grandstand Rock Gorge

The cliffs on the Shell House and Grandstand Rock Gorge were formed by the Indian Ocean and its pounding waves gradually eroding the cliffside.

The sandstone rocks seen here remain a piece of the park’s history.

Atop the rock gorge, you’ll see clear Australian skies and the picturesque Indian Ocean below you. It looks far more peaceful at that distance, that’s for sure.

Watch where you fly your drone, as with nothing but cliffs and ocean below you, you don’t want to lose signal or battery.

Red Bluff

Kalbarri National Park has plenty of coastal lookouts, but Red Bluff is the one furthest up north.  

You’ll find Wittecarra Creek, Meanarra Hill, Jake’s Point, Red Bluff Beach, and the Murchison River in the area.

You can see them all from your vantage point, so make sure your drone is charged up, as you might choose to fly here for a while.

Eagle Gorge

From Eagle Gorge Beach, reaching Eagle Gorge is not too tough. You’ll see an entryway to Birgurda Trail as you near the gorge.

The lookout affords stunning views of the gorge and the beach below.

Your drone can get close to the action without getting too close, which is ideal since drones and water don’t exactly mix!

Natural Bridge – Castle Cove

Natural Bridge – Castle Cove is the perfect place for picnicking and taking a scenic respite, featuring dual cliffside lookout spots.

As you gaze into the waters, you might see dolphins and whales, so make sure you’re quick to take a photo with your drone.

The winding path that is this coastal area showcases Island Rock, Grandstand Rock Gorge, and Shell House.

Z Bend

Where Murchison River bends is the aptly-named Z-Bend.

This lookout spot boasts ample views of the river gorge. The layers of red rocks and their crooked, unique geometry will surely captivate you!

The Loop and Nature’s Window

One of the most iconic sights at Kalbarri National Park bar none is The Loop and Nature’s Window.

Nicknamed Nature’s Window because of the great vantage point, the banded rocks across the river gorge here feature white and red hues and rippled layers.

The rocks date back millions of years, when they started on tidal flats.

The Loop features rocky overhangs with ancient worm fossils.

Don’t fly your drone too close, as you don’t want to collide with these rock structures!

Meanarra Hill

A main attraction at the park, Meanarra Hill has a shade shelter and several lookouts. You’ll also find the Malleefowl Trail Loop Walk here if you want to access the Meanarra Hill Lookout that way.

The small loop has great panoramic views of tree-lined Australia, so make sure you set up shop here for at least a little while when exploring Kalbarri National Park!

Pot Alley

The crashing waves kiss the rocky cliffsides that comprise Pot Alley. Although it’s a bit of a challenge to get here on foot, once you arrive, you should plan to spend hours so you can capture Pot Alley’s beauty!


Kalbarri National Park in Australia allows drone pilots to fly amongst its beaches and perilous cliffs, affording you a rare opportunity to drink in the beauty of the park with your drone in tow.

Please always follow the park’s guidelines and CASA laws so drone pilots can continue to enjoy Kalbarri National Park for a long time to come!

1. Kalbarri Visitor Centre Australia (link)
2. Emergency WA (link)

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Exo Mini Pro (Which One is Right for You?)

The battle of mini-consumer drones is nowhere near over. Ever since DJI released their ultimate mini drone, the DJI Mini 3 Pro, people have tried to compare it with other mini drones already in the market, or released later, such as the Exo Mini Pro.

The Exo Mini Pro is in a lot of ways similar to the DJI Mini 3 Pro, but is it better?

No. While it matches the DJI Mini 3 Pro in terms of flight time, obstacle avoidance, Follow Me, minimalistic design, RTH, and intelligent features, you will get a better experience with the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

The vertical shooting, more space for gimbal movement, and the DJI RC are a few of the reasons I would choose the DJI Mini 3 Pro over the Exo Mini Pro.

Please keep reading to learn more about these two drones and which would be perfect for you.

Exo Mini Pro vs. the DJI Mini 3 Pro

Let’s look at the main similarities and differences between these drones.

Design and weight

For starters, both drones weigh less than 250 grams. The lightweight and foldable design of the Exo Mini Pro and the DJI Mini 3 Pro is essential for those looking for a drone that is easy to carry and travel with.

With a weight of less than 250 grams, both drones are exempt from the registration requirements that come with heavier drones (especially for those in the United States).

These lightweight models are also a great choice for those who are just starting with drones. They are easy to handle and less intimidating, making learning to fly much easier.

Additionally, their compact size makes it easy to carry them around, so you can take them wherever you go.

This makes them perfect for anyone who is always on the go and wants to have a drone that is ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

Controller design

Both drones come with small and light ergonomic controllers. The DJI Mini 3 Pro’s RCN1 allows you to place the phone at the top.

But I realize that some people prefer the phone below the joysticks, like in the Mavic 2 Pro. If that’s you, consider the Exo Mini Pro since the smartphone is at the bottom.


The DJI Mini 3 Pro has the option to purchase it with a smart controller with an inbuilt screen where you don’t have to connect your smartphone.

While this hikes the drone’s price from $750 to $900+, I am glad it’s an option for a mini drone.

Why? Smartphones have their own issues, such as overheating, limited space, and interference from background apps, and the battery may not always last that long.

A smart controller is dedicated to your drone and is designed to withstand outdoor conditions.

Besides, it’s cheap (going for around $300) and is compatible with other drones, such as the Air 2S or the Mavic 3, if you ever decide to upgrade.

If I were to offer only one reason to choose the Mini 3 Pro over the Exo Mini Pro, this would be it.

Range and battery life

A drone’s range and battery life are important factors to consider, especially for those who want to fly their drones for longer periods or for those who want to explore a wider area.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Exo Mini Pro offer a decent range and battery life, but some differences are worth mentioning.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro has a maximum range of up to 7.5 miles, thanks to its OcuSync 3.0 transmission technology (an upgrade to the OcuSync 2.0).

This means you can fly your drone further away without worrying about losing control of the video stream.

On the other hand, the Exo Mini Pro has a range of 5 miles, which is still plenty of distance for most users, but its Syncleas transmission system isn’t as good as DJI’s OcuSync system.

Regarding battery life, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has an advantage over the Exo Mini Pro.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro comes with batteries that can last for up to 34 or 47 minutes, depending on the battery type you choose.

This means that you can fly your drone for a longer period without having to worry about running out of power.

On the other hand, the Exo Mini Pro’s batteries have a charge of 30 to 40 minutes, which is still plenty of time for most users.

Camera features

Both the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Exo Mini Pro have a 1/1.3 inch camera sensor and are HDR enabled. The DJI Mini 3 Pro has a fixed aperture of f/1.7, providing good low-light performance.

On the other hand, the Exo Mini Pro has a variable aperture from f/1.8 to f/12, giving users more control over the depth of field and exposure.

Regarding video recording capabilities, both drones can shoot in 4K, with the DJI Mini 3 Pro offering up to 60 fps and the Exo Mini Pro offering a maximum of 30 fps.

While both drones can capture great footage, the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s higher frame rate provides more smooth and fluid video, especially for fast-moving subjects.

But in normal daytime shooting, you will often find yourself filming in 24 or 30fps.

Gimbal movement

The DJI Mini 3 Pro has a uniquely designed front section that allows the gimbal to move further up, allowing you to look up as you fly.

This helps when flying in areas you are not familiar with and where there may be obstacles around.

This feature is lacking on the Exo Mini Pro, limiting the variety of shots you can capture and limiting your situational awareness in tight areas.

Vertical shooting

If you create content for social media, you may have realized that you often have to crop the footage to post it, reducing the image’s quality in some cases.

DJI takes care of that by enabling vertical or portrait shooting at the click of a button in the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the newer DJI Mini 3.

This is a huge winning point for the Mini 3 Pro over the EXO Mini Pro, which lacks this feature.

Obstacle detection and avoidance

Both drones feature tri-directional obstacle detection.

This helps them detect and inform the pilot of any obstacles too close to the drone, and the pilot can also set the drone to either stop or bypass the obstacles or switch off the sensors completely.

While they are all available in the same sections (front, back, and downwards) in both drones, for some reason and based on testing both drones, the DJI Mini 3 Pro seemed to have a smoother flight as it avoided the obstacles compared to the EXO Mini Pro.

This is relative and different pilots can have different opinions, but I would give the Mini 3 Pro an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 and the EXO Mini Pro a 6.

Return to Home

Both the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Exo Mini Pro feature the Return to Home (RTH) functionality that helps prevent a fly-away in case of a lost connection or a depleted battery.

In any of these situations, the drone will fly back to the take-off point or to the updated Home Point location.

Considering how often a drone loses the connection to the controller, it’s good that both brands have this feature, and you will not miss out regardless of the brand you choose.

Follow Me mode

Follow Me is a popular feature that allows drones to follow moving subjects automatically. The objects could be you, your pet, your car, or a boat.

Many users looked forward to this feature being possible on a Mini drone, and even a limited version of it is available through Litchi on the Mini 2. Now it’s available on two mini drones!

The Follow Me feature on the Exo Mini Pro allows you to set your drone in motion and focus on your activity while the drone does the rest.

The drone will maintain a set distance and height and keep you in the frame at all times. This feature is perfect for capturing personal moments or for content creators looking to capture stunning footage.

On the other hand, the DJI Mini 3 Pro takes Follow Me to a whole new level. Its advanced ActiveTrack 4.0 technology and stability ensure a smooth and effortless Follow Me experience.

The drone’s obstacle avoidance system also provides added safety, ensuring that the drone avoids obstacles and maintains a steady flight path.


The ability to set waypoints is a helpful feature for capturing specific shots or exploring a particular area with ease.

The Exo Mini Pro allows you to set specific waypoints that the drone will follow, making it easy to plan your shots and fly the drone with precision.

On the other hand, the DJI Mini 3 Pro only has waypoint capabilities in the Hyperlapse mode, which is a time-lapse mode that captures smooth and stabilized footage while moving.

While the DJI Mini 3 Pro may not have traditional waypoint capabilities, the Hyperlapse mode provides a unique and creative way to capture footage.

Intelligent flight modes

The DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Exo Mini Pro come with intelligent modes for easy and creative filming, including Quickshots, Panorama, and Hyperlapse.

However, each drone also offers unique features to enhance your aerial filming experience further.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro features Mastershots, which are automated camera movements that allow you to capture stunning footage with just a few taps.

Meanwhile, the Exo Mini Pro boasts Orbit, 360 Shooting, and Fly-to-Sky modes, offering versatile options for capturing sweeping aerial views or unique perspectives.

Whether you’re a seasoned drone pilot or just starting out, these modes provide plenty of creative opportunities to capture breathtaking aerial shots.

EXO Mini Pro vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro – which one should you choose?

The EXO Mini Pro prides itself as a cheaper version of a premium mini drone since it costs $650, while the DJI Mini 3 Pro costs $759 with the RCN1 and $909 with the DJI RC controller.

However, when considering all the extra features you get, DJI’s reputation (EXO is a redesign of Hubsan drones which have not always had the best reputation), and proven credibility, it’s best to pay the extra $100 for the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

And as I mentioned earlier, the DJI RC is compatible with other drones, so it might save you some bucks if you choose to get another DJI drone.

The EXO Mini Pro would be a great alternative if you are looking for the cheapest mini drone with some great features or are anti-DJI due to the privacy concerns raised some time back and are looking for a non-DJI Mini drone.

Percepto to Deploy Automated Drones for BVLOS Monitoring of Electric Power Stations in Canada

A Percepto Air Max drone in a box shown near a power utility. Photo courtesy Percepto.

AUSTIN, Texas—Percepto announced that Transport Canada has approved Ontario Power Generation Inc. to operate Percepto’s drone-in-a-box solution beyond visual line of sight at McConnell Lake Control Dam without a visual observer on site, a first in Canada.

A BVLOS special flight operations certificate (SFOC) was issued for the Percepto Air Max autonomous drone-in-a-box, as provided by Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems and their GM Kevin Toderal, to perform remote inspections in a pilot project starting this month.

Laying the groundwork for similar highly-automated BVLOS SFOCs for other Canadian Percepto customers, the Ontario Power Generation facility will gain the benefits of remote, high frequency visual inspection with actionable insights with the possibility to centrally control drone-in-a-box fleets at multiple sites.

The announcement comes shortly after Percepto achieved a U.S. nationwide BVLOS waiver, empowering qualified Percepto customers to immediately gain actionable insights from remotely operated drones. Percepto’s automated drone-in-a-box technology has been deployed by other electric utilities to monitor the durability of power grid infrastructure and quickly detect problems, enabling faster response times and restoring power quicker after storms and other disasters.

“Obtaining this certificate marks a significant milestone in Canada to provide remote and autonomous inspections at power generating facilities, fulfilling Percepto’s mission to provide safe and reliable critical infrastructure,” said Percepto Policy & Government Affairs Vice President Neta Gliksman. “We look forward to growing our strong working relationship with Transport Canada and supporting their efforts to create a thriving environment for drone operations by making autonomous drone technology available to power stations and other critical infrastructure across the country.”

Canadian power utilities are seeking to ensure their power grid and stations are as resilient as possible. Featuring a ruggedized drone-in-a-box, Percepto operations will be coordinated on a single platform through the company’s autonomous inspection and monitoring system. With Percepto AIM, drones can be operated remotely to ensure they work together in sync, providing maximum site coverage with increased safety, efficiency and ease of operation.

“We look forward to gaining new operation and infrastructure insights at McConnell Lake Control Dam,” said Ontario Power Generation Senior Information System Specialist Tim Trebilcock. “Our hope is that this technology will help our efforts to ensure asset integrity and reliable electricity generation for Ontarians.”

Can You Fly a Drone in the Grand Canyon?

As arguably the most popular natural landmark in the United States (or darn near close, anyway), the Grand Canyon needs no introduction. You may have visited here once or many times before, and this time you wish to bring your drone.

Are drones allowed at the Grand Canyon?

Drones are strictly prohibited at the Grand Canyon without a special use permit from the National Park Service. Other exceptions for drone use include scientific research, search and rescue, law enforcement, and fire operations.

In today’s informational guide, we’ll take you through all the rules about drone flights in the Grand Canyon so you can plan accordingly.

There’s lots of great information ahead, so make sure you don’t miss it!

Can you fly a drone in the Grand Canyon?

The full name of the Grand Canyon is Grand Canyon National Park. Like all national parks in the United States, the Grand Canyon is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

The entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

In its Laws & Policies[1] for the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service states the following:

“Currently, the use of drones is prohibited in Grand Canyon and all National Parks.”

This is according to the 2014 Policy Memorandum 14-05[2], which applies broadly to national parks.

In the Conditions and Exceptions section of the policy, the following allowances for drone use are included:

  • Drones used “for hobbyist and recreational use at locations and under conditions (i) established by the superintendent in the compendium; or (ii) issued under a special use permit” if the pilot had written permission before June 2014 when Policy Memorandum 14-05 went into effect.
  • Written Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection permission to use a drone “for such purposes as scientific study, search and rescue operations, fire operations, and law enforcement.”
  • Using a drone with a Scientific Research and Collecting Permit “that specifically authorizes launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft and is approved in writing by the ADVRP in consultation with the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science.”
  • Using a drone with a special use permit.

Unless you can go back in time or you happen to have written permission to fly your drone in the Grand Canyon from before 2014, then the first option is out. The second option applies more to agency than recreational or commercial pilots, so that’s also out.

You might be able to obtain a Scientific Research and Collecting Permit depending on your commercial background.

More than likely, if you’re granted any kind of commercial flight permission at all, it’d be through the special use permit or SUP.

How to obtain a special use permit to fly a drone in the Grand Canyon

A SUP, as the National Park Service says in Policy Memorandum 14-05, “specifically authorizes launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft and that is approved in writing by the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection (ADVRP).”

Grand Canyon National Park.

Only supervisors can decide which drone pilots are eligible to receive SUPs and which aren’t. Even then, they still have to go through the ADVRP, which will make the final approval.

There are a series of criteria that the superintendent and ADVRP will follow together to ultimately decide if drones are permissible at the Grand Canyon.

Let’s go over that criteria now.

1. Will the drone use conflict with “other existing uses” of the park?

While drone usage will always be perceived by some as a nuisance, both at the Grand Canyon and in other US national parks, the ADVRP and superintendent seek instances of “significant conflict” as impediments to granting drone use approval.

2. Will the drone act as a “clear and present danger to public health and safety?”

Even if you fly your drone perfectly, always abiding by the rules and never getting too close to people or structures, it’s not your choice whether your drone is perceived as a public health and safety danger.

3. Will the drone “impair the operation of public facilities or services of NPS concessioners or contractors?”

In other words, will the drone get in the way of other permitted National Park Service duties at Grand Canyon National Park? If yes, then your SUP request will surely be turned down.

4. Will the drone “unreasonably interfere with…program activities, or…the administrative activities of the NPS?

From visitor services to interpretative programs, you won’t be issued a SUP if your drone is deemed to interrupt these and the National Park Service’s administrative activities at Grand Canyon National Park.

5. Will the drone go against “the purposes for which the park was established?”

This is a trickier one. The Grand Canyon has stood for millions of years and long predates flying vehicles of any kind, let alone the unmanned variety. That alone suggests that using a drone in the park goes against its original purposes.

The National Park Service does add that the superintendent and ADVRP will also decide whether permitted drone use would “unacceptably impact the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative locations in the park.”

That’s a little more cut and dried than going against the park’s established purposes.

6. Will the drone damage park resources?

Hopefully, the answer to this question is always no! Then again, we just talked about how drones often end up in the geysers of Yellowstone National Park.

Even if you do the right thing as a drone pilot, you can’t always count on others to do the same.

7. Will the drone use go against commercial FAA regulations?

You should know FAA drone laws inside and out before operating a drone in the Grand Canyon just to ensure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot (figuratively, of course) when trying to obtain a SUP.

Drone laws when flying around the Grand Canyon

The following section combines the National Park Service’s rules when using a drone with a SUP in a national park like the Grand Canyon and the FAA’s drone laws.

Learn these laws and know them well!

You must have a valid drone license

We’re only going to talk about commercial drone pilots in this section since recreational drone use around Grand Canyon National Park is prohibited, and it seems highly unlikely that hobbyists would be granted SUPs.

Commercial pilots must carry a current Remote Pilot Certificate, an official drone license issued by the FAA. You’re eligible to obtain your Remote Pilot Certificate once you turn 16 years old.

To do so, you must register to take the Part 107 exam at an FAA-approved testing center near you. Each exam attempt costs money, but you can repeat the exam as many times as it takes to pass.

The questions are all presented in multiple-choice format, and there are 60. You’re given two and a half hours to answer them. You’re expected to learn a score of 70 percent to pass the exam.

The Remote Pilot Certificate expires two years from the date it’s issued to you. At that point, you’re eligible to take the FAA’s free online recertification exam.

You must register your drone

Commercial pilots are required to register all drones in their fleet with the FAA. The registration fee is $5 apiece. The registration will expire in three years.

You must have liability insurance

The National Park Service requires that before you launch your drone into the sky that you have “sufficient liability insurance,” although Policy Memorandum 14-05 doesn’t delve deeper into what constitutes sufficient insurance.

Barring that, you must have proof of membership to the Academy of Model Aeronautics or a similar organization that offers insurance coverage as part of your membership.

Your drone must always stay within your visual line of sight

We’re sure you wouldn’t want to lose your drone in the Grand Canyon, so always keep it within your visual line of sight. You must be able to see your drone with your naked eye (and that includes using contacts or glasses).

You must report any injurious drone accidents to the NPS

If you or any passersby are injured using your drone at Grand Canyon National Park, the National Park Service requires you to report it. That goes for injuries where you only apply minor first aid too.

Any property damage incurred from your drone flight must similarly be reported.

You cannot fly over vehicles or people

The National Park Service aligns with the FAA’s Operations Over People and Operations Over Moving Vehicles laws.

According to the Operations Over People law, unless parkgoers participate in your drone flight, you must not fly over them unless you have a lightweight drone.

Operations Over Moving Vehicles prohibits pilots from flying a drone over moving vehicles. You can use your drone around stationary vehicles if the people in the vehicle agree to participate in your drone operations.

Do not endanger the lives of others with your drone

This law should go without saying, but we want to mention it anyway. You should never fly your drone recklessly, no matter how empty the area where you’re flying is (not that you should expect the Grand Canyon to be empty!).

You should also never put others’ lives at risk with your drone.

You must have an operator if you’re inexperienced

The National Park Service requires “inexperienced unmanned aircraft operators” to fly with a more experienced drone operator.

Only use your drone when not under the influence of drugs or alcohol

When operating a drone in the Grand Canyon and elsewhere, you should always be of a clear mind. If substances such as drugs and/or alcohol have impeded that, then don’t use your drone! It’s too big of a risk.

Do not interfere with emergency operations

Any emergency operations you might see at the park, such as law enforcement and search and rescue by the National Park Service or another entity, is not to be interrupted by your drone at any point.

Do not harass or disturb wildlife

Wildlife is plentiful at the Grand Canyon, including rodents, birds, reptiles, gray foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, mule deer, and desert bighorn sheep.

Ideally, you should keep your distance from these creatures when using your drone. You should certainly never harass or disturb wildlife with your drone per both the National Park Service and FAA!

Grand Canyon National Park is typically off-limits to drone pilots per National Park Service regulations, with some exceptions. If you’re using your drone for scientific research purposes, you might be granted permission to fly.

You can also request a special use permit or SUP, but the superintendent and ADVRP must go through a laundry list of criteria to decide of your drone is eligible.

If you’re ever allowed to fly near the Grand Canyon, always abide by FAA guidelines and National Park Service rules!

1. Grand Canyon National Park (link)
2. Policy Memorandum 14-05 (link)

GA-ASI Flies UAS in the Canadian Arctic

In a flight that originated from its Flight Test and Training Center (FTTC) near Grand Forks, N.D., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew a company-owned MQ-9A “Big Wing” configured Unmanned Aircraft System north through Canadian airspace past the 78th parallel.

A traditional limitation of long-endurance UAS has been their inability to operate at extreme northern (and southern) latitudes, as many legacy SATCOM datalinks can become less reliable above the Arctic (or below the Antarctic) Circle – approximately 66 degrees north. At those latitudes, the low-look angle to geostationary Ku-band satellites begins to compromise the link. GA-ASI has demonstrated a new capability for effective ISR operations by performing a loiter at 78.31° North, using Inmarsat’s L-band Airborne ISR Service (LAISR).  

The flight over Haig-Thomas Island, in the Canadian Arctic, demonstrated the UAS’s flexibility by operating at very high latitudes. The flight, which took off on Sept. 7 and returned to the FTTC on Sept. 8, was conducted with cooperation from the Federal Aviation Administration, Transport Canada and Nav Canada.

Covering 4,550 miles in 25.5 hours, it was one of the longest range flights ever flown by a company MQ-9. The flight was performed under an FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate and a Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate.

GA-ASI partnered with Inmarsat Government, a leading provider of secure, global mission-critical telecommunications to the U.S. government in the design, acceptance testing and deployment of an enhanced satellite communications (SATCOM) system. The SATCOM was one of the key enablers of the flight and consisted of a GA-ASI designed L-band High Data Rate system, as well as an Inmarsat Low Data Rate backup datalink that could retain the aircraft’s link to the Ground Control Station even when operating in the high-latitude environment.

“As the global leader in UAS, we have enabled our UAS to operate in Arctic regions, over land and sea, where effective C2 and ISR-data transfer was previously not feasible,” said Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO. “As new customers come online, we want our aircraft to be able to provide them with the high data rate surveillance and high endurance that our aircraft are known for, and be able to do so in any environment.”

GA-ASI coordinated between domestic and international airspace authorities for the flight. This is part of the company’s ongoing Airspace Integration initiative, designed to demonstrate how UAS can fly safely across international borders, in controlled airspace, and in this case, to extreme northern latitudes.

“At Inmarsat Government, we take pride in delivering SATCOM solutions that empower our customers’ current and future UAS missions around the world, even in the most challenging environments,” said Tom Costello, Chief Commercial Officer, Inmarsat Government. “We are proud to partner with organizations like GA-ASI that enable the government and military to enhance their use of UAS and deliver the SATCOM required for full situational awareness and mission success.”

MQ-9A has unmatched operational flexibility, and when modified with the Big Wing, it has endurance over 43 hours, speeds of 220 KTAS, and can operate at altitude of up to 45,000 feet. It has a 4,800 pound (2,177 kilogram) payload capacity that includes 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms) of external stores. It provides long-endurance, persistent surveillance capabilities, with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Big Wing is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.

GA-ASI’s newest models, the MQ-9B SkyGuardian® and SeaGuardian®, represent the next generation of UAS, having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control, and a Detect and Avoid system. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver a UAS that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit

The Domestic Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems National Action Plan
Two leading UAS centres enter cooperative agreement to ease drone operations

Near Space Corporation (Tillamook UAS) and UAS Denmark Test Center enter cooperative agreement to allow their customers to easily transition their validation testing and demonstration flights between the EU and United States

Meeting a growing demand for unmanned systems developers and OEMs to facilitate validation testing, certification, and demonstration flights between the EU
and United States.

Two of the leading UAS test ranges have entered into a cooperative agreement to share
facilities and services with their mutual customers. The agreement between the
companies will offer customers the ability to operate under a single commercial contract
and currency for the duration of their testing at either location. Efficiencies in logistics and
flight planning will be achieved with the common connections and processes being shared
between flight operations teams on both continents. The goal is to give the customer an
efficient and high-quality path to certification and marketing of their new unmanned

Both locations offer a dedicated UAS test range in a discrete location where critical testing
and demonstrations can be conducted in a safe and controlled environment. Both
organizations offer a full suite of services and experienced flight operations personnel that
can be utilized and customized to the needs of the aircraft developer, OEM, or operational
user. The teams’ respective expertise in the EU and United States, joined with
collaborative process and interoperability, offers those needing to test and operate on both
sides of the Atlantic with an efficient solution.

Kevin Tucker (President, Near Space Corporation) believes the two organizations share
common unique attributes: “Both UAS Denmark and our test range are managed by
professionals with decades of experience at operations of UAS in both military and
commercial aviation operations; expertise in complex operations; common safety
practices, and both are perfectly situated with geography to transition quickly from
terrestrial to marine operations, allowing customers to test their capabilities to land on
vessels at sea or conduct surveillance and security operations with their drones and
advanced sensors.”

UAS Denmark Head of Business Development, Michael Larsen, also sees the continuity
between the organizations helping customers fast-track their airframes to marketability:

“We see this as a fantastic opportunity for some of our European aircraft OEMs to have a
seamless process to migrate their testing and certification from the EU into North America
and under the purview of the FAA. We have extensive knowledge and experience
conducting Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations off the coast of Denmark —
with Near Space offering a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience safely operating drones from very high altitudes to validate emerging systems for the FAA and NASA. Customers will benefit by having a well-coordinated team on either side of the Atlantic to manage their flight testing as a turn-key solution, or as an ‘ala carte’ service and utilized on an as-needed basis.”

Whatever your platform, UAS Denmark Test Center and Tillamook UAS Test Range are
ready for the challenge to get your system qualified, certified, and to market faster.

About Near Space Corporation (operating Tillamook UAS Test Range)
Near Space Corporation has operated since 1996 as a commercial provider of high-altitude
(stratospheric) test platforms and flight services for government, academic and commercial
customers. Near Space manages the FAA Designated UAS Test Range located on the Oregon coast, enabling the company to coordinate closely with the FAA for mission planning and flights of balloons and UAS test and validation both overland and in the offshore maritime environment. It offers a unique combination of on-site engineering expertise and consulting, flight operations, and purpose-built facilities for UAS testing (including fully equipped hangar and tower located on a 5,000’ runway with no commercial air traffic). A large blimp hangar located on the field also offers a GPS denied environment and UAS hover testing in a controlled environment.

About UAS Denmark

Hans Christian Andersen Airport, Odense Municipality, and University of Southern Denmark have joined forces in running UAS Denmark International Test Center (located in Hans Christian Andersen Airport) ensuring excellent conditions for growth in the UAS industry. Based in the middle of a European robotics industry hotspot and founded in 2013, UAS Denmark today offers access to 1.900 km2 of BVLOS airspace, business and research facilities. Furthermore, the ecosystem gives easy access to triple helix cooperation, including Danish defence, and ample funding opportunities.

Collaboration Expands Blood and Medical Supply Delivery
Collaboration Expands Blood and Medical Supply Delivery

L3Harris’ VTOL FVR-90 integrated with Near Earth Autonomy’s flight system selects and lands safely during a demonstration at Fort Pickett, Va. Photo courtesy of Near Earth Autonomy.

An autonomous flight system developer and a major hybrid VTOL manufacturer have demonstrated the ability to deliver life-saving blood and other medical supplies to field medics hundreds of miles from operational bases.

“The system will initially be used by forward-based company-level medics, said Sanjiv Singh, CEO of Near Earth Autonomy. “It is especially gratifying to speak to end users who can benefit from the life-saving applications that are now possible through this innovative program.”

Near Earth Autonomy and L3Harris Technologies received a federal contract to identify ways to save the lives of troops in situations where access to blood in the field can be challenging. Their demonstration project also addressed the problem of blood supplies going unused and wasted by recovering it for blood banks in reusable condition.

The contract to design the UAS was awarded by the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command’s (USAMRDC) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC).

Moving Toward Deployment

Leveraging New Earth’s autonomous flight systems and L3Harris’ FVR-90 hybrid VTOL aircraft, the UAS was tested in a demonstration in August at Ft. Pickett, Virginia. The trial showed that the UAS could analyze landing areas using onboard sensors to find a safe, unobstructed location. When the ground was too cluttered for the vehicle to land, the UAS dropped transport pods from a low-altitude hover or released them via parachute.

“Together, they have smartly integrated their aircraft autonomy and blood storage system with a capable UAS, demonstrating the ability to support field care, when immediate patient evacuation is not possible, through long-range delivery and recovery of critical supplies without requiring any forward infrastructure,” said Nathan Fisher, chief of the Medical Robotic and Autonomous Systems Division at TATRC.

While other companies, including Zipline, have used drones to transport medical supplies, Singh said the UAS his Pittsburgh-based company helped build can deliver supplies in three ways—ground landing, package drops from low elevations and parachute drops from higher elevations.

“The aircraft configuration also allows the aircraft to take off anywhere and be recovered anywhere,” Singh said, adding that it does not need a complex system to launch or be retrieved.

The system will change the way medical supplies are transported in the military, projected Dave Duggan, president of Precision Engagement Systems for Melbourne, Florida-based L3Harris. “When combined with autonomous delivery zone evaluation, vertical takeoff and landing and long-distance flight can transform field supply logistics.”