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AUSA to develop training support package for new RPAS

 Surf lifesavers, police, fire fighters and rescue workers across Australia and around the world could benefit from new unmanned surveillance technology developed in Brisbane, after the signing of an agreement today.

Brisbane-based air, ground and marine robotics company V-TOL Aerospace will manufacture a prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed by researchers at The University of Queensland.

The UAV, designed by Dr Paul Pounds from UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, could replace piloted helicopters in search and rescue or surveillance operations for a fraction of the cost, with reduced maintenance and risk to people.

Dr Pounds said his unique design for a new type of quadrotor UAV – a helicopter lifted and propelled by four independent propellers – was more agile, responsive and energy efficient than existing quadrotor designs.

“It combines the aerodynamic efficiency of a helicopter with the simplicity and robustness of a quadrotor,” he said.

“I’m excited to be able to work with V-TOL Aerospace to take this technology out of the lab and into the field, where I believe it will prove to be the ideal platform for police and emergency responders.”

V-TOL Aerospace Managing Director Mr Mark Xavier said the company was ready to take the UAV to the global market.

“V-TOL will develop not only the product, but the regulator-approved training and support services required to make this product Civil Aviation Safety Authority compliant,” he said.

“This will make it very attractive for export.”

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker has welcomed the agreement. “It once again demonstrates Queensland’s growing reputation as a major hub for UAV research and development in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Walker said. “I think what we’ve got right with UAV technology development in Queensland is the strong relationship we have between industry and research and the V-TOL and UQ agreement is a great example of that.”

UQ commercialisation company UniQuest today signed an agreement licensing intellectual property for the design to V-TOL.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the agreement reflected the value of UQ’s and UniQuest’s industry engagement strategy.

“This agreement is an excellent example of research and industry coming together to deliver tangible benefit for the community,” Dr Moss said.

Mr Xavier said V-TOL Aerospace recognised the broader value of the agreement.

“This relationship is a significant opportunity to demonstrate how local industry can work closely with Queensland’s premier academic and research institution to develop an innovative hi-tech product in an emerging global industry,” he said.

Media: UQ – Madelene Flanagan 07 3365 8525, UniQuest – Nicole Cowan 07 3365 4037 and V-TOL and AUSA – Mr Mark Xavier 07 3275 2811.

Australian Unmanned Systems Academy as the education and training organization of the V-TOL Group will develop and deliver the CASA approved OEM Pilot and technical training package to support this future product.

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Update 1 – Geraldton Incident

Further to the incident in which a competitor in the Endure Batavia Triathlon in Geraldton, Western Australia, was injured by a UAS, the organisers have released the following statement:

In relation to the incident that occurred on the 6th of April 2014 involving Endure Batavia Triathlon competitor Raija Ogden and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Geraldton Triathlon Association wish to state that their investigations into the incident is still in its preliminary stages.

Whilst the Association’s investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this point, it has become apparent to the Association that there is speculation as to whether the operators of the UAV, namely New Era Film & Photography, may or may not hold the appropriate operator’s certification as required by the governing body, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The Geraldton Triathlon Association wishes to state that New Era Film & Photography were engaged to undertake the aerial filming of the event on an in-kind sponsorship basis, with a payment of $300 being paid to New Era to cover some of their associated costs for operating the UAV on the day.

President of the Geraldton Triathlon Association, Simon Teakle, said New Era Film & Photography were engaged on a sponsorship basis on the understanding that they held the appropriate licenses or certifications required for operating a UAV and that New Era were obtaining whatever permits were required to operate the UAV for the event.

The Association further wishes to state that it does not have the expertise to comment on whether New Era Film & Photography do in fact hold the appropriate certification or licenses required by CASA, and this matter is for the appropriate authorities to address as part of their investigation into the incident.

Mr Teakle said the operation of the UAV and the height at which the UAV was flown on the day of the event was at the direction of New Era Film & Photography.

“I would like to reiterate that New Era were engaged to conduct the aerial filming on the understanding that they were qualified and therefore were compliant with the rules and regulations around the safe operation of UAV’s.”

Mr Teakle said the Association prides itself on a strong track record of safety in relation to the Endure Batavia Triathlon event.

“In the three years the event has been running, there has never been an injury or accident occur and the Association goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of its competitors across every aspect of the race,” he said.

Mr Teakle said that prior to engaging New Era Film & Photography, the UAV operators stated to the Geraldton Triathlon Association that it was qualified and certified to operate the UAV. On that understanding, New Era Film & Photography were engaged to undertake the aerial filming of the race.

Mr Teakle said that safety is paramount in every event and race the Association holds.

“Safety is and always has been paramount with every race the Geraldton Triathlon Association conducts and the Association would never engage the services of any contractor if they were known or believed to be unqualified or uncertified to perform their service,” he said.

As the Association’s investigations into the incident are still ongoing, the Association are yet to obtain or view any video footage taken from the incident. The Association expects to publish a Preliminary Investigation report as soon as possible.

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Know the Rules – Fly with Control

Brochure from casa.

 

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The Risk to Industry – Uncertified Operators

UAS near miss.

UAS Injury

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AAUS Newsletter March 2014

AAUS 2014-04-07 Newsletter

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Developing Safe Multi-RPAS Flight Operations

The Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) in conjunction with V-TOL Aerospace has commenced a test program designed to introduce VLOS multi-RPAS operations.  AUSA is developing training programs to qualify RPAS Pilots and RPAS crew members, such as RPAS Observers and Mission Commanders, in multi-RPAS operations using the V-TOL Condor neuron© RPAS. This capability will also provide RPAS crews important training in CRM and mission planning.

“The aim of this program is to demonstrate how multiple small RPAS can safely operate from the same launch and recovery site,” said Mark Xavier Chief Pilot of V-TOL Aerospace. He continued, “I expect that the methods and procedures we adopt will mirror manned aircraft operations at aerodromes”.

The test program will be conducted using V-TOL’s RPAS neuron© hardware in-the-loop simulator software that can now display multiple RPAS flight data in real-time on all active neuron© Remote Pilot Stations (RPS). This capability provides V-TOL neuron© RPAS Pilots, Observers and Mission Commanders similar situational awareness information that ADS-B now offers manned pilots & air traffic controllers.

Test serials will be flown at V-TOL’s launch and recovery site at Marburg using multiple V-TOL Condor neuron© RPA, our CASA approved RPAS training system.

About: AUSA is the education and training organization of V-TOL Aerospace holder of CASA issued UAV Operator’s Certificate 1-31RFZ-05.

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Creating a Sustainable RPAS Industry

The first step in creating a sustainable remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) commercial industry is to deliver a relevant and effective RPAS pilot’s course.

V-TOL Aerospace through its education and training organization the Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) has been delivering the CASA Approved Basic RPAS Pilot Certificate Course in accordance with its UAV Operator’s Certificate 1-31RFZ-05 since June 2013.

V-TOL and AUSA expect to offer more advanced courses shortly that will add to the qualifications an RPAS pilot can gain to enable extended operations and increased career pathway opportunities.

“Effective training is the basic building block for growing a consistent understanding of how safe operations are to be conducted in our airspace,” said Mark Xavier CEO of V-TOL Aerospace.

“This remains a constant from the individual owner operator through to a global corporation such as Rio Tinto,” he continued.

“We have had students with no previous aviation experience gaining their qualification under the CASA Approved RPAS Certificate course during the 2 week period. Since mid-2013 we have completed and graduated eight (8) courses that have included a mix of international students and are currently running our ninth course at Marburg,” said Frank Martin CEO of AUSA.

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Future Skies™ RPAS School Demonstration Program

Senior students from Maryborough State High School recently visted V-TOL’s Marburg Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS/UAV) Flight Training facility.  The aim of the visit was to introduce the students to RPAS technology, show them how RPAS pilots are being trained in the civilian sector and the applications RPAS technology is and will be used for.

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CASA Approved RPAS Pilot’s Course

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) initiative ten years ago to legislate regulations and a pathway for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) commercialization in Australia has resulted in the world’s first aviation authority approved Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) pilot training program.

Brisbane based V-TOL Aerospace Pty Ltd, has gained that coveted approval from CASA and will deliver its programs under the Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) brand at Marburg, near RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.

The full time two-week training program involves both theory and practical flying instruction which if students are successful, secures them a CASA issued ‘Remote Pilot’s Certificate’ allowing them to be employed as pilots in the commercial UAV industry.
V-TOL Director, Kelvin Hutchinson confirmed that the first training program will be held later in May and that interest in the program is very encouraging in Australia and overseas.

“Its taken four years in close collaboration with CASA to achieve this major milestone in Australia”. “We have significant interest from course applicants as well as major aviation interests overseas that want to establish similar programs” said Mr Hutchinson.

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Civillians get grounding in flying drone aircraft for first time

FANCY yourself as a Top Gun but can’t afford the pilot training? A Queensland firm may have the answer.

Brisbane-based V-TOL Aerospace has begun rolling out the world’s first regulator-approved remote pilot training for civilians that could make you or your neighbour a qualified “drone” operator in just two weeks.

Six people were already mid-way through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority-approved course, which was run as an intensive two-week residential program at the V-TOL’s Australian Unmanned Systems Academy in Marburg.

V-TOL managing director Mark Xavier said theoretically “anyone can pass the course” which costs $5000 for tuition, though potential fliers should factor in a further $2000 to $3000 for the residential costs.

If that sounds too good to be true, be warned – classes sometimes run into the evening and the syllabus includes the theory of flight, legal issues, programming and safety. The fun part was the second week where students get their hands on simulator technology and then actually fly a remote pilot aircraft system.

CASA figures show more than 90 people already hold remote pilot certificates, at a cost of $160.

A CASA spokesman told The Courier-Mail the authority expected growth to continue to double.

“This sector is burgeoning, with increasing numbers of people showing interest in operating remotely piloted aircraft. The number of UAS Operator Certificate holders more than doubled in a 12-month period from January 2012 and that number is likely to double again in the next financial year,” he said.

277476-v-tol-aerospace-managing-director-mark-xavier-with-one-of-his-remotely-piloted-aircraft

DRONING ON: V-TOL Aerospace managing director Mark Xavier with one of his remotely piloted aircraft. Picture: Campbell Scott

Remote piloting student Tibor Fekete of Canberra-based XTEK, which has the Australian retail licence to sell a drone used by the US military, said there was a lot of excitement over what the civilian training could open up.

People who were interested in using drones included advertising firms, real estate agents, and farmers but one of the main issues was the lack of approved flight training.

“If you wanted to buy a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) off me, I couldn’t sell you one because you couldn’t fly it and there was no mechanism for you to learn to fly it. This is what industry needs,” Mr Fekete said.

From Courier Mail 25/05/2013

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