Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Drones and MyFlightbook

Probably the fastest growing area in aviation these days is in the unmanned aerial system ("UAS", aka "unmanned aerial vehicle" or "UAV", or more colloquially, "drone") space.  And many UAS pilots are using MyFlightbook to record their flights.

MyFlightbook supports UAS as a psuedo-category/class.  E.g., as a peer to AMEL or Helicopter.  You can create UAS aircraft using one of many UAS models on the system, and include drone flights next to manned flights.  Since they are separate category/class, flights in one should not pollute things like currency or totals in the other.

Of course, since these are flights in your logbook, any times you record will accrue in your totals.  But alas, it's also easy to back these out, if you like, by using the search functionality.

There are a variety of flight properties that are in the system today that are focused on UAS scenarios.  As of this writing (more are added all the time!), the system has the following:

Property NameDescription
UAS - AutonomousIndicates that the flight was an autonomous UAS flight
UAS - Hand-held TransmitterIndicates that the UAS flight was controlled by a hand-held transmitter
UAS - Lost Link ReturnIndicates that the UAS executed return procedures after a loss of communication
UAS LaunchesNumber of times that a UAS (drone) was launched
UAS RecoveriesNumber of times that a UAS (drone) was recovered
UAS: Air Vehicle Operator TimeTime spent operating a drone
UAS: Mission Payload Operator TimeTime spent managing the paylod in a drone
UAS: Ground Control Station TimeTime spent in ground control for a drone
UAS: Maritime Flight HoursTime spent flying a drone (UAS) over water
UAS: Electro-Optical Sensor TimeTime spent using an electro-optical sensor (drone/UAS)
UAS: Infrared Sensor TimeTime spent using an infrared sensor (drone/UAS)
UAS: Short Wave Infrared Sensor TimeTime spent using a short-wave infrared sensor (drone/UAS)
UAS: Medium Wave Infrared Sensor TimeTime spent using a medium-wave infrared sensor (drone/UAS)
UAS: Synthetic Aperture Radar Sensor TimeTime spent using a synthetic aperture operations with a drone (UAS)
UAS: Hyperspectral Imaging Sensor TimeTime spent doing imaging (hyperspectral) with a drone (UAS)
UAS: Multispectral Imaging Sensor TimeTime spent doing imaging (multispectral) with a drone (UAS)
UAS: Signals Intelligence TimeTime spent doing signals intelligence with a drone (UAS)
UAS - 107.73 - Aeronautical Knowledge TestIndicates that the pilot took and passed a knowledge test (initial or recurrent) covering the areas specified in 107.73
UAS - 107.74 - Training CourseIndicates that the pilot successfully passed a training course (initial or recurrent) covering the areas specified in 107.74

As part of ensuring that unmanned aircraft are utilized safely - and don't conflict with manned aircraft! - the FAA introduced part 14CFR107, governing unmanned systems. 107.65, in particular, defines recent experience required to operate a UAS under many circumstances.  It works like currency, except that it focuses on recent knowledge training rather than flight experience.

To be current per 107.65, you must have done one of the following three things in the preceding 24-calendar months:
  • Pass an initial knowledge test, 
  • Pass a recurrent knowledge test, or 
  • Have a valid flight review (of the manned flight variety, per 61.56) and take a knowledge course.

To indicate that you have done either of the first items above, add an entry into your logbook with the "UAS - 107.73 - Aeronautical Knowledge Test" property; if you take the appropriate course, add an entry with the "UAS - 107.74 Training Course" property.  And, of course, if you are a licensed pilot of manned aircraft, you'll want to show that you have a valid flight review anyhow; you can do this by adding a property to the appropriate flight: "Flight Review," "BFR", or one or the various checkrides that qualify.

MyFlightbook will show (and update) 107 currency once you have met any of the requirements above.

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