Larry Osborn – “Drone Technology: The Changing Face of Unmanned Systems”

Larry Osborn

“Drone Technology: The Changing Face of Unmanned Systems”

Larry Osborn

Larry Osborn

Larry Osborn, EVP, CSO, Dreamhammer

While Serving in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Osborn accumulated more than 4,000 hours of flight time and 850 carrier landings in tactical jet aircraft. During his Navy career he served as an instructor pilot to basic, advanced, and fleet aviators, commanded a deployed operational light attack squadron, served as the air officer on an aircraft carrier, and provided technical and policy advice to the Secretary of Defense, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Pacific Command.

Larry spoke to us from his extensive expertise and experience with information technology and unmanned systems (drones). Following nearly eight years with Northrop Grumman as the Corporate Lead Executive in Hawaii, he joined DreamHammer as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. He is currently DreamHammer’s Chief Strategy Officer and a member of their Board of Directors. Founded more than ten years ago to serve the commercial information technology market, DreamHammer, Inc., is a privately owned small business with offices in Arlington, VA, Honolulu, HI, San Diego, CA, and Santa Monica, CA. DreamHammer develops affordable and interoperable command and control software solutions.

“It’s unfortunate that the first mainstream use of quadcopter drones has been to develop ways to end lives. Because, in natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, they could be invaluable for saving them.” What are some of the possible uses of Drones today? First, surveillance. Not the Big Brother type we usually imagine using drones for, but surveying for human life in remote places. Equipped with a thermal camera, an unmanned drone could detect typhoon survivors from the air.

Second, communication. One of the biggest problems in a disaster is connecting people to the outside world. The Philippines typhoon, for instance, upended cell phone towers across several islands, making calls impossible. “Drones could provide stereo and communication equipment to help people make contact,” “Or they could
just repeat a message while they fly over people to give them information.”

Third, drones could drop supplies. While unmanned aircrafts are light and can’t carry much, the thought is that drones could mean the difference between life and death in some cases. “Helicopters can carry cargo, but even smaller drones can carry MREs [prepared military meals] to help people survive just another 12 hours to the point
when they can get help.”

Fourth, some real estate companies are champing at the bit to incorporate drone photography into their marketing, giving “bird’s eye” views of high end property for potential buyers. But the commercial use of drones is currently permissible only on a case-by-case basis. So unless you have a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration, the drone “should” stay on the ground.

UPDATE—February 15, 2015
Press Release – DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.

The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

The proposed rule also includes extensive discussion of the possibility of an additional, more flexible framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 pounds. The FAA is asking the public to comment on this possible classification to determine whether it should include this option as part of a final rule. The FAA is also asking for comment about how the agency can further leverage the UAS test site program and an upcoming UAS Center of Excellence to further spur innovation at “innovation zones.”

The complete news release — are many more avenues to do so!