Archives for August 20, 2015

Missouri S&T and drones

Drones — cool right. Useful – sure. Safe – pretty much. Interesting data and research platforms – absolutely. Expensive – not really. Commercially intriguing -very. Legal – working on that.

Here is the state of drone (Unmanned Aerial Systems) as it is at Missouri S&T with the start of the academic semester.

(a) Missouri S&T has a FAA certificate of authority to fly drones at a University of Missouri Agricultural Research Station (Wurdack Farm) about midway between Rolla and Salem. OSP has the ball on this.

(b) A research interest group exists under the leadership of KM Isaac, Associate Chair for Aerospace Engineering at MAE. The research interest is actually larger and includes any mobile autonomous system whether it rolls, crawls, hops, flaps, swims (sinks).

(c) A small fleet of machines is held and maintained by Information Technology Research Support (RTD) and is available to anyone who needs them and their attendant knowledgeable student workers. A few other machines are in departments and centers (MAE, CS and ERC).

(d) Just about anyone is allowed to fly their own machine as a hobby but he university and any commercial entity has to follow very strict rules and permissions from the FAA.

(e) Nationally there is a dynamic change going on in the use, experimentation and permissions to fly drones. Universities are working hard to loosen the rules for their uses.

(f) S&T is a member of the AUVSI and is linked to national organizations that are trying to make  the UAS flying rules usable. We are in the policy debates.

(g) You should not feel restricted — give Tupper a call and we will find a way to meet your research need.

(h) The latest is that FAA is very worried about the few BONEHEADS flying drones in the flight path near regular manned flight operations (commercial air). That has led them to summarize the bottom line as clearly as they ever have:

Help Us Protect the Freedom of Flight!

As many of you know being pilots of unmanned and manned aircraft it is important to remember that the FAA has the authority to ground all aircraft, that includes Drones! The community must understand the situation is getting critical. A few ignorant people are threatening the future of American Aviation and additionally, if loss of life were to occur because of an illegal flight the pilot could be convicted of a maximum crime.

On August 12, 2015 the FAA released this statement:

Pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014, to more than 650 by August 9 of this year. The FAA wants to send out a clear message that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal. Unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time. Pilots of a variety of different types of aircraft – including many large, commercial air carriers – reported spotting 16 unmanned aircraft in June of 2014, and 36 the following month. This year, 138 pilots reported seeing drones at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet during the month of June, and another 137 in July. Meanwhile, firefighters battling wildfire blazes in the western part of the country have been forced to ground their operations on several occasions for safety reasons when they spotted one or more unmanned aircraft in their immediate vicinity.

Having fun means flying safely! Hobby or recreational flying doesn’t require FAA approval but you must follow safety guidelines. Any other use requires FAA authorization. Avoid doing anything hazardous to other airplanes or people and property on the ground.

Below are some basic things to always consider when piloting your unmanned aircraft:


•Do fly a model aircraft/UAS at the local model aircraft club

•Do take lessons and learn to fly safely

•Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport

•Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment


•Don’t fly near manned aircraft

•Don’t fly beyond line of sight of the operator

•Don’t fly an aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs unless it’s certified by an aeromodeling community-based organization

•Don’t fly contrary to your aeromodeling community-based safety guidelines

•Don’t fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes

Broader Impacts Network

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Learn more about BIN here.

Armament Technology Broad Agency Announcement – Facilities and Equipment Enabling Micro Munitions and Advanced Energetics

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) solicitation

The Air Force anticipates a need for new, improved, and often unique facilities and equipment to support expanding future in-house RDT&E (research, development, test, and evaluation) work especially in the areas ofmicro munitions and advanced energetics. This work will require facilities with the capability to work with energetic nano materials that may also be classified as an explosive. These new RW facilities and equipment will enable world class research, development, integration, fabrication and testing of future prototype munitions system concepts demonstrating emerging micro munition and advanced energetics technologies. Developing concepts and preliminary designs for these new and unique facilities as well as for much of the new equipment to be used in these facilities will need to be approached as research and development projects, not as just design projects. New control/monitoring techniques and equipment will be required to simultaneously meet HVAC requirements for working with nano materials that are also an explosive especially in areas where a clean room environment is required. Of particular interest are proposals for preliminary feasibility studies; concept development, assessment, evaluation, preliminary design and associated cost estimates/presentation material for the new facilities and/or new research equipment that will be required to pursue this evolution of energetics from conventional explosives to reactive materials and nano energetics and munitions from the current conventional munitions to micro munitions. Also of interest are proposals for structural response calculations/modeling, design analysis, and design needed to support Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) submittals/presentations required for explosives siting approval of new facilities to be located at one of RW’s remote explosives locations. This topic includes work to advance the understanding of nano energetic material effects on both the human body and the environment as well as work relating to the understanding, interpretation, and assessment of present and likely future applicable environmental, safety, and health requirements/regulations that would relate to nano energetics. A need is anticipated for developing new systems/components that will enable the new facilities and equipment to meet these emerging future requirements/regulations.

Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS)

NSF solicitation

The Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) program supports fundamental and innovative research necessary for designing, constructing, managing, maintaining, operating and protecting efficient, resilient and sustainablecivil infrastructure systems. Research that recognizes the role that these systems play in societal functioning and accounts for how human behavior and social organizations contribute to and affect the performance of these systems is encouraged. While component-level, subject-matter knowledge may be crucial in many research efforts, this program focuses on the civil infrastructureas a system in which interactions between spatially-distributed components and intersystem connections exist. Thus, intra- and inter-physical, information and behavioral dependencies of these systems are also of particular interest. Topics pertaining to transportation systems, construction engineering,infrastructure systems and infrastructure management are a focus of this program. Research that considers either or both ordinary and disrupted operating environments is relevant. Methodological contributions pertaining to systems engineering and design, network analysis and optimization, performance management, vulnerability and risk analysis, mathematical and simulation modeling, exact and approximate algorithm development, control theory, statistical forecasting, dynamic and stochastic systems approaches, multi-attribute decision theory, and incorporation of behavioral and social considerations, not excluding other methodological areas or the integration of methods, specific to this application are encouraged. Additional research of interest exploits data/information, and takes advantage of relevant technological advances, such as social media. In general, research that has the promise of long-lasting, cascading (hopefully escalating) impact on the wider research community through its theoretical, scientific, mathematical or computational contributions is valued.
The program does not support research with a primary contribution pertaining to individual infrastructure components, materials, sensor technology, extreme event modeling, climate modeling, human factors, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences, or hydrologic engineering, since these topics do not fall within the scope of the CIS program. Researchers focused in these areas are encouraged to contact the InfrastructureManagement and Extreme Events (IMEE), Geotechnical Engineering and Materials (GEM), or Structural and Architectural Engineering and Materials (SAEM) programs. Additionally, researchers may consider contacting the Hydrologic Sciences program in the Earth Sciences Division (EAR) or the Physical and Dynamic Meteorology (PDM) program in the Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division (AGS) of the Directorate for Geosciences.

The CIS program encourages knowledge dissemination and technology transfer activities that can lead to broader societal benefit and implementation for provision of physical civil infrastructure systems.

Mathematical Sciences Infrastructure Program

NSF solicitation

The major aim of the DMS Infrastructure Program is to foster the continuing health of the mathematical sciences research community as a whole. Hence, the program supports projects that positively influence the entirecommunity, most often those cutting across multiple sub-disciplines. Activities funded include working research sessions, such as conferences and symposia, as well as larger initiatives focused on enhancing and developing the mathematical sciences at the national scale. 

In addition, the Infrastructure Program will support a limited number of unsolicited training projects aimed at the undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral levels that include a core mathematical sciences research component for trainees. The Infrastructure Program seeks to fund novel projects that can have a large impact by promoting partnerships, broadening participation, and/or serving as models to be replicated.

Training activities that fit into other DMS offerings, such as the solicitations in the DMS Workforce Program (Research Training Groups in the Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Enriched Doctoral Training in the Mathematical Sciences, or Research Experiences for Undergraduates Sites), should be submitted to those solicitations.