upper Brownsville, PA, looking west across SR40
3D Printing Back on Track – Verticals Community Learning Center Drone Cinematography – Remote Sensing and Other News

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Preparing for Summer

I put the drone up in the air a few times. Everything is working fine. We have stepped on most of the travel plans due to inflation, so I continue to capture photos and video of my immediate area. Grand Canyon? The echoes in my empty wallet. Smokey Mountains? Prevented. Here are some shots I took from a nearby public playground (Figures 1-3).

Figure 1. St. Peter’s church, courtesy of Orion Drones
Figure 2. Vertical circle sector flight of a churchyard, courtesy of Orion Drones
Figure 3. Brownsville, Pennsylvania, courtesy of Orion Drones

Verticals Community Learning Center

How It’s Going: Drone Cinematography Sessions started Thursday 04/28/2022

The three days I participate as a volunteer instructor are as follows: April 28th, May 5th and May 12th, 2022. Those are Thursdays, all day events. The first class went better than expected. The second class explored the challenges of filming with a drone. Students developed flying and movie production skills. We had a production brief, split into groups. I bounced back and forth between the groups. to offer technical support. I gathered nearly an hour of footage into a file in the cloud and sent a link out for people to use. Using it is part of the collaborative nature of the service, and teamwork emerges as a strategy to complete the work.

The experience has sort of transformed how people communicate with me at school. It is a good experience. I look again to an avenue for teaching, if only to honor my ancestors by using the skills I have earned under the guidance of those who can better understand its value. As an understatement, I can say that the drone is a learning tool.

I met someone from a community industrial investment committee who dropped by to see the different programs offered at Verticals. She told me to go look into drone art. Twist my arm.

I have a couple of montage reels of the group productions underway.

Drone Art

Drone art involves the use of a drone to create an illuminated display. Think of each drone as a pixel. Each drone carries an LED that flashes a color. Position and color value are used to display an image or the semblance of an object. These pictures can be rendered in 2D or 3D. They rely on optimal flight and network conditions. Drone art is used at large gatherings such as sporting events and concerts.

Other forms include the use of hyperlapse filming, extended exposure to create trails of moving lights, and, I would argue, the navigation of a cluttered and dynamic environment is itself an art. Basically, data science and graphic art overlap, in animation, in design, and other fields.

In the case of physics, slight deviations in a known coordinate system reveals data that has been used to reconstruct gravity waves and quantum phenomena. In drones, the local humidity, wind speed, wind direction, altitude and other info can be pulled from sensors that deviate collectively in a way that reveals common forces such as wind, or a change in humidity due to evaporation over a body of water and a subsequent shift in efficiencies of duty cycles on the motors, maybe. That would be notable data, possibly useful. I look forward to working on that project this week. I have begun a fleet management project using software I became acquainted with in college, Matlab. This is part of a TinyML project I am going to run with an open source thermal camera. Thats my summer project, what’s yours?

Verticals Plug

Verticals is a local community development center that gives kids a choice of after-school programs that enrich young lives and provide a sense of pride in community. A link to the group is provided. Some school districts, like Monessen and Brownsville, pony up transportation. It makes a huge difference to the kids, and I am grateful to meet the van drivers. They like the class, too!

I signed on as a drone coach to use drones to give students some positive experiences in the community. I teach students, but I meet parents and staff, too. It actually improves my relationship with other students. As a nerd, I count myself among students, and teaching is incidental.

  • How to fly recreational drones with basic and advanced maneuvers.
  • How to plan flights for capturing media.
  • Get the soon-to-be mandatory – and EASILY OBTAINED – TRUST flyer certificate from the FAA, online for free.
  • How to film, edit, and share a video you make with drone footage and apps.
  • How to fly a drone with Scratch Python block code.
  • Provide information about industrial drone applications and jobs.

This module was planned to integrate within an ecosystem of courses in technology applications, physical well-being, and business development. These are hands-on tangible experiences that have lifelong value.

Local Resource in Action

Community groups will have some authority to determine the nature of its flight operations in local airspace come this fall 2022. As long as a responsible pilot is connected to the group, the area can develop flight operations that best suits the needs of the group. A FRIA is basically an area supported by a Part 107 drone pilot or more qualified pilots. The FAA determines the location and quality of FRIAs.

I can see a drone academy being a part of an 21st-century community, so I am studying what we need to do to qualify to become a FRIA. I have a break from school in a month, and I like to read legislation. One of the problems is that it’s not 1986 anymore. These rules were written before the Internet absolutely debased the concept of community. It used to involve, at the very least, physical mail for remote correspondence, on land lines, even. Brick and mortar have given way to ones and zeros. The architecture is in an electric field instead of a dirt lot. “Model aviation” was a concept that existed before FPV, before streaming, before smart phones, before laptops. Ridiculous changes continue to occur and need to occur more quickly because of climate change.

  • (1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • (2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • (3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
  • (4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
  • (5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
  • (6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.

Time to learn

Topics in the Verticals Youth Empowerment program include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, digital fabrication, coding, media production, design studio, blockchain, and crypto. Courses in the topics are presented alongside fitness and wellness resources. The center director is retired NFL pro-football player William James, who stepped off the gridiron and into a new life arena. William has an amazing base of supporters, collaborators, volunteers, and stakeholders who help make this happen. Very grateful.

Verticals Youth Empowerment Center is designed to stimulate young minds, give parents an inclusive environment in which to socialize, and to offer youth a sense of pride in themselves and their community. There are other facilities in the works.

Local air traffic livestream under construction

Nothing happening this week, except for commercial space flight to the ISS, Artemis fouls, CERN powered up, JWST nearly aligned, specter of nuclear war, and a continued complete disruption of local fried okra stocks due to the supply chain issue. Sigh, I’m from Mississippi. Rope buffer rope, seriously, break your neck.


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