Big News – Frangibility – Teaching Gigs – Housekeeping – Verticals Plug – Local Air Traffic Section Under Construction – Upcoming Projects

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Hi, Orion Drones wants to bring drone services to your town, your next event, your business, to you! We are passionate about photography, videography, inspections, and drone service integration. We bring you news and views here on the blog roll each week on Tuesday at 8:26 am EST, 13:26 UTC. Thanks for visiting!

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Big News

I took a job offer, so I am moving. I have lived here for nearly a decade. I will get to do what I do, do it well, get paid for it, and make a difference, ikigai. That’s the sauce. I got a job offer on my last working day at the local public school system. I accepted the offer, and I am moving paper and info to HR to get started. Same deal: drones and stuff, teaching. This blog entry is written in haste due to a locust swarm of tasks underway while the family prepares to pack up and leave, during a housing shortage.


Figure 1 is a printer getting the proper motivation from a height of 15 feet at an initial velocity of ~ 10 feet per second. If you have never seen the movie Office Space, just know that this is an homage to the copier scene. I put some tapioca flour in the scanner bed to see how the force translates with a powdery aerosol, and to track any glass pieces. I had taped the glass plate so it would shatter, yet not scatter shards upon impact.

I removed screws from the shell of the device. I loosened the minimum needed to hold the components together. Just like bolts designed to shear along an engine block, the remaining fasteners abrading the bores absorbed forces of impact, primary and secondary. The pieces separated more or less intact. After impact, the glass on the scanner bed was not even cracked. The image shows an orchestrated separation. One of the goals of drone design is to reduce the damage caused by a loss of control that results in a crash. If a drone could separate like this printer, more of the components would be salvageable. It shatters like safety glass.

Figure 1. Frangibility of a cheap, broken, conditioned printer

In Figure 2, you can see the gross effects of the sudden deceleration of the test material.

Figure 2. Sudden deceleration, but major pieces intact


I did a redesign of the home page of the website. The portfolio page received an update. I have not been able to do anything about the lack of space in the workroom – my desk is simply piled with equipment. But that will change after the move.


I am going to provide consultation for another community group today, about 40 miles from here. I am going to take a look at a 3D printer assembly process. These things happen. I am going to change my teaching path. I am focused on robotics instruction due to a fortuitous opportunity. I get to mess around with STEM resources.

Verticals Community Learning Center

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 organization is provided. Some school districts have been able to secure transportation. The students get a veritable launch point for careers in technology and media if they had yet to choose a career path. They like the class, too!

Drone Cinematography Class

  • 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.

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.

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 section delayed

This function of the website will have its own page this week. Still in holding pattern until I can combine automated local flight space with municipal airspace. I had a job interview last Tuesday that sort of shook my frame. It was possibly the kind of job that would be a transformative element to help me support my family, get access to capital, and become a better teacher. I have an idea that I might use this page in a use case for a grant opportunity. My goal is to develop long-range automated medical supply drone networks. If I stop looking for work, I get back at least an entire day a week. Finding a good job is immensely time-consuming and stressful. Apologies for dead links until next Tuesday.

McKeesport, PA aerial from a soccer field

I used a pavilion at the recreation park to take these shots in Figure 3 and Figure 4. The Clairton-Glasstown Bridge crosses the Monongahela River.

Figure 3. Towards the river from Liberty, Pa
Figure 4. Soccer field painted on grass with spray paint at Bell Bridge Park

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