Warm Regards – Industry – Other News – Recent Gallery – Verticals Plug
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Build Your Own Satellite
Ri cheer now. Goan an’ git ‘r’ done! Kids can build satellites, so can you.
Leaning into turns
Skydio2 Keyframe Upgrade makes for a better cinematic experience. “Keyframes” mode is where you plot points and headings in a flight area (think of it as a cone projected from your point of origin). The drone then traces this piped route you build between key location points through that cone at speed determined by the pilot. Speed can be adjusted midflight, up to approx. 35 mph. When you run the key frame route, transitions are smooth from point to point. There is value in the smooth transitions.
Before the update, the pilot would notice a difference in behavior when one flies the same route either manually or automatically. In automatic flight, as mentioned, the drone banked on turns, but the gimbal moves to compensate. It corrects to keep the horizon level. Under manual control, however, the drone remains flat, as though it is maintaining contact with an invisible, yet levelled tabletop underneath it, rotating CW or CCW as though it had a big rudder on it. Making fast tight turns in manual mode is tough. If it goes left and right, it appears to simply yaw, but not roll.
In an airplane, an airplane adjusts its attitude for a “banked turn” using ailerons. If you try to turn just using the rudder, you just yaw left or right, and you might slip or skid out of a turn. Slipping can create a stall and nosedive, Figure 2.
The drone can roll. It can now maneuver through key frames while maintaining attitude away from horizontal with the ability to keep the camera from correcting for horizontal leveling.
My favorite example of the design of the aircraft affecting the controllability of a banked turn is a boomerang. It has to be angled just so it avoids skids or slips. Throw it too hard and it skids out. The angle is akin to a 1 o’clock position, around 75 degrees. Throw it too softly, it slips out and bellies up. Likewise, the rotation speed can affect how the boomerang flies. True story, I killed a rabbit in Florida with a boomerang when I was a boy. If you practice with one, it gets much easier.
Ailerons for roll, elevator for pitch, rudder for yaw. Coffee for brain.
Now the Skydio2 keyframe feature allows for an automated flight to capture 4K video while dipping and rolling gracefully through turns. The POV feels more like an airplane, or like a roller coaster. That is going to be AWESOME. I want people to experience flight from the safety of the ground, but I want them to enjoy it, too. It’s
Yeti Flight 691, RIP all passengers and crew
Was it something that simple, or what it a lot more going on in terms of maneuvering?
Recently a turboprop airplane crashed in Nepal outside of a new airport after an airplane took a very steep turn. Whatever it was that caused the plane suddenly to nosedive to the ground at hundreds of miles per hour with an angle approaching 90 degrees.
The steep angle was visible from a streaming video taken by a passenger during the crash. I am not putting that up. One moment the plane is turning, the next minute there is yelling and a tremendous crash. The silence of voices is immediate. The only thing that follows the sound of the plane hitting the ground and smashing to bits is the roar of burning jet fuel. Loads accelerate exponentially when approaching 90 degree turn radius.
Everyona aboard the plane died when the airplane crashed into a cliff and erupted in a fireball. It was a new airport that took forever to finance, and recently required a nearby hill be leveled to better accommodate airplane approaches. A couple of months earlier another airplane crashed there. Over 100 people died on that flight. Did it slip in due to relative airspeed in microweather at altitude? Did the alteration of the landscape create adverse weather conditions in the approach path? Were the gauges working? Were the pilots trained? Was the cargo weight calculated correctly? Were they trying to deal with a tight schedule and felt a bit invulnerable or macho? Did a motor blow out? So many questions we ask the black box.
If you watch the turn slip indicator on your instrument panel, you can deal with the load, the cargo. When flying a drone, this force factor can arrive when determining turn radius for drones carrying different batteries or extraneous cargo like sensors, cameras, or oversized batteries.
I looked at the crash site on a map and noticed the eastward hill being flattened to accommodate approaching pilots. The pilot looked as if he might have been trying to circle back to the old airport. I wonder if a stalled turboprop engine precluded a slip and fall.
I have begun exploring Pittsburgh School District for opportunities to teach recreational flyers and staff how to boost drone commerce. If I can land a long-term assignment I can afford to return to college AGAIN to get a master’s degree. Master’s degree equals buku so I can buy more drone parts.
The weather has been so gross lately. Cold, windy, with flurries of sleet, snow and rain. I have a custom pilot vest now. The front is black so there is no glare on viewing screens, and the back is fluorescent yellow with reflective lettering. “FAA Remote Pilot – DO NOT DISTURB”. Wear it anywhere. I plan to wear it when I fly downtown. It has pockets in the front and a zipper.
I completed an orientation to work in Pittsburgh schools and had my first day at Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill over by the Blue Slide Park. It was cool. I ate in the cafeteria. I have other gigs lined up. I also have an offer to get settled into a school for the rest of the year. That is good news. The cool part of the onboarding process was introduction to tools that help me build curriculum to align with dynamic rubrics. Really cool and nimble stuff. I built classes, grading systems, all that.
Speaking of the FAA, I am about to begin studying for my second recurrent Part 107 certificate. Between college, the recurrent certificate and hobbies, I am virtually impervious to boredom.
Fly Your Ideas
Verticals Community Learning Center
Drone Cinematography Classes!
So, everyone who attempted the test passed and earned an FAA TRUST certificate. We tested through a site administered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University because I support their UAV technology courses.
The three days I participated as a volunteer instructor at Verticals were as follows: April 28th, May 5th and May 12th, 2022. I guided students through the process of learning how to safely fly drones in uncontrolled airspace. Two students flew my professional drone over the nearby Monongahela River, by an old truss bridge. One landed the professional drone, wow! On the first day! We planned a video with storyboards and a huddle on production elements. They brainstormed, scheduled shots, got gear, and produced the footage. One the last day, students edited and shared footage.
I basically hustled parts, minor repairs, battery charging, and network connections to and from supply to the production locations. I answered questions. One team was outside the building, another inside. I invited students to explore their own styles. They had fun. The teams erupted with creativity and effort. I had hoped to use the course module in a creative writing lesson or a programming lesson. The presentation that I use sort of serves as a class rubric, but I supply the students with worksheets to plan their productions step-by-step.
I learned some crucial limitations and opportunities for the next session. The most valuable thing is to have a report formatted to assign communication channels, teams, roles, and work schedules. Safety issues were routinely handled successfully. All craft and pilots, tablets and other parts of the Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) made it back in the box, so to speak. All inventory recovered, repairs and orders made, all data shared in the cloud, students back in their districts, rooms ready for the next class.
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!
- 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. 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.
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.
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I became a drone technology service integration researcher in 2017 while in university. I have a passion for drones. Contact me for information about services.