Tuesday Views: 25 April 2023

News – Projects – Contact – Recent Gallery – Old Gold


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!

Midjourney concept art for HST niji 5 style


I was watching the launch and tinking about drone operations.

Starship had to deal with the pyloric valve of Fortuna, scrubbed at T-40 seconds. Its mitigation of wildlife issues is incredible. Check the link. This is a clinic for considering operational waivers. Drones go where people cannot. Animals like to do that, too. As human population crowds into wildlife areas, interactions occur. Bird strikes, deer on darkened highways, bears in the trash, pumas gnawing on joggers, coyotes eating your fat yard pets, they all get in on the action. Looked grand, though. In the event of a brush fire, they have experience.

The air was so stable, the wind was low, visibility high. I wasn’t there. I had the launch on a large screen in a 5th grade classroom. It was exciting! Will try again on April 20. WAS TRIED. The launch had to be bumped up 48+ hours due to FAA rules, so Tuesday morning’s looking like a launch on April 20th, this Thursday.

The Space-X launch test iof Starship and Falcon Heavy was of the largest, most powerful rocket in history. It stands ~120 m tall. That’s 390 feet. It’s loud.

It made me think of drones, obviously. One could apply for waivers in wildlife areas with drifting balloons and gliders, but the sight of the drone, or the shadow of a drone might disrupt wildlife, so most state parks are averse to drone activity.

LAANC offers ops waivers for situations that require additional risk mediation. So, a remote operator can fly exactly less than 400 feet above the launch tower in controlled air space. The rocket is attached to the launch tower at first. I wonder if that counts, or could filming a rocket with a drone be, you know, an uncategorized event worth testing.

The launch area would obviously be considered a restricted area, so flight within the launch zone would be subject to the powerful forces enabling launch or abortive maneuvers of the capsule. One could film the launch, technically speaking, from less than 750 AGL close to Starship. It would be good to get a thermal image of the pad right after lift-off. Hot spots would become apparent immediately. Readings of adjacent structures, also useful.

Out in G airspace (boonies), I just need to keep it 400 ft above fixed structures attached to the ground. Willing to test a high-altitude flight in a couple of days when the weather clears up here in PA. I am going to fly above over an abandoned ice plant that features a mighty brick smokestack. I might try a place closer to Pittsburgh if able, but the hulks of the ice plant are within two miles of me. At 750 feet, (1.22459 * sq. root of 750 ft), the horizon is over 33 miles away. I used a different calculation method and got a measurement of 62.91 miles. I will get quite a view if the atmosphere is stable and dry. It would make a fine sunset/sunrise shot, too.

The Boca Chica launch pad was destroyed. Excavated. Chunks of concrete went flying for 100s of yards away from Stage Zero. It looks like a bomb hit. I am going to hypothesize that flying debris from the disintegrating launch pad damaged the rocket engines and rocket body. It’s possible that material in the ejecta provided a secondary fuel and explosive effects. Cars, buildings and outlying structures were battered and destroyed. The crater gives you an idea of the power. I never saw a rocket do that before.

Exposed rebar at Stagge Zero launch site courtesy of La Padre(youtube)

It would be cool to launch the rocket off of a mag lev train hurtling over a cliff, and the cars beneath the bulk fuselage and capsule would each be able to autonomously land below. Either that, or launch from a bedrock hard enough to deal with shock and high temperatures, dolomite or something that can dissipate heat. Speaking of heat, the shockwaves radiating from the liftoff seemed to gain luminosity in the aerosol of dirt, concrete powder, spent fuel, and unspent fuel. I saw giant pieces of debris hurtling away from the launch site. That FAA ‘annoyance factor: wildlife’ is so amazing because I could use this same data to conduct sustainable wildlife management maneuvers with fixed wind gliders (if I wasn’t a substitute teacher living paycheck to paycheck – hence this side hustle to begin with). I could in the planning stages of a wedding or sporting event, for example, such as a cross-country marathon, could go towards a protected area before a critter reacted in an unacceptable way according to conservationists who know animal behavior.

Drone Used to Locate Missing Man

Drone used to find remains of missing man. I worked in nursing homes. I could work with staff to locate a person (706)476-3226. In inclement weather, it could mean the difference between life and death for a person with dementia.

He didn’t mention the morbid topic of bone spread, but bone spread is a somewhat measurable means of determining the time a corpse was in a location. Bones are carried away, devoured. It takes time to break down a carcass in any environment. Accurate census of wildlife in an area, fungal activity, precipitation, temperature and soil content gives you the capacity for removal, weather and other environmental events give parameters. Lots of raccoons equals faster spread. I’m sure it’s complicated in a wild area, but if the bones are spread out, been a few. Bones missing and spread over a mile? Been a while. That’s an oversimplification.

My job would be to measure the distance between bones over time, applicable to a gridded cube, like the dig site of an archaeologist. The person who located the body mentioned he was running out of time, so he used a drone. I want to use a drone to find a missing person. I know I could do it. I can run a thermal camera, and I can get useful info from nursing staff. I would have been up at twilight first thing in the morning running a grid. For forensic scientists and biologists, aerial images of progressive bone spread with patterns of removal, rate of destruction, eventual loss of skeletal remains, that’s useful stuff.


  • Ground-pounding for a mechatronics job.
  • Working with a local historical society to raise the profile of its sites.
  • Catching up on research.
  • Enrolled in a coding bootcamp.
  • I got a new mount for the GoPro, new SD card to soak up the entire battery.
GoPro 9 60fps 1080p, courtesy of Orion Drones
Nemacolin Castle, courtesy of Orion Drones

Solar eclipses over contiguous US in 2023 and 2024

Marketing, education, defense, infrastructure, community, agriculture, and leisure

I noticed “medical” could be formed from an acronym of the list of industries that drones access. They are cheap, safe, and easy to use. Consider hiring a drone pilot to help your business reach new heights.

Recent Gallery

Pittsburgh in winter

That empty lot facing the river is a perfect location for drone flight out over the river.

Old Gold

Ask about large prints. Ask me to paint an image in oils. Recreate an image in CAD, print it. The name of the game is “paid production”.

Duquesne Incline and Downtown Pittsburgh, my favorite shot ever

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