No time for FPV, but still in the sky

From time to time, I do get a chance to get out with paragliders. I’m still learning to get para-pro license. Flights are not very long, but quite fun. Hopefully it won’t be a step away from FPV, just a leap.  So I’ll share few photos of my flights. In some of these fields I’ve been reaching for 7km FPV distance. Time passes, toys changes, but the intentions stays the same.

Virgis21 from RCG is working on that machine down below.

One step over the clouds.


DIY thermal camera

Few months ago I’ve got idea to make FLIR (thermal imaging) camera. Professional grade equipment is very expensive. I’ve found few ideas how you can do that. On of them is instead of using expensive infrared matrix, use single point thermal sensor, and put it on servo motors, to scan view in X and Y axis. So I’ve taken MLX90614 thermal sensor with 5 degree FOV, and STM32 dev board with color LCD. Frankly results are even better than I’ve expected.

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Video on the internet: FPV adventures

Some video I’ve found on RCG. Nice scenary, music and action.

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FPV range calculator including terrain topology

Ligowave has created very useful radio link calculator, which evaluates terrain topology, Frenell zones, radio wave attenuation, rain and foliage. You need to point on the map where are you going to fly, enter your frequency, tx power in dBm (~27), receiver sensitivity (~ -95), antennas height and you get the results. There are two modes. One calculates if you are yousing directional antenna, you’ll get information about link margin. Another point to multimpoint (P2MP) mode calculator assumes you are using omni antenna in the ground station. Even program is designed for digital links, it’s quite good for analog FPV videos too. Free registration required to use this tool.

Let’s see some twinstars

Right now I’m assembling my plane, so there is no much to show. Rather see some Twinstars made by others:

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Hexacopter in Cameroon

William Thielicke (Mr. Shrediquette) from Cameroon

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Kaip išsilaikyti radio mėgėjo egzaminą ir legaliai skraidyti su 1.2 GHz video siųstuvu

Kadangi FPV skrydžiams reikalingas video siųstuvas RC mėgėjai renkasi iš esamų rinkoje analoginių video siųstuvų. Pasirinkimas nemažas, tačiau transliuojami dažniai paprastai būna šie: 900 MHz, 1.2-1.3GHz, 2.4 GHz ar 5.8 GHz. Kai kuriose šalyse galima naudoti tik tam tikrus diapazonus. Pavyzdžiui Europoje yra draudžiamas 900 MHz dažnis, nes jis naudojamas GSM sistemose. Lietuvoje 2 diapazonai patenka į dažnių nereikalaujančių specialaus leidimo, t.y. 2.4 ir 5.8 GHz. Tai vadinamasis ISM dažnis.

Tačiau nors leidimo šiem dažniams ir nereikia, yra ribojama galia kurią gali spinduliuoti siųstuvas. 2.4 GHz skaitmeninei moduliacijai leidžiamas 100mW spinduliuotė, kai tuo tarpu analoginiam video leidžiami tiktai 10mW. 5.8Ghz ruože atitinkamai 25 mW. Kas yra bandę tokius galingumus, pastebėjo, kad realus jų panaudojimas galimas tiktai 100-200 m ribose. Bendru atveju tolimiems skrydžiams tokios galios neužtenka. READ MORE

51 Crash Team: Low and fast

The best of Virgis

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I had a chance to pilot a real glider for the first time. About 10 minutes of my own flight. Seriously cool stuff. Then instructor took over control and showed what the glider is really capable of. It means loops, free fall, “diving on the wing” etc.. Unfortunately there were no thermals due to very hot weather.


Interesting way to control quadrocopter

New type control was demonstrated in Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (Switzerland). Stick’s rotation and position change is translated into quadrocopter commands. The principe is very similar to already used system by RC hobbiests. Stick has integrated accelerometers and gyros to detect movement. Maybe such type of control will spread to other applications as well.

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ETOP – Electronc Tethered Observation Platform

Israel Aerospace Industries has announced new Quadrocopter. They call it ETOP (Electric Thetered Observation Platform). It is a pure electric powered, Tethered airborne platform for observation and other applications. The ETOP uses cable from the ground to feed a HAV.

The ETOP can be deployed form a static or moving ground vehicle/station. The platform is generated by electric powered propellers which can hover at a predetermined altitude above ground for long periods depending on the ground platform energy storage capability. The ETOP can carry a payload of up to 20Kg to a maximum altitude of 100m. As long ground station station has power, the quadrocopter can hover. It should be mass produced in 2013. Supposed to be used by military units in urban areas.

Amazing quadrocopters

Quadrocopters do amazing things: turning upside down in the air, flying through window vertically and perching.

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Big wing EasyStar thermaled up to 2.3 km

This video was taken by Jumpjed101. Big wing EasyStar was sucked by thermal up to 2.3 km height and lost control. Once the pilot regained control, he tried to dive towards ground where he could get good reception. But such diving increases plane’s air speed and causes vibrations on the wings, which could break them. So plane had to be leveled back to decrease the speed, and the thermal lifted it once again. Thermals usually are not bigger than 300 m in diameter, so you can easily fly out of it. But this one was bigger and EZ couldn’t find it’s edge. Experienced pilot advise to turn the plane to your landing zone direction and roll the plane upside down. Wing’s lifting force will pull towards the ground and hopefully will overcome thermal lifting power.

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Great videos from Austria

Taken by Trappy

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First arrest in the UK assisted by UAV drone

Drone was deployed by Merseyside police after officers lost the alleged offender who had escaped on foot in thick fog.

Using the device’s on-board camera and thermal-imaging technology, the operator was able to pick up the suspect through his body heat and direct foot patrols to his location. It led officers to a 16-year-old youth, who was hiding in bushes alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal, in Litherland, Merseyside. The drone, which measures 3ft between the tips of its four carbon fibre rotor blades, uses unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology originally designed for military reconnaissance.

It is designed to hover almost silently above crime scenes and send live footage to officers on the ground, but the unit can also ‘perch and stare’ from a solid platform, allowing the operator to capture hours of footage from a hidden vantage point.

Merseyside Police is one of a handful of forces trying out the devices which, at £40,000 each, are far cheaper to use for small-scale operations than a conventional helicopter. They have been using the drones for two years, mainly to help in search and rescue operations, to execute drug warrants and to crack down on anti-social behaviour. Police chiefs decided to draft in the drone, which can reach heights of 500ft and is controlled by an officer up to 1,500ft away.

The live footage was being viewed by the UAV’s operator in the mobile command vehicle and they were able to direct patrols on the ground. The Home Office is now exploring how the craft can be used to give back-up to police, ambulance and fire services. Documents showed the force hoped to begin using the drones in time for the 2012 Olympics. But they also indicated that the drones could eventually be used to spy on the civilian population, by rooting out motorists suspected of antisocial driving, for covert urban surveillance and to monitor ‘waste management’ for local councils.

New ducted fan quadcopter was introduced by Cyber Technology


Last month, an Australian company, Cyber Technology (WA) Pty Ltd, used a drone with ducted fans in an actual operation. The Cyber Quad can carry a high-definition video camera or sensors to detect specific gases, like industrial pollutants or chemical warfare agents. The brushless electric motor is quiet and does not produce sparks – important when investigating a damaged oil platform. Top speed is around 40 mph with a mission time of 35 minutes. But this can be extended to some hours, because the drone is able to “perch” on various landing points, and look around from there.

You could see the perching craft as simply another type of unmanned aerial aircraft, or UAV. But another approach is to think of perching drones as unattended ground sensors capable of relocating themselves. A large number could be air-dropped over an area of operations (for example, ahead of a convoy) to find suitable perches. Their views could then be fed into a suitable video-sharing system so they are available to local commanders. And afterwards they can fly back to base or rendezvous with a drone “mothership.”

“Staring” in this context need not mean visual sensing. Perching UAVs would be an effective way of covering the battlefield with sensors for acoustic gunshot detection, which can locate the source of a shot from the sound. With several widely-spaced sensors, such a system could pinpoint shooters over a wide area.

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Our neighbours from Poland FPV club activities

Some video footage from meeting. They do have nice FPV setups and ground stations.

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UAV Predator was hacked at Iraq

Military operation broadcast was leaked into enemy hands
2009 12 17 BBCCNN has reported USA UAV Predator was hacked by Iraq insurgents. USA army has found laptop which contained video broadcast from Predator UAV. These planes which costs millions dollars transmits video signal and it was captured with “SkyGrabber” program, which costs 26$. These type of broadcasts is used in UAVs Hunter, Shadow and Raven.


FPV soaring

Soaring is about catching thermals (rising warm air streams). Hotter air rises and carries the model up. This way it’s possible to reach new heights and better speed without using battery resources. There are some signs where you can find such zones. One of them – could is tend to form up above the thermal. Also it’s possible to use rising air which is reflected from the obstacle like forest or hill. If readers could comment more about soaring, that would be great. I don’t know about these things much, so let’s go to the equipment. Variometer is a metering device which helps to indicate if plane is rising or diving down. Measuring the pressure, coordinates, acceleration enables to calculate vertical speed. Usually it’s used sound signal – low frequency sound means you are goind down, high frequency – you are rising up. If plane catches high tone, it starts go in circles, to search epicenter of the thermal.

This video show FPV qpuipment and variometer installed in the plane. Short comments in the subtitles and nice video:

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Ion Tiger Fuel Cell UAV stayed in the air for 23h

ScienceDaily (Oct. 15, 2009) — The Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) Ion Tiger, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned air vehicle (UAV), has flown 23 hours and 17 minutes, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight.


Amazing world’s UAV and much more

Amazing unmanned air, ground and water tactical, transport vehicles:

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FPV is banned in UK and Switzerland

UK this regulation is in order for a long time, but from 2009 Dec 1st, these rules applies in Sitzerland too. Vehicle must be under 30 kg and must not leave area of sight during the flight. Further flights can be done with special permission from authorities. We could say that it’s not a ban, but regulation. Still it looks like that government has nothing to do, and starts fight with the least bad thing in the country. Source.

My home town sport arena under construction

This video is submitted by Kestas from . This is Kaunas sport arena under construction. Most expensive development this year on my town. 100 million euros “investment”.

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Octocopter – what the hell is that?

I’ve found few interesting links to 8 propeller’s helicopter version. I guess it is doubled quadcopter, because idea of the control is the same. Video gives us a hint about increased stability. In the first video you can see how it looks like from the outside, in the seconds, there is some HD footage from the inside.

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Search and Rescue UAV iSOAR

In 2007 a team of 8 students from the University of Adelaide School of Mechanical Engineering designed and manufactured a UAV named iSOAR. The iSOAR aircraft was specifically designed for civilian applications such as bushfire monitoring, shark spotting, and traffic surveillance.

During the 2009 University year a group of four students further developed this concept. Using the experience obtained from the 2007 project, the team improved on the design of the iSOAR aircraft through enhanced aircraft aerodynamics, improvement of payload deployment and level of autonomy, and through the successful implementation of image processing systems. A new wing was designed for the aircraft, and flaps were incorporated in order to improve take-off and landing performance.

Information source Todd Sandercock.

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