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Posted by jjmelo | Mar 13, 2015 @ 04:25 AM | 2,225 Views
In this episode of the podcast, I break down "drones over Paris" incidents with a timeline of the events. I explore the media frenzy over a letter that a UAV hobbyist received from the FAA where they equate his monetized YouTube videos as a commercial endeavor. I interview the aforementioned hobbyist Jayson Hayes to get a first-person account of what really happened.

I then discuss how DJI is becoming a billion dollar company, 3D Robotics raising venture capital and what these means for the hobby community and the industry.

Finally, I explore the Humanitarian UAV Network or, an organization that recruits UAV pilots and experts for the greater good.

To listen, please visit:
Posted by jjmelo | Mar 04, 2015 @ 03:21 AM | 1,908 Views
Caliber FPV Wing - Review Part 1 - Unboxing and Assembly (7 min 14 sec)

Introducing the Caliber FPV Wing from Snipe Air Industries. In this video I introduce the project, unbox the package and show you the finished product after it was put together. It measures 37.5 inches (95.25 cm) in wingspan and the kit includes all the nessary hardware, including a plastic center section to hold the fpv equipment, cameras and battery, winglets, stickers, laminate, pushrods and balsa elevons. It also comes with an antivibration mount for a Mobius camera.

For more info, including equipment used and additional photos, visit:
Posted by jjmelo | Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:45 AM | 3,997 Views
In this episode of the UAV not Drone podcast, I talk about the new set of proposed regulations by the FAA for commercial UAV use in the United States. I interview Brant Hadaway, a practicing attorney that specializes in UAS laws and regulation to discuss the FAAís Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small unmanned aerial systems.

I also discuss a new site that hopes to prevent people from flying their UAVs over private property,, The New York Drone Film Festival and advances in wireless charging technologies that could enable UAVs to be charges as they fly.

Visit: to listen. Thanks!
Posted by jjmelo | Feb 20, 2015 @ 03:31 AM | 3,283 Views
Building a Better Phantom: The Ghoul - Part 2: Assembly (18 min 25 sec)

Here's part 2 of the Build a Better Phantom Series: a quad with T-Motors, SimonK ESCs and an APM Mini flight controller in a Phantom shell: The Ghoul. Please visit the first part of the series to get a list of components by clicking here. Here are links to additional guides and documents needed to complete this build.

Official APM documentation

Un-official guide: Mini APM from Witespy

Light module pinout and info

In part 3, I'll show you footage captured on the Ghoul during the maiden flight and a lazy adventure around my local park (as soon as I figure out how to process video shot at 120fps). Stay tuned!
Posted by jjmelo | Feb 13, 2015 @ 04:29 AM | 1,715 Views
The Ghoul: A Building a Better Phantom - Part 1 (3 min 31 sec)

Introducing the Ghoul: a quad built with a DJI Phantom Shell, but with better components and more capabilities. I came across a DJI Phantom Shell while navigating and decided to build a quad using that shell and powering it with a Mini APM and overall better components.

More info about the components, with links, visit
Posted by jjmelo | Feb 06, 2015 @ 12:03 PM | 2,728 Views
In Episode 02 of the UAVnotDrone podcast, I try to make sense of the the incident where a drone landed at the White House lawn on January 26 2015 at 3am and the series of events that happened after.

I also talk about the Association of Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems ( and how UAVs are helping in capturing rhino poachers in South Africa.

Please give it a listen, and let me know what you think. Your comments and suggestions are more than welcome.
Posted by jjmelo | Jan 29, 2015 @ 11:53 AM | 1,949 Views
3D Printed Custom Designed Y6 (4 min 1 sec)

Introducing my custom designed and 3D printed Y6 multirotor. After many hours of designing, printing, troubleshooting and test flying, I am finally showcasing my latest multirotor with the world. The frame base, motor holders, landing gear and 3-axis gimbal were printed 3D printed in ABS. The booms are carbon fiber tubes that are 330 mm long and 16 mm in diameter.

For more info, pictures and specs, visit:
Posted by jjmelo | Jan 22, 2015 @ 05:23 PM | 2,285 Views
I've just launched the new UAV not Drone podcast. In the premiere episode I explain the purpose the podcast, along with my background in unmanned aerial vehicles. I discusses the use of the word “drone” and its negative connotation.

I also talks about the AirDog, an autonomous quadcopter with a successful Kickstarter campain and their latest prototype unveiled at CES 2015.

Finally, “Drones in the News” a segment that highlights the latest stories that the media is talking about.

Please give it a listen. Your comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

Thank you!
Posted by jjmelo | Sep 10, 2014 @ 05:47 AM | 2,961 Views
Durafly Das Ugly Stik - Unboxing & Assembly - Review Part 1 (6 min 32 sec)

I received Hobbyking's newest model, the Durafly Das Ugly Stik today in the mail (after ordering it a week ago) and above you will find my video review, the first video is the unboxing, first impressions and assembly video. The second video is the maiden flight.

The main feature or gimmick of this model is the mockup engine up front. Yes, it seems like this foamy has a glow engine, but upon further inspection you realize that the engine is just a dummy and that there is a brushless motor behind the firewall. I really didn't pay attention to anouncement videos and I thought that the engine was made out of foam, but it is pretty hefty. Not sure if its the wisest to carry all that dead weight upfront, but it sure looks cool!

...Continue Reading
Posted by jjmelo | Aug 08, 2014 @ 12:54 PM | 2,435 Views
Bix3 (Bixler 3) Unboxing and First Impressions (5 min 27 sec)

Here's my unboxing and first impressions video of Hobbyking's newest FPV platform, the Bix3. Here's a list of changes from version 1 and 2.

- Removable wing: the mechanism works great. The wings are longer.
- Landing gear: removable main and steerable tail wheel.
- Wooden FPV platform (canopy) included.
- Lower KV motor and larger prop: should make it more efficient.
- Lots of reinforcent included: carbon strips inside the nose area and a carbon tube along the tail.

Overall, I'm very please with the Bix3.

[sidenote: shipping was extremely fast. It took 5 business days from the Internation Warehouse my home in California. Shipped via EMS and when it got the the states, it was delivered by Norco Overnite]
Posted by jjmelo | Jun 16, 2014 @ 03:33 AM | 3,493 Views
Introducing the Swift Hex, a mini sized hexacopter that I designed and 3D printed, specifically for FPV. Its design was inspired by the Blackout Spider Hex, but seeing as it is currently unavailable, I decided to designed and make my own.

It is exactly 300mm motor to motor. It uses 37mm spacers, just because that is what I had lying around. I decided to use cheap ZMR 1806 motors, along with 5 x 3 props. It has a built-in vibration dampening system with earplug for the top-mounted Mobius Action Cam. 10amp SimonK ESCs and a Naze32 equivalent, the Flip32+ from Witespy power the system.

Rippin' it Up - Swift Hex (3 min 53 sec)

More information at: Reading
Posted by jjmelo | Jun 11, 2014 @ 05:37 AM | 3,422 Views
Stop breaking your ImmersionRC 5.8 Video transmitters!

We all know what happens: after a crash, the antenna connector breaks off, and its all downhill from there. Since its most likely that the transmitter ran without the antenna, the transmitter burns out and consequently it will have a lot less range, IF you manage to solder the antenna connector back on.

After ruining 2 video transmitters, and seeing as I have a 3d printer and some 3D design skills, I made a plastic protector that will protect the antenna connector. They weight about 10g and you attach the video transmitter with zip ties. I designed and I print these myself. I've sold a bunch here, this is my 5th batch.

To order, just go to my site and click the Paypal button. They are $9 each, shipped in the US, with $1 discounts if you order multiples.

The PY600, the ImmersionRC 5.8 video transmitter protector:

Also, by popular demand, I designed one for the 250mw v3 version.

**UPDATE: The 600mw version has been modified slightly. There is an opening on now to allow easy access to the dip switches, as requested by some here. Please check the updated pictures.


- What material?

I print them in black ABS. They weigh about 10g

- When do they ship?

It usually takes 1 business day to print and ship out, but sometimes a bit more, depending on the number of orders.

- Can I fit a 90 degree connector?

Yes. See the pictures above.

- Do you ship internationally?

Yes. Send me a PM. It is $5 more for international orders, so $14 total. I've shipped to NZ, Canada, Australia and the U.K.

- How about a Boscam version?

G-Unit designed and prints these. Click here for his thread.
Posted by jjmelo | May 27, 2014 @ 02:51 AM | 2,694 Views
A is for Azusa (3 min 31 sec)

After seeing these letter on the side of the foothills all over Southern California, I decided to try to fly close to them via FPV. Here is me second attempt (the first one was B is for Burbank, click here to watch that video). Please excuse the excessive jello and vibes; the CC3D controller isnít perfectly tuned and Iím using very cheap motors that are hard to balance. Other than that, enjoy!

More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Mar 09, 2014 @ 12:16 AM | 3,294 Views
Turbo Commander - Maiden Flight (3 min 22 sec)

Shot in early January 2014 at the Apollo Field in Southern California. The airplane and no bad tendencies, required just a couple click of elevator trim and it flew amazing.

More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Mar 09, 2014 @ 12:14 AM | 3,188 Views
Warbler at Hansen Dam (6 min 18 sec)

My latest FPV video, shot today at Hansen Dam in SoCal. The plane is the Warbler, my scratch-built FPV platform. More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Jan 24, 2014 @ 08:04 AM | 3,425 Views
The Turbo Commander airplane has always had a special place in my heart; it was the plane my dad and his pilot friends used to fly. Its a twin-engine, pressurized, jet-prop 10-passenger airplane, better known as Bob Hooverís acrobatic plane (his was a Shrike, a piston-powered Aero Commander variant).

Over the holiday season, my friend Mateo and I decided to build a scale version of this plane, using a blown-up 3-view picture I found online.

It was built using a combination of Adamís Readi-board and pink 1″ insulation foam. The whole process took about 4 nights.

Additional specs:
  • 60" Wingspan
  • 54" Fuselage length
  • 2 x Turnigy D3536/8 1000KV
  • 2 x 9 x 6 APC props (CW & CCW)
  • 6 9G servos (1 for steering, 1 for rudder, 2 for ailerons and 2 for elevators).
  • 2 x 50A H-king ESCs
  • 3,000mah 4S Turnigy Lipo
  • FrSky X8R receiver.
More information and pictures available at:

Stay tuned for the maiden flight video.
Posted by jjmelo | Dec 30, 2013 @ 08:16 PM | 3,765 Views
Warbler UAV Maiden Flight (7 min 22 sec)

They say imitation is the sincerest for of flattery, and in this case, the creators of the Talon UAV should be extremely flattered. Introducing my latest FPV platform, the Warbler UAV. Needless to say, it was heavily inspired by the Talon UAV.

More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Dec 28, 2013 @ 08:52 PM | 4,044 Views
Durafly HyperBipe Maiden Flight (6 min 19 sec)

Part 3 of the HyperBipe series the maiden flight.

More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Dec 26, 2013 @ 11:05 PM | 4,435 Views
Durafly Hyperbipe - Assembly and Tips (14 min 7 sec)

Part 2 of the HyperBipe series where I go thru the assembly and a couple of quick tips. Stay tuned for part 3, the maiden flight.

More info here:
Posted by jjmelo | Dec 26, 2013 @ 06:45 PM | 4,151 Views
Durafly HyperBipe Unboxing (6 min 41 sec)

Check out my unboxing video of Durafly's latest model, the Hyper Bipe. Stay tuned for part 2, the assembly.

More info here: