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Old Jan 12, 2003, 04:02 PM
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Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
Joined Jul 2002
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UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

I have proposed a new topic of UAV Development for e-zone and figured this would be the best forum to receive feedback on the idea. I have spoken with a couple people who are excited about participating in discussion on the topic and am very confident there are many others lurking on this board.

Topic discussions would include long range video links, data telemetry links, attitude sensors/theory, airframe design considerations, flight dynamics sensors (pressure airspeed/altitude, GPS, wattmeters, etc), and of course every other corner of the topic.

Let me know what you think. My best guess would be that there are currently hundreds of privately funded UAV projects out there based on the amount of material I have dug up. The fourm would generate a lot of traffic as new people stumbled across it on the web.


Regards,
Matthew J. Currie
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 04:08 PM
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Pittsburgh, PA
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Yeah, I know guys at work who don't fly but do express an interest in all sorts of schemes for UAVs. BTW, they all seem to be EEs
My paranoia tells me that the MIB might try to interfere with such a public enterprise/forum
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 04:12 PM
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Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
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Well.. I ordered four FMA Co-Pilots from the USA (im in canada) and they have taken suspiciously long to get here (23+ days) shipped via global express air mail. That still won't stop me from living out my dream I have had since 10th grade =)


Regards,
Matthew J. Currie
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 04:21 PM
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Joined Apr 2002
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a good place to discuss UAVs is here:

http://groups.msn.com/RCCAM/messageboard.msnw

it s actually a RC camera message group, but there is obviously a lot of general UAV overlap...
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Old Jan 12, 2003, 04:27 PM
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Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
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I am already slightly active on there under the same name as here but first of all the mechanism of the forum is extremely frustrating and UAV discussion could greatly benefit from the power and flexibility of a PHP vBulliten forum. Also MSN makes new users jump through hoops and gathers a ton of personal information about you before signing on. Lastly, that forum is targetted at video camera Tx and Rx and personally wouldn't recommend it to all of my professional colleagues interested in discussion on UAVs. Just my thoughts.. e-zone also is VERY well known and that in itself is a dragnet for curious onlookers of UAV research/development.

-Matt
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Old Jan 13, 2003, 04:13 PM
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Joined Oct 2001
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Quote:
Lastly, that forum is targetted at video camera Tx and Rx and personally wouldn't recommend it ...
Given the ongoing UAV/RPV/FPV discussions on the RC-CAM forum, I'm not sure if I agree with that statement. Of course I am a bit biased.

The sort of technical ideas and issues that you will find there would directly relate to hobby UAV/RPV applications. If you are looking for intense discussions on industrial quality UAV systems, I do not believe that even eZone is the place for it to take place.

But I agree, there is always room for more sites that promote this sort of nifty information. However, I doubt that an eZone forum specifically dedicated to UAV would get much activity at this time. From what I can see, the recently created forum spinoffs have already diluted a lot of the eZone activity as it stands.

Regards,
Mr. RC-CAM
www.rc-cam.com
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Old Jan 21, 2003, 05:03 PM
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Joined Jan 2003
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I've been reading Mr. RC-CAM's forum for a little while, but it's mostly just cameras and I don't like MSN anyway.
There is a forum at flightlines.com but there hasn't been a single post since September.
I think it would be nice to at least try a forum here. It won't get lots of activity, but there are a TON of members, so there should be at least a few people interested in UAVs.

BTW I'm just finishing up the plane for my radio receiver/ESC/level sensor/controller.

EDIT: Here's another idea - what about just adding it to Aerial Photography? Looks like there's a bit on RPVs there already
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Old Jan 21, 2003, 10:55 PM
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I do think there are great minds at work on the RC-Cam site but like you am very disappointed in the 'software' running that forum. I know I am just being picky but it would be killer to have a nice forum running on vBulletin (same script that e-zone uses and what you are ultimately looking at). Maybe I could just talk Mr.RC-Cam into adding this software to his server? I just received my CCD, Video Tx, and receiver so I am gunning to go about my digital communications over existing audio channels =)

The issue with me isn't so much making a new forum or I would simply add it to my own website, I even have a copy of vBulletin installed and ready for configuration but that isn't my point.

My intentions for a subject topic being hosted on this board were mainly to have a more organized presentation of information that anyone could wander through. The MSN interface is not searchable which stands out as the biggest defficiency. This 'topic' could also benefit from some categorization such as "Video, Data Links, Ground Software, Sensors, etc but I am sure you get the point. Still unsure how to go about it.. maybe there is already a clean, organized, and searchable forum somewhere I really haven't taken the time to search.


-Matt
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Old Jan 23, 2003, 07:32 PM
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Palo Alto, California, United States
Joined Jan 2003
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UAV Group

Matt,

I would be interested in joining a UAV group within this forum. I am a modeler and the president of a small company that manufactures UAVs. Many of the components in our aircraft come from the hobby industry. I believe UAVs are a natural evolutionary step for the high-tech modeler and a great educational experience. I have written letters to the AMA stating these opinions but they refuse to publish anything because they fear liability issues, as expressed by Dave Brown several months ago in his Model Aviation column.

I know for sure that there are many hobbyists interested in this activity because I get e-mails from them through my web site. It seems this would be a natural place to focus the discussion.

Steve Morris
MLB Co.
www.spyplanes.com
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Old Jan 23, 2003, 09:32 PM
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Texas
Joined Aug 1999
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The procedure for proposing new forums
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Old Jan 23, 2003, 10:11 PM
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dave_lilley: I did follow the procedures (to my knowledge) with the exception of the actual 'poll'. Did I miss something? I am still in the 'generate interest' phase =)

steve: Incredible system you have. It parallels many of my drawings, sketches, and ideas. I agree with this new area being an evolutionary 'next step' in our hobby but it is greeted with many people with strong fears and negative opinions. As helpful as the AMA is (I am Canadian so its an even different story) when it comes to authentic R/C aircraft I have also witnessed them turn their backs and run away from this new area. I did get the impression that their excuse was that they did not want UAV to be put in the same catagory as traditional R/C hobbies because our governments could suspend UAV activity and somehow they fear this would affect normal R/C.

If safeguarded, I do beleive that this activity could be made incredibly safe with the use of ballistic recovery devices and other failsafes, all of which I had considered from the very beginning not only for my equipments sake but the 'ground targets' also =)



Regards,
Matt
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Old Jan 24, 2003, 12:46 PM
Propellers are cool.
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Toronto
Joined Jan 2003
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I think it was supposed to go in the site suggestions forum.

I agree that if we are careful we can keep things very safe. My plane weighs less than a pound, so even if it crashes, how much damage could it really do? A lot less than a .40 size trainer I bet. And the larger planes - well, investing months of time and plenty of money in a plane on top of the usual building etc. should make you verry careful.
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Old Jan 24, 2003, 02:44 PM
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Post your proposal here (in the site suggestions folder) or contact an administrator or moderator (Andy W).
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Old Jan 24, 2003, 03:18 PM
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United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by mcu-electric
I did get the impression that their excuse was that they did not want UAV to be put in the same catagory as traditional R/C hobbies because our governments could suspend UAV activity and somehow they fear this would affect normal R/C.
That sounds like a fairly reasonable likelihood in the current climate of heightened security- it sounds to me like the AMA's fears are justified. Rest assured if the baby that is RC model flying were thrown out with the bathwater that is civilian UAV experimentation there would be many thousands of highly disgruntled RC flyers about the place.

This is probably not the best time to be mucking around with unmanned ariel vehicles. The security implications and possible legislative fallout could affect a lot more people than the relative few who are dabbling in this.

Brian
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Old Jan 25, 2003, 08:50 PM
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Palo Alto, California, United States
Joined Jan 2003
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Unpublished letter to the AMA re UAVs

FWIW, here is the letter I submitted many months ago to Model Aviation magazine, but was never published:



Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the articles by AMA President Dave Brown and Aeromodeling Editor Bob Hunt (Model Aviation August, 2002) suggesting that operating models controlled by an autopilot system will "threaten (our) very right to fly model airplanes". Both writers argue that there are far more illegitimate reasons to develop these advanced model aircraft than legitimate ones.

I disagree with these arguments because they are based on a very narrow vision of the AMA's role in promoting our sport. Let me explain this by offering my own historical perspective of model aviation's role in the United States during the last 75 years.

After Lindbergh flew the Atlantic, the world's interest in aircraft and air travel was ignited. Millions of youth wanted to learn about flight and modeling activities were very popular because youngsters could be involved in aviation without the risk and expense of training on full-size aircraft. Businessmen and government officials recognized a golden opportunity in promoting modeling activities and there was great public support for model airplanes. During the 1930's and WW2 this well-trained mass of aviation-minded youth aided the US war effort immensely by helping to develop and operate our air force. Nearly all of the top aircraft designers of the day could trace their earliest experience in aviation to model aircraft (and this is still true, from the Wright brothers to Neil Armstrong and beyond). Our national modeling organizations seemed to be aware of the educational aspect of the hobby and were able to benefit from the common interest in modeling held by the government, aviation industry, and hobbyists of all ages. After the space-race ended in the late 1960's the connection between modeling and our national interest seemed to fade. The average age of participants in our sport steadily climbed and the emphasis shifted to having fun and tinkering. In the public's eye we now have little connection to the high-tech aerospace world and are (mostly) just a bunch of older guys playing with expensive toys. It has become harder for us to justify use of public lands for flying and we seem to have even greater difficulty attracting smart, young kids to our hobby since they see little connection between our models and the technologies they enjoy (i.e. computers, video games, etc..).

Meanwhile, many amateur enthusiasts and researchers have been pushing the envelope of performance with model airplane sized aircraft. The crowning achievement in this field was the 1998 crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by the 30 pound, 12 foot span, Aerosonde autonomous UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle). Many of us involved in the development of these advanced model aircraft have hoped that they would provide an opportunity for the modeling community to reconnect with the high-tech world of Aerospace technology, and hopefully spark the imagination of younger people to choose modeling as their hobby. Famous engineers such as Paul MacCready have even started a high school program where children build and fly electric powered models with on-board video systems for remote piloting. This combination of our beloved "old-technology" models and the high-tech world of video imaging, computer control, etc. seems to resonate with bright, young people. Several university-level competitions have blossomed in response to this interest (Aerial Robotics Competition, Micro Air Vehicle Competition, to name a few) and continue to attract the best and brightest young people to the world of robotic aircraft.

At this moment, our government has made large financial commitments to the development and production of UAV's for national defense. Many estimates show that the UAV business is expected to boom in the next 20 years with unmanned aircraft being developed for both military and commercial use. The Boeing company has even started an entire division dedicated to unmanned systems. This is a golden opportunity for the AMA to promote modeling activity in a technology field that is fun, educational, and important to our national interest.

I do not subscribe to the argument that developing autonomously guided models will lead to more harm than good. The information and technology to make weapons of terror (like the old V-1 buzz bombs) has been available for years and it is only the limited effect of such weapons and the fact that our enemies have willing suicide pilots that make this scenario unlikely. If the AMA chooses to argue before the FAA that model airplanes with autopilots are a fundamental threat to national security, they will set a dangerous precedent for all modeling activities. The general public can not easily distinguish between a GPS guided aircraft that crashes into a target and a radio controlled one that does the same. Both types of aircraft can be equally lethal in the wrong hands and the radio controlled one is far easier to develop. If the AMA allows the FAA to ban one type of model aircraft why shouldn't they ban all RC and free-flight models in the future? They can all be used as weapons of terror in the wrong hands, and the public won't feel safe with any models in the air if they believe even one type of model airplane could be dangerous.

I would like to encourage the AMA to develop a special organization under its jurisdiction for the promotion and regulation of modeling activities involving remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft. The distinguishing feature of these aircraft is that they have the potential to be operated beyond the visual range of the pilot either remotely or autonomously. The AMA can then set limits on the aircraft size, mode of operation, pilot proficiency, etc.. similar to the regulation of turbine powered model activities. We can then self-regulate and enjoy this exciting new field of modeling activity instead of inviting the FAA to kill it!

Sincerely,

Steve Morris
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