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Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 06, 2015 @ 04:51 AM | 6,916 Views
I would like to thank everyone that takes the time out of their day to ready my posts. I had not expected that my posts would receive as many views as they have. So again, thank you all.

I need to take about a week to finish up a project that I am working very hard on. I'm in the home stretch now and need to dedicate every minute that I can to finishing it so that the finished product is as close to what I had planned as possible.

When I'm finished, I'll make an announcement and share with you what I had been working on.

Thanks again for your time and fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 06, 2015 @ 04:26 AM | 5,446 Views
I found this story in one of my usual sources and thought that I'd pass it on to you. A new drone company, UAS Directions, wants to change the way multirotors are viewed by the public as well as the way they are made. Their idea, a 3D, frameless multirotor which they hope will put an end to, what they describe as, "model-T-rotors".

The concept is interesting but I am not so sure I like the idea of a huge, flying Hershey Kiss replica. That's kind of what their first version reminds me of. Maybe I am being too harsh but they have named it the "Droplet V1". I do like that they are trying to make multirotors safer for use in places where they may be near people. UAS Directions wants to ultimately make the multirotor safer and I can't argue with that. I mean, how many of us have been struck, at one time or another, by one of our props? It happens to even the most experienced operator from time to time. But that's not really what UAS Directions have in mind. They are thinking about operating their aircraft in places like restaurants where they would be flying waiters. They also have Amazon in mind as they mention package delivery in their press release, which is what prompted this post.

Have a look at the story here and you can make your own judgement about the Droplet V1 from UAS Directions:
http://www.uasvision.com/2015/03/06/...bfe0-297547777

Thanks for your time and fly safe everyone.
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 05, 2015 @ 12:38 PM | 5,047 Views
OK, I have posted a few different stories about fly aways and the effect that they could have on our hobby and the industry. I know that it isn't a new thought. But I'm surprised that it's taken so long for a governing body to say the same thing publicly.

As recently as yesterday, I commented on the possible consequences of drones like the Phantom continuing to make the news because they crashed on the White House lawn or through some poor guy's window in the middle of the night. The European Union has a committee that has just come out publicly stating the same thing that I did. They are concerned because of how it could damage the drone industry and the potential jobs that the industry can and will create.

I know that everyone wants to see the commercial regulations in place so that they can start operating their business but those aren't the people that are jeopardizing the future of the industry. It's the untrained hobbyist or the pilots that choose to completely disregard the current rules handed to us back in 1981.

I've stated more than one time that there is a huge need for the manufacturers to police themselves before the government slaps us with constrictive rules that could take the fun out of flying. While DJI appears to be attempting to do something about limiting their aircraft from flying in restricted airspace, that is not enough. It's a start but they, and the other manufacturers, need to start ensuring that the people that buy their...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 05, 2015 @ 12:16 PM | 5,075 Views
I just found a story at Gizmag.com about a new radio transmitter built solely with microprocessors. I will not muddle the technological explanation. You can read that in the article itself.

So why am I posting about it? Well, this new technology, if applied to our hobby or the small UAV industry, could greatly reduce the size of our radio transmitters as well improve the reliability. The UAV industry will probably be the first to benefit from this breakthrough, well, after cell phones. But our hobby will benefit from it as long as someone dedicates themselves to devising a radio for us.

I'm not saying that this new tech WILL be applied to our hobby but I sure as hell hope that it is. Our radio systems are in dire need of an update. Not just a new firmware to run your particular system but a real update bringing our transmitters completely into the 21st century. That only roadblock that I can see is that the lower frequencies, which travel faster and are able to better penetrate obstacles, are in high demand. That means that either the current major radio manufactures need to get together and fight for a slice for their products or a new manufacturer with a lot of clout must do the same and start producing a better product for us. The RF bands are becoming more crowded every day and that could be dangerous to those of us that have significant amounts of money tied up in our favorite drone.

Have a look at the story for yourself though:
http://www.gizmag.com/digital-radio-...d8477-91923565

Thanks for reading my posts and fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 05, 2015 @ 04:32 AM | 5,260 Views
I was having a discussion with a friend the other day. We were talking about which companies today have the most influence on our daily lives. For me at least, Google is definitely one of those companies. I use their suite of software every day to surf the net, send emails and share things with others. And my cell phone is powered by their mobile software creation, Android. So, yeah, Google definitely is a big influence on my daily life.

Pretty soon they will be a bigger influence for others. Google has purchased Titan Aerospace in April of last year. They are now almost ready to start testing "Project Titan", a solar powered drone project that they intend to use to provide internet services to areas who've been affected by a natural disaster.

It's a great idea if you think about it and with our increasing dependency on the internet, probably will be a life saver for those who live in an area ravaged by a hurricane or tornado etc.

Here is the story that prompted my post:
http://www.uasvision.com/2015/03/05/...3393-297547777

Thanks for reading and fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 04, 2015 @ 01:32 PM | 5,414 Views
Here is yet another story involving DJI and their "high tech", "It doesn't fly away" Phantom quadcopter.

A Hialeah, Florida man unhappily wrote the local Miami Herald asking for the owner of the DJI Phantom that crashed through a picture window of his home (REALLY!!)! The Phantom crashed through the guy's window around midnight no less. Clearly we are dealing with a very intelligent pilot here .

The home owner is unhappy and would like the owner to man up, collect his drone and pay for the damages. He estimates the damages at $1000!

How many of you think that the owner will step up? My guess is that he will not. Because now the FAA are also interested in who he is. That flight could potentially cost the Phantom owner well over $11000 when you factor in lawyers.

I don't have to mention how bad this is for the hobby? Ooops, I just did.

Link to the story:
http://www.suasnews.com/2015/03/3459...5a34-301279773

Thanks for stopping by to read my words and always fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 04, 2015 @ 01:23 PM | 5,465 Views
I've seen a lot of things on YouTube that have left me scratching my head. The video that is shown in the link below is no exception. It does, however, hit a little closer to home due to it's content.

The video is an ad for rifle made by LaRue Tactical. In it, they simulate taking down an Islamic State drone with their new creation. The video isn't simply a guy sitting at a range shooting the Inspire 1 down though. First, his rifle is delivered to him by a passing plane that drops his care package down to him!

This does beg a question though. Do you think Islamic State are using $3000 DJI Drones for recon or are they more likely using a cheaper Phantom? They are rumored to take in more than $2 million a day in illicit oil sales. Maybe IS stepped up their game!

Here is the link to the story that prompted my post:

http://www.suasnews.com/2015/03/3460...5a34-301279773

Thanks for reading and fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 04, 2015 @ 07:58 AM | 6,184 Views
I believe that I've mentioned the project by ComQuest Ventures called the Vertex in one of my previous posts. The Vertex is a hybrid VTOL/Fixed wing UAV aimed more towards the hobby community than towards the professional UAV community. Don't let that mislead you though. The guys at ComQuest are very serious about their project and the work on their website and videos shows that very well.

The Vertex will end up making it out of development and into production with the help of a crowdfunding effort. But this is no pipe dream project with only a rendering and some calculations to back it up. ComQuest has working prototypes with real numbers to back up their development. As more and more people become suspicious of crowdfunding projects, it is increasingly important to show the potential backers a REAL example to give an indication of the seriousness of the project. I could do an whole post just on the ups and downs of the crowdfunding movement but let's save that for another time as ComQuest deserves our attention.

ComQuest Ventures is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and was founded by Juan Cruz-Ayoroa and AJ Cruz-Ayoroa with backgrounds in aerospace and computer engineering. They are dedicated to getting the Vertex into your hands so you have enjoy having a quadcopter and a fixed wing aircraft.

Those are the facts thus far and I have to say, I'm excited about the Vertex. It looks like it might be able to deliver the fun that most thought they would get in...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 03, 2015 @ 01:03 PM | 7,251 Views
I had no idea that Hewlett-Packard had entered the action cam market. Apparently they have had an action camera out since 2013. They started with the AC100. Last year saw the release of the AC200W. And this year they are improving the model and bringing us the AC300W.

I can't help but think that the earlier models were not much competition to the big names as it has not made any of the comparisons put on by the big online/published magazines. I couldn't find it on gizmag.com.

I was able to find a little info on the AC200w by doing a model search on HP's US site (specs are here: http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/p...01_title_r0004 ). While the specs aren't bad, the camera didn't sell well. I looked it up on Amazon.com and when it was available, there were only 3 customer reviews. Hell, I didn't even know it was available!

The only reason I even posted this was because I ran across a mention of the AC300W. After doing some searching, and I didn't dedicate hours upon hours to the search, I again was unable to find much info on this model.

The AC300W is listed as in stock and available on the HP UK website. They list the price as 249 British pounds. But they don't list much on the technical side other than it films 1080p video @ 60fps, has a 16mp sensor, a built in microphone and a WiFi supported smartphone app (link to info I DID find: http://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Pr...&p=c-actioncam ). It also shows the AC300W with a wrist worn remote &...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 03, 2015 @ 08:50 AM | 5,523 Views
Some people in the RC community forget about the usefulness of the products that we use. Yes, we love to use them as a form of entertainment for us. I, for one, can't tell you how much better I feel after flying at least one battery through my favorite aircraft.

But there is another side to our hobby. This side is partially responsible for providing us with new tech that makes us all oooooo and ahhhhhh from time to time. UAVs are being used all over the world to complete tasks that used to be too cost prohibitive or dangerous to complete in the past. Below are a few stories that show the usefulness of the UAV.

A lot of us don't know or forget how cold it really is in the Artic despite the global warming debate. The temperatures drop down cold enough to freeze the salt water. Ships operating in this environment could seriously benefit from having information on the waters ahead and used to achieve this with a manned helicopter. However, that flight is super dangerous. Now, with the benefit of UAVs produced by ING, the ice breaking ships of the arctic have their very own scouts. ING just completed an R&D/demonstration run on an ice breaking ship in those frozen waters. Here is the story: http://www.uasvision.com/2015/03/03/...c0ae-297547777

Koalas. Did you know that the koala bear is listed as a threatened species? It is estimated that the koala population is down to as few as 45,000 in Australia. So it should be no surprise that researchers are...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Mar 03, 2015 @ 08:08 AM | 13,389 Views
Some of you might have guessed that I do aerial photography work from the content of some of my posts. I want to make you aware of a company that has been crucial to providing customers with a product that they can use.

Almost all of us own a GoPro, Sony, Panasonic, Contour or any of the other plethora of action cams. While the cameras are small and easy to mount on our drones, they all have the fish eye lens in order to achieve their large field of view. That view is great for some of the “Hey! Look at this!” action sports memories. But it is no good for a video that you want to look as close to professional as possible without investing tens of thousands of dollars on a camera, gimbal and rig big enough to carry it all.

That’s where Dennis and his company, Ragecams.com, come in. I’ve been working with Dennis at Ragecams.com on lens change options for the Sony line of action cams, specifically the HDR-AS15, AS100, AS200, AZ1 & the new FDRX1000. Dennis has been instrumental in helping me provide customers with quality product. He has provided me with modifications & compatible aftermarket lens options that eliminate the fish eye distortion that the GoPro (I also own one of these though I swore to myself that I never would) and the rest of the action cams ship with. Ragecams.com can even modify the camera to work at night in complete darkness with IR illumination or even provide a super zoom lens to for getting into those tight spots that would normally leave you with a shot that looks too far away & unusable.

If you are thinking about starting your own aerial photography business, you will need Dennis and his skills to help you with your camera! Visit www.ragecams.com to see what Dennis has to offer or send him an email via the “Contact Us” tab on the website for advice on your particular camera or application.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts and remember to fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 27, 2015 @ 01:44 PM | 6,631 Views
Yesterday I had had enough of waiting for the temperature to creep up to at least 40 degrees and decide that the cold be damned, I'm going to fly today!

I decided to test out the adapter that ShokWaveRider (AKA as Ian) provided me for my Sony HDR-AS15 action cam. It was only 31 when I decided that I couldn't wait any longer and the sun was setting.

I have to tell you, I've always been a fan of Sony's photography gear. I own a Sony Nex series mirrorless camera and it takes amazing photos. It's a bit too heavy for my Iris+ though and I really don't want to buy an X8+. So the compromise would be use their line of action cams or one of their smaller point and shoot cams. I opted for the action cam as it was best suited for the task in my opinion.

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Tarot with the Sony mounted to it to be honest. With the exception of some twitching that only occurred when I was at the higher altitude, it was rock solid. I'm guessing that the twitching occurred due to the cold because it didn't do it when I was flying closer to the ground. But the only way to find out is to take it out again and fly some more! I'm up for that!!!!

For the time being, have a look at the footage I posted on YouTube of the test flight.

Test Footage Iris+ & Sony HDR-AS15 02/26/15 (8 min 56 sec)


And for those of you that are not convinced that the Sony produces better video than the GoPro (I own a Hero 4 Silver which is equal to the Hero 3+ Black used in the comparison below), have a look at this video for a side by side comparison.

GoPro HERO3 Black Edition / Sony Action Cam HDR AS15 comparision test by Sewi (5 min 32 sec)


Thanks again for reading my posts and remember to fly safe!

Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 27, 2015 @ 01:21 PM | 6,614 Views
I mentioned in my post about the new FlySKY FS-i10 that I was very interested in seeing the current transmitter manufacturers bring themselves into the 21st century. The current crop of radios from the major manufacturers are in dire need of a make-over and tech upgrade if they want to keep up with the drone industry.

A French company, VDCI, has just unveiled a system that does exactly what I mentioned above. I've included a rendering of the GCS Radio, called the EVO IV, for your viewing pleasure. Here is a list of the specs:

 Two sets of joysticks for simultaneous aircraft and 3 axes gimbal control

 Quality ball bearing joysticks for maximum accuracy

 Horizontal and vertical UAV real-time mapping location with our Vision Mission planner

 Possibility to create / modify / analyze missions

 Flight modes: Manual / FAS (Flight Assist System) / Return Home / Place

 Supported 10 inches Tablets like Asus Transformer T100, HP Elipad 1000 or Motion CL920.

 Tablet size under 278×186 mm

 ABS case Re-enforced

 Recovery blue screen with telemetry functions

 Support Multi Radio protocols like PPM, S-Bus and Spektrum

 GCS firmware updated through the tablet with Wi-Fi signal connection

 Support 1 or 2 Radio Mode

 SDcard Reader used with the tablet

 7” TFT 16/9 Diversity Screen (700 Lux) – 10” TFT Screen on request

...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 27, 2015 @ 01:12 PM | 5,688 Views
I am a big fan of 3D Robotics. I really love their entire approach to the industry in general. I've experienced their customer service and tech support first hand and have to say that they do value their customers and it shows. Having said that, I know that they are by no means perfect and there are people who do not like them or their approach at all. That is ok though. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

3DR is doing well. Both the Iris+ and the X8+ are selling well. They have introduced a mapping system that is complete & ready to go out of the box. They are allowing their products to be sold by just about anyone interested in selling them. You can actually buy an Iris+ from Wal-Mart or Radio Shack (online only of course). So, what's next for 3DR?

I don't have a direct answer for you. Chris Anderson and his crew aren't saying what their next release/releases will be right now. However, they did just seek out a new round of funding to further their R&D. Initially, they were looking for $40 million but Qualcomm invested $50 million in the drone maker.

That does something very interesting and gives a hint at what could be next for 3DR. With Qualcomm opening their checkbook, they also opened up their R&D to 3DR. Now 3DR will have direct access to Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor.

“The incredible pace of innovation in the smartphone industry is transforming many adjacent industries, including drones. By working with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., we can bring advanced computing to the skies at an increasing pace” said 3D Robotics’ cofounder and former Wired Magazine editor, Chris Anderson in a statement. “Such multi-gigahertz Linux-based onboard computing platforms, combined with state-of-the-art cameras and other sensors and wireless technologies, will allow us to create next-gen drones that are smarter, easier, and safer than ever before.”

I for one cannot wait to see what Mr. Anderson and his team bring to us next!

Here is a link to the story that prompted this post:
http://www.suasnews.com/2015/02/3452...d69e-301279773

Thanks for reading and keep flying safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 25, 2015 @ 01:15 PM | 6,314 Views
It seems that since that little "toy from Radio Shack" crashed on the lawn of the White House, the Secret Service is working overtime on how to figure out how to defend against something like that in the future. I'm sure they were very embarrassed when they discovered that thing lying in the grass and they only just happened upon it during a routine walking inspection of the grounds.

Now they are planning some sort of exercise over D.C. The below article doesn't specify what the operations will entail or when they will happen. It is just going to happen. So, if you live in D.C and you are flying your drone secretly, beware of the eye in the sky!

Here is the story that prompted this post:
http://www.suasnews.com/2015/02/3448...2601-301279773

Thanks for your time and always fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 24, 2015 @ 01:43 PM | 11,106 Views
Aeryon Labs are best known for providing their Scout aircraft to Libyan rebels during the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi a few years ago. They make a rather amazing quadcopter that can literally be flown by anyone (as long as you can afford it, Scout started at $150,000!) using a tablet.

They have since introduced their Sky Ranger which was aimed a little more at the commercial market and had a lower price tag but brought the same dependable tech that was offered on the previous Scout.

Now, with the sUAV industry about to truly boom, Aeryon Labs introduces a new camera system that is capable of more than their two previous aircraft. Here is a small list of it's improved HD photographic capabilities:

- Up to 30x optical zoom
- Up to 60x digitally-enhanced zoom
- 1080p recorded video
- 20MP still image resolution

Those are specs that can be used in the real world for a number of industries. Is this the new aircraft for professional aerial photographers, probably not but that isn't who Aeryon is going after. They are targeting inspection groups, mapping and surveying to name a few. Personally, I'd love to test this aircraft. But I can tell you based on my experience with Aeryon Labs, they will NOT be sending out test aircraft. They will, however, arrange for a personal sales pitch with flight demonstration. They should too because their aircraft are pricey!

Here is a link to the story that I pulled the above info from:
http://www.suasnews.com/2015/02/3445...cd40-301279773

And here is a link to Aeryon Labs website:
https://www.aeryon.com/products/payl...-hdzoom30.html

Thanks for your time everyone and always fly safe!
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 24, 2015 @ 01:26 PM | 6,119 Views
This is exactly what I was hoping would not happen. When the FAA announced their proposed rules a couple of weeks ago, most people were thrilled. The rules were fairly lenient and covered more than 75% of the people/companies that want to get their businesses going.

Having said that, there is a small group of business owners who were unhappy with the proposed rules and stated that they thought they were too restrictive! The really unfortunate part of that is that those few business owners have a ton of money to throw at Washington in general. And now it looks they are directing their high paid lobbyists to attack the proposed rules and fight for better terms for their clients.

Technically, this is the best time for them to make their argument because the proposed rules are now out for a 60 day period of public comment. Apparently a lobbyist is part of the "public" but I don't think that was what the FAA had in mind when they said public comment. This is the time where the general public can voice their concerns or argue for different things to be added/removed etc.

What I am afraid of is that these lobbyists that represent a small portion of the people looking to do business with their drones will push things too far and cause the FAA to go back to the drawing board. That would kill a lot of small businesses that have been scraping by until the new rules are in place. Those small businesses are hoping to get the rules in place as soon as possible so they can do business legally and, more importantly, STAY in business period.

The clock is ticking and my hope is that the ticking we are hearing is an actual clock and not a time bomb created by the few businesses out there that are unhappy with the proposed rules. As always, time will tell.

Here is the story that prompted this post:
http://www.suasnews.com/2015/02/3446...cd40-301279773

Thanks for you time guys and fly safe!

Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 23, 2015 @ 10:55 PM | 6,634 Views
This question came up during a discussion with a friend that is also in the hobby. He builds and sells mini quads. A lot of the people that buy his quads are completely new to the hobby. So we were asking ourselves how can we help people that are totally new to the hobby?

It's a really tough question if you think about it. The reason for that boils down to personality. There are those that are curious but are open to learning. Then you have those that are interested and think they already know enough to get going. There are many more "types" out there. Some people do well with instructions and others want nothing to do with instructions.

In the end, I really don't have an answer that fits everyone. In fact, I don't have an answer that fits most people. All I can really do to help people new to the hobby is give them some advice and offer to answer any question(s) that they might have. That is exactly what I had in mind when I recorded the video in the link below. It was one of my first YouTube posts and I was a little nervous when I recorded it. I'm considering deleting it and giving it another shot. For now, if you are new to the hobby, please have a look at this video. I hope it helps at least one person. Maybe you can send it to someone you know that is considering getting in to this awesome, but at times frustrating and expensive hobby.

SkylabFS Episode II 5 Things (16 min 20 sec)


Thanks again for your time and please fly safe!

Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 23, 2015 @ 04:19 PM | 6,890 Views
Ok everyone, it's certainly no secret that I advocate helping out fellow RCG members with hobby related businesses. I try to do so any time I can.

I've already told you all about Rey and his custom T-shirts. And I've mentioned others as well. Today, I want to mention someone that has helped me out a lot over the past few months.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of dealing with ShokWaveRider (real name is Ian) which is how I will refer to him from this point forward), let me share with you what it is that he does.

Ian has a background in custom car components. But not just any car. Ian used to make custom components for Porsche, Lotus, Audi and many others. You can still see some of his work at his website www.impconcepts.com.

Ian has picked up the multirotor hobby himself and has since applied his custom parts experience to a few different aircraft. For me, he has designed, or sold something he already had designed, parts for the 3D Robotics Iris/Iris+. He makes all kinds of excellent parts for the Iris. For example, he makes a set of tall landing legs that are both lighter and better at absorbing vibration than the originally designed legs. Do you have a 3 axis gimbal mounted to your Iris+ and want to eliminate the legs in your shots? Ian makes a set of light retractable landing legs that actually look as though they came from 3D Robotics.

Recently, he helped me with yet another custom part for the Tarot T-2D gimbal. He already made...Continue Reading
Posted by kmac1369 | Feb 22, 2015 @ 09:54 PM | 6,948 Views
Most of us operate our hobby with a small or tight budget. We shop the items we need until we find a place that has it at a price we are willing to pay AND can get the items to us when we need/want them.

I am willing to pay a little more for a product if I know that I’m going to get great customer service. When I was looking for the FLYSKY FS-i10 transmitter, I found an online hobby store that I had not run across before. That store that I found RCMada.com.

I decided to by the FS-i10 radio from them for two main reasons. One, they had it in stock. Two, they had a great price. I didn’t mind that the radio was going to come from Hong Kong. The shipping charge was reasonable (FREE) and they shipped out my order the next day. I had my new radio in 6 days!!

I did have some questions about the radio after I received it. I again contacted RCMada.com and requested assistance. It was 11 pm on the east coast and I received a return email in 20 minutes. The representative on the other end was able to provide me with the answers I needed and did so very quickly. A few days later, I had more questions and was once again able to have them answered quickly. In fact, a week after my last request for assistance, I received a followup email from the person that last helped me. These guys really cared about what they were doing and told me that they would do whatever was necessary to make sure that I was happy with my purchase so that I would come back for my next hobby
...Continue Reading