Search and Rescue

The Hunt for a Lost Airplane

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Searching for Planes From the Air

A guy from the local airfield called and said that he needed help finding a lost airplane. It was a 72" warbird that he was flying late in the day and the sun was low. He flew the plane right in front of the sun while turning base and lost sight of it momentarily. Next time he saw the plane it was going down fast behind a tree line, he pulled up and saw it come back up briefly before going back down again.

They searched for hours and scoured the area. No plane, no luck, but there was one last ditch idea to try and find the airplane. I showed up with my Octo and FPV gear and we set out to try and find the airplane. We've done this one other time and we were able to locate a wing in the middle of a field with brush 6ft high. You could have walked around forever, but using the copter, we were able to spot the location and direct the owner right to the wing.

I had high hopes that we would recover the plane, I had nearly an hours worth of flight time (with 5 batteries) available and we started looking in the most likely location. It quickly became apparent though that this wasn't going to be easy. There were some fairly large trees and thick brush surrounding the area. If the plane buried itself in the ground, there was little chance of seeing it. We flew and flew until all the batteries were exhausted.

Now sadly we didn't recover the airplane this time, but it's still a great idea. We could cover large plots of land quickly and without having to fight through the brush on foot. I think it could be even better with the DJI Ground Station as you could plot waypoints on the map and fly a grid pattern autonomously and use the camera gimbal to look around during the flight. This technology will be used more and more in Search and Rescue efforts and is likely to help find targets more valuable than a model airplane.

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Nov 05, 2013, 11:04 AM
Registered User
Nice! What size batt do you use to get an Hour out of that beast ?

Im envious
Nov 05, 2013, 11:06 AM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitboarder
Nice! What size batt do you use to get an Hour out of that beast ?

Im envious
Ha! Can't fly an hour all at once. I used 5 batteries with a little over 10 minute flight times each.
Nov 05, 2013, 05:12 PM
UAV Integrations
When the GoPro 4 is released, it will support 4k video at 30fps. If you have a 4k resolution screen (and HUGE SD cards...lol!) you will be able to fly a grid pattern with the gopro aiming straight down. After the flight, you can go frame by frame and look for likely objects. If you see something of interest, you will be able to zoom in and look MUCH closer, due to the fact that EACH FRAME in 4k video is a 8.3 Mp photo!

4k video is 3840 pixels 2160 lines. That is twice the resolution of 1080p.

4k video is called UHD (Ultra HD) and it will become the next standard. It will allow for much better search and rescueo operations like the OP tried here.
Nov 05, 2013, 06:52 PM
My hovercraft is full of eels.
Cool idea. I think I saw you flying this setup over the track at the Lobby a couple months back.

Looks like Peeler!

I can't really tell where you are searching. If it landed anywhere near that first small farm house down the road and near the treeline, we've had trouble in the past from the owners of that property. They've been known to snatch planes and not allow folks to retrieve them without involving the police.
Nov 06, 2013, 05:56 AM
KK4NZS / RP sUAS
Nelapaty's Avatar
Jason what frame are you using ?.
Nov 06, 2013, 06:48 AM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelapaty
Jason what frame are you using ?.
It's an old Cinestar style frame from Goodluckbuy. I think OMGFly has them now.
Nov 06, 2013, 08:34 AM
Registered User
Dang, I thought you had found some type of new batt . I get around 9 with a 5000 mah. What gimbal and camera are you using? Im looking for something to allow me to carry my Canon T3i

Nice looking rig. Im flying a tarot 960
Nov 06, 2013, 08:54 AM
RCG Staff
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by splitboarder
Dang, I thought you had found some type of new batt . I get around 9 with a 5000 mah. What gimbal and camera are you using? Im looking for something to allow me to carry my Canon T3i

Nice looking rig. Im flying a tarot 960
On that copter is the Cinestar gimbal modified for brushless motors to carry RED cameras, but I just had my Sony Nex5N for this. I also like the Aura gimbal from Copterframes. You can see my review on that one here and it is large enough to carry the T3i.
Nov 06, 2013, 09:48 AM
Registered User
Beerwiser's Avatar
That is some nice country and pics. It definitely helps to have a camera facing straight down, it seems to penetrate the tree canopy better. I may have had to look for a plane before and always found them to be twice as far as I had original thought. Hopefully you find it.
Nov 07, 2013, 07:48 AM
Registered User

FPV Search and Rescue


Jason, et.al.:

Here is A video of the "Tricopter"
search and rescue flights,
looking for A Lost Giant Scale Plane ,
during the IMAC contest,
at Clover Creek Aerodrome
searchandrescueone (6 min 14 sec)


NOTE: There is another video (doing the same kind of search) during the same IMAC event at this person's vimeo site.
Nov 07, 2013, 08:32 AM
Registered User
TheIcemann's Avatar
A team of students at my school and I are building a quadcopter for this purpose. I hope it will change the way planes are located.
Nov 09, 2013, 03:34 AM
Stuart
srnet's Avatar
I cant help wondering if one of those simple and cheap ($2) and loud audio locators would have located the plane(s) in a couple of minutes.

Or one of the RF beacons.
Nov 14, 2013, 11:12 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by srnet
I cant help wondering if one of those simple and cheap ($2) and loud audio locators would have located the plane(s) in a couple of minutes.

Or one of the RF beacons.

I think your right, being able to drop an RF beacon on the location would save the quad having to loiter if the battery is getting low.


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