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04-08-2010 02:47 PM  8 years agoPost 1
ChazAxl

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Liverpool, UK

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Hi,

I work in telecomms and in interesting idea was brought to me earlier. Instead of surveying for Line of Site with engineers, could we use some form of Heli / UAV?

I have flown before - last one was a Trex 600 so not starting from scratch.

There was an interesting frame sold here for $400 with a gasser (Zenoah) or similar motor - looks to be a good starting point.

The requirements will be:

1. Relatively simple to fly / operate (automate as far possible)?
2. Reliable (gasser maybe ahead of battery?)
3. Able to have systems to allow good photography (near and far) as well as a system to accurately read / indicate heights.
4. Be able to rotate full 360 for panaromic shots.
5. Be able to carry a payload that would also consist of some time of lamp / beam as this is often a requirement to be 'seen' on the other side. This will likely be done with 1 at each end.

Budget wise, no idea but not too restrained as the commercials of this versus 'labour' should easily allow a reasonable budget.

The Yamaha RMAX looks interesting but that is definately outside of the budget.

Does not have to be an off the shelf system - can build and design within reasonable parameters.

Any thoughts / comments welcome.

Thanks.

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04-09-2010 08:40 AM  8 years agoPost 2
classic

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You could get something nice like a we-control system from Viking Areo for around 30-40 grand that is fully automamous and capiable of 30 minute flights, or if money is an issue then go with something like a profi system or DJI on a regular rc heli for less then 10 grand. Just depends on what you need the system to do and how much you are willing to spend.

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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04-09-2010 04:50 PM  8 years agoPost 3
ChazAxl

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Liverpool, UK

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Thanks for the info. I had received a PM from one of the vendors but he is yet to respond to me since last night.

Thing is - we will need at least 2 of these per 'team' as the visual survey is done from 2 sides.

10 grand is a lot - hopefully US$ and not £ - but its still feasible in the long run if it can truely replace (or mostly replace) labour / field staff.

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04-09-2010 05:15 PM  8 years agoPost 4
classic

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I was just estemating, actual could be less... depends on how your willing to do. Buy , build and set up the heli on your own will save you some money, the differances in choosing gas or electric helicopters also affects the price.

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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04-22-2010 08:46 PM  8 years agoPost 5
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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MK OktoKopter... https://www.mikrokopter.us/shop/ind...7&product_id=69

- Carries 5.5 pounds for 8.5 minutes...Time increases with lower weight. Up to 24 minutes with basic FPV set up.
- Fully autonomous. Waypoint nav with changes on the fly.
- Less than $3,000.
- More stable than ANY heli even in winds gusting to 30mph.
- Return to home with position/altitude hold features.
- Free ground station software.
- Open sourced.
- Small enough to fit in back seat or trunk.
- Easily deployed.
- Ultimate FPV machine!
- Coolness factor... off the scale!

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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04-28-2010 06:43 PM  8 years agoPost 6
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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Here it is....

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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04-30-2010 11:35 PM  8 years agoPost 7
andrei

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Clovis,NM-USA

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"More stable than ANY heli even in winds gusting to 30mph."

I have to see that to believe it.

"Coolness factor... off the scale!"

The man needs an industrial machine not to wow chicks.

"Carries 5.5 pounds for 8.5 minutes"

I doubt that's gonna cut it for the job.

My choice would be a gasser (Vario Benzin Trainer, Bergen) with a waypoint enabled DJI and an underslung cam mount(VR 360 comes to mind)
It will need some tedious tunning in order to take long distance shots, it will easily do the rest of the chores specified in your post.
Only it will cost over 10 grand but it is a fairly demanding job you are asking for.

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05-01-2010 03:48 AM  8 years agoPost 8
aaronredbaron

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Champaign, IL, USA

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Be aware of extremely strict UAV laws in the UK. "Potential operators of UAS with a UAV component of less than 7 kg should ascertain, before commencing operations, whether or not they are required to obtain a CAA permission." -from this document http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP722.pdf

The UK has implemented laws heavily impacting hobby FPV and certainly any commercial work. Even the Police have to go through the procedure! http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/16/...hout-a-license/

two kids? how'd that happen? time to zip'm up!!!

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05-01-2010 08:02 AM  8 years agoPost 9
BarryB

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UK + Asia

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- Fully autonomous. Waypoint nav with changes on the fly.
And Illegal in the UK. Not very good advice.
- More stable than ANY heli even in winds gusting to 30mph.
Big statement which I find hard to believe. What helicopter/autpilot combinations have you actually seen ?

The wind speed claims for the multirotors seems to keep going up and up - but for some reason we only ever see very selected edits or flights in flat calm.
- Open sourced.
Open sourced means anyone can have a hack in there. My experience is that it doesn't compare to professionally produced software. If it crashes halfway through a flight, you're on your own.
- Coolness factor... off the scale!
Off your scale maybe : a regular heli looks way cooler to me.

ChazAxl,

Your first step should be to contact the CAA and find out the rules and regulations you will have to follow. Most of the advice you have been given here is bad advice.

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05-01-2010 09:33 AM  8 years agoPost 10
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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And Illegal in the UK. Not very good advice.
It's a German kit... So how does the aircraft config determine if it's a legal UAV? Are you suggesting that a helicopter UAV config is OK but any other config is not??? Please, explain further.
Big statement which I find hard to believe. What helicopter/autpilot combinations have you actually seen ?

Are these big enough for you, I have five of them....
The wind speed claims for the multirotors seems to keep going up and up - but for some reason we only ever see very selected edits or flights in flat calm.
I live in Florida where gust like that are the norm during the summers T-Shower season, hence the 2.5meter heli's... Most post videos for the creativity of the scene, not to demonstrate max performance where video may be marginal at best. I doubt that ChazAxl will be operating in this environment anyway.
Open sourced means anyone can have a hack in there. My experience is that it doesn't compare to professionally produced software. If it crashes halfway through a flight, you're on your own.
So, you'd let anyone program your UAV's? Not a wise choice. Opened source allows you to tailor the machine to your specific needs...If you download someone elses mess then yes, but that's on you anyway
Off your scale maybe : a regular heli looks way cooler to me.
Alright, you got me there. I'm still partial to my XLTurbine and XLC. But the Okto is cool too, just really hard to see(stealthy) when flown LOS at any range.

Hey ChazAxl, what is your payload weight and basic dims? That would be a good place to start with your selection process. Then look at flight times as that's usually determined by what's left over from the useful load weight for fuel, whether electric, jet-A, or gas. The config is less important than capabilities. You could use a cable cam for that fact but set up is a real PIA.

It sounds like ChazAxl's budget is possibly limited. Consider that guys.

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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05-01-2010 10:12 AM  8 years agoPost 11
BarryB

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UK + Asia

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DKTek,

ChazAxl is quite clear about operating in the UK - and any autonomous flight here is illegal. It will be the same in most countries eventually - if it is not the case already.

I know you have XLV's and very nice they are too - but what autopilots have you tried on them ?. You try flying your Octo without the autopilot in 30mph wind and see how it compares to the heli.

If he is operating around Liverpool, he will most certainly have to operate in high wind. Merseyside police sent a microdrone back because it couldn't handle the weather.

Open source software generally means you are using stuff that other people have written. This kind of software has no formal testing, no guarantee and no comeback if it fails : you use it at your own risk. When I say crashes, I mean the software not the aircraft (though the two will probably go together).

I'm not against multirotors at all - but at this point in time, most of the noise on the forums is being made by people who want to sell them. The problem is that everyone who has one is always trying to prove they are as good as helicopters - so we only get to see the best clips. I would love to see a 3 minute, unedited clip of your Octo in position hold in your high wind.

'Stealthy' is not a good thing whatsoever for his application : the lack of orientation is a big drawback with a multirotor.

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05-01-2010 06:47 PM  8 years agoPost 12
DKTek

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Melbourne, FL-USA

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Good enough Barry, I do appreciate your reply.

The flight stabilizer is definitely needed when flown as an RC and it's full autonomous capabilities don't have to be used for RC operation. I'm aware of the restrictions over there but would the position/altitude hold be considered a UAV operation? What about the return to home as these features do not require a ground station and must be line of sight or FPV. These are a function of the RC IMO.

The XLV's are very stable without an autopilot for stabilization, even the three blade head. I've not experienced any unwanted tendencies with them. In fact, my YouTube videos, http://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ry=dktek07&aq=f , are on such a windy day. Based on my experience and after flying the Okto in the same type of conditions, the Okto has demonstrated even more stability. It doesn't have the mass of the heavy 2.5m helis but the stab is very quick to respond to the gusting conditions. The Okto was nerv racking prior to the first attempt in high winds but once airborne, very relaxing to fly. I had a hard time getting my head around it too but experience with it has shown great promise.

The position hold actually works better in wind because in no wind, it oscillates while hunting for its position. The oscillation is a very small circle but with wind, it seems very solid. I don't have the ability to record this as I'm very far from home for a while but maybe someone who can will, preferably with a wind indicator in the shot. Maybe I can convince a friend back home to do this as he's flying my Okto there and he is a glider guy as well...wind meters.

I don't sell these things but after flying them, it's painfully, $$, obvious that they are just as good for AP as a regular heli. Considering their abilities and the price, maybe even more. Will they replace the heli's, depends on the application. But they are definitely a great tool to add. For doing real estate shots and pano's I would say they are better. They are also very quiet compared to heli's, added bonus for shooting in residential areas that are noise sensative.

IMO, the Okto is a possible (payload config?) solution to ChazAxl's need. I'm not suggesting he break the law but only that a heli isn't the only viable option.

The beatings will continue until morale improves...

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05-02-2010 11:28 AM  8 years agoPost 13
BarryB

rrApprentice

UK + Asia

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DKTek,

I appreciate what you say and I can imagine the octo is a dream to handle if you're using XLV's.

I am wondering how it compares to a normal helicopter - assuming they both have a GPS autopilot. As stable as an XLV might be, anything will need a lot of manual control when flying in high wind.

I just can't believe it can match a regular heli for stability. It's like a camera stabilised by a motor compared to a camera stabilised by a mechanical gyroscope : they just don't compare. The rotor is just one big gyroscope and does a great job to keep a helicopter stable in wind.

My guess is that a 600 size (or even a 500 size) would be at least as stable if it had similar autopilot capabilities.

As you rightly point out though, it also boils down to $$$ - and if that's a big factor then the MK wins.

The rules say that a pilot must maintain line-of-sight with the aircraft and act as the sense and avoid 'system'. I think it's OK to have the aircraft doing anything you want as long as the pilot can take control if he sees anything wrong.

I'm still looking for any videos where the thing is being buffeted by wind gusts. I have seen a couple and the one thing I have noticed is that the changes in altitude and position are quite alarming.

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