Hi my name is Matt,
I'm new to the whole UAV thing. I have been flying a cheap foam Super Cub for a few months now and have only recently heard about the UAV aspects. In my community I am a member of the local volunteer fire dept. and on occasion we get calls to assist in the search for missing/lost persons in our area. I am very interested in transforming my plane into a UAV not only for the cool/fun factor of it but it would be a great asset when the call should go out to search for another missing person.
I appologize for being long winded but the question I have is, What kit can I buy that has everything I need to make it work in my plane? I am running the Spektrum 4 channel system at the moment and plan to upgrade to the 8 channel soon. The plane is from Hobby Zone and comes with what they are calling "Anti-Crash Technology"...
If someone can give this "non-techie" some insite as to what I need it will be greatly appreciated!!
I've been doing SAR in the US for fifteen years and have been wanting to apply UAVs to SAR since they first became available. The problem is that without a COA they're essentially illegal. Flying one at a major incident would attract attention, some good and some bad. My concern is that any bad UAV publicity might have major repercussions.
Possible bad press would include interference with other search (LE, CAP) or news aircraft, photographing people's property (legal, but will raise privacy violation issues as we've seen elsewhere), and illegal operation of a UAV by your agency. There are ways of mitigating all of these, but you need to take a lot of care.
I know we need to lobby, advocate, demonstrate, and push for more opportunities to fly UAVs for commercial and public benefit. Is building and flying UAVs (FPV or with autopilot) for SAR purposes without a COA a wise way to approach the problem?
I've applied for access to the COA web site and heard nothing back. The COA would be for an exemption for a local, rural, government disaster response agency to fly UAVs for R&D purposes in support of SAR and disaster response. Three messages to the help desk generated a "we'll get back to you soon" and nothing else. Attempts to contact the FAA about the COA process yielded nothing.
I, like others, am extremely frustrated.
We'll get back to you on this issue, David....... I'm kidding, you make a great point, one that hadn't even crossed my mind, I will have to get with the local Sherriff's Dept. and see if I can get an answer atleast for in my area.... I would think that if you used it as a "private contractor" so to speak, it might be the open door you might be looking for to use this system for the greater good of your communiity..
I do know that the local Sherriff's Dept. pays out a great deal to the State Troopers and DEA for use of their helicoptors to search for drugs in our area over the summer months, and if they are allowed to fly over your house with infared and regular cameras with no restrictions to privacy, then why not a "private contractor" ? And if we as a community were able to use our own equipment and technology to perform the very same tasks for a fraction of the cost of the states equipment, I would think that they would atleast do what they could to get the proper paperwork in order to do so. But there again we are talking about the state so I will have to check if there is a way to make it legal, atleast in my area.
I'm quite sure you'll find that any attempt to do this privately and legally will be met with slammed doors. I'ts pretty obvious what's happening to the UAV industry. It is going to be controlled by the same players who currently run the military industrial complex. If they can keep the little guys out (for safety and security reasons, of course), they lock up the industry and guarantee their own profits. All at the expense of the greater public good, but that's not really a concern.
I think I know which Super Cub it is that you have, and I think it's safe to say that it's not suitable at all for flying with an Ardupilot. It's quite small, and by the time you add the APM, you won't have much payload left for a camera or anything. It also doesn't have Ailerons which isn't great.
Since you're already shopping at Hobby King, the easiest thing for you do to is just buy a Bixler or Skywalker to fly it on. They're cheap, decent, and people here have already figured out all the settings to make them work with the APM.
Sweet!! Sounds like what I'm looking for! Although I wouldn't start out with the camera system on it to begin with, because lets face it, I'm going to crash it more than once I'm sure!! But thank you for the info, I'll go check out the planes you've listed above and see which one is best suited for me. And you're right, it doesn't have Ailerons, it only has a Rudder and Elevators but the wing span is 47.7" or 1200mm X 32.5" or 825mm long. And only weighs 25.2OZ or 715g