Hi there fellow sandgropers! Jump on in and tell us a little about yourselves, how you got into UAV / UAS, where you live, fly and what you're up to!
My name is John Cousins and I live in Willetton. I started out as an aeronautics "geek" at Kent Street Senior High School and then moved onto fliying light aircraft with the usual dreams of becoming a commercial pilot.... then ran out of money.
I then decided that I would move into Aircraft Maintenance, working on Pilatus PC-9s for 8 years... got bored of driving all the way to Pearce every day so moved into the offshore oil and gas industry flying ROVs. (remotely operated sumbarines)
Always had a keen interest in R/C aircraft and electronics and thought I wonder if there was a way to fly remote aircraft around instead of submarines. 2 years ago I started "googling" civillian use UAVs. That led me to Ardupilot and here I am.
Do most of my flying at the Safety Bay salt lakes or near Barbagallo baseball park. Usually just with a APM equipped foam/plastic FPV raptor. I fly in other places too.... but often on weekdays at the crack of dawn when there is no-one around!
Hi sandgropers from a canetoad on the otherside of our island.
Background is 30 plus years in IT and a couple of years in Aircraft maintenance. Now semi retired and working on the below project as a volunteer
We are creating a robot plane to investigate and map disaster zones.etc etc full details below.
My name is George, and I live up Ocean Reef way, and happily admit to being a very average Australian with my 2.5 kids, dog, white picket fence and a garage full of toys. Aviation was not really a choice in my life as a kid, Dad was a fairly competent glider pilot and I was usually right at his side (or in front, as I never did get my ticket).
I digressed in early adulthood and spent my late teens and nearly all my twenties in the ADF, about then I realised, one day I would need to get a real job, and since then have done just enough to be able to keep the family fed, and the garage stocked with toys. I ended up looking after commercial high-rise buildings, which really isn't as fun as what it should be.
R/C has been on and off most of my life, only the last 4 years have seen me dive right in. R/C gliding was the main game, then FPV gliding took me by storm, then FPV gliders that came back when you screwed up were the flavour, and now it's just a case of 'how many electronic gadgets can I fit in this airframe'. A couple of APM1 drive the gliders and I am just at the stage of tuning AMP2 in a 2.2m wing designed by Ritewing, a fearful machine with 3.8kW on tap, and a 50 - 210 km/h speed envelop. Needless to say, tuning is proving to be a challenge, to say the least.
I have fairly limited skills when it comes to programming, however I can manage to stumble my way through code changes when required and can include extras with a little work and a few drinks. I don't actually have a purpose for my drones and planes, I think I do this for the fascination and challenge of automated things that fly, and most importantly, automated things that fly back!
Today has begun a new challenge for me, and one that maybe of interest to a few of you on here. I have started an investigation into the process of having the area I fly at, recognised by CASA as a flying area for small UAV and model aircraft. I have enlisted the help of an ex-planning guy for the area and hope with a bit of foot work, this can be something I can push forward with. I have no intention of making a club or putting any infrastructure down, I hope to merely have the area recognised on chart and apply for an elevated ceiling. The area is effectively a bush site well out of every bodies way so I hope they don't place insurmountable hurdles in front of me and squash the idea. I feel there is a growing need for an area like this, in an effort to promote a better perception for amateur/hobby 'drones', as opposed to being at the mercy of the ignorant and misinformed general public when seen flying in the 'burbs. I'll be sure to let you know how this plan goes.
Will be great to contribute what I can here, and look forward to seeing what you lot get up to.
George, I am not sure of your intent in relation to "I have started an investigation into the process of having the area I fly at, recognised by CASA as a flying area forsmall UAV and model aircraft."
You can fly a model aircraft anywhere that is well clear of a populous area and > 3NM from an airport, you don't need CASA to recognise that a particular area.
You can fly a small UAV anywhere as long as you have a UAV controller certificate and a UAV operator certificate, remain outside controlled airspace unless an area approval is provided by CASA and you have ATC approval. You may fly a UAV over a populous area at a height that would allow you to clear the area if there is a malfunction.
So I would suggest your new challenge is really pointless.
The point would be to allow an area for recreational users of sUAV's / FPVer's to fly with a recognised higher ceiling, rather than having to apply every time you wanted to use the area. I'm aware I can fly my sUAV any time I like in the area even without an OC, provided I'm not BVLOS and under 400', I had hoped a standing approval for a 1000' ceiling in an out of the way area would be within the realm of reason, but given the light of recent articles I've read (FSA), recreational sUAV / RPA is thorn in the backside of CASA & AMAA and no doubt will be treated as such by them.
Indeed you are right, pointless is a very apt description.
Given that we are in the WA group, I can make the assumption that we are talking about Australian laws.
There is no such thing as recreational UAV. A small UAV flown for recreation called a "model aircraft" see CASR 101.235: "There is no practicable distinction between a small UAV and a model aircraft except that of use — model aircraft are flown only for the sport of flying them."
You can fly as a model aircraft to 1000ft or higher (as long as you maintain visual contact) in Class G airspace, away from populous areas, >3NM from airport, without the need for CASA approval. See CASR 101.400
Hence my suggestion that what you are trying to get with CASA is pointless as you don't need their approval to fly to 1000ft.
More info about when a sUAV is a UAV and when it is a model aircraft:
I am a PPL holder, CASA appointed Chief UAV controller and my business holds an OC, as part of that process I had to gain an indepth knowledge of model aircraft/UAV regulations.
I think the real issue if you want to pursue it is that CASR 101.235 basically means that you can't legally fly a model aircraft FPV. Because under CASR 101.235 (UAV regulations), UAV regulations apply (ie requirement for OC, pilot licensing etc) unless:
"(a) while it is being operated, the person operating it keeps it in sight; and
(b) it is operated in a way that complies with Subpart 101.G."
Subpart 101.G = Model aircraft regulations
So if you don't keep the aircraft in sight (maybe because you've flown beyond visual range or you have goggles on), then you will have to comply with UAV regulations. I guess that is why the MAAA requires a buddy box, so that the "pilot in command" always maintains visual.
I think in the future FPV will be what R/C model aircraft was compared to control line a long time ago, but we need to be lobbying for the right things. Like maybe an area in Class G where you can fly beyond VLOS as long as you have an autopilot with geo fencing.
It has been a worthwhile discussion.
Unfortunately we need to get CASR 101 changed, because as it stands, the "pilot in command" of a model aircraft must maintain visual contact at all times, that means no FPV, and the range limited to as far as he can see.
For those of use who FPV, we know that it is not workable.
I agree Hai.
As simple as a wording change to "must have situational awareness of aircraft at all times", and a point description of what would be acceptable under this definition, including a flight termination and geo-fencing clauses. They would be the points that would need to be nutted out by some serious consultation with the representatives of the various groups (RPA / FPV, rec sUAS etc..) I wont hold my breathe, but anything is possible........
My name is Stephen and I live in Clarkson. I work in IT for an offshore drilling company at the moment. I have done IT now for 20 years or so after getting out of the RAAF where I was an Electronics Technician.
I have flown models on and off (mainly off) since I was a kid and have had several gliders over the years. I have done electric gliders now for many years as they are so easy to fly. You can just turn up at the park and have a quick fly anytime with no setting up.
My current aircraft is a HobbyKing Bixler. It is the sweetest flying plane I have ever owned and it bounces in hard landings which is great. I bought it as an ideal model for the APM2 and I want to trim it and get familiar with it before progressing to autopilot stage. I fly in a park in Somerley near where I live at the moment.
I would like to eventually build an solar electric long duration drone. I have an idea to mount solar cells in the wing with a transparent covering and see how that goes. Would like to eventually do a 24 hour flight.
Hey there Stephen! Welcome! Did you work at Pearce? Bixlers are awesome. I bought one for my son but i fly it more than he does...
No I did never work at Pearce. I was based in the Eastern States.
The Bixler is probably the best plane I have owned. Mine is not stock - I got the kit and put some after market bits in.
I use a turnigy 9x and Bixler it taped and has a KDA motor on a CNC Small Parts mount with a 7X6 prop.
It flies well on half throttle with a 2500mAh battery.
Nice to see that there are so many WA pilots out there.
I am a 4th year electrical engineering student studying at Murdoch university in Western Australia. I have been flying RC for about a decade and in the last few of years have focused more attention towards FPV and toying with hobby grade UAS equipment. I have been working part time at Cyber Technology for a couple of years now and recently started a final year project aiming to use a UAS for photogrammetry/aerial survey. Here is an orthomosiac from a recent flight.
I am very keen for a meetup though am incredibly busy with uni for the next few weeks :(.