Hai Tran's Posts (25)

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Cloud Raven GCS for 3DR Solo and Pixhawk

I've had the pleasure of beta testing a new Android based Mapping/VR/Modelling GCS for 3DR Solo.  In addition to Solo support it also supports both Pixhawk based fixed wing and multicopters.  DJI Phanton3/Inspire 1 compatibility is likely to follow.

It is refreshing to see a GCS for Pixhawk that is as easy to use as my Sensefly eBee, requiring zero piloting skills, and 100% flown using a tablet PC.  I recorded the above video yesterday during another test mission.  The only time I touched the RC controller was to turn it on and off, otherwise, the app armed the motors, flew the solo, landed it, disarmed the motors, and then Geo-tagged all the photos, ready for upload for map processing.

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LiPO Fire Testing

In light of the recently ATSB report that identified an Australian Certified UAV Operator at the cause of a LiPO fire onboard an airline flight, I've decided to release some footage from our internal staff training video that shows what happens when LiPOs go up in smoke.  

In the video we set off some LiPOs by themselves, some LiPOs in two different types of LiPO safe bags.  Needless to say anything in the vicinity of the LiPOs will catch fire, so whilst the first test doesn't show flames, just imagine it inside your suitcase full of flammable materials.

What was surprising during one of the tests, one LiPO bag ended up catching fire!  The other LiPO bag contained the fire as it was designed to do.

Please don't try this at home kids, we had fire extinguishers at the ready and there were no combustible or flammable  materials in the vicinity.

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LiPO Fire onboard Fijian Airlines B737

3689614928?profile=originalThe Australian Transportation Safety Bureau published its report in relation to a cargo hold smoke event involving a Boeing 737.  http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2014/aair/ao-2014-082.aspx

The smoke was detected by the airline Captain during the external inspection on the tarmac during preflights.  The source of the smoke was later identified as being some LiPO batteries for a UAV.  The passenger failed to declared the LiPOs when asked at check in.  The ATSB revealed that the passenger was an Australian certified UAV operator.

Australian civil aviation safety regulations permit LiPO batteries to be transported as CARRY ON as long as they are <100WH and are packaged to prevent short circuits.  http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/dg/luggage/brochure.pdf

I frequently travel on aircraft with LiPO batteries, and before I travel all the terminals and balance leads are taped with electrical tape.  They are stored in LiPO safe bags, and then transported in a pelican case as carry on.

It makes sense to take every precaution because I'd rather not be on a plane that crashes because of a LiPO fire.

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Customs seizes 80k worth of Drones

rubon13.pngSource: http://www.cybertechuav.com.au/IMG/rubon13.png


Unlike the Civil Aviation definition of UAV v Model Aircraft being Commercial v Hobby use, the Defence and Strategic Goods list (http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C00051/Html/Text#_Toc345675289)  defines a UAV as any unmanned aircraft that has an autopilot OR can fly beyond line of sight. 

Feeling very nervous after reading the article above because you could get into alot of trouble traveling with your Arducopter or Arduplane.

One might think "surely my quad isn't covered under export control" but whilst the CyberQuad looks like quite an impressive aircraft, under the hood, it's an off the shelf flight controller that you can buy from a hobby shop.

Terrorist obviously don't have the brains to buy drone parts from China and assemble it themselves.

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3D Printed TBS Discovery Brushless Gimbal

3689572985?profile=originalI decided to have a go at designing a brushless gimbal for my TBS Discovery because I didn't want to spend another $500 to buy a TBS Discovery PRO.

Designed to work with Tiger GB2208-80 gimbal motor ($30 each), had an Alexmos BGC lying around, you can get them for about $80.

The camera is balanced so that the lens is in line with the roll motor.  If the FPV camera isn't used the roll motor can by mounted on the centreline of the TBS Discovery.  

Another feature is the ability to mount the camera upside-down and have the pitch motor away from the FPV camera, yet still keeping the lens lined up on the roll motor.

The final design feature is the usb port still being accessible and a simple elastic band to retain the camera.

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Santa Claus announced today that he will be delivering presents this Xmas using electronic reindeers.  Whilst many people thought Amazon's plans to deliver parcels by drones by 2015 was ambitious; Santa has a proven track record of delivering presents all over the world.


With only a few more sleeps until Christmas, we'll just have to wait and see if Santa is able to pull this off.

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Drones, the farmer's new best friend

A few months back there was a story that PETA had acquired some drones and were planning on spying on farmers.  Many users of this technology might have been concerned that this questionable use might cause farmers to "shoot down" innocent drones operating near their properties.

Instead, farmers have embraced this technology and produced their own drone video.

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Illegal UAV Operators More Exposed

Today the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) published for the first time a list of certified UAV operators.  According to Brad Mason of Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc, this was a result of 2 years of lobbying.


There are many cases of uncertified operators operating UAVs without the required UAV Operator Certificate.  In some cases, customers were misled into believing that these uncertified operators did possess an operator certificate. 

Until now it was difficult for consumers to determine which operators were operating legally or illegally.  This public register leaves illegal operators much more exposed and easily identifiable.

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3689461080?profile=originalWestern Australia.  A mini tornado ripped through a the Perth suburb of Dianella today.  With all the streets blocked off by the Police, power poles and trees uprooted, the media contacted COPTERCAM to fly in and take photos and videos of the area.

More photos here:


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Click on the photo to view


Western Australian companies COPTERCAM & Pixelcase team up to produce an Aerial 360 of Perth in just 60 minutes


COPTERCAM is Perth's only licenced UAV aerial photography company.  www.coptercam.com.au


Pixelcase is Australia's premium virtual tour company.


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Perth, Western Australia. COPTERCAM is cleared for take off after being issued with an UAV Operator Certificate from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

COPTERCAM becomes the first operator of the Droidworx multicopter airframe and Photohigher camera gimbal to be award an operator certificate (OC) from any civil aviation authority in the world. Obtaining government approval to operate a UAV in urban areas was quite a task, undertaken over a 9 month period and requiring thorough assessment by CASA.

COPTERCAM founder, Mr Hai Tran said: "After observing a number of illegal operators flying their drones with disregard to public safety and privacy, we share the concerns raised by civil liberties group.  Commercial operators must be held to a higher standard of care because they owe it to their clients and the public, whose privacy and safety may be put at risk.  Our OC application went pretty smoothly because all our UAV pilots also hold a Private Pilot Licence at a minimum.  This allows us to share the airspace with real aircraft and ensures that our pilots have the right mindset about aviation safety".


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My original blog post offering a bounty on software for the ArduIMU v3 to make it into a very good standalone camera gimbal stabilizer attracted alot of criticism and at the same time alot more support.  There are many people who have joined my cause, and pledged to either match my bounty or contribute towards the bounty.  So many pledges that it has become hard to track.  One member suggested using Kickstarter. However as a non-US resident I was not able to create a project on Kickstarter so one has been created on IndieGoGo.


Don't forget that whilst the $10 contribution is appreciated, and you contribute as much as you like, matching my $100 bounty is even more appreciated.  And for $225 I'll get a ArduIMU and solder the connectors and flash the firmware for you.

[EDIT: The 30 March deadline has now been extended until 11 May or until the bounty is claimed, which ever comes first.

It looks like this is getting pretty big with a number of contenders and backers, ie. more than just my $100 reward.  Whilst my offer for a $100 reward plus bonus still stands for the FIRST person to deliver code that meets the specification;  I would like to propose that the contributions/backers/funders on IndieGoGo vote at the end of the project (11 May) who should receive the funds raise on IndieGoGo (less the 9% fee that IndieGoGo charge).

So essentially there will be the $100 plus bonuses from me for the FIRST app, and the IndieGoGo pool for the BEST app.


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