John Hestness's Posts (5)

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Airventure 2013

Interesting things I saw at the EAA Airventure event in Wisconsin this week.


Here is former GMA host David Hartman interviewing astronauts Chris Hadfield, Chris Ferguson, Charles Precourt, and Charles Duke.

Hadfield talked about space walking and his youtube video.    The guitar is still up there and has made 65,000 orbits so far.

Ferguson talked about building the ISS and flying the last ever shuttle mission. He now works on the Boeing space systems program.

Precourt also flew the shuttle and talked about the lull between space systems like Apollo to Shuttle, etc. He is now building "Apollo on steroids" at ATK.

Charles Duke was capcom for Apollo 11 and said "you got a bunch of guys about to turn blue down here". He also walked on the moon on Apollo 16.


John Nicol gave a talk about Makerplane, the open source manned airplane project. He said they are getting close to freezing the design and they just started an Indiegogo campaign. One of their goals is to build a $400.00 glass cockpit. He also mentioned talking to our own Chris Anderson about open source aviation.

3689539591?profile=originalFor anybody that ever wanted to ride on their Slow Stick plane, now you can!  GreenWing International (formerly Yuneec I think) makes an ultralight electric plane that looks like a big Slow Stick.  It has a 10 meter wingspan, a 24 Kw motor that looks like one of my brushless motors only bigger, and a 13 Kwh lithium battery.


The TerraFugia drove and flew at Airventure.  I was impressed by the car/plane (plar? clane?) and the price ($279,000 hope it comes down)  I thought it performed well, but I overheard a lot of comments like it will not be a good car or a good plane (luddite naysayers), I still want one in my garage.

And I saw Yves Rossy, The Jet Man.  Well, sort of saw him as he was a speck at 5000 feet, where he did all of his flying.

And Asimo the robot gave a demo of walking, talking, and even running a little bit, which was cool but, I wanted to take it apart and see the inside.  Hmm.  


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Quick and Easy Rover

3689451612?profile=originalIn between aircraft I built this rover.  It is a Traxxas Slash frame with a piece of 1/8" aircraft plywood on top for an electronics platform.  The plywood measures 16.5" x 6.5".  It was super easy to build.  In the next few days I will finish configuring the electronics, update and confirgure the software and test it out.  If anybody has any related tips or experiences they would like to share I would be happy to hear them.  I will post updates when I have it running.3689451723?profile=original

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Free AI class possibly has Drone applications


I am just finishing the Intro to Artificial Intelligence free on-line class from Stanford.  There are probably many helpful things in this wonderful class taught by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun.  But I have to mention the Particle filter algorithm that can locate a vehicle in a previously mapped environment quickly and with minimal computation.  This type of localization is more precise than GPS and it can be used if GPS is not available, like indoors.  It was used in the DARPA grand challenge and in the Google self driving cars.  Professor Thrun is the head of the Goggle self driving car program and he explains how to implement the particle filter in 10 lines of C code.  You can see the classes on Youtube and


I believe this class set an all time record with 160,000 students signing up.

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