DIY Drones News - Weekly #1 - Venturing Forward

Venturing Forward: The Sky’s Not the Limit for UAV Enthusiasts
By: Kevin Solar of (DIY Drones News Journalist)

We live in a uniquely dynamic age influenced heavily by technological advances surging in every direction. It’s a time to look around, reassess ourselves and focus our energy and potential towards greater influence over things to come. If you’re an individual with an interest and passion for ‘drones’ that fly, it’s a time to gaze upwards and realize that even the sky… is no longer the ‘limit’ it was once thought to be. Instead, the sky has become a boundless ‘proving zone’ for what is possible, now and in the near future. For UAV enthusiasts, at any level of expertise, it’s a time for ‘venturing forward’.

The expanding world of Unmanned Arial Vehicles is filled with new realities, problems, demands and opportunities. It’s a great time to take advantage of the moment and get personally involved in a new and challenging venture, or perhaps rekindle interest in something that you’ve neglected, or put off for a while. Taking action now can also provide numerous health benefits, both physical and mental, that may pay big dividends for years to come. Personal involvement in active hobbies, like creating and flying UAVs, can play an important role in a person's overall perspective and well-being, often by increasing creativity, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment. 

Whether looking to immerse yourself in a new hobby, explore the possibilities of a cutting-edge career, or experience… firsthand, the surging evolution in remote controlled aircraft… the DIY Drones community provides an ‘open-source emporium’ of innovation and information specific to the needs of those interested in becoming more involved with autonomous, or pilotless flight.

After several months of research and observation on the outside edge of a few web forums devoted to UAV technologies, I finally decided to venture forward and join in on the experience of designing, building and flying my own multi-rotor aircraft. By doing so I’ll be putting myself in an environment where I’ll learn something new and challenging, while offering my experience, skills and creative abilities to others in the process.

As a newbie, entering the world of UAVs, it’s easy to feel excited, nervous and… at times, overwhelmed by the scope and speed with which advances are currently taking place. After all, the goal here is not simply to build, or buy and fly the traditional RC airplane that your grandpop enjoyed years ago. Rather, a major objective at DIY Drones is to focus on the quest to interact collaboratively, to help bring about the safe and efficient integration of structural, electronic and critical system processes, thereby guiding amateurs like myself, to a point where our home-built creations become capable of carrying out specific tasks during autonomous flight!

That’s right! The aircraft engineered by members of the DIY Drones community are being developed and programmed to fly and perform on their own. Just imagine… your homemade, ‘Aerial Robot’ making its way across that limitless sky, performing tasks without real-time, pilot intervention! How cool is that? Quite honestly… it’s amazing! It borders on mind-boggling to say the least. However, if you have the passion, skills, personality, and dedication to learn the complexities of this unique pursuit, your involvement can be very rewarding!

So, aside from all the tools, cash, time and project components necessary to build say… a typical Multi-Rotor style UAV… here’s a partial list of things you probably already have, but might need to sharpen, or dust off in order to get started, or restarted as an active UAVer at DIY Drones.

Obviously… these items are not required, but you’ll likely benefit by possessing some of the following:

- A willingness to be actively involved in the DIY Drones community.

- A supportive spouse and/or partner, especially one who loves UAVs.

- An ability to build things from scratch and fix things that get broken.

- A thick wallet, a financial budget, a good set of tools and a place to use them.

- A familiarity with fire extinguishers and first-aid kits.

- An investment portfolio heavy on manufacturers of zip ties.

- A functional recollection of the philosophy associated with Murphy’s Law.

- A huge dose of common sense and a Swiss Army knife in your pocket.

- A steady temperament, control over frustration and ability to laugh at yourself.

- An inquisitive mindset and a passion for discovery and adventure.

- An optimistic point-of-view backed by a healthy grasp of reality.

- An aptitude for following a set of directions printed in your native language.

- A talent for analyzing data and learning from the results.

- A propensity to reexamine basic assumptions and seek broader perspectives.

- An intuitive sense of what is correct and/or appropriate in a given situation.

- An ability to accept constructive criticism, and the tact to offer it to others.

- A determination to except failure as a stepping-stone towards future success.

- A self disciplined work ethic and a healthy respect for team dynamics.

- A problem-solving, creative, out-of-the-box method of thinking and processing.

- A desire to get things right, tempered by the ability to admit when you’re wrong.

- A capacity to learn by reading the experiences and ideas expressed by others.

- A set of communication skills to share what you know, via text and video.

- An affinity for synthesis of information and close attention to critical details.

- An ability to maintain focus and persevere in the face of disaster.

- An aptitude for audio-visual discrimination and strong eye-hand coordination.

- A tendency to assist folks in need and a will to bounce back from adversity.

- A focus geared towards pushing beyond limits, yet knowing when to take pause.

- A desire for fun and a determination to set high standards of accomplishment.

- An interest in lifelong learning and a passion for sharing knowledge with others.

- A true appreciation of the Laws of Gravity and a realization that crashes happen.

What makes this hobby so enjoyable and rewarding is, that while we all come from different walks of life, the deep common denominator is our passion for tinkering with and improving upon the capabilities and performance of our flying machines.

For those who have been active UAVers for years, the newbies will certainly be looking your way for guidance and knowledge over the long haul. For others who may have chosen to ‘lurk’ on the periphery simply to glean knowledge unobtrusively, the influx of additional hobbyists may provide opportunities to establish new relationships, or even revive friendships forged, long ago, via the blog posts and comments that continue to form the backbone of this community.

Most hobbyists tend to enjoy things more when they are provided the opportunity to share experiences with other like-minded individuals. The trials and tribulations of amateur UAVers offer a very compelling reason to stay connected to folks with similar interests and aspirations.

Hobbies which require expertise tend to be more satisfying to participants. That’s especially true for UAVers, because the expertise required to design, build, program and fly a Multi-Rotor, for example, demands a very high level of commitment. In turn, it’s that commitment that often results in a higher level of engagement and enjoyment.

What better way to stay active and enrich your life than by doing something you seriously enjoy? Increased involvement in things like the DIY Drones community could well be your prescription for a healthier, more satisfying future. It’s sure to engage you physically and mentally on multiple levels.

Of course, hauling your gear to that far away field to launch, follow, and/or retrieve your craft, certainly qualifies the effort as physical activity. Okay… maybe it’s no triathlon, but it’s certainly not uncommon to find yourself walking, jogging, climbing and at times, frantically searching the countryside for a fly-away, or downed UAV. Although not always planned or expected… the frequency of such occurrences most likely provides a physical benefit to those involved. Your initial intention, as a UAVer, may not have been to keep physically and mentally active, or to reduce stress in pursuit of a sense of accomplishment, but as many can surely attest, those outcomes are often a beneficial result.

From a hobby perspective, I often think of my DIY Drones involvement on three levels. The first level provides a diversion, or temporary escape from the stressful things in life. Plain and simple… UAVing can help me pass the time. The second level reflects a passion that engages me in something I truly enjoy. The third level relates to something that links to a sense of purpose. I suspect we all need that at times. Personally, when I sum it all up, being a UAVer is ideal for me, because it affords a powerful combination of all three levels.

My new hobby and my involvement with DIY Drones has become important and rewarding, especially because it has opened a unique ‘portal’ through which I am able to connect with others involved in the same meaningful endeavor. It’s a pursuit that allows me the freedom to fly! And… since flight is my passion, venturing forward into the limitless sky, not only helps me to pass the time, it makes me unaware that time is passing.


  Links to Websites used to gather information for the Newscast Video:

Views: 2003

Comment by W. Joe Taylor on May 20, 2013 at 9:07pm
Excellent post. Much truth. Reminiscent of some of Chris Anderson's thoughts when he 1st started DIY Drones. Bravo.
Comment by Joshua Johnson on May 20, 2013 at 9:09pm

Thank you for the praises Joe!!  Kevin Solar did a wonderful job on writing the article!  We are trying to Fly and 3D Robotics into the future of Drones :)

Dream Big,

Joshua Johnson 

Comment by Acorn on May 21, 2013 at 9:15am

Very well written and a good read!

Comment by Joshua Johnson on May 22, 2013 at 9:09pm

Thanks Acorn be on the lookout for tons more articles written by our journalists! 

DIY Drones News
Comment by Kevin Solar on May 23, 2013 at 7:16am

Thanks for the nice comments, folks. Much appreciated!


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