UAV Workshops Take Flight in Canberra, Australia


We first discovered Stephen Dade on Stephan was celebrating his second build-your-own-quadcopter workshop in Canberra, Australia. These workshops have proven exceptionallly popular. “I only had 12 spots available in this workshop, all of which filled up within 48 hours,” said Stephen. “I think this demonstrates the massive interest in multicopters.”

Stephen first started flying personal drones back in early 2011. Looking for kindred spirits to share his hobby, he and a few others (including Andrew Tridgell, an APM_Plane developer) formed the CanberraUAV team to compete in the Outback UAV Challenge (OBC). “We had enormous fun developing the various systems for the UAV and ended up coming in first place in the 2012 OBC - not bad for a first time team!” Since then, the CanberraUAV team has branched out into other areas of the UAV community.

Stephen got the idea for running the workshops just over a year ago at his local makerspace in Canberra. At one of their meetups, “someone mentioned that it would be a really cool idea if someone would run a how-to-build-a-quadcopter workshop,” recalls Stephen. “As I was the local “quadcopter expert,” everyone turned to me. I have really enjoyed teaching the workshops and love seeing the excited look on everyone’s faces during their first flight.”

Most of the students so far have had technical backgrounds. “I have quite a few programmers and software engineers. Very few have ever used a UAV before, although they’ve seen me and a few others flying and fixing them.”

Given the liberal regulatory environment around commercial drone usage in Australia under CASA (the Civl Aviation Safety Authority), Stephen is having no trouble attracting new students. “At the moment, it’s just a hobby - I tend to run only a couple of them per year. I do have some rough plans to run courses in other parts of Australia. I’ll see where this takes me over the next couple of years and take it from there.”

We were delighted to hear that Stephen use 3DR technology in his workshops. “I use the 3DR flight controllers, GPS and telemetry systems for the “brains” of the quadcopters. There’s a few reasons why I use them: the constant development and improvement by the development team, community support, wide compatibility with almost any airframe and safety features (the numerous failsafes and RTL mode).”

Stay tuned for updates on Stephen's popular workshops. You can keep up with Stephen's UAV-related activities and adventures right here on

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  • More about Stephen's great work is here on DIYD. :-)

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