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Old February 25th, 2015, 07:12 AM   #1
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ENG drone

How does this sound.

A vertical only accent/decent drone that locks on to a pad laid on the ground by a news crew. Drone goes up to a preset altitude, and remains stationary, locked by GPS and laser or whatever on the target pad below. Camera on board has a zoom, beams down live video to the crew below.

Short of a floating blimp camera drone, I think that is about as dumbed down a concept that is possible.......live truck operators are used to looking for direct vertical clearance already. :-)

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Old February 25th, 2015, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: ENG drone

might as well just polecam it
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Old February 25th, 2015, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: ENG drone

Why not just use a tethered blimp since it's a stationary shot? A blimp could stay afloat almost indefinitely, and wouldn't require andy battery changes, except for the camera or pan/tilt head. It's much safer too.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 12:18 AM   #4
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Re: ENG drone

Not sure how much safer a ballon is. The envelope for a balloon to be able to carry a 7-10Lb payload would be enormous probably more than 12 feet and the gas to fill it costs a small fortune.

Buoyant force for one m of helium in air is:
1 m3 * (1.292 - 0.178) kg/m3 * 9.8 N/kg = 10.9 N

You could use a tethered MR that could carry that weight and could stay aloft as long as you kept it plugged into a generator or power.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 03:53 PM   #5
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Re: ENG drone

see CyPhyWorks.com for a tethered drone.. thru the "microfilament" cable, you provide power and get an ethernet connection for command/control/video/etc.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 08:05 PM   #6
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Re: ENG drone

Unfortunately, looks like the FAA wants to only allow daylight drone use for news purposes, and you have to have a dedicated "pilot" for the operation. I wonder what "over people" means. If the people were clear of the vertical rise above the pad/tether, is that good enough I wonder?

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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:14 AM   #7
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Re: ENG drone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
Unfortunately, looks like the FAA wants to only allow daylight drone use for news purposes, and you have to have a dedicated "pilot" for the operation. I wonder what "over people" means. If the people were clear of the vertical rise above the pad/tether, is that good enough I wonder?

Paul
That depends on their rules.

In the UK we have a requirement for 30m clearance for take off and 50m once airborne (150m for > 7Kg). The only way to get below that is via a congested area safety case which as far as I know only one company has right now.

If you are tethered then you have much more restricted controls over flight and if the drone is going to fight the tether then chances are it's going to come down at the extremes of the tether, i.e. how far it can pull away and against it horizontally. So how high the tether allows you to go could well be an important factor in deciding how much lateral clear space you need. Drones don't always come down vertically ;)
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Old March 22nd, 2015, 02:41 PM   #8
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Re: ENG drone

Perhaps the tether allows reclassifying the "drone" into a non-flying object and gets it out from under the burdensome FAA requirements. Or are they going to consider a pole cam as "flying"? Maybe the Ronin guys need to change their terminology for fear they will soon be regulated. Geez.
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Old March 22nd, 2015, 03:22 PM   #9
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Re: ENG drone

There are tethered and moored classifications for balloons (Tethered vs. Moored Balloons). I once flew the Hooters balloon as a tether.
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Old March 22nd, 2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: ENG drone

Can we get a picture of the Hooters ballon? Were they always flown in "pairs" :-)

I wonder if a kite has classification under the FAA........it would seem less stable than a balloon.

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Old March 22nd, 2015, 03:36 PM   #11
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Re: ENG drone

Ha Ha, great post, Jim. They should have been as unobtrusive with drones as they are with balloons. Here is the part of the reg from your post that deals with balloons.

Any balloon not designated to carry people is not regarded by FAA as an aircraft and is regulated under 14 CFR Part 101 only insofar as it might become a hazard or obstruction to flight. It must be more than six feet in diameter or have a gas capacity of more than 115 cubic feet, must be flown no higher than 500 feet above the ground and no less than 500 feet below the base of any cloud, must be flown no closer than five miles from the boundary of any airport, and must not be flown when the visibility is less than three miles. When operated between sunrise and sunset the balloon and its mooring lines must have colored pennants or streamers attached at 50 foot intervals beginning at 150 feet AGL and visible for at least one mile. When operated between sunset and sunrise the balloon and its mooring lines must be lighted to give a visual warning regardless of its altitude.

Of course, they could have changed the "gas capacity" and size to reflect drone flight since most drones don't fly using lighter than air fuel. My point is, this is fairly non-intrusive, protects the public, and allows the FAA to concentrate on commercial and private aviation.
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Old March 22nd, 2015, 04:43 PM   #12
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Re: ENG drone

lol. I think it had their logo on it, that's about it. It was at a nighttime event during a balloon festival. Willie Nelson played.

There are 3 lifting gases of which helium is the only one in wide use in the USA. Hydrogen is used for gas ballooning outside the USA due to lack of access to helium and the cost. Hydrogen generates a lot of fear from folks due to the Hindenberg and its flammability, but there are safety measures used with it to lessen risk. Not sure you'd ever get insurance for a commercial application though. Ammonia has less lift than helium and hydrogen and is a poisonous gas, so probably not a practical choice either. I'm not aware of any recovery systems for helium so the cost of flying a system capable of substantial lift would be pretty high.
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 02:30 PM   #13
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Re: ENG drone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Michael View Post
There are 3 lifting gases of which helium is the only one in wide use in the USA. Hydrogen is used for gas ballooning outside the USA due to lack of access to helium and the cost. Hydrogen generates a lot of fear from folks due to the Hindenberg and its flammability, but there are safety measures used with it to lessen risk.
I can't see hydrogen ever being used for a passenger carrying large airship ever again due to safety concerns, but I don't see why it should be a problem for this sort of application. (In principle, anyway.) The only time there's likely to be any possible danger is during the inflation period but it should be possible to devise routines to keep everybody happy. (After all, there is a lot of interest in using it as a future car fuel, and I think some buses in the UK already use it,)

I actually wonder if one way forward may not be via a telescoping pole system. (As you see at some events for temporary area lighting purposes.) It obviously wouldn't have the flexibility of a drone (more limited height and fixed to one spot), but for some applications it may be all that's needed to get a better vantage point - see over walls, trees etc. And it would have some plus points - more stable and could carry a better payload (so maybe use longer lenses) and could be cabled, so no need for a link or batteries. Quite apart from the legal issues around drone flying in the first place.
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 04:22 PM   #14
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Re: ENG drone

I agree re hydrogen as a practical application, just think the insurance would be difficult. I may run it by my insurance guy the next time we talk. As I recall the envelope has to have conductors embedded in the skin to help bleed off static electricity.

If cold fusion doesn't work out there will probably be more interest in hydrogen as a lifting gas when the helium reserves are depleted.
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Old March 23rd, 2015, 04:28 PM   #15
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Re: ENG drone

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
I actually wonder if one way forward may not be via a telescoping pole system. (As you see at some events for temporary area lighting purposes.) It obviously wouldn't have the flexibility of a drone (more limited height and fixed to one spot), but for some applications it may be all that's needed to get a better vantage point - see over walls, trees etc. And it would have some plus points - more stable and could carry a better payload (so maybe use longer lenses) and could be cabled, so no need for a link or batteries. Quite apart from the legal issues around drone flying in the first place.
That "telescoping pole" idea of yours would revolutionize the news business! I have taken the liberty of building a small technical demonstration model of your idea, let me know if I am close to what you are envisioning. :)
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