Richard Alward

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About Richard Alward

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  1. Ken - I sent you an email with the subject line "UAV Coach / Flight BVLOS" I look forward to continuing this correspondence. -- Rich
  2. Ken, Krylon Fusion for Plastic in Red Pepper/Safety Red is the preferred color! (I also added a bit of red on top to help see my bird during turns and when it is climbing away from me) You might be able to test your repeater concept by setting up a situation in which direct line of sight between your ground control station and the bird is blocked, but you've got the repeater up in the air to relay telemetry. If communications fail with the barrier in place, you could easily remove the barrier to regain control without putting your FF6 at risk. My focus is on vegetation mapping, so my camera of choice is the RedEdge multi-spectral sensor. RGB cameras are just for fun, so I haven't spent much on them. I may have some engineering contracts next year so I will be having to learn more about them this winter. Are you referring to the tlogs? Their names are the date and time, right? So that's how I keep track of them. I record the approx takeoff time of each flight as part of my pre-flight checklist, so it's not too difficult to track down the correct log if I need one. However, since all the RedEdge images are geotagged (unlike the A6000) I don't need the log files unless something goes wrong. Cheers...
  3. Hi Ken, This sounds like a pretty cool project and I wish you all the best in getting approvals. I fly the FireFLY6 PRO also, so thought I'd chime in with a few suggestions. I use the FireFly6 planner for my mission planning, and one of the failsafes that you can modify is for the bird's response when telemetry connections are lost. If you disable this failsafe, then the bird continues the planned mission (see "Failsafes" in the manual). I always have this failsafe enabled since I'm not flying BVLOS and I figure something has gone against the plan if I lose telemetry! (I'm in western Colorado, so I'm very familiar with how terrain can mess up a beautiful plan, but I don't have to concern myself with MOAs or many other restricted areas outside of active fire fighting areas). I've modified my bird's aesthetics by painting its entire ventral surface bright cherry red - I can reliably keep her in sight out to 1km and beyond against a blue sky and even against a cloudy sky (most of the time). However, if I expect to be flying out to that distance, I usually station a visual observer in the 500-900m range since I can find it difficult to relocate the FireFly beyond 600m after checking the monitor for status updates. A pair of quality voice activated 2way radios ensures communication between PIC and VO (practice using this equipment ahead of time and confirm you have contact with your VO before you takeoff!). Mount your antenna as high as you can. I have mine on a short length of pvc pipe clamped to my table and with a 1/4" bolt glued to cap on the end of the pipe). You might want to get a patch cable so you can mount yours even higher (Adam & Erich at BirdsEyeView are usually very free with their advice - and when they nix an idea of mine, I heed their advice every time!). Also, when I am flying in rough terrain, I try to scout the area ahead of time and locate an area of high ground to set up my ground control station. This greatly extends your visual line of sight, and your telemetry reach, but can lead to some very uncomfortable mission plans. In one case I was mapping a riparian zone in a canyon and had permission to takeoff/land from a private landowner on a ridge overlooking the canyon/river. My mission altitude was just 10m above my takeoff even though it was 80+ m above the canyon floor! So, I'd take off to 35m, fly to the mapping area at 40m, then drop down to 10m (above launch) for the mission, then climb again before returning to launch. Not your usual mission plan... All the best ...
  4. I just got my exhibition hall pass before the discount deadline. So, I'll be there parts of 3 days & look forward to meeting folks.