Ken L

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Everything posted by Ken L

  1. Ross, I'm a mapping remote pilot with the state of Nevada. I found your nvdi post fascinating and really appreciated your equipment comments. I'm impressed with the extent of your knowledge and flight experience. I'd really like to get your advice on some RGB camera settings. Would you please email me at kenforestry@charter.net Ken
  2. A pilot in our Nevada state agency flew a maps made easy automatic mission. He didn't plan a large enough area and we ended up with this data blow, the concrete tower, after we processed the collection of JPGs into a mosaic. the feature is near the edge of the mosaic area. I'd appreciate any suggestion on how I might fix this blow.
  3. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Very interesting Richard. Thanks for the more detailed info for painting; those are the colors we'll use; saves our hassle to experiment. This is the first I heard about the firefly log files having a date & time code; I couldn't discern a pattern with a collection of log files. I better examine them again. Great idea to set up an artificial barrier, like the hay bale stacks at our test area, to test what happens with and without a repeater in the air. We'll do it over some soft landing spot. You've been really helpful and I know our hydrology section will have more questions for me about NVDI/multispectral mapping[I didn't know that camera geo tagged]. I'd appreciate if greatly if you'd email my personal add: kenforestry@charter.net Have you ever seen the firefly increase or decrease it's speed when landing in copter mode? Is it one constant speed to touch down? Like landing hard enough to break the landing gear? Have you ever seen a landing where the on board gps may have acted on an incorrect alt and landed hard?
  4. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    FYI for the BVLOS-interested folks. There are presently 23 approved BVLOS [part 107.31] waivers. That's out of approx. 2,000 submitted 107.31 applications. People would have better odds playing blackjack... Here I am writing a bvlos app for the gov. The latest approved waiver, for the oil co in Texas, is not, yet, posted on the FAA website. Does anyone in the community know any details about that waiver, which is to fly a UAV, that exceeds 55 lbs, fly over oil fields. Richard, thank you posting that informative note. Good tip about painting it bright red and mounting the antenna up higher. We'd not thought of either of those tips. The challenge for obtaining a BVLOS waiver is that the FAA expects the pilot to be able to take control, even if the UAV is flying on automatic behind a ridge. Failsafes are not enough to satisfy FAA. Hence, my interest in mounting this repeater https://www.dxengineering.com/search/product-line/davis-instruments-wireless-repeaters/wireless-frequency/902-928-mhz?autoview=SKU&sortby=Default&sortorder=Default underneath a phantom and hovering it 400' above a firefly launch point to push the signal downrange behind an intervening ridge. The BEV folks confirmed that they've never heard of someone trying this. I'd love to find out about your favorite camera settings for Firefly. We have a sony A6000 and the settings provided by BEV are not good enough for us. Could you, please, post back with the camera you have mounted, your favorite bright sunny day ISO setting, and which Fn focus mode you use for mapping? Have you figured out how to avoid porting in and downloading the log files after every flight in the case you're flying multiple mapping flights per session? [the files are not sequentially numbered] We've discussed doing a mission where the flight alt is lower than our launch alt; impressed that you did one.
  5. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Great! I just used the skyvector link to evaluate the 8 areas within Nevada MoAs. We'll submit for the one area that has an MoA floor of 14,000 AGL and consider the 3 that have a floors of 200'. I don't feel comfortable about flying BVLOS at 200'. The remaining 4 have floors of 100'; not worth trying to fly those BVLOS. Thank you! We have several BVLOS-candidate areas within hilly areas. Using the Redbird signal repeater, we think those are feasible to fly BVLOS, while maintaining control over the bird at all times. The redbird repeater only works with Phantom 3 standard birds. Apparently, the P4 control freq is too hard to "crack". Does anyone know of a signal repeater that will work to push out the control signal for a Phantom 4 Pro? I guess we could always purchase a Phantom 3 standard bird and mount the Redbird repeater under our P4.
  6. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Allan, Where do I find that MoA table you referred to? That list could help me save other areas I felt obliged to drop from our list. The attached candidate area map falls within the Fallon South 4 MoA area. You'll note that I've placed it 5 miles from the airfield to the north, which does not have a E airspace, south of Austin, Nv. Considering a max flight alt of just 200', should I include this area? The US Restricted airspace list FAA sent me is too big for me to attach to this post. I encourage anyone following this discussion to make suggestions how I might improve these maps. I intend to submit approx. 3 dozen similar maps, in both PDF & KMZ, in my app to the FAA
  7. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    The FAA responded to my inquiry: should we attempt BVLOS in MoAs by simply sending me a doc that lists all of the military restricted airspaces; in other words, as expected, they didn't answer my question. After more review of the MoA airspaces within eastern Nv, I've come to the conclusion that the MoAs extend from the ground surface up. Would the community, inc Allan, please look at the attached screen capture and confirm my conclusion? Another issue I need to bring up: for BVLOS areas behind ridges and hills I'd like to propose using a signal repeater, such as the Redbird, mounted on either a tripod or on a second Phantom, that we'd hover 400' above the launch point during our BVLOS flights with another P4. Please comment on the effectiveness of this arrangement. We also have a birdseyeviewaero firefly 6 pro vtol. Does anyone know of a signal repeater that would work with the firefly 6 VTOL uav / Ardu mission planner?
  8. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Does this warning on the section chart mean that the MoA does not include the G airspace below 2000'? "MOA EXCLUDES AIRSPACE BELOW 2000' AGL" I'd like to get the community's opinion. Should I include BVLOS-candidate areas within Military Operations Areas, MoAs, but under any stated MoA floor? Ken
  9. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Thanks Allan. I'm addressing in detail. Topics like a risk assessment, with all of the scenarios our pilots can think of and mitigations. The thing, I think, that will make our app unique are all of the maps included as a merged pdf. I've reviewed every one of the part 107.31 certificates, specifically examining how they describe their BVLOS areas. I'm mapping every single area, within Nevada, that we want to fly BVLOS. Some 3 dozen areas. A separate page for each area, which a polygon overlaid on a topo map background with lat and long coordinates. Of course, we're limiting our areas to mostly large, flat, valleys, with some hilly areas. All areas are quite remote. No areas in controlled airspaces and no flights near even small towns. An example area is the remote salt lake Clayton Valley, which has one of the greatest concentrations of lithium in north America. Our Firefly UAV has a 6-mile control range, well beyond our ability to see it from the launch point.
  10. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    I intend to post a paper on things I learned filing a BVLOS app on here, since the community has been really supportive, answering my questions. I've been studying this for a year. A lot of trial & error, lectures, and talking to people. A lot of run around by the FAA. The FAA saying is: "They're not happy until pilots are unhappy". Started from a point of not even knowing how to access the CAPS online form to apply for a CoA or waiver. Now, I've obtained a Coa for my agency and am close to finishing the BVLOS-specific CoA needed for the DC team to evaluate BVLOS. This may be first part 91 BVLOS waiver that gests approved, since the 23 BVLOS approved are all part 107. We're not going to commit to installing a transponder on our BVLOS UAVs, but I want to install powerful lights, possibly strobes, for our daytime flights. Would you someone recommend to me a good lighting kit for P4?
  11. Ken L

    Flight BVLOS

    Ed, Thank you for that comment. We intend to run some control tests with both our Firefly 6 VTOL & Phantom 4 with all of apps: Map Pilot, Litchi, and Drone Deploy. We've determined that drone deploy can create long strip missions, like along river corridors, as Map Pilot won't. I mean missions to take pics automatically, to create mosaics. Not just video. Too much work to create such Litchi missions. I'm creating the waiver app maps now; mostly huge, flat, sparsely-populated valleys in Nevada. "Tremors" areas. However, we'll need to be able to BVLOS over some topography. It's interesting to note how some of the approved BVLOS waivers [listed as 107.31 apps on the FAA website] describe their flight areas. We're going to request the app for the just-approved Avitas co, in Tx, to fly BVLOS over oil fields. Course, with the additional sensor payload, their UAV exceeds 55lbs
  12. I've been assigned the task of writing a beyond line of sight waiver app for my state agency. I've learned enough about what the DC FAA review team expects that I think I can include some areas that would require the UAV to fly behind a ridge line. Although I'm not going to expect too much and will limit how much of this drama I plan for. We understand that most UAVs require a direct line of sight from the controller. Has anyone in the community verified that if, flying an "auto" mission, such as Map Pilot or Litchi, the bird will continue to follow the programmed mission, even if it loses the signal from the controller? Tip for those in the community writing waiver apps: We know that the approved waiver certs are posted online. We can receive the "proprietary" apps for these approved waivers by filing a freedom of information act request, https://www.faa.gov/foia/foia_request/ addressed to FAA ATO Emerging Tech Team (AJV-115) Once we have the apps, we can address the same topics in our apps. The BVLOS apps should include maps of each area one desires to fly BVLOS, with a lat & long coordinate of the center of the area.
  13. My state agency flies the BirdsEyeView Firefly 6 Pro VTOL UAV. We have the Sony A6000 camera for the primary payload. We've been experiencing problems adjusting the settings in varying lighting conditions during photo flights. Also, we feel we could increase the resolution/color balance of our flights. I've watched some youtube vids and read some other related info about the sony camera. However, what I could benefit from would be to consult with a UAV pilot, expert in the use of the Sony A6000 with some specific setting questions. Would the community respond a name & contact info to me for such an expert. I'm not expecting no-charge consulting help. Ken
  14. We use Realflight 8. the quadcopter model, with simulates phantom. you can modify the flight environment to simulate in flight emergencies, which is what you should be simulating, like wind shear
  15. Thank you, ED, for that link. I was asked about the new, expedited, process for emergency waiver by a state manager just last week. If needed, we will apply for an emergency waiver. Now I'm thinking I should apply to operate in just the G airspace, statewide, and not include any of the controlled airspaces in my geographic depiction, although we have a need to fly routine missions in those as well. I can always attempt to add the controlled spaces when it comes time to renew the CoA. I note that Reno made the list of LAANCs. I wish someone could tell me if there is an acreage limit to the operational area I can submit in the form? I guess I'll have to submit the app and get rejected to find out their limits. Then I can report that to this community. Does anyone know about an upcoming workshop or conference where the FAA will attend and possibly host a lecture on applying for CoAs or waivers? Does the FAA have representatives at the InterDrone or other Conference held in Vegas, in the fall?
  16. Av8 Chuck & other interested folks. I'm not sure I'm half way thru what I think could end up being a 40-hour effort to complete the form. The process is proving to be quite a hassle, requiring patience and persistence. To be clear, I'm attempting to get a CoA that is good for 2 years, not the temp one that can be accessed from a link on the FAA website. My agency has been advised by the FAA that having a CoA will make it easier to obtain a waiver to fly beyond line of sight, which is our real desire, since all our pilots are part 107. Two major steps: 1. Getting the FAA to give me the link to the online form. This required submitting a letter of request & getting security access to the FAA website. 2. Filling out the actual form. The form is not instructive and has problems. I've been obliged to spend a number of hours in trail and error, making dead end data entry mistakes, and getting short email clues from the FAA, after waiting days for the replies. The person filling out the form should be a UAS pilot to handle the technical questions. Regarding my initial post, the form queries the applicant for a geographic depiction of the intended area of operations. I have questions about this. I've been writing down notes of the specific steps and things I've learned. My notes are way incomplete at this point. It would not be practical for me to simply post the pages of short hand notes on this forum. If you have specific questions, for which I can give short answers, post them to this topic. I'll see what I can do. Once I've successfully submitted the completed form and received an initial response from the FAA, I'll brief Alan Perlman to see how he wants to get details I've learned out the community. Ken
  17. I'm the lead part 107 pilot for a Nevada state agency. I'm filling out the online FAA form for a CoA for this agency to operate under. The form includes a question to delineate the area of flight operations. Since my state agency could be tasked for flight missions almost anywhere in the state and most of the state is G airspace, rather than delineating some geographic areas we might fly in, I'd like to delineate the entire state, minus the airspaces over the air force bases in the south and parts of the ATC airspaces in Reno and Las Vegas. I'd like the community to comment on this. Does anyone know specifically what the FAA is expecting, and, possibly, what they will accept for this answer? Ken
  18. We've been in touch with the Vegas FSDO, but I doubt we asked the right question and our staff likely has not been persistant enough.
  19. Thanks Shaun. We've considered operating under a public (gov) COA. However, as with many gov and private organizations, our UAV use is just too limited now to justify the expense and time req to obtain a CoA. Does anyone know of a specific agency that has recieved permission to fly out of sight just during the temp period following a disaster?
  20. With the great help of Allan's prep course, I passed the FAA remote pilot exam, 98% score. I remain grateful for not just the well designed course, but for Allan's personal help and encouragement in prepping for the exam. I took no less than 3 of the online prep courses and Allan's was by far the best. I'm the pilot for one of the first Nevada state agencies to set up a UAV program. Our first UAV model is the birdseyeview Firefly6 VTOL mapping machine. The state managers have asked me to find out the phone no, name, and title of the FAA person that would take the call of a high ranking state authority, such as the head of the states emergency management team, and could facilitate giving a temp beyond line of sight waiver in the event of a emergency event in Nevada, such as a major flood or wildfire. I've just been getting the run around when I call the various phone nos listed on the FAA website. We believe that an FAA official approved beyond sight UAV waivers for gov agencies during the recent massive flooding in Texas. Id appreciate even a clue about how this process works. Also, can somebody confirm that to even start the process of applying for a waiver, an applicant must first get the FAA to email them the link to an extensive online app. Ive been told that the waiver app posted on the website is not the actual app that a serious applicant needs to complete. Ken