Update? Calibrate!

Software and firmware run the world of UAS, and some developer/manufacturers offer/require frequent updates. Updates are a component of the maintenance process for any UAS and should be manually checked at minimum, every 30 days. We recommend that any old software/firmware versions be archived if possible, in the event of problems encountered with a new update. Rolling back software is a good option (when possible).  In addition to archiving old software/firmware versions (when possible), it is required by the FAA that any maintenance be logged. This includes logging any software/firmware updates to the aircraft system.

For many UAS pilots/operators, the process ends at the update. In fact, many updates occur in-field with automated software updates being required by some manufacturer/developers, so the pilot uses WiFi or cellular connection to update the aircraft, controller, software, or battery, just before flying the next mission. There have been many instances where the next action with the aircraft is to begin the planned mission.

This is a mistake.

Any time software or firmware on the aircraft, tablet, battery, IMU, or other component of the aircraft is implemented, it is recommended that the aircraft be re-calibrated. This step is frequently put aside in interests of time, and can result in disaster.

The issue this pilot had could have been avoided had the aircraft and system been recalibrated prior to flight. The aircraft is a total loss due to compass error.

Software/Firmware updates are not always reliable and in some cases, result in safety issues. Recalibration is an important step in mitigating risk due to unknown factors generated via the software/firmware update process.  Compass, accelerometer, etc all must be recalibrated. It is also a good idea to let the aircraft sit for a few minutes after powering up, to acquire all satellites prior to flight after a recalibration.

Take 5 to avoid issues. Calibrate after every software/firmware update, and log the calibration along with the notice of update/firmware changelog.  Your flights will be more safe and confident.

 

By | November 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

BOTACH and Sundance Media Group partner for sUAS Training & Consulting Services

Press Release

BOTACH and Sundance Media Group partner for sUAS Training & Consulting Services

Las Vegas, NV, November 08, 2018:

Botach, Inc. (OTC Markets: BOTACH) (“Botach” or the “Company”), Botach (a drone reseller), drone service provider and distributor of tactical products to the U.S. Public Safety channel, and the U.S. Government), announced a reseller/training partnership with Las Vegas-based Sundance Media Group (SMG), a company that specializes in assisting police, fire and private corporations with standing up training programs across the country and filing Certificates of authorization and/or waivers with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). SMG also creates or assists in the implementation of Policy, Procedures, and Operations manuals for ISO-compliant municipalities and organizations.

During the Nevada State Traffic Incident Management training event this past week, Chushim Botach, Botach’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Our reseller partnership with Sundance Media Group (SMG) enables us to offer a necessary and critical component of our everything drone strategy to our customers. Through SMG and our own product offerings, we possess the ability to offer our customers a turnkey acquisition, training, and COA/Waiver package. We have observed their abilities over the past two years and have been exceptionally impressed with their dedication to excellence.”

“Training, authorizations and waivers are vital to a viable and successful sUAS program.”

SMG has a 17-year history working in aviation, and has developed training missions for MIRT (Major Incident Response Teams), CSI, traffic homicide, night-time forensic missions, and crowd overwatch with and without tethering components.

We are very happy to be a component of the Botach end-to-end solution for Public Safety and Government sUAS programming,” says Jennifer Pidgen, COO of the company now celebrating 24 years in training. “We look forward to bringing our training standard of excellence and certified instructor/examiner program to Botach’s nation-wide clientele.”

About Botach

Botach Inc. is a family owned business and is one of the leading retailers of tactical and military supplies throughout our great nation. From duty boots to assault rifles, we sell products in every category in the tactical/military industry. Founded in the Los Angeles area, we have recently moved to a new home in Las Vegas. Las Vegas brings into a more shooter friendly environment to which we look forward to exploring and growing within.

Our expertise has kept us in business for over 20 years.  We take pride in caring for our customers.

For additional information about Botach, please visit https://www.botach.com/.

About Sundance Media Group

Founded in 1996, Sundance Media Group/SMG began as a training organization focused on cameras, codecs, and post-production technology. In 2004, the company began training in aviation technology, adding sUAS in 2011. In 2012, SMG produced the world’s first UAS training conference at the National Association of Broadcasters Post Production World Conference, and is an ISO-compliant organization.
With instructors from Public Safety, Construction, Vertical Inspection, Real Estate, and Cinematography, SMG instructors may be found speaking at technical, aviation, and UAS conferences around the globe. For more information on SMG, please visit sundancemediagroup.com

Night UAV Flight Workshop (Post Commercial UAV Expo)

About the Workshop

Sundance Media Group (SMG) will offer practical Night UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, otherwise known as drone) flight training course to equip UAV pilots with the knowledge, skills and confidence to pilot your UAV at night safely, efficiently and effectively.

Greater than 70 percent of our flying information comes through the eye and the eye is easily fooled at night. This is compounded by the inexperienced pilot alternating views between a tabled/lighted display and the position of the UAV in the sky. Night flying has a higher accident rate than identical day flying, both in UAV and manned aviation. Why? Depth perception is severely distorted, as is reaction time. There are also visual illusions that need to be recognized and mitigated. This session will provide information that will allow pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29). You’ll also learn the foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

Theoretical Training (2 hours)  (Henderson Executive Airport)

The workshop will begin with a comprehensive theory session classroom style, then we head out to the night flight location for some practical experience. Topics to be covered during the classroom portion: 

  • FAA rules of night UAV flight  (What is a 107.29 waiver?)
  • Different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night
  • Autokinesis and night landing Illusions and how to avoid them
  • Equipment setup
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Importance of acclimating your eye for night flight & avoid light contamination
  • Foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

This workshop is designed to provide all the necessary information needed to empower pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29).  *This workshop includes a certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

After a comprehensive theory session, we will travel to the nearby night flight location for some practical experience. We’ll present different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night. In this practical hands-on class, we will discuss visual illusions as well as best practices for night flying. We will cover Autokinesis and Night Landing Illusions and how to avoid them. We will also discuss acclimating your eye for night flight. We will also cover the use of lights to illuminate our subjects and how to avoid “light contamination” in our eyes.

  • Practical Flight Training (2 hours)  (In the field!)
    • Overview of pre-planning checklist
      • Outline for the day
      • Wind Speed/weather check
      • Location overview: On-site walkthrough of potential obstacles/issues
      • Safety & Emergency procedures (requirement of aircraft lighting)
      • Equipment check, site setup, and basic flight controls
    • Overview of Night Flight UAV flight requirements
      • Airspace & notification requirements
      • Communication with ground crew and Visual Observer
    • UAV Night Flight with craft of choice

Registration with this workshop includes:

  • A Night UAV Flight Handbook
  • Boxed Dinner before heading out to the field for practical training
  • A red flashlight
  • Post-Class, a certificate of completion*

 

*The certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

Please note:  UAVs outfitted with required FAA lighting systems will be provided for the attendees to fly for this workshop. Please do not bring your personal UAV as we will not be able to fly it during this workshop.

Participants should have some drone flight experience prior to taking this workshop.  A 107 certification is recommended.

Schedule

  • Theoretical Class (including test & marking):  3:00 – 5:45pm
  • Dinner 5:00pm
  • FIELD 6:00 pm
  • SUNSET 6:20 PM
  • FLYING 7:00pm – 9:30pm

FAQS

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to the event (both classroom and field).   We can assist with carpooling if necessary.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please do:  Contact us at workshops@sundancemediagroup.com

What’s the refund policy?

Full refunds for any cancellation with 24 hours notice.  For same day cancellations, SMG will retain a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just ID.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

Tickets are non-transferrable.  Please cancel and re-register.

 

 

MANY THANKS to our supporting vendors:

   

By | October 4th, 2018|0 Comments

UAVs in Public Safety – H520 Roadshow – Williamsport, PA

WestWind and Sundance Media Group have partnered together to showcase UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in Public Safety. This unique roadshow is designed to educate agencies (law enforcement, fire, EMS, and other first responders) on the value of a turnkey drone program and how implementing drones into the workflow can decrease costs and personnel risks and increase efficiencies. This free introduction to “UAV as a Tool” will showcase the new Yuneec H520 hexacopter and the DataPilot mapping program, as well as other accessories and technologies that create a turnkey UAV solution for a variety of public safety applications.

  • Search and Rescue
  • Accident Reconstruction
  • Crime Scene Mapping
  • Crowd Control
  • Active Shooter Scenarios
  • Intelligence-gathering
  • Photographing Remote Crash Sites
  • Airborne communication Repeater Platforms
  • Terrain Mapping
  • Crash/Disaster Site Monitoring
  • Enhance Safety at a Contaminated Scene
  • Fire Scene Management Tools with Thermal Imaging & Resource Management
  • Value of a birdseye view of operations on a large scene

Our presenters will also showcase FoxFury Lighting SolutionsHoverFlyVenom Power,  and Hoodman USA accessories.

Join us for a two hour presentation, light snacks and beverages.

If you have any questions about the roadshow or its location, please email rsvp@sundancemediagroup.com.

REGISTER HERE

Be sure to bring all your drone / UAV / sUAS questions with you!

Fire & H520

By | September 19th, 2018|0 Comments

PRESS RELEASE: Global Security Exchange X-Learning Stages to Address Intersection of Security and Technology

FOR RELEASE:  September 18, 2018

Media Contact:
Peggy O’Connor
pr@asisonline.org
+1.703.518.1415

AERIAL VEHICLE OPERATIONS CENTER/AVOC to be on display at GSX, demonstrating present and future technologies for sUAS in Security Operations

Alexandria, VA – September 15, 2018  Security is an ever-evolving landscape and sUAS (Drones) are an undeniable,  significant component of future security operations. sUAS are disrupting virtually every corner of the security, law enforcement, and event management industries.

Sundance Media Group (SMG) and their AVOC will be center stage at the Global Security Exchange (GSX) conference being held Sept 23-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In the first year of its rebrand following a 63-year history as the ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits, GSX is expected to attract more than 20,000 operational and cyber security professionals and 550 exhibitors for the industry’s flagship event. ASIS International is the world’s largest association for security management professionals.

“The AVOC is a game-changer in event security and security operations demonstration,” said Jennifer Pidgen, COO of SMG, “The technology and ability have already demonstrated their value in a post 10/1 environment. “ Coupling aerial robotics with automated perimeter security, 360 video, and a low-profile, controlled environment makes for a cost-effective, low profile presence for outdoor venue security and perimeter monitoring.  Attendees of the GSX conference will have opportunity to walk through the AVOC, see the latest technology in simulated use, speak with sUAS experts in the security and law enforcement sectors, and gain a deeper understanding of how sUAS are currently being implemented, and how security organizations may implement sUAS in the future near and far.

Douglas Spotted Eagle, Director of Educational Programming said, “we are thrilled to be a part of the GSX experience, demonstrating security and forensic applications of sUAS for both day and night functions, controlled through our AVOC, as well as outside the AVOC for smaller events. The computer horsepower, display systems, and aircraft combine for a near invisible presence in the skies as overwatch and perimeter security, and we believe attendees of the GSX event will be surprised and enthusiastic about the opportunity to know more about drones in this changing environment.”

At GSX, the exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment featuring thousands of security products, technologies and service solutions, as well as immersive learning opportunities designed to connect the current threat landscape, as well as emerging risks, with leading solutions available in the marketplace. New features available on this year’s show floor include:

X-Learning Theaters:

X Stage—features leading-edge technologies and their impacts across the industry, examining innovations like blockchain and cryptocurrencies, AI, drones and robotics, social media and the digital self;

Xcelerated Exchange Stage—provides a forum for the critical discussions that need to take place between practitioners and solution providers to proactively address the current and future security landscape; and

Xperience Stage—showcases case studies and other tried-and-true best practices that address security challenges facing practitioners across all industry sectors, including active shooter scenarios, bullying in the healthcare industry, and the risks associated with hosting a public event at cultural institutions.

Career HQ, with new career fair and enhanced career center:
Job seekers will have access to resume reviews, a headshot studio, career coaching, professional development sessions and networking opportunities with employers and peers—all free. The new career fair will have top companies looking to hire talent, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Apple.

D3 Xperience (Drones, Droids, Defense):
Supported by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), D3 will deliver an immersive learning experience focused on the impact of Unmanned Systems on the security industry. Education and demos will showcase the emerging technology around the use of drones, droids and counter-UAV defense systems.
Innovative Product Awards (IPAs) Showcase:

The 2018 Innovative Product Awards highlights the new products and services on the GSX show floor that are poised to disrupt the security marketplace. The submission deadline is August 3.

In addition to these features, the exhibit floor will house an International Trade Center and the ASIS Hub, which includes access to ASIS Council representatives, live streaming interviews, and fireside chats.

“We have completely re-engineered GSX to provide more opportunities for security practitioners, solution providers, students, military and first responders. From Career HQ and the International Trade Center to our three unique theaters of education and live demos, attendees and exhibitors will find tremendous value in our immersive, engaging, and informative expo hall,” said Richard E. Chase, CPP, PCI, PSP, 2018 president, ASIS International. “There is no other event that compares to what GSX is offering this year, and we’re just getting started. We will continue to evolve and grow GSX in the years ahead as a part of our new brand promise to unite the full spectrum of security professionals to create the only global “must attend” security event.”

GSX brings together attendees, speakers, exhibitors and press from more than 100 countries. To learn more and to register, visit www.GSX.org/register. Members of the press are eligible to receive a free all-access pass, including keynote presentations, education sessions, and the show floor. Email pr@asisonline.org with your media credentials to register.

###

About Global Security Exchange

Entering its 64th year, Global Security Exchange (formerly the ASIS International Annual Seminar & Exhibits) is the world’s most comprehensive event for security professionals worldwide, dedicated to addressing fast-paced changes across the industry with a focus on immersive learning, revitalized networking, and a reimagined exhibit floor.

Attendance at GSX directly supports scholarship programs and the development of education, certification, and standards and guidelines year-round. ASIS International remains dedicated to expanding and enriching knowledge sharing, best practices, and peer-to-peer connections so security professionals across disciplines—and at all stages of their career—can get access to the information and resources they need to succeed. For information, visit www.GSX.org.

About  Sundance Media Group

Founded in 1996, Sundance Media Group/SMG began as a training organization focused on cameras, codecs, and post-production technology. In 2004, the company began training in aviation technology, adding sUAS in 2011. In 2012, SMG produced the world’s first UAS training conference at the National Association of Broadcasters Post Production World Conference and is an ISO-compliant organization.

With experts in Public Safety, Construction, Vertical Inspection, Real Estate, and Cinematography, SMG instructors may be found speaking at technical, aviation, and UAS conferences around the globe. For more information on SMG, please visit www.sundancemediagroup.com 

Part 91, 101, 103, 105, 107, 137: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

All these FARs, what’s a drone pilot to do in order to understand them? Do they matter?

YES!

In virtually every aviation pursuit except for sUAS, an understanding of regulations is requisite and part of most testing mechanisms.  As a result, many sUAS pilots holding 

a Remote Pilot Certificate under Part §107 are woefully uninformed, to the detriment of the industry.

Therefore, sUAS pilots would be well-served to inform themselves of how each section of relevant FARs regulate components of aviation.

Let’s start by digging into the intent of each Part.

  • §Part 91 regulates General Operating and Flight Rules.
  • §Part 101 regulates Moored Balloons, Kites, Amateur Rockets, Unmanned Free Balloons, and some types of Model Aircraft.
  • §Public Law Section 336 regulates hobby drones as an addendum to Part 101.
  • §Part 103 regulates Ultra-Light Vehicles, or manned, unpowered aviation.
  • §Part 105 regulates Skydiving.
  • §Part 107 regulates sUAS
  • §Part 137 regulates agricultural aircraft

RELEVANT PARTS (Chapters):

Part §91

This portion of the FARs is barely recognized, although certain sections of Part 91 may come into play in the event of an action by the FAA against an sUAS pilot. For example, the most concerning portion of Part 91 is  91.13, or “Careless or Reckless Operation.” Nearly every action taken against sUAS pilots have included a charge of 91.13 in the past (prior to 107).

Specific to drone actions, The vast majority of individuals charged have also included the specific of a 91.13 charge.

sUAS pilots whether recreational or commercial pilots may be charged with a §91.13 or the more relevant §107.23 (reckless)

It’s pretty simple; if there are consequences to a pilot’s choices and actions, it’s likely those consequences also included a disregard for safety or planning, ergo; careless/reckless. The FAA has recently initiated actions against Masih Mozayan for flying his aircraft near a helicopter and taking no avoidance action. They’ve also taken action against Vyacheslav Tantashov for his actions that resulted in damage to a military helicopter (without seeing the actual action, it’s a reasonable assumption that the action will be a §91.13 or a §107.23 (hazardous operation).

Other parts of Part 91 are relevant as well. For example;

  • §91.1   Applicability.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), (e), and (f) of this section and §§91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

The above paragraph includes sUAS.  Additionally, Part 107 does not exclude Part 91. Airmen (including sUAS pilots) should be aware of the freedoms and restrictions granted in Part 91.

§91.3   Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.

(c) Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

§91.7   Civil aircraft airworthiness.

(a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.

(b) The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.

§91.15   Dropping objects.

No pilot in command of a civil aircraft may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property. However, this section does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

§91.17   Alcohol or drugs.

(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—

(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;

(2) While under the influence of alcohol;

(3) While using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or

Sound familiar?

SubPart B also carries relevant information/regulation with regard to operation in controlled airspace, operations in areas under TFR ((§91.133), operations in disaster/hazard areas, flights during national events, lighting (§91.209)

PART 101

Part §101 has a few applicable sections.

Subpart (a) under §101.1 restricts model aircraft and tethered aircraft (balloons). Although subpart (a.4. iiv) is applicable to balloon tethers, there is argument that it also applies to sUAS. Subpart (a.5.iii) defines recreational flight for sUAS/model aircraft.

 

Finally, §101.7 re-emphasizes §91.15 with regard to dropping objects (may not be performed without taking precautions to prevent injury or damage to persons or property).  Public Law 112-95 Section 336 (which may be folded into a “107 lite” version), clarifies sections not added to Part 101.

Bear in mind that unless the pilot follows the rules and guidelines of a NCBO such as the AMA, AND the requirements of that NCBO are met, the flight requirements default to Part 107 requirements.

PART §103

Part §103 regulates Ultralight vehicles (Non powered, manned aviation)

Although no component of Part §103 specifically regulates UAV, it’s a good read as Part 103 contains components of regulation found in Part 107.

PART §105

Part §105 regulates Skydiving.

Part §105 carries no specific regulation to sUAS, an understanding of Part 105 provides great insight to components of Part 107. Part 107 has very few “new” components; most of its components are clipped out of other FAR sections.

PART §107

Although many sUAS pilots “have their 107,” very few have actually absorbed the FAR beyond a rapid read-through. Without a thorough understanding of the FAR, it’s difficult to comprehend the foundation of many rules.

PART §137

Part 137 applies specifically to spraying crops via aerial vehicles.

Those looking into crop spraying via sUAS should be familiar with Part 137, particularly with the limitations on who can fly, where they can fly, and how crops may be sprayed.
One area every ag drone pilot should look at is §137.35 §137.55 regarding limitations and business licenses.

The bottom line is that the more informed a pilot is, the better pilot they can be.  While there are many online experts purporting deep knowledge of aviation regulations and how they specifically apply to sUAS, very few are familiar with the regulations in specific, and even less informed as to how those regulations are interpreted and enforced by ASI’s. We’ve even had Part 61 pilots insist that the FSDO is a “who” and not a “what/where.” Even fewer are aware of an ASI and how they relate to the world of sUAS.

FSIM Volume 16

It is reasonably safe to say that most sUAS pilots are entirely unaware of the Flight Standards Information Management System, aka “FSIMS.” I’ve yet to run across a 107 pilot familiar with the FSIMS, and recently was vehemently informed that “there is nothing beyond FAR Part 107 relative to sUAS. Au contraire…

Familiarity with the FSIMS may enlighten sUAS operator/pilots in how the FAA examines, investigates, and enforces relevant FARs.

Chapter 1 Sections 1, 2  and 4 are a brief, but important read, as is Chapter 2, Section 2.

Chapter 3 Section 1 is informational for those looking to apply for their RPC Part 107 Certificate.

Chapter 4 Sections 2, 5, 7, 8 are of particular value for commercial pilots operating under Part 107.

Volume 17, although related only to manned aviation, also has components related to 107, and should be read through (Chapters 3 & 4) by 107 pilots who want to be informed.

Gaining new information is always beneficial, and even better if the new information is implemented in your workflow and program. Become informed, be the best pilot you can be, and encourage others to recognize the value in being a true professional, informed and aware.

 

 

CSI and sUAS: Tools for the Crime Scene Analyst

FoxFury, Pix4D, Sundance Media Group (SMG), and the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence came together during the InterDrone Conference, sharing techniques and technology used for capturing forensic scenes during night hours. This event will be repeated during the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas on October 3, at the WestGate hotel. Register now for the Commercial UAV Expo CSI demonstration.

Sundance Media Group and the CSI data may also be viewed at Booth #5413 at the Global Security eXchange Security Conference and Expo, September 23-27 in Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Register for the GSX show HERE.

Douglas Spotted Eagle addresses a crowd gathered for a crime scene/sUAS demo with local crime scene investigators, FoxFury, Pix4D, and Sundance Media Group

As you’d expect, the ratio of nighttime vs daytime crime is much higher,” said one investigator from a local law enforcement agency. “This sort of training and experience provides greater depth to our toolkit. We are grateful to have partners willing to research and share experiences that may benefit our agency.”

Using FoxFury Nomad Hi CRI, daylight-balanced lighting, to light the scene in an area of East Henderson where no power and no available light existed, the team used Hollywood makeup techniques, a bit of stage blood, and shell casings to re-create a genuine crime scene. The “crime scene” was kept pristine as nearly 100 attendees looked on.

The FoxFury Nomads, properly positioned, provide a no/low-shadow environment with accurate colors.

Most LED lighting systems will generate a color-cast that may create problems in the post-capture investigation. Moreover, the lights do not require cabling that can trip up those on-scene, or create their own form of scene contamination. To place them, we merely pull down three legs, raise the pillar, and power up the lights. At half intensity, the lights provide approximately 12 hours of lighting,” says Douglas Spotted Eagle of Sundance Media Group. The FoxFury Nomads may be charged over a 12v connection in a patrol/support vehicle as well. 

FoxFury Rugo’s are placed on the aircraft for additional lighting as well as for FAA compliance. The Rugo provides a constant flash indicator in addition to options for Flood, Flat, or Pinspot light distribution. The Rugo mounts for the Yuneec and DJI products offer a 360 swivel, allowing for light control in any direction. Users may choose from four intensities in addition to the flash/cycle option.

 

James Spear talked about the aircraft lighting, saying “We use the FoxFury Rugo’s for our scene and night lighting not only due to the many options for lighting focus, but also because of the interchangeable batteries. At full intensity, we enjoy about an hour of flight time, yet the lights will operate for up to three hours at lower intensities.”

Ground Control Points were laid into place on the perimeter of the scene, taking care to ensure no one stepped into the scene. These are used as tie-points during the 2D and 3D assembly of the data, using Pix4Dmapper. The GCP’s for night capture are painted with Day-Glo paint colors for bright visibility and identification in the darkness of night. Similar techniques may be employed during thermal mapping projects (Pix4Dmapper on the desktop may be used for thermal mapping if the thermal camera properly embeds/captures meta-data). Shown here by Brady Reisch of the SMG team, the GCP’s are a highly-valued component to set scale constraints to the scene.

The area was flown with a drone equipped with a camera capturing GPS location, capturing a reduced area for purposes of avoiding flight over persons, and for expediency during the demonstration.

The pilot, wearing a Brother AiRScouter HUD, is able to simultaneously observe the aircraft and telemetry. Attendees of the event had opportunity to wear the HUD and appreciate the value of a constant display that enables pilots to observe the aircraft, telemetry, and video data, all at once.  Jennifer Pidgen of SMG commented, “We have equipped each of our pilots with the AiRScouter system not only for these scenarios, but more importantly for those times where we’re inspecting critical detail and looking away from the aircraft may increase risk. The AirScouter enables our pilots to observe the aircraft flying closely to objects while providing a constant stream of information to the pilot.”

The sUAS captured nearly 100 photos used to create the overall model/map of the scene. Normally, the scene would encompass the entire area in the event that there may be more clues hidden in the brush or sandy areas surrounding the site. Thermal may also be used to search for other bodies, or persons involved in the crew.

The images were then taken into the Sundance Media Group AVOC computers, where we assembled them as a low-resolution 2D file to verify all areas of the scene were adequately captured,” said Sam Pepple, of Pix4D. “Once verification and confirmation are complete, the scene may be released to the rest of the CSI team for standard investigation. Following the low-resolution verification, a high-resolution image was processed and evaluated by the team, as shown in the Pix4D booth at InterDrone.”

The point cloud of the scene is shared online here. Hold CTRL+SHIFT to rotate the scene in 3 dimensions.

Once the scene is captured, the rectified scene may be viewed internally or via secured online site by CSA, or Crime Scene Analysts, allowing measurements to be verified, retaken, or examined from a multitude of angles. 

The Sundance Media Group team will be demonstrating this experience at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas on October 3. Location TBA, near the WestGate hotel (walking distance).  REGISTER HERE. It is recommended that attendees register early. The last event ran out of space/slots within three days.

Thank you to Pix4D, FoxFury, Brother, NDCOE, WestWind Unmanned, Las Vegas Metro, Henderson PD, and Sundance Media Group for their efforts to bring this to the attendees of the InterDrone event.

Douglas Spotted Eagle addresses a crowd of nearly 100 attendees at the CSI demo.

Sam Pepple of Pix4D addresses the crowd, describing how Pix4D will be used to capture the scene, the importance and value of GCP, and why these models are valuable to crime scene investigators. 

An investigator briefs the crowd on how UAS are changing the face of scene capture, and details how a scene is approached, observed, captured, and processed.

We captured the scene using multiple drones. Brady Reisch captured video of the event; we’ll soon have that available for viewing.

The SMG AVOC was the hub of activity prior to the night flight. Pizza and drinks provided by FoxFury and Pix4D.

The FoxFury Rugo lights are a key component to SMG night flight. They may be mounted  to nearly any sUAS platform including Yuneec H520, Hplus, DJI Phantom, Inspire 1, Inspire 2, Matrice 200 series, AEE Mach 4, and many others.

By | September 10th, 2018|Drone, Public Safety, sUAS, sUAS, sUAS Safety, Technology, Training, UAV|0 Comments

Practical Night UAV Flight Training (Post-Interdrone 2018)

About the Workshop

Sundance Media Group (SMG) will offer practical Night UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, otherwise known as drone) flight training course to equip UAV pilots with the knowledge, skills and confidence to pilot your UAV at night safely, efficiently and effectively.

Greater than 70 percent of our flying information comes through the eye and the eye is easily fooled at night. This is compounded by the inexperienced pilot alternating views between a tabled/lighted display and the position of the UAV in the sky. Night flying has a higher accident rate than identical day flying, both in UAV and manned aviation. Why? Depth perception is severely distorted, as is reaction time. There are also visual illusions that need to be recognized and mitigated. This session will provide information that will allow pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29). You’ll also learn the foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

Theoretical Training (2 hours)  (Henderson Executive Airport)

The workshop will begin with a comprehensive theory session classroom style, then we head out to the night flight location for some practical experience. Topics to be covered during the classroom portion: 

  • FAA rules of night UAV flight  (What is a 107.29 waiver?)
  • Different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night
  • Autokinesis and night landing Illusions and how to avoid them
  • Equipment setup
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Importance of acclimating your eye for night flight & avoid light contamination
  • Foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

This workshop is designed to provide all the necessary information needed to empower pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29).  *This workshop includes a certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

After a comprehensive theory session, we will travel to the nearby night flight location for some practical experience. We’ll present different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night. In this practical hands-on class, we will discuss visual illusions as well as best practices for night flying. We will cover Autokinesis and Night Landing Illusions and how to avoid them. We will also discuss acclimating your eye for night flight. We will also cover the use of lights to illuminate our subjects and how to avoid “light contamination” in our eyes.

  • Practical Flight Training (2 hours)  (In the field!)
    • Overview of pre-planning checklist
      • Outline for the day
      • Wind Speed/weather check
      • Location overview: On-site walkthrough of potential obstacles/issues
      • Safety & Emergency procedures (requirement of aircraft lighting)
      • Equipment check, site setup, and basic flight controls
    • Overview of Night Flight UAV flight requirements
      • Airspace & notification requirements
      • Communication with ground crew and Visual Observer
    • UAV Night Flight with craft of choice

Registration with this workshop includes:

  • A Night UAV Flight Handbook
  • Boxed Dinner before heading out to the field for practical training
  • A red flashlight
  • Post-Class, a certificate of completion*

 

*The certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

Please note:  UAVs outfitted with required FAA lighting systems will be provided for the attendees to fly for this workshop. Please do not bring your personal UAV as we will not be able to fly it during this workshop.

Participants should have some drone flight experience prior to taking this workshop.  A 107 certification is recommended.

Schedule

  • Theoretical Class (including test & marking):  3:30 – 6:00pm
  • Dinner 6:00pm
  • FIELD 7:00 pm
  • SUNSET 7:31 PM
  • FLYING 8:00pm – 10:30pm

FAQS

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to the event (both classroom and field).   We can assist with carpooling if necessary.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please do:  Contact us at workshops@sundancemediagroup.com

What’s the refund policy?

Full refunds offered with 24 hours notice.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just ID.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

Tickets are non-transferrable.  Please cancel and re-register.

 

 

By | September 8th, 2018|0 Comments

AUGUST Night UAV Flight Training – Las Vegas

About the Workshop

Experienced field UAV (drone) instructors will offer this practical Night UAV flight training course to equip remote pilots with the knowledge, skills and confidence to pilot an UAV at night safely, efficiently and effectively.

Greater than 70 percent of our flying information comes through the eye and the eye is easily fooled at night. This is compounded by the inexperienced pilot alternating views between a tabled/lighted display and the position of the UAV in the sky. Night flying has a higher accident rate than identical day flying, both in UAV and manned aviation. Why? Depth perception is severely distorted, as is reaction time. There are also visual illusions that need to be recognized and mitigated. This is a practical hands-on class where visual illusions will be experienced in the field as instructors share best practices for night flying.

The workshop will begin with a comprehensive theory session classroom style, then we will head out to the night flight location for some practical experience. Topics to be covered during the classroom portion:

  • FAA rules of night UAV flight  (What is a 107.29 waiver?)
  • Different types of visual illusions that commonly occur at night
  • Autokinesis and night landing Illusions and how to avoid them
  • Equipment setup
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Importance of acclimating your eye for night flight & avoid light contamination
  • Foundation of applying for a COW/COA for night flight from an experienced night-flight pilot

This workshop is designed to provide all the necessary information needed to empower pilots to sidestep these challenges, while properly assessing and managing the risks associated with night flight (as waived per Part 107.29).  *This workshop includes a certificate of night flight training, which can be used to expedite your FAA waiver.

Registration with this workshop includes:

  • Night UAV Flight Handbook
  • Light meal before heading out to the field for practical training
  • A red flashlight
  • Post-Class, a certificate of completion

Please note:  UAVs outfitted with required FAA lighting systems will be provided for the attendees to fly for this workshop. Please do not bring your personal UAV as we will not be able to fly it during this workshop.

Participants should have some drone flight experience prior to taking this workshop.  A 107 certification is recommended.

Schedule

  • Theoretical Class (including test & marking):  3:30 – 6:00pm
  • Dinner 6:00pm
  • FIELD 7:00 pm
  • SUNSET 7:31 PM
  • FLYING 8:00pm – 10:30pm

FAQS

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to the event (both classroom and field).

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please do:  Contact us at workshops@sundancemediagroup.com

What’s the refund policy?

Full refunds offered with 24 hours notice.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just ID.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

Tickets are non-transferrable.  Please cancel and re-register.

 

REGISTER EARLY to Save

Early Bird Pricing – $425

Pricing After August 3 – $520

 

By | August 15th, 2018|0 Comments

BATTERY MANAGEMENT for sUAS

Batteries, Fuel, power, energy, no matter how the cells powering UAS are referred to, are components of the Unmanned Aerial SYSTEM that are frequently ignored, often to operational peril.

During this hot summer season we’ve had multiple agencies and individuals reach out with battery questions. In a few situations, fuel cells have been ignored for so long that the batteries are beyond recovery.

This issue is not limited, of course, to only UAS batteries. Laptops, mobile phones, radios, MP3 players, etc all run the risk of battery failure/damage if mismanaged.

HELP YOURSELF AVOID THIS ISSUE.

First and foremost, always store batteries at less than half-charge. Generally, batteries should be stored at 30-40% of charge. Yes, this may create some inconveniences for emergency services, and there are other ways around this issue. Proper battery maintenance means having a battery charging, logging, discharging, and storage strategy beyond the scope of this article.

Use a professional charging solution.

Manufacturers rarely provide quality charging systems. This means agencies and users must step outside the manufacturer ecosystem and purchase a third party charger. For example, Vertical Partners West manufactures a line of chargers branded as “Venom,” which fits into the low-midrange agency/organization price point and strategy. They also manufacture a high-end commercial charger with a subscription system, ensuring all-time battery optimization, monitored at the user location and/or their own servers in Idaho.

Note the “Cycle/Store” button options; these are critical for proper battery maintenance. Batteries that will not be used for some time should use the Storage feature to reduce the battery cells to 3.85 volts. This sort of system chargers at least 1.5X faster than manufacturer systems, so bringing a battery to full charge is a relatively fast process. These fan-cooled systems may live in the back of a patrol truck or command center; the key is keeping the battery cool.

Image courtesy Michael Panco

 

STAY CHILL!

One frequent cause of fuel failure stems from a fully-charged battery being kept in a black case in direct sunlight, a vehicle trunk, or other hot area. This will virtually always cause any battery to “gas off” and become puffy.  Some“gassing off” is normal of LiPo batteries, gassing off QUICKLY is not.

 

Some batteries are foil-wrapped and have air in the foil, vs the cell being truly puffed. These batteries should be disposed of for safety reasons, even though they may appear to be fully charged and operating properly.

Proper battery maintenance will USUALLY prevent this swelling from occurring. ** It’s important to note that battery life is reduced in extreme heat and extreme cold!

 

 

HANDLE WITH CARE

Next to overheating/over charging, the next biggest killer of LiPo batteries is from being dropped on the ground. Batteries are flammable, may explode in the perfect scenario, and should be handled with care at all times. We recommend storing them in cool, dry metal boxes or LiPo pouches. Surplus ammo cans are ideal. LiPo pouches, stored in a food cooler is another efficient means of storage.

Organizations with fleets of UAS are likely already using fleet management software, such as KittyHawk, Skyward, or similar. Fuel systems are often an afterthought. But what if the fleet management software could interface with the charging solution, ensuring accuracy and notification occur with battery management?

This is where a product like the Venom Commercial Battery Management System brings great value to the table. Fireproof drawers for charging batteries, intelligent interface that monitors battery health, cycles, temps, voltage, depth of discharge and more are possible. The system will also notify users of failing batteries. According to the VPW website, they also custom-build charging trays to user specification.

CHARGING ON-SITE

NEVER place a freshly-depleted/warm battery into a charger. Allow the battery time to cool off prior to re-charging.

USAGE TIP!

A common practice in many production houses is to place charged batteries on the prep table in the face-up position, or put a strip of green tape on the top of the battery. Depleted/ready to charge batteries are placed face-down/upside down on the charging table, sometimes with a strip of red tape on the bottom. Green/face up indicates a ready-to-go battery, while red indicates a depleted battery. Some houses go so far as to write battery cycles per-project on the tape so that batteries may be properly logged following production. These techniques help ensure fresh, fully functioning batteries on every project.

IN SUMMARY:

  • Store batteries at 30% of full charge
  • Store batteries in a cool, dark area
  • Log battery charge cycles. Replace batteries at 300 cycles (or follow manufacturer direction. For those in the USA, logging batteries is a maintenance requirement per AC107-2)
  • Replace/Dispose of swollen/puffy batteries
  • Use a professional-grade charging solution as opposed to manufacturer-included charging solutions

 

Douglas Spotted Eagle has been active in UAS aviation since 2010, and active in general aviation for nearly 20 years. He is a 25-year veteran of the Subject Matter Guru team, and a co-founder of Sundance Media Group (SMG), with a deep focus on sUAS for Public Safety, Construction, and Inspection verticals. As the co-author of five books on the topic of sUAS for specific uses, he continues to push the envelope in sUAS implementation.
Douglas welcomes input from readers.

By | July 22nd, 2018|sUAS Regulation, UAV Maintenance|0 Comments