[Noisebridge-discuss] occucopter hackers

Corey McGuire coreyfro at coreyfro.com
Thu Jan 5 08:01:51 PST 2012

What is the expectation of flight time?  If it's anything longer than 20
minutes, may I suggest an alternative?


Balloon with tethers.

Nothing relying on power and control is going to either withstand wind,
have endurance, be lite enough to fly, or is going to stay in one spot.
And nothing is going to have autopilot/autohover for less than $2000 (
http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/KomplettsetUebersicht) unless someone
is willing to spend a lot of DIY time.  One cannot will a device into
existence that posses enough of all of these traits to beat a balloon with

Besides, you'll need someone on the ground focused entirely on flight.
Being that third person view in three dimensions is a challenging task,
you'll find that most people get exhausted after almost no time at all.

If you are still sold on the "something powered" solution...

How do we fix flight time:

   - Small blimps bob around like a buoy.  You'll get sea sick trying to
   watch the video.  Not only that, they'll sail off unless you have a very
   decent power supply.  Also, anything neutrally buoyant in open air?  How
   are you going to get it back down?  I invite you to solve this problem
   - Anything battery powered is straight out.  Lifting a battery in to the
   air means short flight times - period.  Grow the battery, increase the
   amount of work required to fly.  Quickly, your battery outweighs it's
    - Fuel poses another problem.  You can't simply turn fuel craft on and
   off.  If your craft goes out of control, then you have a spinning saw blade
   looking for a target.  There are solutions...but will they work to the
   satisfaction of, say, the police?  Believe it or not, there are laws to
   this effect, and they usually require flying outside city limits.
   - Anything "copter" or "rotor" is going to eat through fuel because they
   do not benefit from the mechanical advantage of wings.  Basically, flight
   time requires wings.

Once you've solved flight times, control is still a problem:

   - Who is going to put the craft in a steady hover/flight pattern?
   - Will you have a rotation of pilots?
   - You can afford an auto pilot?  GREAT!  YOU still need to know how to
   fly and YOU still need to watch your craft at ALL TIMES.

So far, through investigating this, I have found the following recipe:

   - http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/ardupilot-mega-home-page
   - http://coxengines.ca/product.php?productid=453

I still don't think it's a good idea, nor do I think it will please law
enforcement for obvious safety reasons.

My recommendation? Balloons with tethers.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler - Albert
Einstein <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein>
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo Da
Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there
is nothing left to take away - Antoine de Saint
Keep It Simple Stupid - Kelly
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