Old 06-24-2014, 01:42 PM   #1
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Default Get your UAV shots now.....

If you're looking for that awesome and otherwise unachievable angle that only a camera-equipped UAV can provide, you'd better get it soon. I predict that there will be a lot more of this coming:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-g...WhatsNewsThird

As the prices on little UAVs come into the range of affordability for the average "Joe/Jane", and the skill level required to fly them comes down as well, these things are going to proliferate like DSLRs. You can already outfit yourself for about a thousand bucks. Pretty soon, they will be whizzing around vacation spots, beaches, sporting events....you name it. Inevitably, they will not only become very annoying, but a safety issue as well. You can already find videos on You Tube of people with more money than grey matter flying these things up several thousand feet....into the clouds....up where manned aircraft fly. The first time there is a collision, or a big Pratt & Whitney gets trashed, well,.....you know how Congress reacts.

If you do have one of these little guys, please fly it responsibly. Keep it away from people....especially crowds.....structures, and definitely keep it below 400 AGL and away from airports. A little common sense goes a long way. Unfortunately, as I get older, I realize that common sense isn't necessarily common.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
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I'm not surprised. They are quite annoying when overhead after a few minutes. Not to mention the image quality with those little cameras is pretty mediocre.

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Old 06-24-2014, 03:16 PM   #3
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I was taken by surprise when I heard this loud insect sounding noise over my head when chasing the Iowa Pacific train. It turned out to be a good sized drone, seen on the upper left of this picture. I guess it's something we'll have to get used to, cause this kind of thing is probably not going to go away.



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Old 06-24-2014, 03:48 PM   #4
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Hi Lloyd,

You are correct in that most of the UAVs in use are the small DJI Phantoms, and the payload on those is pretty limited from a weight standpoint. The IQ from some of the small cameras isn't all that stout. However, the hexacopter shown in Chris' photo is a significantly bigger air vehicle. It has sufficient useful load to take something as large as a 5DMkIII or even my D4 for a ride. The resolution and IQ with cameras like that is as good as it gets......not that I intend to put my camera on one of those anytime soon!

Can you just imagine what will happen the next time NKP 765 hits the Horseshoe Curve and everyone that used to bring a DSLR or video cam and tripod now brings one of these? Can you say "mid-air"? Bring a hard hat! Yikes!
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:56 PM   #5
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Hi Lloyd,

You are correct in that most of the UAVs in use are the small DJI Phantoms, and the payload on those is pretty limited from a weight standpoint. The IQ from some of the small cameras isn't all that stout. However, the hexacopter shown in Chris' photo is a significantly bigger air vehicle. It has sufficient useful load to take something as large as a 5DMkIII or even my D4 for a ride. The resolution and IQ with cameras like that is as good as it gets......not that I intend to put my camera on one of those anytime soon!

Can you just imagine what will happen the next time NKP 765 hits the Horseshoe Curve and everyone that used to bring a DSLR or video cam and tripod now brings one of these? Can you say "mid-air"? Bring a hard hat! Yikes!
I've been wanting to break my paintball marker out again... This could be a good excuse to do so...
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:03 PM   #6
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Hummm. In looking at the drone in Chris' photo, I have to wonder about it in relation to the power lines? Look kind of close to me.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:40 PM   #7
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Looks like plenty of space between line and the building on the left, if one is hovering. In a 2D image there is no way to judge depth and that drone could as easily be about to touch the nearby wall as it is to touch the far power lines. I am betting it is about halfway between.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:53 PM   #8
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Looks like plenty of space between line and the building on the left, if one is hovering. In a 2D image there is no way to judge depth and that drone could as easily be about to touch the nearby wall as it is to touch the far power lines. I am betting it is about halfway between.
To heck with the power lines.....think of what a PITA it is going to be for Chris to clone that stupid thing out!

Seriously, the AV is probably not much of a risk for the power lines. The various insulating and structural layers in the cable would probably stop the nylon rotors cold. The primary risk is injury to people when a vehicle that weighs several pounds falls out of the sky after a mid-air collision with a wire, structure or another air vehicle.

One risk that modern technology has apparently overcome is the risk of interference between radio control systems. In the old days, having someone turn on a radio control unit that was on the same channel as your RC airplane could cause you to lose control. I talked to a guy who was flying one of those big hexacopters a couple of weeks ago and he assured me that the digital electronics in the control systems have that problem licked. If the copter loses contact with the control unit, I believe that it reverts to using internal GPS and essentially returns to the original point of launch. Way back when I was a kid, I recall watching RC airplanes just sail off to the horizon, never to be seen again.

Funny, back then, nobody called them "drones". Now, the news media has their own name for everything.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:17 PM   #9
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What we need are consumer grade CWIS systems to battle the invasion of the drones. Problem solved!
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:03 PM   #10
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From a purely narcissistic point of view, I'd be pretty damn pissed off if I heard one of those hovering around while NKP 765 is just approaching.

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Old 06-24-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hoydie17 View Post
I've been wanting to break my paintball marker out again... This could be a good excuse to do so...
I figure you probably feel that way cause you don't have one. You may think a little differently once you get yours.

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Old 06-24-2014, 09:26 PM   #12
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I was at a car show a few weeks ago, and the guy flying this never got above 10 feet. Kind of defeated the purpose of having the drone in the first place.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:36 PM   #13
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Not to mention the image quality with those little cameras is pretty mediocre.
While trye, that doesnt seem to stop anyone from using them. I welcome the restrictions.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:33 PM   #14
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I figure you probably feel that way cause you don't have one. You may think a little differently once you get yours.

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Nahh, I'm not going to buy one. I mused about it, but the $1000+ to get one just seems like it would be better spent on more flashes!
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:37 PM   #15
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While trye, that doesnt seem to stop anyone from using them. I welcome the restrictions.
I don't necessarily have a problem with people using them for train photos... I just have to express concern over some people using them in areas where they would put innocent onlookers at risk if they lose control of their toy.

If you're out in the woods, or in an open field away from crowds, go for it, knock yourself out. But if there's a reasonable risk of it crashing into someone's house, car or person... I'm just not sure I trust the judgement of your average railfan to think safety and good stewardship over "great photo" opportunity ...
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:52 PM   #16
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I don't necessarily have a problem with people using them for train photos... I just have to express concern over some people using them in areas where they would put innocent onlookers at risk if they lose control of their toy.

If you're out in the woods, or in an open field away from crowds, go for it, knock yourself out. But if there's a reasonable risk of it crashing into someone's house, car or person... I'm just not sure I trust the judgement of your average railfan to think safety and good stewardship over "great photo" opportunity ...
I dont want them anywhere near me, or my house. I guess out in the middle of nowhere, when no one else is around it's ok, but the general premise of these drones is anti-privacy and I am not down with that
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:59 PM   #17
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Coincidentally, a Washington Post article today documents the accidents and near misses involving UAVs/drones/whatever, including near misses with commercial aircraft. Some of these things are being flown quite high. I presume not quad copters, but then I have no idea, really. The article is part 3; parts 1 and 2 are about military drones, I think - I have yet to read them, just became aware of the series today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/inv...rones-on-rise/
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:16 AM   #18
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Hi J,

That article details a number of issues that I've been concerned about for some time, both as someone who attends a lot of "events" and someone who frequently flies manned airplanes. Over the past 20 years or so, I've seen a lot of hype in the news about flying cars and other forms of aerial vehicles that ANYONE can fly. Reporters would like us all to think that some day EVERYBODY will be flying. When I see such stories, three words come to mind: PLEASE GOD, NO!

When I was young and naive, I used to think that there was such a thing as common sense....you know, a sort of instinct that humans were born with to keep them safe. After driving a car on the nation's highways for the last 40 years or so, my bubble has been burst. I think a significant percentage of the public does not have the patience, judgment and discipline to drive a car safely, much less pilot an aircraft in the national airspace system. Heck, even some people who hold FAA pilot certificates leave me scratching my head.

It's a different world up there. There are no traffic lights, no double-yellow lines, and for most of us, we can't just pull over and stop when things go wrong. And here's a news flash for the general public. Many of the smaller airplanes you see up there on nice clear days aren't talking to any form of air traffic control. Yeah, you've got to be paying attention when you're flying. Put the stupid cell phone away. There's really no such thing as a fender-bender up there. Hit another aerial vehicle and it's generally game over. What has protected us and kept mid-airs to a minimum over the years are three things: Well-trained and disciplined pilots, the cost of entry, and the "Big Sky" theory. The latter says that given the relatively small number of aircraft and the relatively big volume of available airspace, the odds of two airplanes attempting to occupy the same space at the same time are pretty small.

Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, technologies have debuted that "appear" to minimize the amount of skill required to fly. Ask any Asiana Pilot....(sorry, couldn't help it ). Combine that was a plethora of mass-produced, low cost air vehicles and a lack of regulation and the days of the Big Sky Theory may be numbered. There is still hope, however. Congress is known for knee-jerk reactions and you can bet they'll react the first time someone hurts somebody with one of these things, or God forbid, causes an airline accident.

So get those awesome aerial shots now, while you're still the only "drone" owner on your block!

Semi-sarcastically,
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:31 AM   #19
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They'll never ban my 25 ft tripod!!
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:30 AM   #20
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These things fly themselves from, you tell them where to go and they Park themselves there. It is not as complicated as you think.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:25 AM   #21
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These things fly themselves from, you tell them where to go and they Park themselves there. It is not as complicated as you think.
Hi Brent,

Yes, that's the problem.

Cheap hardware + Minimal skill required + Minimal Regulation = Lots more people with aerial vehicles + Significantly increased probability of accidents and other mayhem.
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Old 06-28-2014, 05:31 AM   #22
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Hi Brent,

Yes, that's the problem.

Cheap hardware + Minimal skill required + Minimal Regulation = Lots more people with aerial vehicles + Significantly increased probability of accidents and other mayhem.
And peeping Toms.

http://www.myfoxny.com/story/2585962...n-spots-peeper

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It appeared that there were video cameras on it. So that's what kind of caused me alarm because I wasn't particularly dressed for a camera, by any means. I wasn't appropriate, and so that was nerve-wracking immediately.
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:18 PM   #23
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Kevin, I've never flown a plane in my life, but I agree with everything you said.

Jim, Which 25ft. tripod do you recommend? Do you have remote control for aiming the camera?
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:02 PM   #24
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Jim, Which 25ft. tripod do you recommend? Do you have remote control for aiming the camera?
Tripod: http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-269H.../dp/B001D2EQVI

Pan/tilt head: http://www.amazon.com/Bescor-MP101-V...rized+Pan+Head

Wireless (wifi) remote, controlled with an app on my iPhone and iPad: http://camranger.com/
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:40 PM   #25
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That's all out of my price range right now. Guess I'll stay a ground-hugger for the time being. Thanks. Next Big Purchase is a new iMac to replace my 8-year-old iMac.
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