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We love drones here at MAKE. The growth of the recreational and commercial drone space is exciting to watch. If you’re a drone enthusiast with an eye for videography we want to see your stuff and share your POV with the world on this site and on our YouTube channel.

Send your videos to me at sholbrook [at] makermedia [dot] com with “MAKE Drones” in the subject. Be sure to include any technical details about your drone build, your camera rig, your drone’s mission, and other drone geekery.

For inspiration, check out this video from last year. It’s a stunner. Of course, don’t try anything like this unless you’re an experienced pilot. And to be sure you’re not going to draw heat from the feds, here are the FAA’s rules and regulations on unmanned aircraft vehicles—aka drones. See you in the friendly skies!

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Food
*Sustainable/green design
*Science
*Young Makers
*Action sports


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Comments

  1. Charles Haase says:

    Aerial videos are awesome… I agree! But I have to say, I disagree with giving *this* video any more eyeballs. Why? It (and others like it) promote Remote-Controlled flying in ways that are likely to push our elected officials to pass even more restrictive laws governing the RC community (http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/drones-are-coming-our-laws-arent-ready-1C9006243).

    For those who don’t know, the FAA has been mandated to safely integrate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s or “drones”) into the National Air Space by 2015. Yes, this is much slower than many of us would like, but this is the path that has been laid. The FAA must consider all classes of vehicles, from large commercial or military vehicles down to small RC hobby vehicles. And its sole mission is safety (http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=68004).

    There is currently an understanding that has been worked out between the FAA and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and its purpose is to set forth guidelines to allow RC aircraft to operate safely in airspace that can be used by other vehicles. Here are the main points of the guidelines for RC aircraft (paraphrased for brevity from http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/540-c.pdf):
    1) Select an operating site that is a sufficient distance from populated areas (in the video above, I am pretty sure Lombard Street is populated).
    2) Make sure your aircraft is proven to be airworthy before flying in front of spectators.
    3) Do not fly aircraft higher than 400 feet above the surface. When you are within 3 miles of an airport, notify the control tower or operator. The purpose of this is to maintain vertical separation from manned aircraft to prevent collisions, and to alert manned aircraft during takeoff and landing of RC operation in their vicinity. The Golden Gate bridge is over 700 feet tall. True, manned aircraft shouldn’t be that close to the bridge, but the makers of the video above have violated this guideline in other flights.
    4) Give right of way to, and avoid flying in the vicinity of, full-size aircraft. Use a spotter to help observe.

    … and there are additional guidelines for flying First Person View (FPV) (http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/550.pdf), some of which are:
    a) You must have a spotter maintaining visual line-of-sight next to you when flying FPV. If you’re wearing goggles, you can’t see anything outside of your camera’s cone of view, including buildings, people, or other aircraft. Flying through clouds is not line-of-sight.
    b) If you have a problem with your video link or with orientation, you must abandon FPV flight and fly line-of-sight. Again, in the clouds you can’t do this.

    Do I want to be able to fly FPV using home-built equipment at locations convenient to where I live? Of course! Is it fun? Absolutely? Is the FAA moving at glacial speeds in figuring out how to do this and keep people safe? Yep. Should we just do whatever we want? I don’t think so. If you want to protest over-regulation, ill-informed policy-makers, or a slow legal system, please go ahead. But don’t endanger the people in the air: passengers, pilots, firefighters, police officers, etc. – just for your own pleasure. Help the RC modeling community keep the 50+ year, exemplary record of safety in our national air space. And if you’re going to fly FPV as a business, please apply for the appropriate license with the FAA. The more applications they get, the more attention will be drawn to the problem of the slow pace in policy!

    Disclaimer: I am an RC pilot and enthusiast and am not affiliated with the FAA or AMA organizations (aside from buying a membership each year to support modeling and provide me with liability and property damage insurance). I do not speak for these organizations… I just want to keep this great hobby alive for all of us to enjoy safely, and with as few restrictions as possible! I also think that RC vehicles have huge potential for societal benefits in many ways such as search/rescue, firefighting, bridge inspections, emergency communication networks, air quality monitoring, mapping, and yes, scientific research on whale snot (http://www.livescience.com/3058-helicopters-collect-whale-snot-blowholes.html).

    1. Good points Charles. I am certainly not advocating illegal activity that would bring unwanted attention to law abiding RC and drone pilots. I posted the video for inspiration, not duplication, but I should have been more clear about that. I think posting videos of drones doing cool *and* legal things will help show the value of drones and build a constituency to counter any overreaching legislation.

  2. garry blake says:

    Wow,amazing pictures with the drones.

    1. Great stuff. Where were you flying? Dub step seems to be the music of choice for many drone videos I’ve been watching…

  3. Ken says:

    Here’s a High School Marching Band. My son was flying without FPV gear.

  4. wasiqedu says:

    amazing pictures

  5. We are compiling great drone and quadcopter videos at http://bestquadcopter.com
    Please feel free to take a look.