1stFPV Rally in the world that improves Drone safety

0

30 July 2016 marks the 1st FPV (First Person View) Fixed wing RC (Radio Controlled) Rally in the world!

Henrico Hanekom, an entrepreneur and technology enthusiast, gathered his RC model flying friends who fly FPV recreationally on weekends to take up the unique challenge.

Pilot and Navigator teams braved the winter morning at a field outside the city (Pretoria-East, South-Africa) with great enthusiasm even though they were not quite sure what to expect. Each team had a pencil, calculator, protractor, video headset and radio controlled aircraft handy.

image1 image2

Left – Pilots and navigators being briefed, Right – Studying clue sheet

The tech
It was only until recently that various technologies like high-power low-weight Li-Po batteries, efficient Brushless motors, long range Video and control systems, open-source Autopilot software and hardware, MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-systemslike the sensors in your smart phone) and others collided to fuse the exhilarating hobby called FPV flying.

Drones
Most people call multi-rotor aircraft “drones”…but few understand that fixed wing aircraft fitted with an auto-pilot system may also be classified as “drones”. There are many races being held for multi-rotors (especially mini quads) where speed and skills are tested, but never before has there been a Rally for FPV fixed wing pilots. Most operators build and customise their own aircraft from components available at hobby shops…typically with wing spans between 1 and 2 meters.

image3 image4

Left – Skywalker RC aeroplane approaching landing, Right – Home built pusher propeller RC aeroplane

Why a Rally?

 

The objective of such a Rally is to increase piloting skills, navigation skills and observational skills. It improves the operator’s ability to fly safer and more controlled whilst being aware of their geographical area, weather conditions and understanding the limitations of their aircraft.  The Rally is conducted in non-auto pilot flight modes so even though autopilot features are present in the aircraft, it only kicks in when needed as a safety feature.

image5 image6

Left – Pilot and navigator getting ready to fly, Right – Pilot and navigator rehearsing the flight plan
How does it work?

Each team receives a clue sheet and a map with minimal data. From clues like leg distances, landmarks and direction the navigator has to plot the route and ETA’s (Estimated Time of Arrival) on their map within a certain time frame before they take off to execute the flight plan.

Penalties are incurred when a team misses a check point, make time errors, calculation errors, navigational errors, map observation errors and based on how far they land their aircraft from a line called a spot landing marker.

Contestants walked away with valuable flight experience and important lessons learned.

image7 image8

Left – Navigator discussing route with pilot, Right – Pilot flying with FPV (First Person View video headset)


Going forward

Henrico Hanekom believes that FPV Rallies can advance the safety and skills of those who fly “drones” recreationally and even commercially in a fun and non-hazardous environment.He hopes to see it become an internationally recognised flying discipline.

Video:

Posted in: Events, Featured

Continue Reading

Introduction to Arduino – Saturday 23 July

0

IR LED connected to pin3 and 220 ohm resistor to ground

This class will introduce students to the Arduino Single Board Microcontroller – a powerful platform for creating devices that interfaces with the physical world. The Arduino can be used in robotics, art installations, 3D printers, and other do-it-yourself electronics projects.

During this class students will:
Build circuits that utilize sensors and output devices that allow the microcontroller to react to its environment.
Learn electronics, programming, and physical computing concepts by building basic projects.

Posted in: Courses, Featured

Continue Reading

Introduction to programming in C – Saturday 16 July

0

This course is fully booked – thank you for your support!
C-programming

Mario de Sousa, a professional C programmer with 15+ years experience and long time House4Hack member, are presenting an introduction to programming in C course on Saturday 16 July at House4Hack.

Why learn C?

Since its development in the early 1970’s for the Unix operating system, it has since become one of the most widely used programming languages of all time, with C compilers from various vendors available for the majority of existing computer architectures and operating systems. It provides low-level access to memory and maps efficiently to machine instructions – which means that if you understand C, you will have a much better understanding of how computers (and embedded devices) works!

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone who has some basic experience in programming, e.g. scripting languages like Python or high level embedded programming like Arduino and are curious to really see under the hood, to understand how computers really work and gain a very power tool for their programming toolbox.  You will also appreciate the advantage of scripting languages and the cost associated with using them.

When: Saturday 16 July
Time: 9.00 – 15.00
Where: House4Hack in Centurion – 4 Burger ave, Lyttleton Manor
Cost: R550 per person
Prerequisites: Laptop with either Windows with Visual Studio or Linux with gcc build essentials installed. The attendees are expected to have basic programming knowledge and have coded in a scripting or other high level language.

Course outline:

 

00 – Brief overview of C

  • Developed by Dennis Ritchie in the early 70’s at AT&T’s Bell Labs
  • Used to re-implement Unix (originally developed in ASM)
  • Imperative/procedural language
  • Designed for low-level hardware access
  • A compiler is available for almost every platform
  • A relatively “small” language
  • Latest standard is C11 (December 2011)
Posted in: Courses, Featured

Continue Reading

Get involved

Mailing List / Forum: Google Group

IRL:
  • Schalk 082 777 7098
    schalk dot heunis at gmail dot com
  • Guy 084 678 0045
    guy dot vandenberg at microsmart dot co dot za
  • Toby
    http://tobykurien.com

Courses: