FLY PAST TRAINING

Spent a few days and a number of flights developing skills to follow lines of flight on various headings.

During the supplier training for the microdrone UAV I was taught to control the microdrone with it orientated to me. I have rapidly realised this is ok to start off with, but I now need to learn to confidently fly in various headings, including straight towards me. This sounds simple enough until you add the wind, GPS hold and varying the path headings.

The MD4-200 microdrones GPS hold is a fantastic function. In wind though, as soon as you input a control movement the GPS lock is switched off until the control is released again. This makes for scary learning when not only working out direction and control direction, but the wind could blow the drone in a completely different direction!!

I kept these sessions mainly around the local cricket ground and Salisbury Plains.

CONTINUATION TRAINING

During this week I have flown the microdrone UAV when the local weather would allow. The aim was to simply gain confidence and build on experience gained in training. I took the kit to uninhabited open areas of Salisbury Plains to gain confidence and learn control in wind etc.

I have rapidly learnt how fiddly the microdrones camera attachment is when you are trying to hurry. The main camera connection to the drone also looks very flimsy for my sausage fingers!!! This might be a problem with cold hands in winter. During this past week I have continued to learn from mistakes. Eg connectors connected with incorrect orientation, low camera battery and incorrect settings on the camera.

FIRST VIDEO TEST

Just returned from microdrone UAV flying out on Salisbury Plains – Clear. Wind 3.2 m/s – Basic flight control with video on board. A good flying session to develop support services. Video used to develop experience with video editing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwk88lgpXLs

First Video Test

First Video Test

On return to the office I experienced problems getting the microdrone batteries to recharge. During supplier training the base station was not used for charging batteries, therefore I am unsure if this is normal.  On connection of a battery for charging and selecting ‘on’ on the base station, all lights come on at the same time.  Switching on and off does not work.  Disconnecting the battery and leaving for a few minutes before reconnection often allows charging.

REMOTE IMAGERY

The company is embarking on a planned approach for service developement and marketing for the new Remote Imagery Support service. The service will be developed initially to support areas which align with AJS experience, then at a later date develop into other Imagery Support areas.

Today saw AJS launch the initial operator continuation training and developing the basics of what will become our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The current target date for completion of the service developement is the end of Aug 2009.

Our UAV operator is maintaining a Blog at http://microdrones.wordpress.com/ to document progress and share experiences with other commercial operators of this type of equipment.

OPERATOR TRAINING

My microdrone MD4-200 official structured training took place in the Midlands at the UK Distributors offices and a local cricket ground. The weather was poor with it raining most of the time but we still managed to clock up a few hours in the air.. The training was great for me as I have never had the pleasure of flying a remote controlled aircraft. Just the right amount of theory and practice.

Within no time I was solo flying my own microdrone UAV system over the cricket ground. Imagery at the base station was poor but this was explained as unusual and probably down to the fact that we were flying whilst under the canopy of the pavilion. Images from the onboard storage were poor but I was sure that with time and practice would produce better images.

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Image from the drone during training

During training in the rain, it was pointed out that the base station when open, needs protecting from the rain, as it contains exposed sensitive components. I am not sure now why I spent an extra £2999 on a toughened and water proof laptop if it sits on a sieve of a ground station. Well I am sure I will adapt and over come the challenge.

On the 22 May 2009 I set off back to Wiltshire having been trained on and using my equipment investment of £23,000!!

UAS TRAINING

Today we completed our initial manufacturer delivered training for commercial operation of our Unmanned Air System (UAS). We also took ownership of a microdrones GmbH MD4-200 system.

The company aim is to diversify our its support services. The equipment is very quiet and has low intertia blades which means we can fly in built up areas. If the blade makes contact with objects, it will do minimal damage (you can stop the blades with your hand). We can see key potential in application of support services provided by AJS using this equipment.

REMOTE IMAGERY

In the latter part of 2008 we as a company were looking for an investment opportunity and diversification of the company support services. We looked around for interesting support service opportunities linked to our experience and knowledge.

It was a long and complicated decision making process but the area we decide on was security and engineering surveys using a remotely controlled vehicle.

At this point we needed to source equipment and its support. The equipment required to fulfil this role needed to have many physical and functional attributes. The key ones were: to be able to operate in UK weather conditions and in sensitive populated areas. It should also be capable of stills and video imagery, with a method of viewing the live images remotely.

During our research it was evident that this was an interesting and fast moving technology area. This would require a support company local preferably in UK. We devoted many months looking around for equipment that would fulfil this task all of which were non UK manufactured equipments. In the end after a brief demonstration on 24 April 09, we opted for the microdrones GmbH MD4-200 primarily because it had a UK distributor.

 

The MD4-200 came with promising specifications:drone001a

empty weight  – 585g

payload capacity  – 200g

take-off weight                 – 1000g *

size  – < 70cm (rotor axis/rotor axis)

flight duration max –  30 min *

operating distance  – 500 – 2000m *

power supply  – LiPo 2300mAh

humidity  – < 80%

temperature  – 0 – 40°C

wind speed  – 4m/s (for sharp pictures)

altitude  – < 150m

start level  – < 3000m above sea level

 

The UAS is powered by brushless electric motors and rechargeable battery packs. It is environmentally friendly and very quiet.gt_small

 

 

camera_ccdThe UAS is designed to carry a range of imagery devices providing a range of support solutions to satisfy our customers requirements. Solutions include still and video cameras, plus options for low light still and video devices.

THE KEY DECISIONS

In the latter part of 2008 we as a company were looking for an investment opportunity and diversification of the company support services. We looked around for interesting support service opportunities linked to our experience and knowledge.

It was a long and complicated decision making process but the area we decide on was security and engineering surveys using a remotely controlled vehicle.

At this point we needed to source equipment and its support. The equipment required to fulfil this role needed to have many physical and functional attributes. The key ones were: to be able to operate in UK weather conditions and in sensitive populated areas. It should also be capable of stills and video imagery, with a method of viewing the live images remotely.

During our research it was evident that this was an interesting and fast moving technology area. This would require a support company local preferably in UK. We devoted many months looking around for equipment that would fulfil this task all of which were non UK manufactured equipments. In the end after a brief demonstration on 24 April 09, we opted for the microdrones GmbH MD4-200 primarily because it had a UK distributor – MW Power Systems Ltd.

The MD4-200 came with promising specifications:

empty weight  – 585g

payload capacity  – 200g

take-off weight                 – 1000g *

size  – < 70cm (rotor axis/rotor axis)

flight duration max –  30 min *

operating distance  – 500 – 2000m *

power supply  – LiPo 2300mAh

humidity  – < 80%

temperature  – 0 – 40°C

wind speed  – 4m/s (for sharp pictures)

altitude  – < 150m

start level  – < 3000m above sea level

gt_small The UAS is powered by brushless electric motors and rechargeable battery packs. It is environmentally friendly and very quiet.

camera_ccdThe UAS is designed to carry a range of imagery devices providing a range of support solutions to satisfy our customers requirements. Solutions include still and video cameras, plus options for low light still and video devices.

LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN !!

Welcome to this A J S Support Limited Unmanned Air Vehicle operators log. This log is exclusively our operators of the microdrone MD4 range, to follow our successes and failures during our developement of our Remote Imagery Support Service.

Let the challenge begin!!!

Al Stevens

Welcome

Welcome to the A J S Support Limited Blog. From time to time we will update with entries for interested parties.