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ISSUE 3, 2016

My First Drone Awesome gear to get you started

Why we love the Phantom 4

New Rules How CASA’s sub-2kg regs affect you


FPV Fortune 15-year-old racer wins $250,000 at Drone Prix!



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SENSE AND AVOID The Phantom 4 is your creative sidekick. Twin front facing optical sensors send a constant stream of information to its brain so that if it gets too close to an obstacle, it stops. If it sees a way to go over or around, it will. All you need to concentrate on is your shot.


VISIONARY INTELLIGENCE. ELEVATED IMAGINATION. The DJI Phantom 4 is the smartest flying camera DJI has ever created. Able to fly intelligently with a tap, automatically create seamless tracking shots, fly intelligently over or around obstacles and much more. Flying has never been this easy or as much fun.



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Issue 3, 2016



There are heaps of exciting new products in this issue, plus lots to learn for newbies, enthusiasts and commercial operators. And keep an eye out for our new website and newsletter.

Lily - The Selfie Drone

COVER The Storm Racing FPV quad in the limited edition military version. We review how it performs on page 64.

Choosing Your First Drone


Throw it in the air, throw it in the water, this long-awaited selfie drone will follow you anywhere. Just put the tracking device in your pocket.

Drone Pictorial

FY805 Mini Hexacopter

Tips for Directors


Do flips and spins with the world’s smallest hexacopter. Stage your own indoor disco show.

Eachine FPV Racer The red-faced Eachine 250 is an economical way to get into racing. Try the ready to fly version.



Our tech guru Andy Willmott compiles a guide to some great new models to get you started. For geeks, videoheads, adrenaline junkies or just plain newbies.


Check out these stunning shots from drone gurus around the world. Can hyou do better?


Film director Kyle Mccomb has caught the drone bug. Here he gives us his list of do’s and don’ts for filmmaking with drones.

11 Westpac


The Westpac Rescue Helicopter how has a little brother, and he’s all on his own.

TESTED Blade Inductrix 200


This beginner-friendly FPV racer is great fun indoors or out.



One of the coolest looking quads on the market, the XIRO looks like a futuristic ninja spaceship. Well manufactured, too.

Pro Racing

CASA’s new regulations


Thinking of making some money from flying drones? Better check out CASA’s new rules and regs first.

3D Mapping – Fixed Wing or Multirotor?


There are many options for 3D mapping: single rotor, multirotor, fixed wing, hybrid. Simon Chapman looks at the options for different kinds of mapping work.

Fancy a Challenge?


Queensland’s UAV Challenge encourages breakthroughs in drone technology, attracting the best of robotics talent from around the world. It’s a new, tougher challenge this year.


FPV racing is the fastest-growing sport on the planet. National and world championships are springing up everywhere and the prize money is crazy. A 15-year-old won $250,000 at the Drone Prix in Dubai.

Phantom 4– Leader of the Pack

Parrot Bebop 2 Drones on the School Curriculum


A Victorian high school has introduced flight tech classes in years 9 and 10 where students can design, build and fly their own drones.

Making Brands Fly


Drones are being used more and more in marketing. Californian Otto Dieffenbach has developed some weird and wonderful ways to put brands in the air and get noticed.


Drone developments from around the world – new tech, new uses, new products.



Version 2 of the Bebop has a greatly increased flight time and can be perated from your phone or tablet. Looks pretty stylish too.

Storm Racing Quad – The Head Turner


With its sexy curves, customisable canopy and loads of features under the hood, this FPV racer is as much fun as it is a futuristic work of art.

Syma X9 – The Flying Car In the news


This machine does it all. A brilliant step up from the P3. More features than anything on the market, and easy to have fun with immediately, whether you’re a newbie or a pro.


Fly it or drive it, this tough little guy can cause havoc bouncing around indoors or out. It even has its own crash pack.


EDITORIAL Technical & Contributing Editors: Andy Willmott, Craig Newlyn Editor: Jeremy Light ADVERTISING National Sales Manager: Jodie Reid (02) 9213 8261 Advertising Production: Kristal Young (02) 9213 8301 SUBSCRIPTIONS WEB: CALL: 1800 807 760 EMAIL: YAFFA MEDIA Publisher: James Ostinga Art Director: Ana Heraud Designer: Lauren Esdaile Marketing Manager: Chris Hamilton Customer Service Manager: Martin Phillpott Production Director: Matthew Gunn Managing Director: Tracy Yaffa


RECENTLY looked back at our first issue, that we published only 12 months ago, and it’s astonishing the rate at which this new industry is developing. FPV Racing was way underground and race meets were held in abandoned parking lots or warehouses rather than in city stadiums offering huge prize money. Sense–andAvoid technology was still a dream for consumer level drones. It makes me wonder what amazing new features and tech we will see over the next year. It certainly is an exciting time for drones. Also exciting is for us to announce that Drone Magazine is getting a full website re-vamp. Up until now our site has been mainly there to provide a sneak peak into the current issue and to access our links to purchasing the print or digital magazine versions. The site will now also become your portal into the industry, full of Drone related news, reviews, tech and product info as well as the odd competition and giveaways. If you haven’t already liked us on Facebook, make sure you do so you’ll see all the announcements. In Australia, the big news for drones used commercially are the changes

to CASA’s CASR Part 101, new rules and regulations that take effect from September 29, 2016. The most significant changes relate to commercial drone ops performed by UAVs under 2kg, and will completely revolutionise the commercial side of the industry flying that class of aircraft. See our article on page 42 for our discussion on these changes. In this issue we also explore how FPV Racing has exploded into an international sport. We look at a different and interesting ways drones are being used for surf rescue, marketing and education; plus most importantly, we take a bunch of newly released drones out for some fun and revealing test flights. We hope you enjoy the read.

Andy Willmott – Technical Editor

Look out for Issue 4, publishing December 2016 dronemagazineaus DRONE MAGAZINE is published by Yaffa Media Pty Ltd abn 54 002 699 354 17-21 Bellevue Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia. Ph: (02) 9281 2333 Fax: (02) 9281 2750 E: W: ISSN 2205-0124

ADDITIONAL COPIES DRONE Magazine is published twice a year in print. Single copies are available from the publishers for A$12.50 (includes postage and handling) within Australia. Annual subscriptions (2 issues) are available for A$21 within Australia. To order, phone 1800 807 760 or contact DIGITAL VERSION Digital versions are available for A$9.99 at EMAIL NEWSLETTER Register to receive the fortnightly newsletter at

ARE FPV TOP GUNS SET TO BE INTERNATIONAL SPORTING HEROES? The crew at the Drone Racing League in Miami are playing an important role in making FPV Racing a real sport. See our full article on page 58.



The new Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera is the first Super 16 digital film camera designed for remote use! The Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera is a miniaturized Super 16mm digital film camera featuring a revolutionary expansion port with PWM and S.Bus inputs. You can operate Micro Cinema Camera remotely and capture the action anywhere by using commonly available model airplane remote controllers and video transmitters! Imagine adjusting focus, iris and zoom wirelessly! Micro Cinema Camera is a true digital film quality with 13 stops of dynamic range, an MFT lens mount and built in RAW and ProRes recording!

Remote Camera Management Micro Cinema Camera is the world’s first action-cam style digital film camera that can be completely controlled using radio remote airplane controls! You even get HDMI and NTSC/PAL video out for remote monitoring using wireless transmitters to see framing, plus overlays for adjusting settings like start/stop, focus, iris, audio and more!

Designed for Action Micro Cinema Camera is the only digital fi lm camera designed specifically for capturing impossible action shots! Unlike regular cameras, the controls are on the front so you can start recording when the camera is mounted in tight spots plus confirm it’s recording using the front record indicator light. Even your actors can start the camera recording! Lens and accessories shown are not included.

True Digital Film Quality The Super 16 sensor gives you full 1080 HD up to 60fps with an incredible 13 stops of dynamic range and an ISO up to 1600 so you can shoot in both bright and low light. Unlike other action-cams, you get a true digital film camera with wide dynamic range for digital film quality results!

Built In RAW & ProRes Recorder The built in SD card recorder captures the wide dynamic range from the camera’s sensor into 12-bit RAW files or when you need longer recording times, you can record ProRes files! Unlike regular actioncams, you get cinematic images that are beyond broadcast quality so it’s possible to use the shots in high end feature films!

Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Includes DaVinci Resolve 12




Completely autonomous selfie drone

The much anticipated Lily Camera or 'Selfie' Drone has accumulated over 60,000 pre-orders amounting to over 34 million dollars thus far. That's pretty impressive for a concept that hasn't begun shipping! So what's got the world excited? Besides its cute friendly appearance, it is said to be completely waterproof and all you need to do is throw it in the air or indeed the water and it will spring into action and start shooting you as you do whatever it is that you do. Landing in water will be no biggie either as it will float till you retrieve it. The marketing shows snowboarding, running, white water rafting and more as different activities Lily can work with. It uses a tracking device you can put in your pocket and does not require a transmitter or controller of any kind. The tracking device will have a couple of buttons for changing the type of camera movements and how it follows or tracks you. With any luck it will be released in time for the next issue so we can do a proper hands-on review, and over 60,000 people are hoping it will be as impressive as the marketing videos look.


Fitting into the palm of your hand and uniquely featuring a controller unit that houses the drone for transport, the FY805 can perform 3D flips and spins. With its 6 bright coloured LED lights it makes a cool spinning disco light at night. Like many nano drones the controls can be a bit twitchy, especially the throttle, but it does have a beginners mode to slow it down if you find yourself bashing into too many walls. The tiny props break easy so make sure you grab some spares. Making a great gift for someone else or yourself, the FY805 is currently the world's smallest hexacopter and a super fun indoor nano drone. Model:





Nano hexacopter



Radio control type:


Flight time:

4-5 mins








Lily Robotics


Waterproof personal sports drone



Radio control type


Flight time

20 mins


Pre order $1200


FAYEE FY805 Tiny, portable and fun




One of the cheapest ready to fly FPV options If you are not into soldering and building drones but really want to get your FPV on, then the cheap online store Banggood offers an excellent quad you might want to check out. The popular Eachine 250 FPV Racer has a solid frame and comes complete with all the bits you’re going to need including fast 2204/2300KV motors that will support a 4S Lipo. Its stylised look has a cool red front face with headlights that light up like eyes, and rear taillight strip adjustable colour chases.

The inbuilt camera and video transmitter has an On Screen Display (OSD) with all your essential flight data. The Ready To Fly (RTF) version comes with a transmitter and an FPV screen, however racing on a screen is not as immersive or fun as using FPV goggles. I would go for the Almost Ready To Fly (ARF) option and add a transmitter and some proper goggles for a better FPV experience.


Eachine FPV Racer 250




FPV Racing Quad Copter



Radio control type

Supplied 2.t4Ghz or BYO


3S or 4S

Flight time

Depends on battery and flying style


Ready to Fly $400 or BYO transmitter $172



Industry Specific Remote Pilot Training Remote Pilot Licence

Flight Crew Conversions

1 Day Sub 2kg Workshop

9]jaYd@glk`glkjmfY-\Yq^mddlae] Yf\Y+o]]chYjllae]fa_`lj]egl] hadglda[]f[][gmjk]& 9kYj]egl]hadglda[]f[]`gd\]jqgm `gd\[j]\aZadalqafl`]Af\mkljqYf\Yj] fgldaeal]\lgl`]f]okmZ*c_o]a_`l [Yl]_gjqYf\alkjmd]k&O]Ydkgaf[dm\] l`]jY\aggh]jYlgjk[]jlaÇ[Yl]Yf\l`] =f_dak`dYf_mY_]hjgÇ[a]f[ql]kl&

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Oal`gmjj]Ydogjd\]ph]ja]f[]afeYff]\Yf\mfeYff]\gh]jYlagfk M9Nk!$[gmhd]\oal`gmj]ph]ja]f[]\Yf\imYdaÇ]\YnaYlagfafkljm[lgjk$ 9]jaYd@glk`glkakh]j^][ldqhgkalagf]\lghjgna\]hjg^]kkagfYd Yf\af\mkljqj]d]nYflj]egl]hadglljYafaf_&

Aerial HotShots Pty Ltd Brisbane PH:.)/+*/*/0--tGold Coast PH:.)/--)(11+, E:ljYafaf_8Y]jaYd`glk`glk&[ge&YmtW:ooo&Y]jaYd`glk`glk&[ge&Ym Custom course locations available based on demand



The fast and furious world of FPV racing may seem a little daunting to the uninitiated. Even if you are super confident flying line-of-sight, as soon as you put on those goggles, all the rules change. If you want to dip your toes in and see what it's like, check out the Inductrix 200 just released by Blade. It brings the adrenaline levels down a few notches, and adds some safety features like prop guards so you can experience FPV without needing advanced piloting skills. You can even fly it indoors safely. It's designed to be beginner friendly, so you won't win any races, and the video signal won't let you go too far away outdoors, it's designed that way. It will, however, let you get familiar with flying FPV in a more controlled and safe manner. Our friends at Modelflight sent us one of these to give away to one of you lucky readers, so we got a chance to take it for a spin around the office and the park. After flying only a little FPV myself and still a bit nervous, being able to fly around the office FPV without threat of doing serious injury was a lot of fun... and quite annoying to co-workers as I buzzed past them and maybe hit a couple. But hey, I had to test the thing.


HIGHLIGHTS * FPV for beginners * Prop guards protect against crashes


Inductrix 200 FPV




FPV Quadcopter



Radio control type:

Buy separate, must be Spektrum 2.4gh DSM2/




3S 800mAh Lipo

Flight time:

6-8 mins


$379 (minus transmitter and goggles)



✔ Inductrix 200 FPV with Spektrum DXe transmitter ✔ Value $508 ✔ Goggles not included (use any Fat Shark compatible set of goggles)

HOW TO ENTER Go to competitions Competition closes 31 August 2016 See website for terms and conditions


Before flying, ask yourself: Can I pack that?

image: © marekuliasz | iStockPhoto

All spare batteries must be in your carry-on luggage. For large batteries above 100Wh—check with your airline.

Make sure your luggage is safe. Download the app to check what you’ve packed isn’t dangerous.

dangerous goods.

Can I pack that?




TAKE MY MONEY: BUYING YOUR FIRST Ok, so you have seen these curious flying robots on TV, stories of them are filling your news feed, you even saw one down on the beach. Goddamn it you can't take it any longer – you need your own drone.




Best start with something you can safely fly indoors, that can handle being knocked around and won’t do any damage. Prop guards are a good idea, or make sure you grab a bunch of spares. A quick search on eBay for ‘Nano Drone’ or ‘Nano Quad’ will give you a huge selection. Hexacopters are the new buzz in tiny drones and on a tight budget you really can’t go past the FY805 (see mini review this issue) or this JJRC H20 Micro Hexacopter. This one is really stable for a tiny copter, it’s really quick and it has some pretty neat built-in tricks that will keep you amused. It only has a short range so outside it will stop after around 30 metres. You can pick up one on eBay for $20-30.


ITH an ever increasing variety of shapes and sizes it’s hard to know where to start. Our resident drone tech guru Andy Willmott put together this little guide to point you in the direction of some good first drones.

Just Curious

So you are a little curious, you don’t want to spend too much money but you don’t want something cheap and nasty either. You want to give it a go and see if you like it before spending more of your hard earned. Let me introduce you to the Blade Nano QX Quadcopter. This is a great little quad to learn on as it has prop guards and being a little bigger, is more stable in the air than the tiny ones. What’s more, it comes with a proper sized RC controller rather than the novelty size transmitters you get on the tiny drones. Which means you will feel more in control and get a better feel for it. Grab one from for $145.



Family Fun

Summer holidays are coming up and what better way to record some family fun as well as get some amazing photos of sunset at the beach. With varying levels of technical and coordination skills – let’s face it ;) you are going to need something with a very easy learning curve and some decent safety features to avoid a joy flight turning into an air crash investigation. Although it’s at the higher end of pricing, we recommend the DJI Phantom 4 (see review in this issue) for a number of reasons. It has safeguards to avoid flying into a tree, it can take off, fly and return to home by simply tapping on the screen of a tablet, it can take ridiculously good photos and video and has almost half an hour flight time. There’s no chance of it flying away with its GPS return to home if anything goes wrong, and with very little instruction even a child can get the hang of it in no time. You can buy these at various places including for $2400.


The DJI Phantom 4 ... can take off, fly and return to home by simply tapping on the screen of a tablet, it can take ridiculously good photos.

Geektastic So the Phantom is too locked down for you. You want to hack, program and have a drone work around your rules. Sure you can spend days building your own from parts, but that’s a whole lot of work if you just want to program. You need a reliable platform that will do your bidding without requiring regular maintenance. 3DR’s Solo sports the open source PixHawk 2 flight controller and a bunch of other tech designed to allow developers to take control and experiment, including an accessory bay where you can attach custom hardware. Without a gimbal/camera the base unit with transmitter will cost you around $1400 from Harvey Norman.




Adrenaline Junkie

If, when you think of drones you think of racing, then your only option is an FPV Racer. Flying a drone, pod racing style with a set of VR goggles is the ultimate adrenaline rush. Some people love to build and you can get parts pretty cheap if you are good with a soldering iron. If you aren’t, or you just don’t have the patience, we recommend getting a RTF (Ready to Fly) quad. It doesn’t end up costing you all that much more, but you know it is built, tested and tuned ready to go. You will generally need to source your own RC transmitter paired with a receiver. Good brands are Futaba or Spektrum, or even cheap models will do the job if you’re on a budget, but remember this is a long term commitment, you will use it for years to come. You will also need your own FPV goggles. You could go full big screen VR style goggles such as the Headplays, or the more slimline, less odd looking FatSharks or Skyzones. A lot of people fly QAV250s, which is a fairly standard DIY racing quad. You can spec out all your own bits is an advantage. But for an easier way to get started, we recommend the Immersion Vortex (reviewed in Issue 2). Out of the box it has everything you will need to race. It has an excellent OSD (on screen display) allowing you to change pilot profiles and settings from inside your goggles, using the sticks on your transmitter, and loads of other features. Plus it is fast as hell. Minus transmitter and goggles, get one for around $530 from nextfpv.

The possibilities of having a flying camera makes your mind explode.


Budding Aerial Cinematographer

If taking photos or shooting video is your thing and the possibilities of having a flying camera makes your mind explode, then it’s time to take it to the next level, literally. The drone for you then is the DJI Inspire Pro. In the last couple of years this drone has become standard kit for all professional drone operators who work in photography and cinematography. Due to its ease of use, even if you work with more high end drones, having an Inspire in your kit is still a must. The Pro has a choice of a micro 4/3s sensor camera which is an


excellent general purpose solution taking 16MP stills and great 4K video. Or you can go top shelf and get the RAW camera allowing you to capture 4K RAW video at 1.7 Gbps on a builtin 512GB SSD. The Inspire allows you to add a second controller for a twoperson operation, giving the camera independent control. The Phantom 4 will let you do some awesome work too, although it does not have the option of an independent camera control. But if you have less funds to work with, it is an option. The Inspire PRO with 4/3 MFT camera and single controller is around $6700 from


CONNEX Mini is the newest, light and small generation of the successful zero-latency HD wireless link by AMIMON. Its 60 grams only air unit ďŹ ts any drone size. CONNEX Mini transmits real time HD video and telemetry data from 500m to up to four ground units. CONNEX.AMIMON.COM


ENTER THE NINJA Meet XIRO, a futuristic looking quad made by Zero Tech, manufacturers of high end UAVs and the Gemini pro flight controllers. We took XIRO to the park for some fun.



The first thing you notice about the XIRO is the sleek styling and design. It looks like a futuristic ninja spaceship. One of the coolest looking quads on the market by far right now, and manufactured to a high standard. Without the gimbal you can leave the landing struts folded up, which looks cool. The transmitter, too, not only looks tech, but sits comfortably in your hands with the controls nicely positioned. Discreetly hidden in the top of the transmitter is the mounting for your smartphone. It doesn’t open big enough for a tablet which is a small negative, but not a biggie. It does mean it’s more compact and portable which is nice.

Specs You can get three different versions of the XIRO. The basic Xplorer has no camera or gimbal. Not sure why you would buy this drone without camera capabilities, but you can. The Xplorer V comes with a range extender and a built-in camera, and the Xplorer G comes with a gimbal that supports a GoPro. We tested the Xplorer V, which does 14 megapixel stills and video up to 1080p at 30fps, which isn’t amazing compared to other 4K drone options on the market that don't have barrel distortion, but it does the job. The app lets you adjust settings such as ISO, picture quality and capture formats. If you want better quality video definitely go for the GoPro option.


SPECIFICATIONS The best part is the controls become super responsive on Level 3.


XIRO Xplorer [V]


Zero Tech





Radio control type

Supplied 2.4GHz


3S 5200mah Lipo

Operating range


Flight time






XIRO Flight Modes

Coolest looking quad around

FOLLOW ME - XIRO offers a mode which follows the transmitter, and also a mode which lets you select a subject on the screen and follows it. Nice. 360 DEGREE SELFIE - Pretty standard. WAYPOINTS - This feature generally comes with more expensive drones such as the Phantom, but you can easily select points on the map and send it there via the on screen app.

Great flight times

Test Flight


✔ ✔ ✔


Responsive and fun to fly

Range wise you will get 400-600m with the wifi range extender, which should be enough in most situations. To be honest I rarely go farther than that myself otherwise you start losing sight of the thing.

Accessories Flight Controls

XIRO is quick and handles really well compared to even more expensive quads.

FLIGHT TIME Excellent flight time with 15-20 minutes depending on what you’re doing.

FINAL WORD XIRO is around half the price of a Phantom, so costwise it’s definitely worth a look. The XIRO camera has a fisheye look, as of course does the GoPro option, so if you’re ok with that it’s a good option.

XIRO is fun to fly, it’s quick and damn responsive on level 3. I was surprised at how well it handled a bit of wind too. On level 1 it feels nice and soft and it limits you to an altitude of 50m, radius to 100m and speed to 2m/s. Level 2 is in between, and Level 3 is 120m height, 600m radius and 8m/s horizontal. The best part is the controls become super responsive on Level 3, which I love.

Your smartphone connects via wifi to the transmitter, so there’s no messy leads which is nice. The Xplorer V comes with a range extender which uses 2.4GHz and the video signal was pretty solid flying around the park. The transmitter is a minimal sleek comfy design with only a few buttons on the face for auto take-off and land, return to home and the IOC button. There’s also a switch for flight responsiveness levels and a couple of thumbwheels are located at the top edge for gimbal control. The app is fairly intuitive with a camera FPV view or overhead map view for selecting waypoints.

The handheld grip for the XIRO gimbal, which is a promotional bundled item, allows you to take the gimbal/ camera module off the drone and run independently. It works nicely – like the drone it feels well made and will let you get smooth shots basically wherever you want to take it.

IOC - Intelligent Orientation Control As with all drones these days there are a number of intelligent flight modes designed to perform specific tasks.



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Suitable for first time beginners to seasoned pros

Can virtually fly itself

Tracks moving subjects

✔ ✔ ✔

Has collision protection Extra long flight times Now even faster and more agile


LEADER OF THE PACK We reviewed the Phantom 3 a year ago as a generational leap in consumer drone offerings. DJI has leapfrogged the competition again and blown their own predecessor out of the skies with the Phantom 4.


HETHER you’re looking for your first drone or want to get into semi pro aerial photography, the Phantom 4 claims to be the answer to all. Andy Willmott got his hands on one of the first units to find out what the buzz is about.

One Size Fits All DJI has made the choice simple this time around. With the Phantom 3 there were three choices between standard, advanced or pro. This time there is only one choice the Phantom 4, which does it all. And I mean literally does it all. There is no other consumer drone on the market that has such a comprehensive feature list.

In The Box As with previous versions, DJI provides you with everything you need bar a smart device. Either a phone or tablet running IOS or Android will do. The P4 comes delivered in a pretty cool travel box, too. It's made from foam rather than plastic, so it's not ultra durable but it's compact and neat, good for storage and throwing in the back of the car.

What's New? The amount of new features in the P4 is an indication of how fast-moving the drone industry really is. Remember consumer drones have only been available in Ready To Fly models for a few years now. THE AIRFRAME The body itself is more refined and streamlined for better aerodynamics with a shiny gloss white finish. In fact, all the accessories are shiny

white too, so much white as you would be forgiven to think it was an Apple product. Components that hung below the frame in previous models have been brought into the main housing. It's a very neat package. The props have a new, more secure quick release mechanism, rather than the old screw on props. THE CAMERA The gimbal now holds the camera more firmly from both sides. The camera itself has lots of subtle improvements such as improved optics and even less lens distortion. The capture specs are as good as you can get in a small drone camera these days - 4K video shooting at 25fps and 60Mbps, plus various other resolutions including 120fps in standard HD (1080p). Stills are captured in JPG and RAW up to 12MP. The lens gives you 94 degrees Field Of View and is equivalent to a 35mm format at F/2.8. Focus is fixed to infinity. Everything is captured to a removable MicroSD card max 64GB capacity. There is nothing you can fault with the setup here. For a consumer grade product, what you get out of this camera is exceptional.



it is far more stable. DJI says it's up to 5x more accurate in stability, and it surely feels it. Even in a decent wind the Phantom 4 is in control like no other drone in its class. Add to this, a redundant IMU and compass to avoid sensor errors, and this becomes one stable platform.

FLIGHT CONTROLS & PERFORMANCE The Phantom 4 feels much easier and smoother to fly. As DJI has built in more intelligence into the software and improved algorithms, it responds better and feels more fluid. In your basic default GPS flight mode [P]osition, the speed and amount of tilt is controlled to keep everything smooth, including the intelligent flight modes, but switch over to [S]port mode and this opens you up to a top speed of 72km/h. You will notice the attitude of the drone tilts to 45 degrees when you punch it in any direction, so it not only accelerates real quick, but it becomes super responsive if you choose to fly aggressively. It basically turns it from a refined luxury car into a Ferarri. It's important to note that in [S]port (Ferarri) mode you don't have obstacle avoidance sensors. Also it's going to take the drone longer to slow to a stop when you let go of the sticks or try to change direction, and as the drone flies on such a steep angle, you will see props in your camera view, so it's not the best for filming. It's basically for hooning around and having fun, but you can also get yourself into trouble quicker if you're not careful. SENSORS The Phantom's VPS (Vision Positioning System) has had some upgrades, and now with dual ground imaging sensors and dual ultrasonic sensors it has far greater accuracy in stability at greater heights. Meaning in GPS-deprived environments or just when you are closer to land (up to around 10m)

SENSE AND AVOID Here's where the real game changing features lie in the Phantom 4. DJI became the world's first manufacturer to release a production drone with Sense and Avoid tech, again trumping the competition. Intel's 3D imaging RealSense technology has been adapted to drones, and fitted to Yuneec's Typhoon H, (Intel has a stake in Yuneec) which was demonstrated earlier this year, but the Phantom 4 is the first to go on sale to the public. Two forward-facing visual sensors create volumetric maps of the area 15 metres in front of the drone. This information is displayed at the top of your screen with bars radiating out. If an obstacle is in the path of the drone it will sense it and automatically slow down to a complete stop. You also hear an audible beeping much like the reversing sensor in a car, which beeps faster and faster as you get closer to the object. What's more, the sensor works in the intelligent flight modes, as well as in ReturnTo-Home, and can not only sense the object in its path but also move to avoid it. It's a little unnerving when you go to test it, and fly gingerly close to trees or objects, but I was relieved to find it


Phantom 4







Radio control type

2.4Ghz supplier transmitter


5350mah 4S Lipo

Operating range

Farther than you will ever want to fly it

Flight time


Top speed






works really well. The only thing you need to remember is that the sensors are only forward facing, so you can still back into an object or strafe sideways into something. Either way this is a welcome feature and I look forward to when drones have these sensors on all sides. At the rate things are progressing I'm sure that won't be long. INTELLIGENT FLIGHT MODES & AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT The AI and Autonomous flight features in the Phantom have also gone next level. I've seen similar features on other drones in the last year, but none that work as smoothly and intuitively. TAPFLY Simply tap on the screen in the direction you want to fly and you are off. The Phantom will head in that direction and with obstacle avoidance always on it will avoid obstacles too, or pull up to a stop if it can't. If you have no idea how to fly a drone you can use TapFly to move around and know you won't fly into anything.

If an obstacle is in the path of the drone it will sense it and automatically slow down.

FLIGHT REPORT PERFORMANCE/ HANDLING In sport mode it is a buzz to fly. It really kicks along. You would need an FPV Racing drone to beat this guy. ACTIVETRACK This is my favourite new feature because it works so intuitively. Once you enter ActiveTrack mode, using advanced object recognition, you are able to simply draw a box around the subject you want to track on your smart device with your finger. The object highlights with a big green box around it, you then hit the Go button that appears after the subject is identified and it will start tracking the subject. The distance, height and direction it tracks from are all controllable from the controller sticks, while you are tracking it! This allows you to use a stick movement to start the drone rotating around the subject. It works a treat. Try doing this manually with a twoperson pro rig. It's almost impossible to do a perfect orbit around a moving subject. With the Phantom 4 you can now do this in ActiveTrack by simply pushing one stick. And the camera keeps pointing directly at your subject. Camera tracking is smooth, too.

It's not 100% flawless, though. If the subject moves erratically or too quickly you can lose the lock, and the Phantom will just stop where it is till you identify it again and hit Go. I expect as time goes, updates to the algorithms and software will increase accuracy and reliability, but in my park tests it worked well. One thing to remember: if the drone is not moving forwards, like if it is tracking from the side, or leading the subject, then you need to remember that your obstacle avoidance sensors, which are pointing in the direction of the camera, won't save the drone if it tracks into a tree. OTHER FLIGHT MODES Phantom 4 retains flight modes from previous versions that are now standard, including:  Waypoints (plot a course and fly it automatically)  Point Of Interest (Orbit)  Follow Me  Home Lock  Course Lock

FLIGHT TIME Increasing flight times now to 2528 minutes, the P4 stays in the air longer than any other production drone I’ve tested.




This is one smart drone. It is packed with AI and more features than anything on the market. It flies beautifully and anyone from a newbie to a pro can pick up the controls and immediately have fun with it. I cannot think of anything negative to say about it, except maybe its price tag. But if you’ve got the cash, look no further. Simply the most advanced and refined consumer drone available today.



rones have completely changed the way we experience our world. When before you needed a helicopter to take an aerial photo, requiring money and planning, it was generally a commercial venture. Now literally anyone can do it. We’ve searched the web for some brilliant examples of drone photography of our amazing planet.





ABOVE: Multi-image panorama of Point Lookout, Stradbroke Island, Australia. LEFT: A fishing town in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, at sunrise when the fishermen come in with the catch of the night. RIGHT: The Gate Tower, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. It really is a desert!







LEFT: Aerial view of Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) in Zakinthos, Greece. BELOW LEFT: Sunset in Estonia with a DJI Phantom 2. RIGHT: Lujiazui Ring Road , Shanghai, China.



DIRECTORS Kyle Mccomb provides an invaluable checklist for film directors using a drone for the first time.


Shots on these pages are from the making of the movie Bork


RONES, and drone shots, are awesome. They lift the production value substantially and are very pleasing to watch. Recently on my film Bork we used drone shots, and as always there were things I wish I had done differently. But I learned some lessons too, and I can pass on some advice to new directors working with drones. A lot about using a drone isn't actually getting out and flying. There's much more to using a drone than standing there saying "Oooh" and "Ahhh" while everyone points at the shiny thing in the sky because let's face it – 1, Drones are cool, and 2, people actually do stand there and point saying, Oooh and Ahhh.

Check the weather beforehand. Going to location and have it rain on you means the drone won't fly. When you do your location scouting, look for hazardous objects like power lines and trees. Your pilot won't go near them. You will save yourself a lot of time if you plan your drone shots in the location before shoot day. When you're in the air, you have even less time than you thought to get it right. The batteries for the Inspire 3, for example, last roughly 15min and your pilot won't have unlimited batteries. You may only have around an hour of flight time, depending on your drone and battery availability, and you will want to squeeze that drone for every drop of juice.

Preparation Preparation before the shoot day is just as important for drone shots as any other shot. Maybe more so because you have less time. You can't decide on the day to just 'wing it'. You'll waste time, confuse your pilots and be unsatisfied with the results. You need to prepare shot lists and do your research - watch what aerial shots other people use and note them down. There are many generic shots and you need to know what they are. You need to know which direction the drone will track in, if it's following a subject and if it's resolving towards a particular direction at the end.


Communication Once you've made your preparations, it's time to talk to the drone operators. You need to actually have a conversation with them, before the day. They need to prepare and have a clear understanding of the shot. The more detail you can communicate, the better your shots will be. You should be asking the pilot (and camera operator) what they can and can't do. Ensure the drone you have chosen has the camera capabilities you require. What features does the drone have that you can take advantage of? What are the drone's limitations and flight limitations within the area of operation? Where is it not safe to fly? How long will setup take, how long to reset from a battery change, etc.


Drones can give you those epic sweeping, tracking or panning shots and help to show depth and space at altitude. These are the kinds of questions you need to know the answers to, to get the best end result. Make sure you are specific in your communication, don't be vague or waffly. Try to learn correct drone terminology - because what you thought was one thing might be something completely different to them. I know this all sounds obvious, but sometimes it's not! If you are going to spend the dollars to get drone footage, you need to make the most of it. I certainly didn't know what a drone's features were until I asked, and unless you're in the biz you won't either.

Cast & Crew Remember how I said people will stand and point and go Oooh and Aahhh? Yes, well, your crew will do that too. Everyone wants to see the drone. This is fine, however your cast and crew need to be briefed about what's happening. Just as communication is important with your operators, it's equally important with your cast. The crew can do what they like, as long as they are safe and out of shot. The operator will need to run a safety brief with your crew to advise of what to do in an emergency. Your drone pilot will not fly a drone over people so make sure everyone is accounted for, understands where they are allowed to go, and make sure any gear will be out of shot.

It would be awful if you got that perfect shot of the city skyline at sunset with all the beautiful colours and majestic movement only to realise someone left a tripod on a rooftop you just tracked past.

The Perfect Shot So how do you get that perfect shot you want? Every situation is different, you might only need the drone for one shot and have half a day to do it in, in which case, great! - but if you have multiple shots, angles and locations, the chances are you probably won't be able to get each one perfectly. It doesn't mean you can't, but unless you're working on a big budget production you simply won't have time. Just like the old 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of the time getting 80% of the shots and not the other way around. While you're in the air and you think you've got it, keep the shot going. Don't stop! You already have the drone in the air a few more seconds won't hurt. I've had plenty of shots where I said to myself "This is beautiful!" - and then the shot ends, leaving me wishing it continued. So, like it is on the ground, keep the camera rolling, and the shot going just that extra bit longer for good measure. You'll thank yourself in the edit room.

Why a Drone Lastly, or better still firstly, the question you need to ask is this - why are you using a drone? How will using the drone fit your project and style, and how can you use it? I've seen people use a drone as an expensive dolly and do what people on the ground could have done. Not only is there higher risk of injury or crashing the drone, but it complicates and extends production schedules. Drones can give you those epic sweeping, tracking or panning shots and help to show depth and space at altitude. There's no end to how creative you can be with drones, I love them, but like everything else they are just a tool. They won't be the best or most practical solution for every shot but they will always add value when used effectively. Work with your operators and get their input. Be safe and happy shooting!

ABOVE: The crew can do what they like, as long as they are safe and out of shot



Simply the best UAV training in Australia. &RQWUROOHUFHUWLȴFDWHV 2SHUDWRUFHUWLȴFDWHV Business development (02) 4423 2507

Nowra Sydney Gold Coast Melbourne Adelaide Perth


DJI X5R DJI is having a big 2016. The company tantalised us late last year when it announced the high end Zenmuse X5R camera which would be used on the Inspire Pro. Finally in late March this year it is now available for both the Inspire Pro and the newly announced Matrice 600. The ‘R’ in X5R stands for RAW. And that is a serious statement, as RAW video is a big deal. Most semi pro cameras support some level of LOG picture profile which gives you a flat looking image allowing for better colour grading. But nothing compares with RAW data. Up till now you would need to fly a RED or Mini Alexa camera to get hold of RAW footage from the air. Essentially it's data straight from the sensor with very little processing or flattening, as standard file compressions require. If you have ever used Adobe Lightroom with RAW still photos, then you have an idea of the increased level of creative control that RAW allows you. Here’s the tech specs:  4K RAW Video (4096 x 2160 pixels @ 24fps) Or HD RAW (1920 x 1080 pixels @ 60fps)  Average 1.7 Gbps Bitrate  Removable 512GB SSD  16MP Stills  12.8 Stops of Dynamic Range

JUST FOR PROS Check out the latest professional gizmos from DJI.

DJI M600 The Matrice 600, or M600, is DJI’s brand new flagship professional level drone. Designed to integrate with all DJI’s new tech, it comes integrated with the new A3 flight controller and Lightbridge 2. It utilises new smart batteries similar to the Inspire, and with a full modular setup and multiple expansion ports it allows versatility for add-on devices to cater for various applications.

Ronin-MX The Ronin-MX is essentially an evolution of the original Ronin design, and unless you are using very heavy production cameras this is going to be your first choice for both ground and air. The MX is a whopping 50 percent more powerful than the previous M. It’s lighter and designed to integrate seamlessly with the A3 flight controller and Lightbridge 2 as well as detach and operate easily by hand.


DJI A3 Flight Controller DJI's A2 Flight Controller has been the standard kit for pro rigs for the last few years now, and it's done an ok job. But since the Inspire 1 was launched back in late 2014, we have seen the integration of smart devices with the transmitter and flight controller on that platform, and DJI rolling out regular updates of feature upon feature that made us wish there were better options than the clunky A2. There were indeed other FCs in the market, but nothing that was much of an improvement or that seemed as reliable as the A2, so we kept waiting. Finally DJI has unveiled the shiny new A3 with all the new features we have been waiting for, and a lot more. New features available with the A3 include:

Triple Modular Redundancy

TRIPLE MODULAR REDUNDANCY The A3 Pro upgrades allow you to have 3 IMUs and 3 GNSS (GPS) modules for a total of 6 redundancies in case the advanced diagnostic algorithms detect errors in any one sensor. Ground Station

LIGHTBRIDGE 2 Lightbridge 1 never quite worked well enough for streaming video, and most pros I know didn't use it. There was almost half a second lag in the video feed, and it was unreliable. As Lightbridge 2 has only just dropped we are yet to test it, but we are hoping the lag has been resolved. With full integration of the DJI Go app and DJI's transmitters, like the Inspire and Phantom, plus integration with the camera shutter and operation, we are hoping they have done it right this time.

GROUND STATION Supporting both touch screen and mouse and keyboard, the Ground Station can support mission design, for use in a range of industry applications. Users can simultaneously manage and monitor the mission implementation of multiple aircraft and plan formation flights.


RTK GNSS The A3 series supports D-RTK GNSS for centimetre-level positioning accuracy compared to a normal GPS and barometer solution. Using dual antennas, its heading reference is more accurate than a compass sensor, and it is able to withstand magnetic interference from metal structures. Lightbridge 2







‘You Little Ripper!’ If you’ve ever seen anyone from The Land Downunder have a win then you might have heard these words in a distinct Australian accent. The meaning is obvious, even to those fellas not from around here. But now there’s another meaning. The Little Ripper lifeSAVER drone is a high-tech initiative using RPAV helicopters for search and rescue (SAR). So next time when you hear this happy shout, look up for the lifesaver colours, the red and gold that we all know so well, and have a good look because aerial SAR is becoming unmanned. 37 DRONE MAGAZINE ❚ ISSUE 3, 2016



N SEARCH and rescue every second counts. Fast response and effectiveness are vital. They can make the difference that saves lives. Little Ripper is fast, reliable, cheap (at $250k per unit) and flexible. She needs to be a real multi tasker, able to search for people in oceans, surf, rivers and lakes, as well as the snow and bush. She can assist with bushfire

detection, monitoring and support, and natural disaster aid after floods, storms, and cyclones. She needs to conduct accident and catastrophe response and even spot sharks. And she needs to provide real-time vision to operators on the ground and to emergency communication networks, giving rescuers eyes without having to deploy larger and more expensive fixed wing and rotary aircraft. The beast chosen for this diverse and important job is the stunning Vapor 55 RPAV from Pulse Aerospace USA, a military-grade drone helicopter offering long flight times and large payloads. She can not only act as an aerial platform for collecting vision and data but can also be tasked with dropping ULBs to us Aussies desperately in need of help when there’s no one else ‘within cooee’ to bloody give us a hand.


U Little Beauty ULB is short for Unmanned Life Buoy, but could also be for U Little Beauty – another famous Aussie shout out and a likely call you might make when you’re floating about in the ocean on your last legs when, out of nowhere, this godsend remote-piloted heli shows up and drops you a critical lifesaving package. Introducing the SOS Dam Buoy, a compact portable floatation rescue device that automatically inflates when dropped into water. Included in the package is an electronic shark protection device that works by emitting high voltage proprietary signals, providing continuous protection from all things jaws the moment the device’s beautiful little electrodes touch salt water. The electric signals generated repel sharks by affecting the gel in their nose area. My bet is you’d be stoked and agree it couldn’t come at a better time.

Supplies can be dropped night or day to lost hikers, stranded in areas that can’t be accessed by larger aircraft.

The Project Team

It doesn’t end there. Little Ripper can also deploy Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) or personal survival kits containing water, a radio, first aid gear, etc. The FRED easyport AED is ultra light at only 190 grams and can be used as an electric heart-starter on adults and infants. A mini Packer Whacker. Supplies can be dropped night or day to lost hikers, stranded in areas that can’t be accessed by larger aircraft. By providing valuable food, water, medical supplies and communications the ULB Survival Kit also gives ground rescue crews more time to reach the scene.

Ideal for Shark Detection Shark detection has been a hot topic of late. With so many attacks made public in the media, the community is calling for better and greener ways of managing sharks in the ocean and on our beaches. I think we can agree that the use of shark netting is a cruel and out-dated solution to the problem, so any technological advancement in the interest of protecting us and the animals is always welcomed with open arms; mucho preferable to open jaws full of teeth. Little Ripper uses multiple arrays of tech to locate, identify and track


The Little Ripper team has fast-tracked its way into UAV, overcoming many technical challenges that would sideline others. The project is the brainchild of Kevin Weldon, founding President of the International Life Saving Federation and a distinguished Australian businessman and philanthropist. Weldon is supported in the project by Dr Paul Scully-Power, a world expert in remote sensing and the first Aussie to journey into space as part of NASA’s Space Shuttle program; Eddie Bennet, a 30-year veteran who has served in multiple SAR roles at a national level including the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service as the State Aerial Services Officer: and Dr Noel Purcell, a distinguished professional and trustee of the Westpac Foundation. Skyline Aviation, based at Newcastle, is a partner in the project. It has 20 years’ experience operating manned and unmanned aircraft and is known for its aerial crane and lifting operations. It is the agent and importer of Vapor UAS Helicopters and Yamaha RMAX UAV. Have a look online at both of these hells, it’s hard not to be impressed.


Taking Control Flights are mostly automated including the take off and landing, but you can take manual control at any time from the ground station using a gamer style controller. Flying is easy and is no different to operating any other multirotor, as stabilisation software takes care of the hard stuff - quite a task, just ask any remote control helicopter pilot how often they’ve crashed and burned learning their craft. Flight plans can be created or changed in real time allowing flight path flexibility and mission re-tasking.

Training began in March for a few very lucky pilots, but many more will be needed. all types of sharks. Real time image processing using state of the art sensors and software allow gradient vector edge detection, shape recognition and motion detection. Software assigns motion profiles for different tail motion characteristics sideways versus up or down, limiting false positives from other fish, dolphins or shadows. Clever! Optical filtering improves performance even further, removing polarisation and wave effects. Infrared x-ray vision can see what we can’t, through fog, mist, haze, rain, snow, smog, dust or flying sand. Pretty amazing stuff! Once a shark is spotted it can be tracked and followed by Little Ripper, keeping pace, hovering metres above, providing a visual cue for nearby swimmers as to what lurks beneath, at the same time allowing lifesavers or authorities to keep tabs on old ‘Sharky McSharkface’ and all of those triangular, razor-like, terrifying teeth. Formal testing has been under way for some time now, and thanks to Westpac for getting on board, sponsoring the initial six months of the program. You would all have seen the yellow and red Westpac Rescue Helicopters patrolling our beaches at some point. Kevin Weldon was their originator and creator, so it seems logical 30 years later he’s


pushing for the next generation of life saving helicopters. Training began in March for a few very lucky pilots, but rest assured as the project rolls out they’re going to need hundreds of people for various roles as Kev and Eddie would see every beach in Australia with its own aircraft and command unit. There’s plenty of video online of the Vapor 55 in operation, so do yourself a favour and have a look-see – it’s well worth a gander and it‘s gonna have to do you for now until you get to see one in flight. But don’t worry, it shouldn’t be that long. Heads up if you live near the Central Coast of NSW - if you’re on the beach keep a look out for the boys as test flights are run every second week between Newcastle and Sydney. Drone Magazine will be sure to keep you posted on Little Ripper and its development, as well as other such awesome and ground-breaking uses for all types of RPAV.

THE VAPOR 55 Main rotor diameter

2.3 m


1.95 m (L) x 66 cm (H) x 58 cm (W)

Maximum take-off weight

25 kg

Empty weight


Gross weight

25 kg

Useful load

15.5 kg

Allowable payload

4.5 kg

Cruise endurance

60 mins

Hover endurance

45 mins


Follow Me 360 Orbit Auto landing/take off Available at:



It's a hot topic – CASA’s sub 2kg drone category and the ability to use your Phantom to make some extra bucks. The amateur forums have been full of speculation about the new laws allowing sub 2kg drones to be used for anything and everything. A free-for-all. As people we hear only what we want to hear, but as a drone pilot operating a sub 2kg RPA commercially, you have plenty of new rules to follow, rules that may not allow you the freedom you expect. Craig Newlyn outlines the key points.


HE first thing to understand is that CASA's aim is to simplify the requirements for lower risk RPA operations and cover operational matters with a 'Manual of Standards'. More specifically, the regulation establishes a set of standard operating conditions according to an RPA's weight category. It also introduces the concept of an 'Excluded RPA'. Excluded RPA operations are considered to be lower risk, as determined by RPA weight and operational use. They have reduced regulatory requirements, such as not needing an Operator's Certificate (UOC) or a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). The new Regulation was written to permit private landowners to carry out commercial-like operations on their own land under 'standard RPA operating conditions' without requiring them to hold a UOC or RePL. This is mainly for farming and agriculture, not city or suburban applications. The initial thing you will need to do is give notice to CASA, at least 5 business days before you operate a small RPA for hire or reward. They will ask for: a. The name of the person who gave the notification; b. The person's contact details; c. The locations or area at which the operations will take place; d. The types of RPA covered by the notification. The Operation must be in an approved area, meaning no Restricted Areas or general aviation no-fly zones. This includes a 3 nautical miles (5km) perimeter around all airports and helicopter landing sites. There are a few more golden rules to follow, known as the Standard Operating Conditions.


Standard RPA Operating Conditions a. The RPA is operated within the visual line of sight of the person operating the RPA; and b. The RPA is operated at or below 400 ft AGL by day; and c. The RPA is not operated within 30 m of a person; and d. The RPA is not operated: i. in a prohibited area; or ii. in a restricted area that is classified as RA3; or iii. in a restricted area that is classified as RA2 or RA1; or iv. over a populous area; or v. within 3nm (5km) of the movement area of a controlled aerodrome; and vi. at night e. The RPA is not operated over an area where a fire, police or other public safety or emergency operation is being conducted, without the approval of a person in charge of the operation; and f. The person operating the RPA operates only that RPA. (Meaning no flying multiple RPAs at once)

So, what does this all mean for you and your Phantom? Using Sydney as an example, you must consider whether there are any no fly zones or restricted areas such as Sydney Harbour Restricted Area or military zones such as Richmond. Airports and helicopter landing sites have a 5km exclusion area. Hospitals are helicopter landing sites, so this applies to them as well. Follow the Standard Operating Conditions, particularly the important ones about not flying in a populous area, and remain 30m from people in all directions at all times. It means that

the amount of work or commercial operations that you can legally fly with your drone is . . . well, less than you probably expected, but it doesn't completely rule out operating commercially. There will be plenty of commercial opportunities out there for folks not in city centres or suburbia while following all of the rules and regs. The next thing to consider is insurance. Public Liability Insurance (PLI) means if you crash your quad into someone's head and they sue, you're covered. It's commonplace for any business or employer to require you have your own PLI, Workers Comp Insurance and ABN before you provide services for them. PLI coverage for RPAV is usually $20M. However, the problem is that no insurance company will currently issue Public Liability Insurance to people who don't hold a UOC. That may change in the future, but in the meantime be aware that

The amount of commercial operations you can legally fly is probably less than you expected.

insurance is necessary to protect others but, more importantly, yourself. Think about it, even though some might say it's not really needed, if your drone goes down on a busy road or street and then causes a pile up, the damage bill and/or injury tally could hit you like a financial tidal wave. Or what about a crash and then your damaged lipo catches fire. I've seen this happen and they burn white hot, hot enough to ignite the roof of the house you were just filming, and hot enough to burn the toes off that stupid bloke in thongs who thought he'd extinguish it by just stamping it out. Drones do crash, it's the nature of the beast, so try to get insurance if you can. With all that said, have a good solid look at the link below. The new rules come into effect 29 September 2016. 'Safe skies for all.' Details/F2016L00400





✔ ✔ ✔

Fly from your phone or tablet Long flight times Small and portable



Parrot releases the next iteration of the fun-loving Bebop drone, the Bebop 2.

So What's New? The Bebop 2 has more refined style, a new paint job option, and importantly they have fixed a weakness being the flight time. You were lucky to get around 11 minutes, but now it gives you closer to 20 minutes, which is what other similar priced drones are delivering. The camera, which still achieves both movement and stabilisation by using a super-wide fisheye lens and cropping internally, now has a brighter sensor, although it still shoots at 1080p 30fps and takes 14MP stills.

FLIGHT REPORT PERFORMANCE/ HANDLING Being a smaller light quad, the Bebop 2 is subject to the wind, and with a breeze the controls become a little challenging, especially when flying off a smartphone. On a nice day however it’s quite fun to fly.

Flight Controls


Bebop 2






382mm x 328mm

Radio control type

Wifi smartphone or optional 2.4Ghz SkyController


2700mah Lipo

Operating range

Limited to wifi coverage with smartphone or over 1km with Sky Controller.

Flight time



$899 or $1299 with SkyController


The Bebop can operate with just a smartphone or tablet. It is quite convenient, at under 500g and with its small form factor you can take it anywhere and the smartphone app is less daunting than an RC controller for the uninitiated, but it is also less responsive and the range is best suited for a back yard rather than a large park. Fortunately, if you are planning more long distance adventures, the optional SkyController for an additional $400 will give you a cockpit like a jet fighter. You will sacrifice portability, but it gives you a proper RC controller style setup, and the huge antenna on top extends the range up to an advertised 2km.



FLIGHT TIME Excellent flight time with 15-20 minutes.

FINAL WORD Like the Bebop 1 the Bebop 2 is designed with family fun in mind. It’s relatively easy to learn to fly and with the extended flight time you can explore much longer before bringing it in to land. It’s not specced for high resolution video, but if you’re going on a family holiday it’s going to be fun for everybody.





Multirotors get most of the attention in the drone world, however they are not the only option when it comes to mapping, writes Simon Chapman.

F YOU'RE serious about aerial mapping then you need to consider a fixed-wing aircraft. Single-rotor helis are also a great solution for some niche applications too. Here's a run-down of the four main types of aerial drone platforms, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Multirotor If you want to get a small camera in the air for a short period of time, then it is hard to argue with a multirotor. They are the easiest and cheapest option for getting an 'eye in the sky', and because they give you such great control over position and framing they are perfect for aerial photography work. The downside of multirotors is their limited endurance and speed, making them unsuitable for large scale aerial

mapping, long endurance monitoring and long distance inspection of pipelines, roads, power lines, etc. Although the technology is improving all the time, multirotors are fundamentally very inefficient and require a lot of energy just to fight gravity and keep them in the air. With current battery technology they are limited to around 20-30 minutes when carrying a lightweight camera payload. Heavy-lift multirotors are capable of carrying more weight, but in exchange for much shorter flight times. Because of their need for fast and high-precision throttle changes to keep them stabilised, it isn't practical to use a gas engine to power multirotors, so they are restricted to electric motors. Until a new power source comes along, we can only expect very small gains in flight time.






ABOVE AND FACING PAGE: Mine surveying.

Fixed-wing drones (as opposed to 'rotary wing', i.e. helicopters) use a wing like a normal aeroplane to provide the lift rather than vertical lift rotors. Because of this they only need to use energy to move forward, not hold themselves up in the air, so they are much more efficient. For this reason they're able to cover longer distances, map much larger areas, and loiter for long times monitoring their point of interest. In addition to the greater efficiency, it is also possible to use gas engines as their power source, and with the greater energy density of fuel many fixed-wing UAVs can stay aloft for 16 hours or more. The main downside of a fixed-wing aircraft is obviously their inability to hover in one spot, which rules them out for any general aerial photography work. This also makes launching and landing them a lot trickier, as depending on their size you need a runway or catapult launcher to get them into the air, and either a runway, parachute or net to recover them safely at the end. Only the smallest fixed-wing drones

are suitable for hand launch and 'belly landing' in an open field. Other downsides are their higher cost, and also that it is much more difficult to learn the ropes with fixed-wing drones. One reason why multirotors have become so widespread is that it is easy to get started: anyone can buy a cheap quadcopter and start hovering in their back yard, practising the skills and gradually getting more and more confident before flying further, higher and faster. That isn't the case with fixed-wing drones: the first time you launch one you need to be confident in your abilities to control it from launch, through the flight and then bring it back to a soft landing. You don't get a chance to put it into a hover and think, putting the sticks in the middle won't keep it in place: a fixed-wing drone is always moving forward and they move a lot quicker than a multirotor! Another consideration of fixed-wing drone work is that it is much more about the data, not just taking pretty pictures. With a multirotor session


you're generally done with the job when the flight is over, you only need to hand over the imagery. With fixed-wing work the flight is just the beginning, you've captured the images but it isn't yet the data the clients are looking for. The imagery is fed through the first stage processing to stitch the hundreds (or thousands) of separate images into one big tiled image, but there can be a lot more to be done after this in performing data analysis such as the stockpile volume calculations, tree counts, overlaying other data on to the maps, and so on. Finally, a big challenge when operating fixed-wing drones in Australia is our wedge-tailed eagles. You won't find them in the city, and they won't often attack a multirotor flying low regardless, but for the average fixedwing job further out of town and flying 100m high, these huge birds are a menace. Many people have had their new drones ripped from the sky by these amazing but incredibly aggressive birds of prey. Keep a close lookout, and be ready to make some quick evasive manoeuvres!

Many people have had their new drones ripped from the sky by wedgetailed eagles.

Single-Rotor Helicopter While a multirotor has many different rotors to hold it up, a single rotor has just one, plus a tail rotor to control its heading. Helicopters are very popular in manned aviation, but currently only fill a small niche in the drone world. A single-rotor helicopter has the benefit of much greater efficiency over a multirotor, and they can be powered by a gas motor for even longer endurance. It is also a general rule of aerodynamics that the larger the rotor blade and the slower it spins, the more efficient it is. This is why a quadcopter is more efficient than an octocopter, and special long-endurance quads have a large prop diameter. A single-rotor heli allows for very long blades which are more like a spinning wing than a propeller, giving great efficiency. If you need to hover with a heavy payload (e.g., an aerial LIDAR laser scanner) or have a mixture of hovering with long endurance or fast forward flight, then a single-rotor heli is really your best bet. The downsides are their complexity, cost, vibration, and also the danger of their large spinning blades. While a multirotor prop can certainly leave you with a bad scar, it is unlikely to do much more than that. The long sharp blades of a heli can cause more serious damage if you get in their way, and there have been a number of fatalities from RC hobby and drone helicopters. In terms of difficulty, single-rotor heli drones lie somewhere between multirotors and fixed-wing aircraft. On one hand they can hover on the spot, so it is possible to start easy and work your way up, but on the other hand they aren't as stable or forgiving in the event of a bad landing, and they also require a lot of maintenance and care due to their mechanical complexity.

Fixed-Wing Hybrid VT OL 49 DRONE MAGAZINE â?š ISSUE 3, 2016








Short flight times

Aerial Photography and Video

$5k-$65k for pro drones

Ease of use

Small payload capacity

Aerial Inspection

VTOL and hover flight

Can operate in a confined area

Good camera control FIXED-WING

Long endurance

no VTOL/hover

Aerial Mapping

Large area coverage

Harder to fly, more training needed

Pipeline and Power line inspection

Fast flight speed


$25-$120k for pro drones

BELOW: Mining. Launch and recovery needs a lot of space SINGLE-ROTOR


VTOL and hover flight

More dangerous

Long endurance (with gas power)

Harder to fly, more training needed

Heavier payload capability


VTOL and longendurance flight

Drone Delivery

Aerial LIDAR laser scanning

$25-$120k for pro drones

BOTTOM: NVDI (Normalised Differenc Vegetation Index) mapping.

TBD, in development

Not perfect at either hovering or forward flight Still in development

Merging the benefits of fixed-wing UAVs with the ability to hover is a new category of hybrids that can take off and land vertically. There are various types under development, some of which are basically just existing fixed-wing designs with vertical lift motors bolted on. Others are 'tail sitter' aircraft which look like a regular plane but rest on their tails on the ground, pointing straight up for take off before pitching over to fly normally, or 'tilt rotor' types where the rotors or even the whole wing with propellers attached can swivel from pointing upwards for takeoff to pointing horizontally for forward flight. Many of these configurations were tried in the 1950s and 60s for manned aircraft, but they proved too complex and difficult to fly, with some disastrous results. With the arrival of modern autopilots, gyros and accelerometers, suddenly these whacky types are feasible because the autopilot can do all the hard work of keeping them stable, leaving the human pilot the easier task of guiding them around the sky. There are only a handful of hybrid fixed-wing aircraft currently on the market, but you can expect them to be much more popular in the coming years as the technology is perfected. One example getting a lot of attention is Amazon's Prime Air delivery drone.

About the Author Andrew Chapman is the NSW Director of Operations for Australian UAV specialising in aerial mapping, survey and inspection work since 2013.




FANCY A There's a rapidly growing number of drone competitions and events in Australia, but for the real techheads nothing compares with the UAV Challenge in Queensland.

RIGHT & INSET OPPOSITE PAGE: Team Aetournos at the 2014 Search & Rescue competition. MAIN: Outback Joe in need of rescue.



ESTABLISHED by CSIRO and QUT in 2007, the UAV Challenge aims to encourage the development of UAVs and RC technology to save lives and inspire enthusiasts into careers in aerospace and remotely piloted aircraft. The organisers set the bar high. The original challenge in 2007 was to locate a lost bushwalker up to 10km away, drop a bottle of water as close as possible and then return to base. This was not completed successfully until 2014, when four teams managed it. Now the bar has been raised even higher, requiring the aircraft to collect a package and land and take off vertically in a remote location. See next page for the scenario.

Here come the drones Unlike previous years when fixed wing aircraft were the most suitable aircraft, drones will have to be used this year. Multirotor aircraft or helicopters of some kind will be necessary, although a drone on its own won’t do the job because of the distances involved. To complete the challenge the craft needs to be capable of flying at 100kph for 40 minutes. This year's entries include a variety of transitional aircraft or quad-planes (fixed wing aircraft with multirotor-like motors and props for vertical take off and landing). At least one team is entering a traditional helicopter, and some have entered light fixed-wing aircraft with very short takeoff and landing capability (less than 8m) in the hope that there will be enough flat space where they land.




THE COMPETITIONS Medical express 2016 scenario: Outback Joe has been feeling unwell. He has had a remote consultation with his doctor who wants blood tests done immediately. Joe has taken a blood sample using his own kit, but his property is very remote and cut off by floodwaters. Teams must use a UAV to retrieve the blood sample from 30km away and bring it back to base within an hour. It must land on rough terrain within 80m of Joe but no closer than 30m. After Joe has loaded the sample and pressed the Go switch the UAV must wait at least 60 seconds to enable Joe to stand clear before take-off. The UAV will be disqualified if it strays outside the course's geofences. The competition is held every two years and is open to teams from anywhere in the world. There is no cost to enter but there is a qualifying process that will restrict the competition to a maximum of 20 teams. A prize of $50,000 is awarded to the team that lands closest to Outback Joe and completes the mission. Entries have closed for 2016. The competition will be held from 27-30 September in Dalby, Queensland.


Airborne delivery 2016 scenario: Outback Joe has made an emergency mobile phonecall to advise that he is suffering an allergic reaction and needs urgent medical assistance. Teams must use a UAV to deliver an Epipen as close as possible to Joe so that he can treat his anaphylaxis until medical aid arrives. Teams must fly their UAV within a zone measuring 350x220m and drop the package as close as possible to Joe. The drop must be triggered either autonomously or remotely by a team member who cannot see the UAV or Outback Joe. The package will contain an impact monitor to measure whether it lands softly enough. The competition is held annually, open to school teams from anywhere in the world. There is no cost to enter but there is a qualifying process that will restrict the competition to a maximum of 20 teams. Prizes: first $5000, second $2000, third $1000, best rookie team $2000. Entries for 2016 close on July 20. The competition will take place from 20-22 September at Calvert, 25km west of Ipswich, Queensland.

It operates over a large land area and over public roads and farms. It does not take place in a fenced off area, hence it is very realistic. The rules also permit the use of a combined aircraft that could split into two at the landing site, allowing one to stay in the air and the other to land and take off, docking in mid-air for the return flight. Sounds fanciful? What about the Apollo mission that managed this on the moon in 1969 with less computer power on board than the average car today? With 59 entrants from 19 countries this year, the UAV Challenge is a truly international, high profile event. There's nothing like it elsewhere in the world, according to its co-founder Jonathan Roberts, professor of robotics at QUT. “It is unique in that it has a totally open entry. Most other competitions like the UAV Challenge are restricted to entry by university student-based teams," he says. “Also, the UAV Challenge is one of the only drone competitions that operates over a large land area and over public roads and operating farms. It does not take place in a fenced off area. Hence it is very realistic." It is sponsored by major global aerospace firms and attracts extensive media attention when it runs. The 2014


event was covered by BBC International News who sent a crew from London to Outback Australia. “It interests people for many reasons, one being that it is focussed on how to potentially save lives using drone technology," says Roberts, “but the other is the great team environment where we see self-funded teams often working in their garage building and developing world-leading drone systems.” More than 350 teams have participated in the challenge since its inception. The CanberraUAV team won the big prize in 2014. This year the teams will be chosen from entries from Australia (10 teams), India (3), USA (2), Poland (2) and one each from Singapore, The Netherlands, Canada, Thailand and France.

Schools competition The other part of the UAV Challenge is the Airborne Delivery competition,

OPPOSITE PAGE AND BELOW: The MUROC Par Excellence team from Mueller Queensland at the 2015 schools competition. LEFT: An example of what the 2016 Medical Express course might look like. The edges are geofenced to bring down aircraft that fail to stay within the boundaries.

TECHNICAL SPIN-OFFS One of the great aspects of the UAV Challenge is that like space missions it leads to the development of groundbreaking technology that can be adapted for other purposes. Jonathan Roberts outlines some examples.

Millswood Engineering Failsafe Device

which is open to teams from high schools worldwide. More than 80 schools have participated since it started. 2016 entries close in July but interest has already been registered from schools in China, USA and Puerto Rico. The winning team in 2015 was from Mueller, Queensland. Staged annually, this event is conducted over short distances requiring a package to be delivered accurately. Drones were used by six teams last year, but there will be more in 2016. “We are finding the number of multirotor teams increases each year," says Roberts. “One of the key reasons is that teams have limited space to practice at their schools and multirotors help them keep their flying area small." See for competition rules, videos and highlights from previous years.

This was a piece of electronics designed to supplement commercial autopilots in such a way as to implement all the failsafe requirements of the UAV Challenge Search and Rescue mission. A manufacturer had recognised that there was a gap in the market and had gone ahead and created a new product. A number of competing teams were using the product in the 2009 competition, the third event to be run. The device became a commonly seen feature of the UAV Challenge from then on but more significantly, the manufacturer reported that they had sold this unique piece of electronics worldwide to others who realised the need for safer unmanned aircraft operations, including auto pilot developers who require backup systems when developing and testing brand new products. It was also used as a failsafe for unmanned underwater vehicles.

RFD900 Radio (by RFDesign) Most teams struggled with the communication issue in the early years of the UAV Challenge, according to Jonathan Roberts. Then came along a company called RF Design that had heard about the UAV Challenge and the technological hurdle it had created. The company set about using an existing chipset, the Si1000, which is a low power single-chip microcontroller with an integrated sub-GHz RF transceiver, as the basis of their new data modem. The RFD900 data modem was the result. Competing teams began adopting the modems in 2012 and by 2014, 14


out of the 15 teams that flew at event in Kingaroy were using the RFD900, including the winning team. RF Design report that they have sold several thousand modems worldwide, mainly in the UAV sector.

Autopilots When the UAV Challenge was conceived in late 2005, teams had two choices when it came to civilian autopilots. They could spend thousands of dollars and pick between limited numbers of highend products, or they could develop their own from scratch. In 2014 the situation was very different with multiple affordable autopilots readily available to all teams. The transformation in the availability of affordable autopilots for smallunmanned aircraft has been great to witness, and the UAV Challenge played its part in motivating that revolution. Some of the teams from 2009 began using the open source Paparazzi Project autopilot and the rules of the UAV Challenge began to influence features being developed for that autopilot. Then the Ardupilot open source community began to take notice of the UAV Challenge, and that autopilot began to adopt features specifically to address the competition rules. That project has now evolved and the autopilot became the APM:Plane open source software autopilot which, according to its developers, has been heavily influenced and inspired by the UAV Challenge. Much of the APM:Plane’s flight termination safety code was written specifically to comply with the UAV Challenge rules and others outside the UAV Challenge competition are using that functionality for situations that require an unmanned aircraft to stay within a defined region of airspace. CanberraUAV, the winning team of the 2014 Challenge used the APM:Plane autopilot software and in fact members of that team are lead developers on that open source project.



THE CONNEX MINI Live HD video monitoring from the air just got smaller. Amimon’s Connex has been one of the best solutions for reliable low latency HD streaming for pro aerial cinematographers for a while now. But because size and weight is always a factor on drones, Amimon has recently unveiled The Connex Mini. Dropping its air unit weight by more than half, down from 130 to 60g on the Mini, and reducing its size from 102mm x 63.6mm x 15.6mm to 65.5mm x 44.7mm x 14.9mm, smaller drones can now afford to carry the payload to achieve solid HD video transmission. The effective range with the Mini has been cut in half too, with the big brother boasting a solid signal up to 1km (line of sight, ideal conditions) down to 500m. 500m is still quite a distance and will generally do the job depending on your use, and you can save yourself some money as well as weight and real estate if you can accept the compromise. Supporting any HD format you can throw at it (it does not transmit 4K) at a frequency of 5.15.8GHz digital and with a multiple antenna array on the ground unit, it will give you a reliable enough

feed, not just for monitoring video but also live broadcast or recording. It supports S.Bus, MAVLink, and CAN-Bus so you can tie it in with your flight controller and gimbal. With a compatible telemetry module installed you can view telemetry data such as altitude, GPS coordinates and remaining voltage superimposed on the video feed (OSD). Additionally, it allows you to control a gimbal from a dedicated transmitter. Adapters are included for connecting Futaba (S.Bus) and PPM transmitters to the ground unit. The Connex Mini comes in at around $2000, saving you around $500 on the bigger version. It is an investment but if you need a reliable HD downlink it will be money well spent. Buy them from



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Events were held night and day for six days at Dubai's spectacular Drone Prix course.


THE BIG TIME The stakes are rising for FPV racing around the world, and Australia is right up there, says Drew Gibson.



PV RACING –it's the Formula 1 of the skies. Unlike your standard Grand Prix though, the barriers for entry are low, the tech is improving almost daily, the number of racing meets is increasing, and you don't need to be a one in a million talent with the support of a multinational sponsor to get involved. In Issue 2 we examined how a bunch of young Aussie FPV racers helped bring local pilots to a world platform with the creation of the Australia FPV Racing Association. Since then things have really started to heat up. Firstly, Australia has been formally accepted into the global FPV scene and really serious prize money is regularly on offer. With new websites, much better organisation and a ton of information about, the once mysterious sport is opening the shutters even further to newcomers, seasoned pros and the curious. Twelve months ago, the most organised clubs in Australia were essentially a group of mates gathering informally and setting up a race when everybody had time. Usually just for fun. Now you can join any number of incorporated clubs in all states. These clubs teach would-be pilots the ropes and come with proper rules, leaderboards, prize money and – perhaps most importantly – insurance and the blessing of the aviation authorities. Amateurs and first-timers are not only welcomed, in many cases there are specific events just for 'newbies' where they can hone their skills while also staying out of the way of the big boys. In fact, if you have anything more than a passing interest in FPV racing, Australian FPV Racing Association's Tighe Brown reckons the best place to learn is at a


The 2016 World Drone Racing Championships in the US will be streamed live to the ESPN3 channel and wrapped up as a one-hour package on the ESPN network. formal FPV club meeting. Even if you don't have any gear. FPV pilots are generally happy to share their time and knowledge and do their part to educate anybody who is interested. With so much information online, it's difficult to know where to start. Well, that's where the Australian FPV Racing Association (AFPVRA) comes in. It was set up as the local arm on the International drone racing scene and is an umbrella group for state based clubs and their members. Tighe says the not for profit organisation now comprises more



than 100 members from established FPV clubs and special interest groups around Australia. Unlike some organisations with purely commercial motives, the AFPVRA is totally committed to the sport. "Our members have been and will continue to promote and support this sport in a safe, responsible and professional manner," states the group's motto. "We are united to protect the integrity of the FPV Sport and with national and international support we are the flying force in Australia." It's not just Australia. FPV Racing globally is growing like no other sport.

15yo wins $250,000 In Dubai, the World Drone Prix in March was a benchmark event. Doing things the only way Dubai knows how, no

60 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

expense was spared on the course facilities, prize money or the overall event itself. Forget a free shopping voucher or some extra pocket money for the winners. Here, the prize pool was a cool $US1 million - with the winner taking a hefty $250,000 of that. In a sign of the times, the major quarter of a million dollar prize was won by - wait for it - a 15-year-old FPV racer from the UK. The teenager in question was Luke Bannister, who flies for the UK-based Tornado X-Blades team and beat off 150 others from around the globe, in the process becoming the sport's first World Drone Prix champion. Australia was hot on the heels of a P1 position though, through the skills of local FPV legend Chad Nowak. In a four-pilot semi final Chad was edged

out by Luke who did a Steve Bradbury and ended the race as the last man standing - or hovering, as the case may be. There's on old saying that you must first finish to finish first. And after three of the four pilots - Chad included - got tangled up and crashed before the finish line, that's just what Luke did, eventually taking both the prize money and the inaugural title. Dubai is a natural fit for the sport. The country is comfortable with spending money, technology and drones. It's been using drones for a number of years for all kinds of uses. Although organisations have many different formats, the Dubai championship was pretty straightforward. Firstly, a spectacular track was built and the prize money put up for offer. As for the race, pilots really needed to get around the predetermined track as quickly as possible while not incurring too many penalties. Each racer had to complete 12 laps of the 600 metre course, stop for at least one pit stop and, naturally, finish. The event was a stunning success and the custom-made beautifully lit track had to be seen to be believed. It was the usual no-expense-spared Dubai fare. Organisers were so enthused by the event that the United Emirates city announced the World Future Sports Games, which will host all kind of futuristic sports such as robotic competitions and drone racing. The first of these will take place in late 2017 and is expected to be held every two years. Not surprisingly, American drone racing is also going full steam ahead. And it's getting some pretty serious backers with big names and deep pockets. Numerous capital venture firms have invested in the sport in the US, as well

as individuals. One of the most notable investors is Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, who is part of a group funding the Drone Racing League (DRL) to the tune of at least $US8 million. His involvement has led to other high profile backers such as Matt Bellamy, the front man of rock group Muse, which, incidentally, named its last album 'Drones'). Even rapper 50 Cent turns up to watch races. The DRL sees drone racing as one day rivalling Formula 1 and Nascar in the US, with more participants and just as many viewers. And it's clear they're on to something. In April, US sports cable network ESPN announced it will broadcast a threeday racing event in New York. The Drone Nationals will take place on Governors Island in NY City.


Competitors from 30 countries came to compete at the Drone Prix.

61 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016


attend and participate. A significant event in itself, it's only the start of even bigger and better things to come. More info and register at


Aussies at the World Nationals

US Nationals at Manhattan 15-year-old Luke Bannister celebrates his big win.

The US National Drone Racing Championships will take place in early August with a stunning backdrop including The Statue of Liberty and a vista of lower Manhattan. A few months later, the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships will also be covered on ESPN, streamed live to its ESPN3 channel, but also wrapped up as a one-hour package on the ESPN network itself. For any sport, getting network involvement like this means it's in the big league. DRL also held a successful event at a football stadium in Miami earlier this year. DRL said the event - called Level 1: Miami Lights - involved "the most complex racecourse ever built outside a video game". It included an intricate

track featuring lights, barriers and gates to fly through. It had it all. Winner Steve "Zoomas" Zoumas from New York said the scale of the production was immense. "It's unlike anything I've experienced in this community before. FPV racing already provides such an adrenaline rush, winning a DRL race takes it over the top." The events are coordinated by the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA), which also co-ordinated the Dubai races earlier this year. And, according to all involved, these recent developments are just the beginning of something very big. There are numerous other global events and organisers, and as the sport matures the number of pilots and viewers is set to increase exponentially.

Oz Nationals on the Gold Coast Closer to home, the national D1 Drone Challenge and Expo was help in Ballarat in April. While it wasn't offering Dubailike prize money, the offers were still pretty generous. With a total prize pool of $15k and $10k of that for the top prize, it proves drone racing is already more lucrative than some sports. Particularly for young participants The next major event on the local calendar is the 2016 Australian Drone Nationals, which will be held from August 19-21 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Queensland. There's an open invitation for all clubs and special interest groups to

62 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

The top five pilots from the Australian Drone Nationals will be given the chance to battle their drones at the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships. This global event is set to take to the skies in late October in Hawaii and will attract pilots from 30 countries who will compete in eight events on four world class courses. The meeting will stage racing events all day every day for five days. Given how developed FPV Racing has become in Australia in such a short time, nobody will be surprised to see some local names on the leaderboard. And young ones at that. Age is another thing that is defining this sport. To be blunt, the computer game generation find flying easier than most. It's the same reason the US Defence Department is hiring computer game experts hand over fist. The imminent take-up of virtual reality goggles and associated technologies in the next few years will only make the sport more advanced. And more exciting. FPV Racing is like one big living computer game. Be warned though, it's also highly addictive. As other 'addicts' agree, slap on a pair of goggles and take to the air, and you're more than likely to be instantly hooked. For more information on getting involved in FPV Racing in Australia as a competitor or a spectator - the best place to start for all states and territories is the AFPVRA site at

For the latest global action, the best places to look include: The Drone Racing League World Drone Prix index.php Drone Nationals

FPV RACING The Connex ProSight HD Vision is the first ever digital HD video streaming for FPV Racing.


ONNEX has just announced what could be a game changer for FPV Racing. UNtil now all FPV video has been analog, which comes with certain limitations. Analog is a broadcast signal, so anyone can pick up your video signal, and this means interference or 'cross-talk' if two transmitters are using the same or similar frequency in close proximity. At a race meet, organisers have to go to lengths to avoid this. Also the signal gets fuzzy noise and breaks up easily in some conditions. Connex is well known for its professional level digital video systems, and now it has announced a smaller version aimed at FPV - The Connex ProSight. The kit comes with a camera, transmitter and receiver. Here are some key features:  720p30 HD camera, with high-dynamic range sensor, and 2.8mm lens  Receiver unit outputs standard 720p60 over HDMI for reducing motion blur  Compatible with all popular HDMI based goggles/monitors  Digitally paired transmitter to receiver for crosstalk-free flight  Supported LOS range of 1000ft to 3000ft (300m to 1000m) – varies with field conditions  Advanced frequency setup for multi-pilots: automatic and manual modes, supporting 27 digital channels (FCC)  System configuration via Bluetooth using Android/iOS app or through built-in on screen display menu  Advanced high-definition spectator viewing mode  Camera to HDMI receiver-out maximum latency of 26mS @ 60fp

The unit is available from June 2016 and should cost you around $670 for the kit. It's a bit more than your standard analog system but you will get next level solid HD video streamed direct to your eyeballs.



MALL Remotely Piloted Aircraft (S-RPA), commonly known to the public as “Drones” are revolutionising the way in which environmental aerial surveys are now conducted. The key benefits are the lower-cost of collecting multi-spectral datasets and the high resolution of digital information now produced by relatively low-cost S-RPA camera payloads. S-RPA can really generate a data-rich “environment” for the environment, says Mark Xavier CEO of V-TOL Aerospace Pty Limited. With the ability to create (mm) resolution maps in the colour and thermal/IR spectrums, significant amounts of information about the local fauna and flora can be extracted and analysed to determine and audit the various items of interest in a selected area. An additional benefit of the digital data-sets is the ability to use search algorithms to do all the data analysis heavy lifting making the extraction of specific targets of interest quicker and more accurate than can be done by humans. “There are still challenges in getting this right, but progress is being made every day to fine tune out the problems of machine data analysis”, says Andrew Rieker a Systems Engineer at V-TOL.

“ S-RPA can really generate a data-rich environment” V-TOL Aerospace recently deployed a two (2) man RPAS team operating both the V-TOL fixed wing GosHawk and multi-rotor Hornet RPAS to conduct environmental surveys at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in the NT. The survey was in support of a Department of Environment endangered species program. “ We collected data in the colour and thermal IR spectrums to conduct animal counts and measure the bio-mass of the relevant areas and enclosures”, said Andrew. “We expect to also be in a position to identify plant and grass species based on the quality of the imagery we have”, he continued.


CONTACT: W: E: P: 1300 886 532

CSIRO © 2016


V-TOL © 2016




THE HEAD TURNER With its sexy curves and customisable canopy, the Storm SRD280 is as much fun as it is a futuristic work of art. Andy Willmott put a military version through its paces.


OST FPV racing quads display personality with some coloured props and LED lights, but generally the builds are focused on business and look much the same. Storm has come up with a unique futuristic-looking frame that is both practical and cool, sporting sexy curvy panels that are crying out to be personalised.

Ready to Race


Customisable panels

Built, tested and tuned Ready To Fly (RTF)

Various flight modes from beginner to FPV Pro

There really is very little to do to get up and flying with the RTF package, as you would hope. The distributor, Helipal, does quality control checks, tests and calibrations on every single unit before shipping. I literally just charged a battery (charger included), screwed on the props and it flew great, quite literally out of the box. The only thing the RTF kit doesn't have is a set of goggles or monitor. However the choice of goggles is quite individual and anyone who


has flown FPV before will already have a set. It's the norm not to include this item. I had a set of cheap Quanum DIY FPV goggles from HobbyKing which took less than a minute to tune, as the Quad comes with an already configured video transmitter, and I was ready to race.

Under the Hood The unique canopy on the SRD280 lifts to reveal the Flight Controller and internals for easy maintenance. It's cool and practical.



BEGINNER MODE is slower and less aggressive, providing a no-stress flying experience thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfect for the beginner or casual flying. Has auto leveling.

SPORT MODE is faster, offering the best performance for racing. Has auto leveling.

FREESTYLE MODE impress your friends. In this mode you can execute manoeuvres from rolls to loop-the-loops. Basically like a RATTITUDE mode. Has auto leveling.

SPORT MODE FPV Race mode with no auto leveling.

FREESTYLE MODE is the ultimate mode for adrenaline junkies - the best performance mode for aerobatics. No auto leveling, full manual, full power.


BEGINNER MODE contains a slow auto-leveling, but gives more control to the pilot. Allows you to start flying more aggressively. Has auto leveling.

She can certainly get up and boogie, and no problems manoeuvering around obstacles at high speed. SPECIFICATIONS Model

Storm Racing Drone SRD280 V3




RTF FPV Racing Quadcopter


230mm x 245mm

Radio control type

2.4GHz supplier transmitter

Flight Controller and Flight Modes Storm has used one of my fav flight controllers, the CC3D running LibrePilot. They have optimised all the flight parameters for the SRD280 and created 6 tuned, tested and pre-loaded flight modes to cater for various flying styles and pilots of all levels.

FPV Bits The SRD280 comes with a Foxeer 700TVL CMOS camera giving you 90 degrees field of view with an adjustable tilt. Combined with Storm's 5.8GHz 600mw video transmitter and mushroom antenna, I had no issues with video quality and no sign of jello (distortion from vibrations transmitted through the frame). The camera itself is protected neatly out of harm's way inside the nose of the canopy. Should you want to add your own camera such as a Mobius ActionCam for recording your flights, there is a mounting panel on the roof.

Flight controller



3S-4S Lipo

Operating range


Flight time

depends how hard you go


$677 (RTF version, no goggles)

Power Plant


Storm has engineered its own unique 2300kv/2204 motors, which have

66 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

special vents that drive air through the coils to cool them. You are going to be pushing these motors to their limits to beat your mates, so keeping them cool is important. The bigger bearings also increase overall performance and ensure they can handle larger or increased pitch props. The ESCs (Electronic Speed Controllers) are rated to 30A and can handle up to 4S batteries. Standard props on the SRD280 are HQ 6 inch x 3.5S. You get pretty awesome performance out of them but you can certainly swap them out for some higher pitch, stiffer props and increase the responsiveness and punch.

Transmitter The SRD280 V3 ships with a Radiolink AT9 which is a really nice 9 channel transmitter. The sticks are smooth and springy. It feels nice to hold and all the switches are pre-configured and even labeled from Helipal if you get the RTF version. It comes with an 8 x AA battery holder, but it's easier and cheaper to run it off a small Lipo or LIFE battery, accepting from 2-4S.

Lost Drone It's inevitable you are going to crash as you dodge trees. When you lift your goggles you're going to wonder where the hell it went down. Fortunately a flick of the switch on the transmitter will start the drone beeping until you find it. The buzzer also functions as a low battery alarm.

ABOVE: The 6 flight modes cater for various flying styles and pilots of all levels.

FLIGHT REPORT PERFORMANCE/ HANDLING With 6 flight modes you can switch between various performance and handling profiles. On the full ACRO/Sport mode it is excellent. Your mates will find it hard to catch you.

Make It Your Own The SRD280 is uniquely customisable. You start with choosing a colour for the panels with 6 to choose from, plus a limited edition military spec one like we got. They supply you with a couple of sheets of decals, for you to add as you wish. Or you can get creative and add your own decals or paint however you like. The panels are big enough to let you be quite creative. There are banks of LED lights forward and rear facing with convenient little dip switches alongside them to change to various colour options.

FLIGHT TIME With any FPV quad flight time will vary depending on your flying style. But you will get something between 4-7 minutes generally.

Start Your Engines


So, how does she fly? Like a bat out of hell. I started on the beginner modes to get a feel for it, and gingerly increased speed and angles of attack as I went through the other flight modes. She can certainly get up and boogie, and no problems manoeuvering around obstacles at high speed. I didn't get a chance to race against another drone, so I can't tell you if it will beat a QAV250 out of the blocks, but as FPV racing is more about piloting skills than straight line performance, I have no doubt you'll be taking some checkered flags with this quad once you get comfortable with it.

D 67 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

I would have bought one of these purely on its looks, I mean just look at it! I was pleasantly surprised though to find it had all high end components and refined tuning to make it a buzz to fly. With so many FPV quads out there looking so much the same, you will certainly be the one to watch when you rock up to your next race meet with one of these. Get in quick and there may even be some limited edition military spec ones left!



DRONE Class Imagine. You are at school sitting in maths class. You are watching the clock ticking. Only 10 more minutes and then you get to go and fly drones at school. This fantasy is becoming reality at Bacchus Marsh Grammar in Victoria, as Garth Bingley-Pullin finds out. 69 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016


ITH drones seemingly taking over the world, there are many new emerging careers taking shape. The industry itself is growing at an exponential rate, and as technology advances it’s becoming clear that education at a young age will set up students to take advantage of new jobs in various drone related roles where skills in robotics, mechatronics, programming and of course remote piloting will allow them to help shape the future. Bacchus Marsh Grammar in Victoria has taken the impressive step to include such full-time mechatronics classes as part of the Years 9 and 10 curriculums. Students may elect to enrol in what the school calls its ‘Flight Tech 111’ classes, which include several skill-developing activities. These include 3D printing to design and manufacture one-off specialist parts in-house, Autocad to design the quad or tricopter frames, general engineering and programming to set up the flight controllers.

Aviation-based classes The flight tech classes are led by passionate teachers Peter Hexter and Rohan Bryan, a knowledgeable aviation enthusiast. Combining their skills with a very forward-thinking school ethos has resulted in several aviation-based classes, including Flight Tech 1 (model rockets) and Flight Tech 11 (fixed-wing autonomous models). These classes involve integrated technology that is both fun and engaging for the students, and also teaches them solid technology skills that might otherwise be inaccessible. The program starts with the students understanding the individual application and then combines these new skills to create their choice of tricopter or multirotor. To create a fast and safe learning environment, the students hone their skills on flight simulators that come with the controllers. Once students have demonstrated the sufficient level of aptitude they are allowed to fly the physical aircraft under close guidance and strict rules.


Designing their own drones Having a full class of students all designing their own one-off drones could cause some major headaches for the teachers if each student chose to select their components individually. The choices in the marketplace are already staggering, so some basic unification of parts was wisely chosen from the outset. When Drone Magazine questioned Peter and Rohan about sourcing all the components, they replied that "finding a local supplier with not only everything


All students are first required to become proficient at flying the drones via a flight simulator.

in stock, but with the commercial quantities needed was one of the most challenging aspects of getting ready". They decided to buy in bulk from overseas supplier HobbyKing, which had the stock levels needed, but even that came with its own set of challenges. "Once we found that HobbyKing had most of the components like motors, ESCs and controllers in stock, we thought it was a simple case of ordering online, but we quickly found that they were not prepared to ship such large quantities.

We had to get around that problem by breaking down the orders," explained Peter. Once they had everything delivered the school was ready to begin what they hoped would be a minimum two-year program. Meanwhile, another issue was durability of the drones. Combining the fact that the students will be learning to fly with possibly no previous experience, and with kids being kids, it was clear from the onset that the frames needed to be robust and repairs would be needed along the way.

"We looked around for a readily accessible material that would be durable, easy and quick to replace for the landing gear," explained Rohan. "After some research we decided to try yellow tongue tubing commonly found in wall and floor installation. This proved to work very well indeed." The other common material being used is 3mm acrylic sheet and 12mm aluminium tubing, as well as carbon fibre for the frames. The motor mounts are 3D printed from ABS plastics and have worked flawlessly.

71 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

EDUCATION Specific tasks such as aerial mapping and autonomous flight have been developed to hone the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; flying skills and further their education.

Getting airborne

Standardising the equipment

Students are given free rein to create, design and manufacture the body of the drones.

The bases of the drones use Turnigy Multistar brushless motors and ESCs (electric speed controllers), and all spin a 10 x 4.5 propeller combined with 3S Lipo batteries for power. The controllers used the popular Ardupilot, chosen among other reasons for its open source capability, as learning to program the controllers was all part of the education process. To control their custom drones, all the students use the Turnigy TGY-i10 transmitters on 2.4 GHz for trouble-free operation. For safety reasons all the students are required to become first proficient at flying the drones via the flight simulator before progressing to a buddy box system. Additional safety measures include limiting the flying height to 20 metres, and always staying within the school grounds. Each drone is fitted with reliable RTH (return to home) and auto-land functions, and are only flown in loiter mode (should the student pilot need to get the drone safely on the ground). Of course, a few mishaps have happened but with such stringent safety precautions in place this has been limited to a few broken frames and props. Apart from that, the students were given free rein to create, design and manufacture the body of the drones. What a fantastic way to learn longlasting technical skills and encourage both creativity and free-thinking!

72 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016

One of the biggest adjustments in the thought process came when discussing the program internally. Peter explained that "whilst the school head and majority of teachers were very enthusiastic, there were a few we had to demonstrate to that we were not simply allowing students to go build flying toys during school hours." This was easy to demonstrate when they outlined the huge amount of positive uses that drones play in our everyday lives such as humanitarian work, search and rescue, reconnaissance and beach patrol, to name a few. Once this was understood, everyone supported the initiative. With so much hard work done by the students, teachers and others in the school, the drones started to take shape and the flying education began. However, this did not involve a 'free for all' flying custom drones around the school oval - far from it. Specific tasks have been developed to demonstrate the drones' capabilities and to hone the students' flying skills and further their education. This included tasks like aerial mapping, autonomous flight and, my personal favourite, threading a line between two locations to demonstrate accuracy. The school has recently purchased some new land and the drones have been put to service surveying the area through aerial photography and checking for land erosion. With such an impressive initiative by a clearly forward-thinking team of teachers, intelligent students and a modern realworld education program, Bacchus Marsh Grammar may well be creating an in-house curriculum that other schools would do well to take note of.


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If you’re like me, you’ve always dreamt of having a flying car. We’re still a little bit away from the full size version, but thanks to drone technology, RC cars have just gotten a whole lot more interesting.


est of Both Worlds

The Syma X9 Flycar is a hybrid RC car/drone suitable for kids, big or small. It's cheap and super easy to fly or drive. For around $60-70 on eBay it's great value, and what kid wouldn't be delighted to open a present like this. It's a guaranteed hit! For a little more you can go for the X9 with the aptly named spare parts 'Crash Pack' for around $110. This is a bargain as you also get replacement parts for


✔ ✔ ✔

Cheap, easy for beginners

Fun for all ages, including big kids

Safe to fly indoors Combines an RC car with a multirotor drone


the bits you are likely to break, i.e., the props, wheels and motors as well as a bunch of extra batteries. With a charge time of over an hour, it's well worth it just for the extra batteries.

From Ground to Air The sticks are configured so that in driving mode you control it exclusively with the right stick, forward goes forward, back goes back and left and right do what you imagine. You can set the controller to operate in either Mode 1 or Mode 2 for flight mode, but it seems to be back to front from what we consider normal on the one I tested. I had to choose Mode 1 to get Mode 2 flight controls. What's it like to fly? Easy peasy. Transitioning between driving and flying is really fluid and intuitive. You can be driving along and give it a little vertical throttle and all of a sudden you're in the air where all the rules change. Once in the sky the controls are nice and soft and it's super stable.

BELOW: Give it a little vertical throttle and all of a sudden you're in the air

FLIGHT REPORT PERFORMANCE/ HANDLING The X9 has a High/Low Speed switch. If you're new to quads, keep it on low till you get used to it. Low speed affects both the responsiveness of the quad in the air as well as the amount of power you have to drive on the ground, so you'll definitely want to switch it into high gear before long. It doesn't have loads of torque on the ground, and struggles a little on inclines or in shag pile carpet, but that's why you have propellers I guess. Outdoors it's pretty wind-affected, as are any small drones, so avoid anything more than a breeze outside, and it won't drive on grass. It does have a trick button too that lets you do flips in any direction. It's pretty cool but best done outside with a bit of height till you get used to it. It's durable too. Initially I thought it would break easily, especially knowing how cheap it is but I've been bashing it around the house trying jumping flying tricks off tables and furniture for a while and not broken anything yet.

Transitioning between driving and flying is really fluid and intuitive. SPECIFICATIONS Model





Hybrid RC car/quadcopter

Width / length

210mm x 180mm



Radio control type

Supplied 2.4GHz RC style




Supplied 3.78V 600mAh

Operating range

Close, intended for indoor use

Flight time

6-15m depending on driving/flying style


$60 standard or $110 with Crash Pack

Buy from



It’s a great mini quadcopter and a good enough RC car. Having both features means when the wheels don’t have enough power, engage the props and say goodbye to the ground.

FLIGHT TIME Flight time I got was around 6-7 minutes purely airborne, but you’re generally going to mix it up and I found I could get 15 minutes balanced between driving and flying before the low battery warning lights came on. That’s excellent.

FINAL WORD I’ve flown a lot of drones of various sizes and this one had me smiling from ear to ear. It really is fun. My new favourite office toy!



I FACING PAGE: INSET – Intel’s extravaganza featured a live orchestra coordinated with a drone display. MAIN – 100 drones ready for a musical take-off.


NTEL has invested heavily into the drone scene in the last couple of years, buying into the drone manufacturer Yuneec and augmenting its forthcoming Typhoon H drone with its Sense & Avoid technology. In a recent stunning promo it broke the world record for the most UAV’s airborne simultaneously. For this 12-month project it enlisted 16 techxperts from Ars Electronica Futurelab in Germany to produce an artistic night display of 100 drones syncopated with a live orchestra. This was followed up in June by a similar spectacular of 100 drones choreographed over Sydney Harbour at the 2016 Vivid Light Festival. Pepsi is known for aiming high with its promotional marketing, and it wasn’t long before it came up with the groundbreaking Pepsi Max presentation called Drone Football. On a different scale, Otto Dieffenbach from Flyguy Promotions in San Diego California has developed original activations he calls IFOs (Identified Flying Objects). Rather than the drones themselves being the focus, he hides them inside the flying objects. He’s created a lifesize Superman and Ironman, an enormous Red Bull can, an R2-D2 and most recently a flying Snoopy on his doghouse. We spoke to Otto to find out a bit about how he’s achieved these unique displays. “After a 30-year absence from RC models, I returned to this crazy addiction five years ago. I was amazed

by all the advances. It was like I had been teleported in time," he said. “There were reliable radios, high performance electric planes, planes made out of foam, controllable helicopters and micro, ready to fly, four-channel planes priced under $100. I was hooked again. “With these new technologies and materials, the impossible was now possible. First on my list was the pursuit of the Red Baron." His first Snoopy project was a bit of a dog. With a single electric motor it was a handful to fly. Torque created yaw, aggravating the poor aerodynamic qualities of the roof's large negative dihedral. The roll coupling was horrendous. He decided to put this project on ice and move on to his next project.

Flying humans Flyguy, his flying human figure, became a media sensation and opened the door to using flying figures for corporate branding and general advertising. Otto and his flying buddy Ed Hanley also experimented with flying billboards, animals, balls, cans, boxes, a Christmas tree, a witch on a broomstick and even an Elvis. “I learned from my first flying doghouse that strange flying shapes and torque do not mix so my first generation of cans and boxes had dual motors with internal contra rotating propellers to eliminate torque. These proved to be remarkably stable and flew surprisingly well," he said.


When it comes to publicity, the holy grail is originality. To pull off something truly unique in the public eye will get you untold views, likes and industry cred. Since commercial drones became a thing, any use of them in media certainly attracts attention and creates a buzz. In Australia and many countries there are legal and safety regulations that restrict flying them close to people, but marketing agencies working with drone operators still manage to find unique ways to use drones promoting brands.

Right now advertising with drones is in its infancy but it will grow in time.

77 DRONE MAGAZINE â?&#x161; ISSUE 3, 2016


“In parallel, I began to experiment with quadcopters, incorporating quad capabilities into my various IFOs. I imagined being able to add vertical takeoff, hover and landing. To better understand quadcopter construction and fight characteristics, I built a couple of frames and learned to tune the flight controllers." It was time well spent and provided the foundation for his next step, integrating an IFO with a quadcopter. Integrating a quad into the Flyguy design, however, did not go smoothly. “My Flyguy could hover but the flights mostly ended in head plants," he explained. “I was on a steep learning curve, developing an understanding of thrust control, flight control surface effects, centre of gravity, transmitter setup and flight controller (PID) tuning. “Various motors, props, ESCs and BECs were also thrown into the experiment to optimise performance and reliability. After much trial and error, my work began to converge on a useable and reliable electronics configuration." Next he developed the Monster Can. “I used the Can to experiment with various transmitter setups. One configuration I tried allowed me to switch the transmitter from helicopter to airplane mode when I went from

Polystyrene or Depron foam are the primary building materials. The foam shell is usually reinforced with an internal carbon fibre and/or dowel skeleton. All props are internal. hover to horizontal flight. But my brain could not handle the transition and I later discovered others couldn't either.

Airplane vs helicopter controls

ABOVE: Otto Dieffenbach with some of his better known branded drones.

“The bottom line is that if you’re an airplane pilot, the flight controls and quadcopter controls should be set up like an airplane so that the IFO reacts to control inputs like a plane hanging on the prop, in 3D hover. This is easily done by swapping the aileron and rudder inputs from your receiver to the flight controller and reversing the aileron direction on your transmitter. I use the controller’s mixing capabilities to set up each of the four


control surface servos – two as rudders, two as elevators and all as ailerons. If you are more of a helicopter pilot then you should configure the quadcopter controller with standard helicopter receiver inputs. The servo mixing setup should result with two ailerons, two elevators and all servos as rudders. “I built the quad frame as a plus (+) quadcopter with four flight control surfaces in a plus configuration in the can's bottom. I needed an 8-output flight controller with servo mixing flexibility, and selected the HobbyKing KK 2.1.5 flight controller flashed with Steveis firmware.” Standing four feet tall, this second generation can remains a blast to fly and a show-stopper, according to Otto. With more confidence, he next tackled a second-generation flying box and finished it out as a half-size Doctor Who Tardis. The Tardis uses the plus (+) configuration for the flight control surfaces but employs an X quadcopter configuration for the thrust. This configuration works well and it seems either is just as effective for performance and controllability. The selection of a plus or X quad configuration is really driven by which configuration fits best within the IFO design.

Determining the Centre of Gravity Clearly, Otto finds new IFO designs fun as well as challenging. “When I begin conceptualising a new design the big questions are where to locate the centre of gravity and how stable is it,” he said. "I usually build a small gliding model and use this to determine a starting CG location, to evaluate stability issues and to experiment with flight control surface locations and sizes. “Since most of my designs are flown in front of large crowds, safety is of upmost importance. As a rule, my air show designs have the propellers internal, shrouded within the IFO, making human contact very ulikely. My designs tend to be very light, are capable slow flyers and fly at maximum speeds of 30-40 mph. Some people refer to them as flying kites. Polystyrene or Depron foam are the primary building materials in all my designs. The foam shell is usually reinforced with an internal carbon fibre and/or dowel skeleton for strength."

Snoopy Rides His Doghouse Again So let’s get back to Snoopy version 2. Now with more IFO experience behind

him, Otto figured the doghouse would weigh about four pounds, ready to fly, and ordered the necessary electronics for the build. “In the 4-pound AUW regime, I have had great success with Hitec HS225 servos, Cobra C-2213/12 motors, 40 amp ZTW Spider Series ESCs, 5 amp HobbyKing BECs and 7 x 4 APC props," he explained. “This electronics combination can easily lift four pounds and compliments the HobbyKing flight controller well. Battery power is provided by two 3s 2200mah 40c Lipos. The remaining electronic requirements are a good standard 6 channel receiver and transmitter." Snoopy, the Can, R2D2, the Tardis, the Eyeball, the Quadrocket and the Christmas Tree are all gentle fliers, said Otto. “I set mine up as airplanes. Hover is very similar to 3D aircraft hover but a lot easier. Transition to horizontal flight is intuitive - add throttle and push over. Cruise is generally less than half throttle with turns being performed primarily with the rudder and some cross controlling with the opposite aileron. Landings require a spotter to keep the IFO from falling over at touchdown (they are top heavy) or a catcher to pluck the IFO from the air while in hover."

Aerial Advertising is a Growing Market So can you make good money from drones? “There is no bad money," quipped Otto. “Aerial advertising is a big market. Right now advertising with drones is in its infancy but it will grow in time. Safety is the key. A record of safe performance needs to accumulate and operators need to have disciplined planning for each event." Otto's Monster Can has been employed by brands including Guinness and Red Bull, while his Flyguys have been used for a wide variety of purposes – a live TV skit featuring a Flying Guillermo for the Jimmy Kimmel Show; five flying professional golfers to promote Taylormade's new Adidas new lightweight golf shoe at a PGA event; four men in flying suits for a Google commercial; and a flying witch for the opening of the Yellow Brick Road Casino. He also sells DIY drone kits from his website. “Flyguy is by far the biggest seller and he flies on six continents," said Otto. “The Witch is the next most popular. The complexity of the doghouse and the other quad-based platforms discourages many." More at or on the Otto Dieffenbach youtube channel.





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02 4423 2507

0402 755 642

At Total RPA we pride ourselves on the product we deliver – which is professional, industry standard training and consulting packages tailored to your needs. Whether it be remote pilot certificate training, or UAV operators certificate consulting and training, Total RPA have the experience, knowledge and dedication to get you where you want to be — in the air and generating income. All staff at Total RPA are current, licensed commercial pilots and instructors as well as certified UAV controllers.

IAS Pty Ltd provide professional UAV/Drone Pilot training for Commercial RPA operations, for the UAV Controllers Certificate. Our 6 day Course includes theory & practical flying training on multirotor UAV’s below 7kg. Above 7kg & fixed wing available soon. Our UAV instructors have extensive experience in Commercial Aviation including CPL & Flight Engineer time. Radio AROC & all CASA fees included. A one day conversion Course for a UAV CC is available for Aircraft Pilots.



TO ADVERTISE IN DRONE MAGAZINE Contact Jodie Reid 9213 8261























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RPAS Training and Solutions (RTS) is a CASA Certified RPAS Training organisation with Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) courses running weekly around Australia. RTS developed a software suite called “RPAS Logger Enterprise” that provides a solution to both develop CASA required UOC documentation as well as maintain updated records by integrating the UOC documents with your daily flying activities using the mobile apps “RPAS Logger” on Android and iOS.



Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) Pty Limited is a 100% Australian owned CASA Approved training organisation operating under UOC number 0074. With over 250+ successful graduates from five (5) different Nations, it counts ASX 200 corporations, Federal, State and Local government agencies amongst its customers. AUSA represents the industry benchmark in unlimited training outcomes, prequalifying graduate students for upcoming advanced courses. Only invest in proven and trusted programs.



02 4203 3007



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Droneschool offers a unique course in ‘Drone Cinematography’. Conducted over a 2 day period it is aimed at people with their own drones that wish too improve their camera skills and flight techniques. Learn pro camera settings for high quality photography and video capture and develop the skills to fly your drone that result in smooth and professional looking video data capture, obtained through rehearsed shot flight paths that the pro’s use.In 2016 we will also offer courses in all areas of UAV including the Remote Pilot Controllers Certificate and various Manufacturers Certificates. Courses will held Nationally, please contact us for dates when we will be in your region.



Your business message + Custom Content

To make dollars, you first need to make sense Yaffa Custom Content are the content experts. In fact there’s only one thing we know better than great content and that’s your target market. Because they’re the audience of Yaffa Media’s brands.

Contact Matt Porter on: t. 02 9213 8209 m. 0414 390 176 e.


IN THE NEWS DHL To Trial Urban Deliveries DHL has successfully concluded a 3-month trial of a bi-motor tilt-wing 'Parcelcopter' making deliveries in adverse conditions in mountainous Bavaria. Over 130 VTOL deliveries were conducted from January to March, with an average 8km taking 8 minutes. DHL claims to be the first company worldwide to offer fully autonomous loading and unloading, and is now ready to conduct trials in urban areas.

IT’S A DRONE WORLD Drones are making headlines around the planet in all kinds of ways. On Course Deliveries Japanese retailer Rakuten has launched a drone delivery service for golfers at a course in Chiba, east of Tokyo. Golfers can order from a menu of roughly 100 items through an Android app, and each drone delivery will be limited to 2kg of goods. Rakuten set up a depot where an operator packs the goods and sets the delivery location. Once the drone has completed its delivery, it will autonomously return to the depot. The drone is a six-rotor device that has been modified to carry goods in a small box on its underbelly. Delivery points were set up on the Chiba golf course and the relatively small delivery area meant obstacles like trees could be mapped out and easily avoided.

Landing Like An Insect Researchers at Stanford University have successfully modified a commercial drone enabling it to land on walls and ceilings like an insect. The drone has a rigid tail and a pair of “microspines.” The tail allows the drone to position itself when landing. The microspines have textured pads made of microscopic hooks that are pulled inwards to catch on microscopic grooves in the surface. With no need to use power on hovering, drones like this could shoot video for hours without a battery change.

Drones To Help Driverless Cars Ford Motor Co has applied for a patent covering the use of drones to act as eyes for driverless vehicles. It is envisaged drones would fly ahead and communicate via the car's infotainment or navigation systems. "The drone device is introduced to the vehicle system in order to extend the range at which the vehicle is about to obtain information on its surroundings beyond the range of any one or more sensors, visual systems and/ or communications interfaces that may be on board the vehicle," the patent application says. It also allows for drones to deliver items to and from the vehicle.

Medical Deliveries In Africa Delivery company UPS has joined forces with robotics firm Zipline to use drones to transport medical supplies to transfusion centres in Rwanda from August 2016. Rwanda was chosen because of its relatively uncrowded airspace. Medical deliveries by drones are also being trialled in Malawi and Ghana. Companies such as Amazon, Google and Walmart are developing systems for drone deliveries in the US, but safety issues and communications systems between manned and unmanned aircraft are major hurdles yet to be overcome. NASA has been working on a drone traffic management system and will pass its research on to the FAA in 2019 for further testing.

Commercial Market Worth $127 Billion The global market for commercial applications of drone technology, currently estimated at about $2 billion, will balloon to as much as $127 billion by 2020, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC has set up a team of 40 people in Warsaw focused on the use of drone technology and data analytics in business. Poland was the world's first country to draft legislation regarding the commercial use of drones, including required training for pilots, rules for BVLOS (beyond visible line of sight) flights and insurance regulations, followed by South Africa and Singapore, PwC said.



Fly CASA Approved with AUSA 1300 886 532

The Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) is a global leader in qualifying individuals and organisations in the commercial operations of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Our CASA approved and Academy programs, include: ➢ Full Basic RPAS Pilot Certificate courses (Fixed Wing and Multi-Rotor) with radio (AROC) ➢ Unlimited Pilot Type Training (Fixed Wing) & (Multi-Rotor) ➢ Remote Crew Resource Management (R-CRM) & RPAS Observer Courses ➢ Build & Fly Manufacture’s Courses (Designed for Pilots & Maintenance Controllers) ➢ Advise on the development of operations manuals & U-AOC submissions We have graduated over 250+ RPAS Pilots from five (5) different Nations & count ASX200 companies & Local, State and Federal Agencies as customers. Only invest in trusted programs.

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