Posts Tagged ‘Flying’

Reckless drone video under investigation for flying directly above passenger jet

08 Feb

A drone pilot has enraged the entire UAV community after sharing a video in which he flew his drone directly above a passenger jet flying out of Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. The stunt was captured in a video by the camera drone, which shows it facing the jet before turning to fly in the same direction and quickly dropping altitude to get closer to the aircraft. The drone then chases after the plane but quickly falls behind.

The video was first shared privately on the Facebook group 1% FPV by someone posting under the name “James Jayo Older.” Some concerned members took a screen capture of the video and shared it outside of the Facebook group to bring attention to the dangerous stunt.

The FAA has since confirmed that it is investigating the flight, which has been heavily condemned by drone enthusiasts and the general public alike. Federal regulations prohibit drones from being operated above 400ft, near airports, and around aircraft—this pilot seems to have blatantly violated all three rules. Operating a UAV at such a close distance to an aircraft could put the entire flight at risk.

According to the FAA’s website, recreational drone pilots are required to alert air traffic control towers (when present) and airport operators ahead of time about flights happening within a 5 mile radius of an airport. “However,” the FAA notes, “recreational operations are not permitted in Class B airspace around most major airports without specific air traffic permission and coordination.”

The FAA has an online system where anyone can report a drone violation.

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NatGeo’s George Steinmetz on capturing Africa ‘from a flying lawn chair’

03 Feb

During a new 10-minute TED Talk, famed National Geographic aerial photographer George Steinmetz talks about his experiences photographing Africa while flying around in a motorized paraglider. This vantage point gives Steinmetz a unique look at the world below, including its various cultures and landscapes.

The motorized paraglider is composed of a wing in the style of a parachute and a backpack motor, holding 10 liters of fuel and offering a speed up to 30MPH / 48KPH. Steinmetz explains that he gets a flight time of about two hours, during which he gets an “unobstructed view both horizontally and vertically.”

“It dawned on me that this crazy little aircraft I was flying would open up a new way of seeing remote parts of the African landscape in a way that had never really been possible before,” Steinmetz explains in the video, pointing out that a typical airplane moves too fast for this type of photography, and a helicopter is too loud with too much downdraft.

He goes on to introduce a video of how the paraglider works before highlighting some of the most striking aerial footage and photos taken from it.

For most of us, a drone presents photographers with the closest we can get to Steinmetz style of capture, but that’s still not quite the same as a paraglider. As Steinmetz explains in the video, the motorized paraglider’s long flight time and capabilities makes it possible to not just photograph the immediate landscape, but explore the wider world around it.

Check out the full video above for a dose of Friday inspiration.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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FAA bans drones from flying near 7 nuclear facilities

20 Dec

The Federal Aviation Administration has officially designated seven Department of Energy (DOE) facilities as drone no-fly zones, restricting UAVs from being operated within 122m / 400ft of any of the following sites:

  • Hanford Site, Franklin County, WA
  • Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
  • Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
  • Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
  • Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

All seven sites are nuclear facilities (though not all of them are active), including multiple research facilities. The FAA has established the no-drone designation at the DOE’s request, doing so under its Title 14 authority. The FAA refers to these new bans as UAS National Security restrictions, and they’ll become effective on Friday, December 29. The agency will soon update its B4UFLY app to show the new restricted airspace.

According to the FAA, there will be select instances in which a drone operator could get a permit to fly within one of these restricted regions, though the operator will need to get permission from the FAA and/or the facility itself. The cases in which these permits may be granted weren’t specified. These new restrictions follow similar ones applied to Department of Interior facilities and military bases.

Via: Engadget

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Stunning ‘orbital drone-lapse’ captured by flying a drone in huge circles

14 Nov

It’s difficult to stand out when creating a time-lapse these days—from the storm-lapses of Mike Oblinski, to the ‘flow-motion’ hyperlapses of Rob Whitworth, to the award-winning work of Michael Shainblum, it seems like it’s all been done. Until, that is, someone comes up with something like ‘Low Earth Orbit.’

This drone-lapse from Folegandros Island, Greece was captured by Hong Kong-based production company Visual Suspect using a simple ‘orbital’ technique; translation: they flew a drone in massive circles while recording time-lapse.

The results look like something out of Google Earth, but instead of static low-res images from orbit, you have living landscapes captured in HD. Here’s an explanation of the “how” and “why” by the creators themselves:

Orbital drone movements are the ones with power to convert two dimensional images into dancing focal layers escaping out of the frame. We wanted to further explore the technique, with high altitude long orbits, along with ones very close to the ground, we call them “Orbital drone-lapses”. These shots are a mix of automatic and manual flights.

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New FAA drone rules restrict flying near 10 major US landmarks

30 Sep

The FAA has released a new set of drone rules that restrict UAV flight near 10 major Department of Interior landmarks in the United States, including the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and the Hoover Dam.

According to the FAA, it has decided to exercise its authority under Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 § 99.7 to establish these new restrictions after receiving multiple requests from both law enforcement and national security agencies. Starting October 5th, when these new rules go live, drone owners will no longer be allowed to fly their drones within 400ft of the following 10 monuments:

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY
  • Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution), Boston, MA
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Folsom Dam; Folsom, CA
  • Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell, AZ
  • Grand Coulee Dam; Grand Coulee, WA
  • Hoover Dam; Boulder City, NV
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; St. Louis, MO
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Keystone, SD
  • Shasta Dam; Shasta Lake, CA

Anyone who violates these new rules could face criminal and/or civil penalties. The FAA says that there are “a few exceptions” to the restriction, though it doesn’t specify what they are, instead saying that the drone operator has to coordinate their plan with the FAA and/or the landmark site specifically if they wish to fly within 400ft of the above landmarks.

Drone operators can view a full list of restricted airspace on the FAA’s website.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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Master drone pilot captures video while flying around, inside, and under a moving train

25 Sep

Absolutely, positively never try this yourself. By all accounts, this flight was highly illegal and DPReview in no way condones this activity.

If you’re at all plugged into the world of drone news, you’ve probably seen this video floating around the past week. Captured by master First Person View (FPV) drone pilot Paul Nurkkala, it shows his “flight of the year” in which he flies around, inside, onto, and under a moving train… barrel rolls included.

Nurkkala captured the video using his custom built drone, which is equipped with a GoPro Hero5 Session and piloted from afar using special FPV goggles.

The video has split the internet into two predictably conflicted camps. The first thinks it’s just the coolest footage to ever come out of a drone, because Nurkkala is clearly such a talented pilot. The second is infuriated that he would do something so obviously illegal, post the results online, and receive so much praise and adulation (and so many views… at last count his 5-day old YouTube video had accrued nearly 850,000 views).

No judgement if you find yourself both entertained and a little bit annoyed/angry while watching the video.

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Build super simple flying wing delta wing rc pdf

23 Aug

20 Tigershark did not enter production and although the program was not officially terminated until 17 November 1986 it was dead by mid, despair all that remain: Man returns to site where jet crash killed his family. including Vice Admiral William D. 1963 for a target kite that used stiffenings, 16 was considered unsuitable largely […]

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$11,000 Leica Noctilux lens shattered, or: Why you never check camera gear when flying

19 Aug
RIP Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux. Photo credit: Leica Store Manchester

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here’s your 1,000 words about why you should never check in your camera gear when flying. This $ 11,000 Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens and the $ 7,000 Leica M10 it was attached to are both broken, possibly beyond repair, after the owner checked them into the hold on a flight instead of carrying them onto the plane.

The lens showed up like this at the Leica Store Manchester, who posted this photo to their Instagram and Facebook pages as a warning for other photographers who have considered checking their camera gear. It might be easier, but you never know what kind of treatment your bag is going to get.

Case in point: the murdered Noctilux above arrived at its destination with two front lens elements shattered… through a filter. What’s left of the poor filter is stuck in the lens’ filter threads. The owner has sent the lens and and camera to a Leica service center, but while the camera might be fixable, we doubt there’s anything to be done about the lens.

Shall we consider this lesson learned?

Photo by Leica Store Manchester and used with permission.

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Shaolin Flying Monks Temple: Wind Tunnel Facilitates Midair Kung Fu Fighting

26 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Mixing modern architecture and traditional arena theater design, the Shaolin Flying Monks Temple features a massive wind tunnel that lets combatants in rural Henan, China, fly and fight in front of hundreds of fascinated observers.

The mountainous setting is home to the historical Shaolin Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and is considered the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and the Kung Fu martial arts practice (as well as the cradle of Chinese civilization more broadly).

Designed by Latvian architect Austris Mailitis, the pavilion is designed to be both contemporary while also deferential to the region and its traditions. The designer was commissioned based on a chance meeting at the Shanghai Expo in 2010.

The mounded shape of the complex and branching, trunk-like protrusion of the tunnel take their inspiration from a translation of Shaolin, meaning: mountain in the wood.

“The architectural and conceptual image pays respect to the beauty of surrounding nature and the historical heritage of the site. Developed in the shape of two symbols – mountain and tree – it serves as a platform for any kind of scenic arts focusing especially on flying performances.”

“The building method combines modern and ancient technologies,” explained the architect” — a laser-cut steel superstructure supports stone steps handcrafted using local quarry resources.”

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

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Flying drones over the internet isn’t the future we wanted, but it’s the one we’ve got

25 Mar
You’re flying… kind of! Cape lets registered users fly drones in remote locations. Takeoff and landing are handled automatically by the drone.

We were promised jetpacks, but as many-a-scholar has noted, here we are knocking on 2020’s door and we are still jetpackless. We have, however, managed to put countless drones into the sky. While jetpacks are scarce, a drone can be had for as little as $ 15 and as much as, well a hell of a lot more than that. Anyone can fly a cheapo drone into their living room wall, but if you want to fly a bigger drone somewhere cool there are costs, logistics and federal guidelines to contend with. What’s an apartment-dweller with big drone flying ambitions to do?

Enter Cape: a service that lets you fly real drones in real outdoor locations, without leaving the comfort of your home or your web browser. No license, no learning curve, no expensive crashes. Flight locations are exclusively located in California at this point, and the service is in beta so its developers expect to work out some bugs and improve latency before launch. Deep into a stretch of grey Seattle weather, flying a drone around a sunny California desert sounded fantastic to me.

Just sitting at my desk in Seattle, flying over the Sacramento River. You know, no big deal.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the drone

Cape’s locations include desert and coastal sites including San Francisco Bay, the Salton Sea and Sacramento River. Each has its own hours and days of availability, but most are available weekdays until 5pm Pacific Time. Provided your internet connection is robust, all you need to do is select a site that’s available and hop to the controls of your very own DJI Inspire 1.

Your flight begins with a diagram of your keyboard control shortcuts overlaying the camera’s live feed. Getting started just requires pressing ‘enter’ to initiate autopilot take-off. And there you are – soaring above the California desert with the press of a button.

When your session starts, you’re met with this handy controls diagram.

Cape’s drones are as dummy-proof as you’d hope they would be. A map in the corner of the screen indicates where your aircraft is in the geo-fenced zone. You can’t go beyond the zone’s boundaries, can’t crash your drone into another drone, and can’t stray outside of minimum and maximum altitudes – autopilot will kick in and prevent you from doing any of these things.

You quite literally learn the controls on the fly, but they’re easy to master. There’s some lag, but it was honestly less than I expected. In no time, I was zooming across a little patch of California desert at a reasonable speed and legal altitude. There wasn’t much to see, since that’s how deserts are, aside from some distant brush and pixelated mountains on the horizon.

And on that topic: considering you’re flying a drone that could very well be a world away, the live feed resolution isn’t bad. At best it looks like a Google Street View image, but most of the time it’s a bit more pixelated than that as it catches up with your movements. This translates to a slightly less awe-inspiring experience than, say, actually being there to gaze on some distant desert mountains.

I’m trying to drown this drone and it’s having none of it.

It’s a small world after all

The zones feel small once you’ve flown from one edge to the other, and by necessity the controls are pared down to a minimum. If it’s a truly realistic piloting experience you’re hankering, I’m not sure it’ll scratch that itch. Playing tennis on a Nintendo Wii is convenient and fun in its own way, but it’s not the same experience as playing on a real court with a racquet in your hand. You don’t come away with the same satisfaction when so much is done for you.

So if it doesn’t quite provide the same excitement as flying a drone in person, is it escapism that Cape can provide? Sure, getting a peek at the sun for the first time in days, even virtually, felt pretty nice. I can attest to how strong the desire is around Seattle to be somewhere sunny right now. I got a little bit of that escapism from Cape, but not so much that I’ll be racing back to fly somewhere else tomorrow.

But really, when you think about what Cape allows you to do, it’s kind of incredible. You’re controlling an aircraft hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away, in real time. Finding visually rich places where those drones can be operated safely and legally seems like a tricky balance. Cape’s website says the company is working on ‘unlocking new locations,’ and if one of those locations is in say, Norway or Iceland, then you’d definitely have my attention.

It’s not jetpacks, but maybe we’re getting closer.

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