Holiday Greetings 2014

Our 5th Annual Holiday Greeting! It's hard to believe that another year has passed. We've compressed our year to under 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Flying Camera

It has been about 6 months since my maiden flight - and crash - of my Phantom 2 Vision+. I could have purchased a replacement camera while visiting New York in late September, but I decided to maintain a relationship with my dealer and wait until Flying Cameras had a camera available. I think I missed a couple of times when they had the camera in stock - so obviously I'm not the only klutz who had to buy a replacement.

Well, the replacement arrived. Once I got everything reconnected I did a couple of tests indoors - without flight involved - to make sure the camera and controls were working. Success!

So, my first flight and camera test took place in Sequoia Park beside our house. I am quite impressed, although I'm thinking that a polarizing lens filter might be considered.

A Drone for Everyone

In the summer of 2013, while attending the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party, I met a fellow astronomer from the Medicine Hat area that has a very interesting job. He is involved with developing flying drones for the Canadian Military. The drones they are developing are made for detecting IED's in Afghanistan and other areas. Apparently their devices can detect a stone that has been disturbed from several thousand feet in the air.

  I thought that flying one of these drones would be very interesting. I think it is safe to assume that I would never get a chance to fly one of these military drones, so I began looking for consumer models. My first thought was the Parrot quadcopters I've seen in various stores. The advertising looked great, but when I did some research I found that you get what you pay for. Not too many people gave them glowing reviews if you considered them anything but a toy.

Eventually, I stumbled upon This company produces some amazing products. After visiting a couple of stores in Calgary, I finally bit the bullet and bought a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. That was May 21, 2014.

I received my Phantom shortly afterwards, and on the first day out I crashed! Well, actually got caught in a tree, and then while trying to get the Phantom out of the tree I managed to smash the copter on the ground. The penalty for such stupidity - the $750 camera.

The gimbal (camera mount) didn't respond to controls, and after sending it back to the dealer - Flying Cameras in Chilliwack, BC it was determined to be broken beyond repair. Waiting now for the replacement camera to become available from the manufacturer. Such are the problems with buying bleeding edge technology.

Perhaps in hindsight I should have bought the less expensive Phantom 2 Vision that carried the camera with fewer features or perhaps the Phantom 2 that allows the connection of a GoPro camera to a custom gimbal.

At least the copter still flies. I guess flight practice is in order so that I avoid trees in the future. I don't want to break any more cameras - or the copter itself.


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