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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > UAV Recon Possibility
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Thread: UAV Recon Possibility Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-29-2013 06:06 PM
SailBender
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If the range is 300m or 500m and oops, it gets blown outside the range, what happens next? It hovers, or lands--and drowns? Or is smart enough to find a way home?
Some have GPS, but to land on a boat with all kinds of cables, ropes, lines, masts, movement etc, would be impossible.

I have a quadcopter like the one in the picture, except it is a lot more powerful. They are fun, but like has been mentioned before, the batteries are a really big limiting factor. Even the one in the picture will only realistically get about 15 minutes of flight time max. If you hovered in one spot you could maybe get 20. If you attach any extra weight, you quickly get down to 8-12 minutes flight time without even flying crazy. You can get a tri copter to fly a lot longer, but then you are very limited on weight.

The range is actually a lot further than one can fly. Mine isn't even the most powerful and I could get two miles range without a problem.

The other thing that was surprising for me when I first flew was how bad the camera quality is that is transmitting to your googles or screen. The GoPro is attached and viewed only after you land. You can set them up to transmit, but it becomes very poor quality as well. You can barely see anything until you are right up on it and it is too late.

These things are just so easy to crash and susceptible to interference. The ones that have a safeguard to fly themselves in an emergency are just as likely to crash when you haven't activated the failsafe or experienced a failsafe.

It is fun, but I wish I never bought mine. **** breaks all the time or glitches out and crashes are really expensive.
12-29-2013 01:11 PM
svHyLyte
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If the range is 300m or 500m and oops, it gets blown outside the range, what happens next? It hovers, or lands--and drowns? Or is smart enough to find a way home?
The device is reportedly quite stable and able to handle moderate winds and it's unlikely one would fly it in heavy wind. If it does loose contact with the control signal, it carries an on-board GPS and will return to its point of origin and land autonomously. Of course, if one's boat has moved, that wouldn't be too helpful unless one has added flotation--e.g. lengths of pool noodles--to the skids and one can go back and recover the thing. I have no doubt that there will be "fly aways" with the things, just as there were with the first generation devices, but far fewer.

Here Homer Nods...
12-28-2013 02:04 PM
hellosailor
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

If the range is 300m or 500m and oops, it gets blown outside the range, what happens next? It hovers, or lands--and drowns? Or is smart enough to find a way home?
12-28-2013 12:21 PM
svHyLyte
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewgyver View Post
Yes, but know that 25 minutes is max flight time at average (low) load conditions. Fighting wind requires more thrust = higher amp draw = shorter flight time. It's one thing to push the envelope on your battery life over ground, but you drop that particular quad in the drink and it's adios to the tune of $1,200.

It also has limited range: 300m for the CE cert radios, and 500m for FCC cert radios. Even 500m is just over a quater mile, not much of a recon.

For some fun, check this guy's vids, taken from a handbuilt quad with better range. He's a crewman on an Aussie bulk sugar tanker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l6boL7iVxM

With advancing battery technology, the day may not be too far off, but for now, using a quad for sailing recon is of useful value given the short flight time and limited range, not to mention the expensive learning curve!
My thinking was something on the order of checking out the anchorages in places like the Boca Grande Bayou or the hole on Punta Blanca Isl near Boca Grande/Pelican Bay in SW Florida or the abandoned Decca Station on Pipe Cay in the Exumas. Places one can get quite close to (less thant 500m) but, given their close quarters and limited maneuvering room (at least for a boat of our size), one doesn't want to try to get into unless one knows there's sufficient room once one arrives. But heck--it was just a thought. The time will eventually come I expect.
12-28-2013 02:26 AM
Brewgyver
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
The flight time of the UAV referred to in my original post (#1) is reported as 25 minutes out of the box by the manufacturer.
Yes, but know that 25 minutes is max flight time at average (low) load conditions. Fighting wind requires more thrust = higher amp draw = shorter flight time. It's one thing to push the envelope on your battery life over ground, but you drop that particular quad in the drink and it's adios to the tune of $1,200.

It also has limited range: 300m for the CE cert radios, and 500m for FCC cert radios. Even 500m is just over a quater mile, not much of a recon.

For some fun, check this guy's vids, taken from a handbuilt quad with better range. He's a crewman on an Aussie bulk sugar tanker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l6boL7iVxM

With advancing battery technology, the day may not be too far off, but for now, using a quad for sailing recon is of useful value given the short flight time and limited range, not to mention the expensive learning curve!
12-27-2013 08:29 PM
Fstbttms
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Do a Google search. You'll find many companies selling RC quadcopters to LE and other agencies for SAR operations.
12-27-2013 07:42 PM
svHyLyte
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewgyver View Post
Of course, several of the highly advanced military drones in service over the last couple of decades are capable of such duty, and could be tasked to SAR. There have been cases of them being used for other purely civilian purposes, such as the Predator used by the California Air National Guard to assist with the Rim Fire in and around Yosemite just a few months ago.

However, the type of Radio Controlled (RC) Quadcopter in this thread has flight times measured in minutes, typically not much over 10 minutes. To extend flight times, you can use a higher capacity battery (measured in MAH, miliamp-hours), but there is a point at which the several curves of lift capacity, battery capacity, and total aircraft weight put a finite limit on flight time.
The flight time of the UAV referred to in my original post (#1) is reported as 25 minutes out of the box by the manufacturer.
12-27-2013 06:37 PM
Brewgyver
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 View Post
Seems to me these UAV's, particularly the longer-legged ones, would be ideal for searching for endangered missing persons. I mean, if they can look for, and actually attack people in other countries, why not have a couple for search and rescue?
And Frogwatch, Yves Gelinas did something similar, albeit without wireless....they called it film back then, aboard his boat (Jean du Sud) many, many years ago. He used a kite.
Of course, several of the highly advanced military drones in service over the last couple of decades are capable of such duty, and could be tasked to SAR. There have been cases of them being used for other purely civilian purposes, such as the Predator used by the California Air National Guard to assist with the Rim Fire in and around Yosemite just a few months ago.

However, the type of Radio Controlled (RC) Quadcopter in this thread has flight times measured in minutes, typically not much over 10 minutes. To extend flight times, you can use a higher capacity battery (measured in MAH, miliamp-hours), but there is a point at which the several curves of lift capacity, battery capacity, and total aircraft weight put a finite limit on flight time.
12-26-2013 02:23 PM
hellosailor
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

HyLyte I'm all for the Hummingbird, but until you get the weight down to the same half-ounce as a fishing sinker...Remember, payload determines your speed, range, costs, and anything else about your drone. And the size of the yacht necessary to launch and recover it. :-)
12-26-2013 12:44 PM
oceangirl
Re: UAV Recon Possibility

I'm with sea breeze, search and rescue.
Remember the kids washed off the rocky shore in Spain? Deploy about five in all directions , have a better chance of at least spotting them before they succum, maybe have it deploy a floatation with mark.
Remember the Nina, she could still be out there. Deploy a few hundred. If we can buy them for toys, and "anchorage spotters" then we should be able to get it together to save some lives, eh?
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