Uncategorized

Learn As I Go

I have to start by mentioning how luck I feel about my profession.

As I have mentioned in the past I work for Miami Dade County, Florida. I hold a professional Land Surveyor position in the  Public Works Department – right of way Division.

History

I July of 2014, I commenced the reading of regulations an requirements to allow the department to fly a drone and me be the Pilot in command. At that time the FAA required all PIC to hold an actual Private Pilot certificate. I still hold not only a Private Pilot Licensee I have commercial instrument AGI and CFII certificates.

In April 2016 Miami Dade County received their Certificate of Authorization. In may of this year the survey department had already purchased the UX-5 from Delair.

In June 2016 we took a three days training in the processes to fly said unit.

In August 2016 I received my temporary Remote Pilot Certificate.

Present

Miami Dade got my feet wet in the area of droning. After that, my appetite and thrust for knowledge has caused me to pursue experience.

I started with a series of UAS lectures. I gave lectures in the UAS rules to any and all that invited me to speak. I have been as far as Tampa offering these free lectures. I believe this was instrumental in me getting a part time teaching position in Broward College.

I have flown fixed wings and Rotor drones. I started experimenting with my drones at different elevations of flight to compare the relative accuracies obtained with different cameras and different flight configurations.

I still would like to find a small stock pile site and calculate it’s  volume.

In the office I have used drone to Map, Datumate and UAS Master.

I recently purchased a Nikon with GPS positioning capabilities. My next experimentation will be in the Surveying of Building Facades. I already took some pictures of a concave building. I must have done something wrong the software was not able to stich the images in one continuous block. So Instead of fighting the software I decided to recapture the images.

I cant wait to see what come out of this experiment. I guess ill have to wait for the upcoming long weekend to see if I could start this adventure.

Thanks for your time.

 

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Uncategorized

Drone-Metrics Talk

… a place to discuss applications and methodologies for drone mapping.

I am a Miami Dade County Employee. I work  for the Public Works Department in the Right of Way division.

In 2014 I started the application process for the Certificate of Authorization to operate a UAS for Public Works. After a long process I finally received the COA.

A short time after the FAA revisited the current operations criteria and implemented the now 14 CFR Part 107. In August 2017, I received my Remote Pilot Certificate under these regulations.

These technologies and regulations have changed my Land Surveyor Profession.  As I experiment with this technology, I have been fortunate to be exposed to several flight platforms. I fly a fixed wing for work and vertical lifts for fun and experimentation.

I have also been using several processing software to see which offer my employer the most complete deliverables solution. In software, I have used: UASMasters, Datumate Enterprise and Drone 2 Maps.

On weekends my experiments have consisted in flying a quasi-control site, at several Elevations, Vertical and Oblique imaging, with and without Ground Control.

I have been using my  DJI Phantom 3 Professional (12 MP camera) and I am very happy with the relative accuracies encountered in the horizontal dimensions. However, I have not checked for conformal properties. I am looking for solutions to achieve an adequate vertical accuracy.

If the County  allowed me the resources such as time, equipment and a good survey crew; I would set a field with tightly surveyed features and markings at fixed distances and patterns. I would produce an ACAD drawing of the field. Then I would fly the site again in different permutations of Flight Heights, Image Orientation and Camera configurations to see which renders to solution with the least deviations from the Control .

I can’t wait to run similar tests with my new DJI Phantom 4 Advance. This is a 20 MP camera unit and my expectations are the relative accuracies would improve,  same accuracies at a higher flight elevation

Commercial, UAS/Drones, Uncategorized

Passions Combined

Me and my Passions.

I am a person that enjoys learning and being exposed to new experiences.

One of my passions is flying. I really enjoy being up there and watching the world from such a different perspective. I even enjoy just hanging with other pilots (hangar rats). One other passion is technologies. Sonia often says, “You sure like your gadgets”.

These two passions are now combined in one. The commonly called “drones”. The FAA has termed small Unmanned Aircraft Systems “sUAS”.

 

What’s in the  sUAS name?

The unmanned aircraft portion is self-explanatory. There is no pilot within the aircraft.

The system portion is due to the fact that is not just the aircraft alone. That would just be unmanned aircraft, UA, Military application referred as UV unmanned vehicle. Instead it’s an integration of hardware, and software’s working in unison as a unit.

The small is based on weight restrictions imposed by the FAA, the agency in charge of our “NAS” National Airspace System. The weight between 0.55 lbs. – 55 lbs. are considered as small UAS.

 

Aircraft Registration

Any UA in this weight range is required to be registered through the FAA. Until further news from said agency which was recently sued and lost the “authority” if you will, to demand such registration. ( I just read http://www.faa.gov/uas and all drones 0.55 – 55 lb. are required to be registered)

 

Drones (sUAS)

I am currently shopping for an inexpensive drone that captures video and still pictures. In my list I have Syma, Holy Stone, Aukey, Hubsan and SKEYE any others along that price range ($300). I know DJI has a big selection. If I get chosen to be the Continuing Education Instructor at Broward College and my accountant advises me so, I will consider the Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Beginners Package.

I fear getting something in that price range and either wreck it or not utilize it that much. Not to mention that I work in Miami among the most complex airspaces in America. We have 13 heliports, 7 airports including a Class B, a Military Airport and a Seaport. Find class G to fly! Good thing I do not live here!

I want to fly a quad. We have an autonomous land survey grade sUAS at the office(Miami Dade County Public Works).  I basically plan missions, send it off and tell it to come back. I also have option to get out of potential traffic. That is the extent of my flying sUAS experience. With this price range of quads, I will be piloting, therefore really combining two of my passions in one activity.

“If you know of a drone in the shape of a guitar, then I could include yet another passion”.

Commercial, Instrument, Private, UAS/Drones, Uncategorized

Certificate of Authorization for My Employer

I starting the process for the approval of  an FAA COA approval for Miami Dade County Transportation and Publics Works Department. This was in May of 2015. The application has gone back and forward a number of times. As of today 5/4/2016 is not  approved.

As this was going on a change in the COA application requirements has taken place. In a matter of weeks I was awarded a Blanket COA (new Application submitted) to 400 AGL, Class E and  including a very extensive Operational Area. With this approval comes a great degree of responsibility.

Fly responsibly, you are  operation equipment that could be harmful to all other aircrafts.

I was on final approach and the tower reported drone spotted at 1000 ft on 10R (ten right) landing path. I never spotted the drone. That was scary for me not knowing if I was going to contact another flying object that could have caused: at minimal property damage not to mention possible crashing my vessel and death.

Please make sure you operate away from airports and other Areas which could be found in an application called “B4UFLY” on the app store and or Google Play. I was a beta tester for this app and its really great and a tool for you to have if you are to operate a drone.

Remember also drones from 0.55 lbs to 55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.

 

The Air Traffic Control SystemFlorida Aero Club Fall Fly In

Uncategorized

MilliBars

I am about to embark to a trip in which the Control/Approach Center gives pressure in millibars(MB). By writing this small tutorial I would commit to memory a simple formula that will help me convert millibars to inches of mercury. My aircraft does not have the capability of dialing the MB so this formula will come in handy.

Whatever MB Center gives you, multiply it by 30″ and dived it by 1016MB. the result would be the pressure to input in your Kollsman window.

It so happens that MB is a linear function to inch of MG. at 1016 MB is 30 inches of Mercury therefore a simple proportion converts from one units to the other. eg 980 MB is 980*(30/1016)=28.937 (28.94 on Kollsman Window)

Hope this comes in handy for you also and maybe if a question pops up in one of your FAA written test you could ace the question.