Archive for July, 2014

When Virginia resident Guillermo DeVenecia went missing last Wednesday, police and searchers were dispatched to find the 82-year-old man, who suffers from dementia and hearing loss.

For three days, police, search dogs, a helicopter, and hundreds of volunteers combed heavily wooded areas and fields around DeVenecia’s Fitchburg home to no avail. Concerned for his safety as the search dragged on, Fitchburg police issued a news alert to all residents to be on the lookout for the missing man.

It took David Lesh about 20 minutes to find DeVenecia with a drone.

droneflying

Lesh usually uses his drone to photograph skiers and snowboarders for his Colorado sports-apparel company, Virtika. Hearing about the missing man, Lesh, his girlfriend, and her father took to the skies on Saturday above a 200-acre soybean field to aid in the search.

“I thought what would happen would be we’d be able to give them the peace of mind to cross of some more areas quickly,” Lesh’s girlfriend, Katie Gorman, told local NBC news affiliate WMTV.

According to Gorman’s father, Gary, he didn’t think at the time that they’d find DeVenecia alive and safe.

“To be honest, when David was flying the drone over the bean fields, we thought we were looking for a body,” he told reporters.

Using a FPV, or first-person-view controls, Lesh was able to fly above about 200 feet above the area and view it through the drone’s camera. He canvased the field, which might have taken volunteers many hours, in just a handful of minutes.

At the end of the flight around 1 p.m., Lesh said he saw DeVenecia through his camera, standing in the bean rows.

“As we were making the last turn to fly it, we noticed a man out in the field sort of stumbling, looking a little disoriented,” Lesh told reporters.

Lesh and his group carried DeVenecia out of the field and drove him to the local search command center and his worried wife.

“To get a hug from someone’s wife when they’ve been missing, just a tear-filled hug, is a feeling I won’t forget for a long time,” Katie Gorman told reporters.

Despite being without food, water, or shelter for three days, DeVenicia was found in good condition, suffering only from some mild dehydration, according to police. Reports indicate that he had no idea he’d been gone that long or that a massive search was underway.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/article/amateur-drone-pilot-finds-man-missing-for-three-days
Thanks to John Ellenberger over at Cleveland Aerial Media for the link!

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LINK: Watch the video here.

It’s a view of Tampa like you’ve never seen before, a dazzling look at some the city’s most beautiful sights.

“I was just blown away. It was a weird moment, this is like a whole new perspective,” said Ben Bradley.

USF graduate Ben Bradley is the guy behind the controls. He owns the Right Hand Films production company and he used a drone to shoot the video.

“I love Tampa. I want to share our city, show our city. I think from an aerial perspective, it’s a great way of doing that,” he said.

His video has gone viral, eclipsing 60,000 views. It’s garnering attention from all over the country.

“I got an e-mail from a lady who moved out of state a few years ago. She was born in Tampa and she got emotional from the video because it brought her back,” he said.

Ben is already working on future shoots with his eye in sky. He believes with drones, the sky is the limit.

“If you’re careful with them and responsible with them, they can be a great tool,” he said.

Source: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/26017552/with-soaring-views-drone-video-of-tampa-goes-viral

The new FAA rules: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0396-0001

It’s hard to know where to even begin with the new FAA rules that could soon the law of the land when it comes to model aviation. This reminds me of when Senate Bill 71 got rolling here in Oregon – except that I immediately grasped that threat.

FAA_PQ_01For me, personally, this latest twist in the seemingly unending saga to establish a regulatory framework for civilian drone operations in the United States came with a slow-burning fuse attached. I was busy with other projects and, frankly, I didn’t take the time focus on this subject – even as e-mails with subject lines like, “This is Really BAD!” started stacking up in my inbox.

Part of it, I think, was that I could not conceive that such sweeping, draconian regulations could be put into place by the FAA on a whim. (Actually, there is a pretty good legal argument to be made that they can’t – but we don’t want to be tied up in court for years on this issue, so long as we have better options available to us).

And, make no mistake, these new rules are terrible. They would undermine everything that many of us have been working on for years. Here are some highlights:

  • FAA_PQ_02FPV is gone – a clear violation of FAA regulations;
  • All aeromodelers are held to heretofore unimagined standards within the federal aviation regulations requiring, in some instances, that they hold full-sized, manned aircraft pilots’ licenses; and,
  • Doing pretty much anything related to model aviation for pay – like reviewing a new model for a magazine or receiving a sponsorship – is forbidden.

…and I’m really just scratching the surface here. There are depths of badness within this proposal that require spelunkers more dauntless than myself to bring into the daylight – and perhaps the most galling thing about this proposal is that the FAA could have simply enacted it without allowing public comment. They have given us until July 25 to provide feedback as a “courtesy.”

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