Remote Pilot Certification

After several months of absorbing everything I could find regarding Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, I finally decided to bite the bullet and take the General Airman Knowledge test in order obtain a Remote Pilot Certification. I took my sweet time during the exam, 1.5 hours specifically, and passed with a score of 97. Of course I was happy, but I might have done better if the testing supplemental charts had been a little sharper in reproduction. One of the two questions I missed was about dual registration of the same aircraft in two countries. If I had thought for a few more minutes it might have dawned on me that I’d never seen two N numbers on the tail of an aircraft. Hmm.

Oh well, it could have been worse. I might have had to take the test over for failure to pass.

Image of test score

The CFI who proctored the test said I made the highest score ever at that facility. He offered for me take some other exams, but my wallet was light enough at that point. Maybe one day. Sport Pilot is on the short list. Now I wait for the plastic from the FAA to arrive in the mail and Z3DP will be able to legally operate drones in Bowling Green Kentucky and beyond.

3DR SOLO Ahead of its time?

The 3D Robotics Solo quadcopter never quite lived up to the marketing hype before it was all but abandoned by its parents. The unfortunate disaster resulted in rock bottom pricing for the remaining inventory and put a very capable aircraft in the tool box for next to nothing. Solo wasn’t perfect, but it was about as close as it gets for that kind of money. Aftermarket support will not likely be strong but the modeling community has already found ways around some of the issues that were plaguing the initial design and hopefully this will keep the platform on life support for the foreseeable future. GPS, antenna and motor upgrades should keep this hardware viable for a while.

The software was the biggest promise and 3DR did a remarkable job with the concept and the final release was workable but Kelly Schrock further developed the code into an app called Solex that pushes those limits and makes life after death seem like a given. If someone out there can take off with other gimbaling options I’m sure we will see these ravens for a long time.




The Flying GoPro

I’ve been looking for a small quadcopter that would carry my GoPro for the last couple of years and everything I ran across was either too small or too expensive. Then one day while cruising Bargain Hunt I spied a cool case on the top shelf behind the electronics counter and asked the clerk to let me see it. Opening the case was like a scene in Repo Man when I saw this bad boy in the box and realized it already a GoPro of sorts on a gimbal and ready to rock.

Image of Typhoon Q500 quadcopter
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K

I’d never heard of Yuneec before but it was evident that this was a serious piece of kit when I pulled it and the controller from the case. A quick search on Google confirmed that I had actually found a legitimate flying GoPro for less than the cost of a GoPro alone!

Realizing the potential of this sent waves of excitement through me as I rushed home to convince my wife to let me bring this thing home. I never expected her to be as excited about it as I was, and she wasn’t. But she couldn’t ignore my incessant ranting and raving about it and gave in, eventually.

After I got home with it I discovered that there were regulations and rules that would limit my intended use of the vehicle, so I had to calm down, way down.  We were grounded before charging the batteries for the first time.

Short of the story is I will study and become a licensed Remote Pilot in Command and then get on with the plan to add the flying cameras to the kit.

Meanwhile, I will Fly for Fun and Fun it will Be.