Home > News > Nation
Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 7:42:49 AM
by andrew fernandez
Enthusiasts of radio-controlled model aircraft models driven by the fun and the “cool” factor are the main movers behind the emerging popularity of multirotor aircraft around the world.
But there are a wide range of uses for them in the professional arena.
Aerial photographers and videographers, and even movie makers, have found a low-cost method of practising their craft – one that allows them to fly much lower than commercial aircraft and without needing clearance from the Civil Aviation authorities.
More elaborate versions are used by the military and police in surveillance and search and rescue work while mapping companies in some developed countries use them to conduct low level aerial mapping, including street views.
Many are equipped with First Person View (FPV) systems, effectively putting the flyer in the cockpit of the aircraft.
FPV allows the flyer to remotely pilot his aircraft from a first person perspective via an onboard camera, fed wirelessly to video goggles or a video monitor.
The picture of the multirotor with Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong is one such system and shows the camera used to be a GoPro model, which is capable of High Definition broadcast quality images. It is equipped with a camera stabilisation system to reduce camera jitter during flight and has a pan-and-tilt platform which would allow the flyer to adjust the camera angles.
Should the video goggles have a built-in gyroscope, it would allow the camera on the aircraft to follow the turn of the flyer’s head, as if he was a real pilot looking out the window of a real aircraft.
How far away could the person flying it have been?
The picture of the model shows a 2.4ghz receiver being used for the aircraft control system which would typically have a range of 3-5km based on line of sight.
But the range would ultimately be limited by the 5.8 ghz video transmission system. A circular polarised antenna is used, suggesting a range of at least 1km based on line of sight. Flight times are limited only by the size of the batteries and the maximum payload of the multirotor and could easily range from 5-30 minutes.
Depending on one’s budget, the sky is really the limit with the available options.
GPS navigation and flight data, stabilisation systems, telemetry and autopilot devices are among them.
With suitable hardware and software, some versions can be programmed to take off and fly and land fully autonomously to waypoints selected on Google Earth Pro equipped notebook. Flight control hardware and software for the multirotors commonly originate from China, with the name DJI Innovations from Shenzhen among the most popular in the world.
Spy copter found near Wee's home
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)