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Thread: Drone Users?

  1. #1

    Default Drone Users?

    Any drone users in the shadows? I just picked up a couple of 3DR Solos fixed with with GoPro Hero4, with plans to film some cool rafting trips next season. I'm curious if anyone has any experience flying drones around river habitat and what sort of experiences you can share as far as intrinsic hurdles to overcome...besides the obvious water threat with non-waterproof technology.....

    I bought two drones because my track record for losing cameras in the drink is indisputable...

    I've already found battery life to be depressingly short, so flights will have to be very well calculated and my skillsets much improved to save battery life. I'll have 3-4 spares at full charge, but curious what sort of things you've learned to help my learning curve?

    Larry

  2. #2
    Member akdodger's Avatar
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    Larry,

    I don't have experience in flying drones but the technology in regards to batteries is the same as for radio controlled fixed wing aircraft. Cold is hard on batteries in any setting. Battery life, (time aloft), in Lipo batteries used in rc is determined by time as well as how throttle happy you are. Im no expert but there are many experts in the RCgroups forum. I would suggest posting your question there.

    Dodger
    “The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.” Walter Cronkite

  3. #3

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    Yeah, that's great advice.

    I've lurked and gleaned some insight for sure. What I'm lacking is a group of river rats who have a lot of wisdom to share about operating in backcountry river settings.

    You mentioned the battery life, very true about cold weather. I'm experimenting with foot warmer packets to blanket batteries stored on the go in cold weather.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'll keep digging through hobby threads.

    LB

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Larry,

    I've been looking at this too, and have come up with the following:

    1. Lily is pretty cool, but the lack of a replaceable battery, combined with the short run time and short range makes it a non-starter.

    2. There are other "follow along" drones out there that fit the bill, almost eliminating the need for a separate operator while you're on the sticks or dealing with the river.

    3. A small solar charger might be a good idea. The thermo-couple chargers, that work off of a campfire or stove seem too slow to be of much use in charging batteries.

    4. Heat packs seem good if you can secure them to the battery area, as you mentioned.

    5. "Return to base" is a must-have feature.

    6. Some models float / can survive a water landing.

    7. Film permits will be a big challenge. The refuge managers I've approached on this will not allow it. The tech is so new that they don't know what to do with it yet. So Federal land might be out of the question.

    I hope to launch next summer, and would love to compare notes.

    Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    Hey Larry,
    I don't have experience with drones in the backcountry, but know of a crew that does. Look up Anglers Alibi (http://www.anglersalibi.com/) and see about getting in touch with those guys. I've talked with them in the past were very helpful and eager to chat. Their footage from the Alagnak is some of my favorite drone work that I've seen. I hope they can help you out!
    Danner
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I was wondering if anyone is using drones simply to scout out a river downstream for sweepers, log jams, ice flows, and other hazards before they head down stream. I would think it the right situations, drones could be as valuable as a SAT phone. Michael Strahan, what's your opinion? Thanks.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Danner, that was a great link, thanks for that.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    I was wondering if anyone is using drones simply to scout out a river downstream for sweepers, log jams, ice flows, and other hazards before they head down stream. I would think it the right situations, drones could be as valuable as a SAT phone. Michael Strahan, what's your opinion? Thanks.
    Roger, obviously they would be useful for that. But with the high altitude photos we already have, I don't think they're necessary. And then there's at least the appearance that we are looking for game. How many among us would make an attempt on that 70" bull we spotted (accidentally) with the drone?) I'm pretty sure we're going to see some abuses of this equipment while hunting. It's probably inevitable that we will see regulatory restrictions as a result. I'll do do my downstream scouting on foot. Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post

    I bought two drones because my track record for losing cameras in the drink is indisputable...
    I was just watching your latest float hunt vid and thought to myself Why The Front Door doesn't this guy have a drone with the "follow me" feature. Your vids will really cool with that type of footage. Although you might have to watch how high you fly and your pan angle so as not to give away that "secret water way" you're on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    It's probably inevitable that we will see regulatory restrictions as a result. I'll do do my downstream scouting on foot. Mike
    I'm usually not for more regs but IMO the difference between a guys $2500 Swarovski spotting scope that can help him count brow tines or determine full curl from a mile or more away is no different that me sending a $1500 drone over and capturing video to determine if an animal is legal. And because most of the rhetoric I've seen regarding drones being used as a tool for hunting centers around drones use giving hunters an "unfair" advantage or unsportsman and linking their usage to being similar to using a plane to spot/hunt/harvest game then I hope they do come out with the "regs" for drones. If I take my UTV 50 miles back, spot a bull moose with binos, then send the drone over to confirm if it's legal and as a result have to wait 24 hours before I can shoot that moose then so be it, whatever. If I get dropped off 500 miles from the nearest road on some gravel bar and while floating down the river with banks on both sides 15 or 20 feet high and I decide to send the drone up to scout the lay of the land and see a 70" bull and I have to wait 24 hours before I can shoot that moose so be it. Cause you know in both those situations it was the drone that gave me an unfair advantage not the thousands of dollars I spent to put me 50 miles back, or 500 miles into the wilderness to float a remote water system, just so I could fly my drone that has a signal range of less than a mile and a battery life of 30 minutes. Yep, drones need to be regulated...ridiculous.

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    I know I saw a prototype/kickstarter type drone that was built to float and use around water, will look for the link, was prob 6 months ago... If there are others post them up.


    I was thinking about this when I floated the copper last summer and none of my group was familiar with the float...

    It would be an amazing scouting tool for our crazy braided Alaska systems.

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    I would agree to a point that drones could be useful scouting tools. Its always nice to know what is around the next bend. On a slow and "safe" float I could trust drone footage spot river wide sweepers or to help choose the best channel. For whitewater or swifter currents, I'll only trust my own eyes to scout and read upcoming water.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Danner, that was a great link, thanks for that.
    You bet!
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

  14. #14

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    Yeah the 3DR is designed for maximizing selfie footage with Orbit, Selfie, and Cable Cam modes in auto flight. These features sold me on the ability to get shots without a 2nd operator. But, i ripped off the blades on my second flight when it drifted into wood. Gots to be careful with these babies for sure.

    The first thing I learned about the battery life is throttle back to minimum speeds for all functions, which reduces energy costs and stabilizes the footage. Still, these drones are serious tools with very limited battery life, so field shots have to be carefully calculated and no time wasted in flight.

    So, until some leap in battery technology changes the reality of its use, operators wont have the capacity to do too many "aerial scouting" operations for the fun of it. You figure each battery has about 18 minutes of flight time between charges, so having 3-4 batteries ($150 each) will give about 50-60 minutes of footage, with only a small fraction of that usable edited footage.

    I also think there is a knee jerk response happening with regulating these things, mainly due to urban uses around populated airways. Alaska is just not in that arena, so it'll be a fight to keep regs from impacting hobby filmers like myself.

    LB

  15. #15

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    All I know is they better not come flying in my backyard or I'm shooting them down! You better be careful with these Larry or you might get mistaken for ISIL or the Al Queda or something,

  16. #16

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    ha, yeah i guess you're right. I can't say that I wouldn't drop a drone out of the sky if it came buzzing my camp or hunting scene. Jeeze, i hope our world doesn't evolve to become that circus.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Shoot down like this? Lol. I would suggest a heavier load of shot next time vs. 7 1/2's or 9's. Haha

    http://youtu.be/dAELplrEYu4

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    Yeah or cause a midair with a floatplane or cub on the river and kill some people. Wouldn't that be wonderful while you were getting your "glory" shot...

  19. #19

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    So to answer your question quickly it is a great way to scout and record your adventures. The battery life has a lot to do with the drones you bought. They aren't ment for long flights, they also will be hard to watch without a stabilizing software. The best drone in my opinion is the DJI Phantom they have 30 to 45 minute flights with live feed to your phone or tablet. If you don't want to by a new drone, buy lots and lots of batteries. Charge up 3 or 4 before you go rafting. The hardest part about filming over water is when your battery gets low it could fall in the water. A nice thing about the DJI Phantom is when their battery gets low it uses GPS to return home. Thanks hope this helps.

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  20. #20

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    I was soured on drones the first time I ever saw one. I was fishing a local with my wife and young granddaughter. We'd hiked several hundred yards to get away from folks and have quiet quality time. Some maniac drone jockey decided he needed to see what we were up to and how the fishing was. Buzzed and droned that thing around us for a good 20 minutes.

    Potential drone drivers need to know this: If you're within shotgun range, you're too darned close, and I'll prove it to you.

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