Don't steal, the government hates competition.
Progress to Note: So I have been thinking about the actual camera to use for the secondary video system. It was noted on the previous page that having a zoom function might be a great idea. So the first thing that comes to mind is a digital camera right? But how to operate it from the ground? CHDK is the open source project for Canon cameras to overcome these issues. It allows control of the camera remotely, i.e. with a RC Tx. nifty huh? The only issues are that you would need a camera that has a live video out. Power consumption also comes into play and the camera may have to be hard wired so a lipo can power it. Either way, its an idea to explore.
I am going to use this thread to compile relevant hardware.
First I see the possibility of utilizing a dual camera feed and having an rc channel switch between them. This can be found here for $22. This may be an option.
DPCAV also sells a compact little pan/tilt unit that can be mounted on the underside of the fuselage. This can be found here for $32. Seems decent. I question the piano wire business though.
What about a gopro? http://readymaderc.com/store/index.p...roducts_id=226
For a bigger camera, you would probably need to build a custom pan/tilt, or pay an assload.
Don't steal, the government hates competition.
Hey Grips, yeah, it might work just fine for your area. I too am a volunteer as is everyone on our local SAR teams, but what I didn't realize when starting is how much training they want you to have and require lots to actually be part of the team. In our area there is a huge tech acceptance (silicon valley) of technology and in my interviews they said they were quite interested in my FPV stuff. BUT, since then I've been taking weekly courses and there simply isn't a way to bring it up to them without distracting from what they want me to learn as they train me up and want my focus to be on learning the SAR training that's standard across the country. They want all SAR members to cover a range of basics and then can move onto more advanced levels like dog handling, dive teams etc. I expect after I can complete the basic training I could propose some sort of demo for them and see what they think and then potentially work into a new area with my FPV gear.
The challenges are resources in every SAR, and it's true we know of the benefits of FPV, but without training and real world testing to actually see what's useful just throwing an FPV rig into the air isn't a sure thing, and actually could be a distraction or simply a waste of resources if not a focused mission... and the missions are setup from the command who doesn't know anything about FPV so they don't plan for using their vital resources on some new guy in a critical search (you or me ;-). It's just not part of the plan, and when government agencies are involved free styling isn't always their move.
I totally agree there is much these can help with, but I'm thinking this technology will be better deployed if the SAR teams have practice experience with this technology as opposed to expecting it to come in and save the day just by letting someone fly never seeing this in action.
And, there really is a lot of communicating going on for a standard SAR mission and this added resource would need to be a part of that and everything takes time to fit into an existing model.
So, really no disagreement, just some thoughts about how really SAR teams are more like government agencies (well they are) than volunteers who are flexible and can do whatever to help out (when there isn't a agency running a search). For instance on our SAR teams, we don't all drive to the location on our own, we meet up at a location where we have our SAR gear and vehicles and then move to a site. There isn't space planned for FPV gear and we'd need to coordinate that. Then once on a scene we can't just start searching, there are protocols and processes that need to be followed to not disturb scenes and ensure all clues are found and the search areas are determined. The model is to plan the most effective search in the fastest time using the least amount of resources. "Search is an emergency", so FPV additions would need to fit into this in a super smooth manner to be openly accepted and not seen as a drain on resources.
In my area the seasoned guys weren't ripping on the technology itself, just the notion that it could save the day just because it was technology (GPS tracking was the topic, not FPV), and there are many many ways many more proven to get the job done and that's all. I know if they saw the capabilities of my gear they could find a way to make it work, but "find a way" is key. That means practice, simulations and testing before going to a real SAR situation. At least for my area I know that's the gist of it.
Remember that any Sar plane will need to be ultra durable first and foremost because you won't get to pick your launch and landing spot. Think about a larger specter. Ask Alex.
Tractors are where it's at.
I don't know anything about the plane, it is just one that I have seen that is similar to what I would like to build as a high altitude/long endurance FPV platform.
I think those are great points. I think that I would like to go with the sky walker platform I wonder how this will hold up to some abuse. I acknowledge the crappy.weather when a.fpv plane coukd be called upon.
Perhapsbadding.extra cf besides whatvis normally used for bracing.
Have you considered the utility of having the aircraft "backpackable"? By that I mean it having the ability to be broken down and transported into the backcountry.
The reason I bring this up is that search areas are seldom flat open field/farm areas. They are usually hilly or mountainous. Given that condition, unless you design the aircraft as autonomous, flying a pre-programmed course, you'll need a line of sight to control it. Unless you're really lucky, the incident command post probably won't have a line of sight to your aircraft over its search area. To do so you'll probably need to be up on a peak or other high spot. And you have to get your aircraft there. It's a similar situation to placing a radio repeater.
In my mind an ideal package is a backpack frame that can carry a ground station and aircraft with removable wings. It would allow you to get anywhere and set up operations. I'm not sure how that would affect the choice between a Skywalker or Zephyr.
And a bit of advice: You should focus on becoming a regular SAR team member and build up trust and credibility with the team. Then if they decide you're not a nut, they'll likely be MUCH more receptive to your FPV ideas, especially if you're paying for it. But the regular SAR stuff has to come first.
I'm going to see about SAR membership but my time is quite limited at this time and I think my wife would shoot me if I volunteered for anything else hardy har!
I like the idea of a backpack setup but wonder how small I could make things as an amateur.
The point about selecting a highpoint for command is true and will be a challenge in the area where I live. The hill terrain is an issue. I wonder about using UHF for control but still does nothing for a video feed.
Anyone know how Xbee's work in hill terrain? Will they propogate like UHF or do they need LOS?