Another busy weekend as the march deadline approaches scarily fast. Finally got the props and motors mounted to the frame which took 8 hours! The strength of the aluminum parts is really good however it took forever to setup. Overall this time lapse came out to around 8500+ photos.
With the help of Dr. and Mrs. Pandolfi, I have been continuing the construction of my most recent prototype, Gaurdian. We decided on the mini Pixhawk for the flight controller because of its larger memory and 32bit processor. This will allow it to achieve autonomous flight with sense and avoid.
On Monday, November 9, with the support of Bullis, a distinguished group from the Kanjirowa School, Kathmandu, visited the Goddard Space Flight Center, where by special arrangement, the visitors viewed the $8 Billion James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in 2018. Following an informal lunch, there were visits to the Air and Space Museum and South Asia and Himalayan art exhibit at the Freer/Sackler Galleries. At the close of the day, Michael Kronmiller hosted a dinner, in honor of the Nepalese guests, at his home. The party was also attended by Mrs. Faith Darling, Ms.Barbara Nolan, Mr.Durhan Badraslioglu and distinguished advisers to the Bullis-Kanjirowa Nepal STEM project, including astronaut and test pilot, Capt. William Ready; helicopter test pilot, Capt. Colleen Nevius; communications adviser, and Nepal expert, Mr. Keith Cowing; drone specialist, Mr. William Dranginis; PTSD psychotherapist, Dr. Ruth Wittersgreen; Executive Director, Kashmir World Foundation, Princess Aliyah; aircraft/surveillance expert, Dr. Ronald Pandolfi; and drone regulation legal expert, Ms. Justine Kasznica. Michael briefed the gathering on the status of the STEM project, and provided the Kanjirowa group with six, new drone kits and transmitters, as well as two, fully assembled drones for flight practice. He thanked Bullis, Kanjirowa, and his advisers for their support. Capt. Readdy signed Shuttle models and Mr. Cowing signed his book on the space program, for the Nepalese guests, and for Mr. Puspa Regmi, who has been instrumental in the formulation of the project at Kanjirowa. Everyone at the party signed a new laptop, a gift destined for the project coordinators in Nepal, Prem and Raj Thapa. Mr. Kapil Regmi, Kanjirowa Principal, provided tokens of friendship to the Kronmiller family, praised the STEM project, expressed appreciation to the American participants, and enthusiastically foresaw a continuing, collaborative relationship between the two schools.
Today I picked up the drone kits I will be giving to Kanjirowa. The Dr.Pandolfi and Mrs.Pandolfi worked incredibly hard to have the kits ready for the arrival of our Nepalese guests on November 9th. The kits are the same ones that are used for the Da Vinci Drone Coders Challenge and have proven to be cost effective and reliable. These kits have proven in the past to also be good starts for novice drone coders and builders. I have purchased 6 kits for the 24 student in the STEM club at Kanjirowa.
I was invited by the Kashmir World Foundation to present my project to the Da Vinci Drone Coders on September 3rd. I made some great connections with local drone enthusiasts and discovered some other project that use sUAS to solve problems. I hope to work with this group of developers in the future!
I have begun construction on the prototype Guardian. It is an octacopter and much larger than previous prototypes. The idea is this is the platform we would be putting all of the sensors on. In addition the octacopter platform allows for redundancies, including the ability to fly with two failed motors. This platform looks very promising for the final prototype but only testing can verify this.
Work on the Project continued, through June, July, and up to where we are in August.
I was extremely fortunate to have an internship at Aurora Flight Sciences, where I was so immersed in UAS development and operations, that I am still processing all the data. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Langford, the CEO and our Project adviser. He was kind to introduce me to the Secretary of the Air Force at a National Aeronautics Association luncheon. She was so impressed with the Project, she mentioned it during her remarks to gathering.
I was also so fortunate to be a guest of our UAS regulatory legal adviser, Justine Kasznica, at her home in Pittsburg and to be introduced, by her, to Carnegie Mellon University and the legendary robotics genius, Red Whittaker, as well as to [insert]. What an experience, with application to the Project!
The Bullis School extended a formal invitation to the Kanjirowa School for a visit in October. The details are being worked out. This will be a great experience for everyone involved.
Students at Kanjirowa pursued STEM studies and worked on the two drones that were flown, in Nepal, last March. It is really cool to see what they are doing.
Our export control legal adviser, Mike Lowell, started the arduous task of applying for a license to send an advanced drone kit to Nepal. It will be several months, before that process is completed.
My science and technology adviser, William Kronmiller, took time from his busy schedule of work to do programming a Parrot drone. This exercise will provide lessons learned, for programming the operational drones.
On my brother’s advice, we took advantage of an offer of assistance by Colin Guinn, CRO of 3-D Robotics, to secure a fixed-wing Aero, on a greatly expedited basis, for programming and testing. The Pixhawk controller is on this vehicle.
The long-awaited Tarot octocopter arrived in its many pieces. It will have a Pixhawk controller, as well. It will be several weeks, at least, before that takes shape as a flying drone.
The racing drone that I have been building is close to completion, and will be used to test advanced features that can be applied to the Aero and the Tarot.
Plans continued for a further visit to Nepal, next March, to test the Aero and Tarot.
Crowdfunding preparations neared completion. Adviser Keith Cowing has kindly offered to apply his expertise to this important effort. The Project already represents an investment of about $30,000, so it will be good to have some outside funding for what remains to be accomplished.
I want to thank the Project advisers and the Kanjirowa and Bullis schools. With their enthusiastic support, the Project has made real headway.
Today I finished the drone Gale with the help of my adviser Tony Mallamas. While working on Gale we discussed the design of the next purpose built drone (Guardian) and the drone that will be sent to Kanjirowa. We went over distances from major peaks and their respective basecamps to determine where Guardian will be able to run. To see more of Tony's work go to: http://rotorverse.com/
My name is Michael Kronmiller. I am an eleventh grade student engaged in a formal STEM project aimed at developing sensor-equipped sUAS to locate avalanche victims and inspect critical infrastructure in Nepal. If my project succeeds there, a country with extreme environmental conditions and limited financial resources, then the technologies being developed can be applied virtually anywhere else in the world. See nepalrobotics.org.
In March of this year, one of my project advisers and I traveled to Nepal in order to conduct test operations of simple drones from Kala Patthar at Mount Everest, and in the valleys and hills of the Annapurna Region, as well as to initiate direct consultations with the school in Kathmandu that is collaborating with mine in Potomac, Maryland. The drone tests were successful, despite the limitations imposed by export controls, and by the restrictions and uncertainties for flight testing in the United States, which I will address in this response to the FAA’s request for comments.
The short of it is that, due to concerns expressed by my school’s attorney regarding the legal situation for sUAS flights in the NAS, I was not permitted to conduct flight tests outdoors on the school premises. For obvious risk prevention reasons, flying indoors at the school was also not an option. That left me in the position of having to test fly the drones, then under development, away from the STEM resources of the school, and inside the confines of my home, which presented a completely unrealistic and suboptimal environment for sUAS operations.
The point is that it is extremely difficult for students and their schools to conduct worthwhile sUAS R&D in the United States. Moreover, under the proposed rule, the burdens, costs, and flight restrictions associated with compliance would perpetuate a situation that already deters young scientists, engineers, and technologists from entering this field. Such a result cannot be in the national interest.
To be clear, the proposed rule, if promulgated, would pose serious problems for my school project, as it advances to more capable drones requiring more rigorous and realistic flight testing. In fact, many potentially valuable, advanced technology sUAS educational projects like mine would never be initiated.
After a lengthy meeting with my Head of School, the Head of the Upper School, and the school’s attorney, I decided to proceed with my project, although I knew that, for lack of flight testing in the NAS, the drones would be challenged to operate in the high altitude conditions of Everest and the jungles of the Annapurna Region. It was an expensive risk that should not have to be repeated.
Based on my experience, and given that the FAA has articulated a need for academic research, development, and testing as an important goal in its proposed rules, I suggest a two-tier approach to sUAS flights for academic purposes:
First tier–The test flight work that needs to be done for relatively simple academic sUAS projects could be accomplished under the guidelines that apply to hobby and recreational flying. It is senseless that a young hobbyist and a student can fly exactly the same drone in exactly the same way, while the hobbyist is currently subject only to limited guidance, but the student is subject to the rigors of the regulatory regime maintained for other users, and with the adoption of the proposed sUAS rule, would be subject to a regime that is more complex, burdensome, costly, and restrictive than the hobbyist/recreational guidelines. I think the case can be made that academic research is at least as valuable to society as is recreation. Therefore, I suggest that the FAA adopt by regulation for simple academic sUAS flights the guidelines that apply to flights for hobby and recreational purposes.
Second tier–For more ambitious flight testing, that cannot be conducted in compliance with the provisions of the guidelines that would be adopted by regulation for academic sUAS flights, more extensive requirements could be appropriate. However, I would urge that the FAA take into account the fact that an academic environment is, by its nature, structured and supervised, and that safety is always at the forefront of any school activity involving risk. Accordingly, there should be greater flexibility provided for this category of sUAS flights, than is provided for flight operations not subject to the discipline of academia. Moreover, students and their schools should not be confronted with complex, burdensome, and costly requirements that will have the effect of deterring research and development for more capable drones under development to perform more challenging tasks. Where requirements and restrictions are imposed, there should be provisions for waivers that would provide appropriate flexibility and eliminate requirements and restrictions that are unnecessarily costly and otherwise burdensome. If it is not to be self-defeating, the waiver process should be a streamlined as possible.
Although it is outside the scope of the request for comment, there is a good case to be made for a new, statutory regime exclusively applicable to academic flight testing of sUAS. In the meantime, it is important that promising students with promising sUAS projects be not only allowed, but also encouraged, to pursue goals that will serve our nation. This should be the touchstone for the final rule as it applies to academic sUAS projects.
Soldered the ESC to the motors and mounted them to the arms of the drone. Mounted the flight controller and the GPS to the frame of the drone
Meeting at Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation to Brief the CEO on the Project and Tour Facilities Modified Garuda Drone, Michael Kronmiller and Advisers, Keith Cowing and Bill Dranginis
We invite you to join the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus for the 114th Congress. The Caucus will serve as a bi-partisan forum to educate members and staff on issues and trends relevant to unmanned systems. Throughout the 114th Congress, the Caucus will host discussions and briefings on the Federal Aviation Administration’s continued efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System, regulatory and policy issues, commercial applications of unmanned systems, including automated surface transportation applications, and trends within industry.
Additionally, the Caucus will work collaboratively with industry and relevant government agencies to promote research and development of unmanned systems to ensure that the United States continues to lead in the development of these technologies. If you would like to become a member of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus please contact James Langenderfer"