You have to see this LEGO drone racing circuit

If dreams really do come true, there’s going to be a LEGO set of a drone racing circuit.

A (presumably) major drone fan who goes by the username Gautier designed three LEGO sets involving drones for LEGO’s Ideas site, and one of them is a model of a drone racing course.

LEGO Ideas allows fans to create models of projects, and other users can vote for projects they likes. Projects with 10,000 supporters qualify for review from LEGO’s set of designers to evaluate making projects a reality.2570960-o_1ao8thejhbv8tsv1es27cgiah1f-full

And one of those projects is an incredible drone racing circuit. It comes with its gates, tunnels and obstacles as well as with the racing drones, the pilots, the flight line director, a trophy and a bottle of “Drone Racing Bubbles” for the victorious team! The pilots are all equipped with a radio remote control unit. Continue reading You have to see this LEGO drone racing circuit

How to care for your LiPo batteries

LiPo batteries can be highly dangerous, and many people have no idea!

For years, lithium polymer batteries (LiPos) have been known to be dangerous and unpredictable. Dropping, denting or crushing can shorten the life of the battery and even cause an internal short — a recipe for fire. There are a myriad of guidelines for storing, charging and transporting them. Even among experienced RC users, they have led to fires.

Related reads:

I chatted with Toppilot, the creators of a brand-new battery line specifically designed to sponsor FPV racing competitions. The professional battery manufacturer knows what it means to need a good battery for competition — not only so it works properly but so it stays safe.

Of course, the #1 tip is to never leave a LiPo battery unattended during the charging or discharging process.

Beyond that, here are Toppilot’s tips for taking care of your batteries:

Before Charging LiPo Batteries

  • The #1 tip here is: RTFM (Read the Freaking Manual!)
  • Always check the voltage of batteries before each charge session in order to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe starting voltage. If their starting voltage is below recommended levels then your batteries have been over-discharged or have experienced a failure and should NOT be charged.
  • Always check the battery before charging for any type of damage. Check the battery packaging, wires and connectors for defects, which may cause a short circuit and eventual battery failure.

Continue reading How to care for your LiPo batteries

How to use your drone to create interactive panoramas for Facebook

By now you’ve probably seen those interactive 360-degree, panorama photos on Facebook. But did you know you can create aerial panoramas for Facebook using your drone? It’s surprisingly easy.

Ryan over at TheHighTechHobbyist put together a handy guide to share with you. Check it out!

1. Obtain a Drone

Continue reading How to use your drone to create interactive panoramas for Facebook

Lowepro QuadGuard Kit review: a case for FPV racing drones

If you fly FPV but don’t have a good way to store all your gear, Lowepro just came up with a solution.

The camera bag maker introduced a QuadGuard Kit, which costs $99.95. It’s a 2-in-1 case intended to hold one FPV 250 class racing drone or quadcopter plus parts and accessories, including a transmitter, spare blades, goggles, batteries, charger, manual, etc.

lowepro quadguard controllerOne side is definitely more suited to holding the controller.

_MG_1864The other side has dividers shaped to hold a drone, while also making room for other components. I could imagine putting FPV goggles in the left side divider of this case. Continue reading Lowepro QuadGuard Kit review: a case for FPV racing drones

Meet 2DroneGals photographers Kim and Makalya

This week’s Drone Girl profile highlights a mother-daughter photography duo. Kim and Makalya Wheeler go by 2Drone_Gals on the internet, and in real life they can generally be found flying around the Space Coast of Florida capturing photos and videos.

Kim, the mother half of the duo, got into photography in high school via her cousin’s  Canon AE-1. Makayla, now 18, started shooting  with an Olympus C-740 and won her first photography contest at age 10 and at that age already had her photos published in an international nature magazine.

Drone Girl: You have photography backgrounds. How did drones enter your life?

Kim and Makalya: Makayla’s gift in the visual arts quickly transitioned into the video production realm when she began shooting horse chase sequences out on the trails with her iPod Nano and edited them to music. This led to shooting promotional videos, nature documentaries and short films. The interest in drones developed out of a need for epic aerial cinematography for these types of video projects. Makayla bought her first drone at age 15 when one of her projects won a national video contest. She sold the Grand Prize to purchase the drone, which was the original DJI Phantom 1.

DG: That means you got in on the drone craze ahead of the curve. How did you learn about drones? Continue reading Meet 2DroneGals photographers Kim and Makalya

AT&T is going to fix crappy phone service at concerts — with drones

AT&T’s drone program director, Art Pregler, knows what it’s like when you’re at a concert or sporting event and the cell service sucks.

But the telecommunications giant has a solution for that, which naturally, involves a drone.

AT&T says it will start a project to  provide LTE wireless coverage at crowded venues, like concerts and baseball games, by using a drone that is tethered to the ground but hovering in the air nearby.

AT&T has dubbed the drones “Flying COWs” — the COW stands for “Cell on Wings.” The drones would boost LTE coverage to areas in need of it during occasional large events. They would be tethered to the ground to prevent them from going rogue and flying away.

Read the rest of this story where it was originally posted on MarketWatch.com.

Meet George Matus, the 18-year-old CEO of drone company Teal

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of flying drones with 18-year-old George Matus, the CEO of a new drone company, Teal.

george matus sally french
I had the pleasure of flying with George Matus!

He’s launching what is expected to be the world’s fastest production drone, which can fly more than 70 mph and up to 85 mph in certain conditions.

The drone does more than just carry a camera through the air. It’s got a module to add a thermal camera — a useful application for everything ranging from search-and-rescue operations to firefighting to farming. Another add-on module gives the drone sense-and-avoid capabilities via radar. The drone also flies at more than 70 mph, making it a sure bet for people wanting to get into drone racing. Continue reading Meet George Matus, the 18-year-old CEO of drone company Teal

Drone Girl

Reporting on drones, sometimes with drones