Rocket drone hunting

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tightwad

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A Drone shot down by a SAM missile. Entertaining, but costly.
 

mpitfield

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lol love it, you couldn't duplicate that if you tried a thousand times.
 

solid_fuel

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That’s one of those things that if you’re trying to do it it’s never gonna happen. But if you don’t want it to happen...
 

Nytrunner

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I saw the ballistic return of the rocket. I'm wondering if the recovery failed naturally, or if the collision busted the tube and let the gas out.

Also, what's "Failsafe mode" for a drone?
 

solid_fuel

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Failsafe mode is where it is supposed to find a ‘safe’ place to land. And automatically land itself.
 

Dipstick

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I often wandered if the FAA has any rules about that. In Canada we can't fly a drone while launching HP...
 

Steve Shannon

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I often wandered if the FAA has any rules about that. In Canada we can't fly a drone while launching HP...
Why?
Not criticizing, just wanting to understand the reasoning. I would leave it up to the RSO.
I don’t believe it’s prohibited in the USA. In fact, my understanding is that some of the regulations regarding drones may be relaxed if a launch has a TFR. Of course all drones flights at a rocket launch should be approved by and coordinated with the launch director and RSO.
 

Nytrunner

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I recall at NARAM during the briefing, we were told that we had received the COA for holding the waivered launch at the sport range, but not for any AMA activities like drones or RC aircraft. (unless.....it was launched with a rocket motor in which case it was apparently fine?)
 

rharshberger

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I recall at NARAM during the briefing, we were told that we had received the COA for holding the waivered launch at the sport range, but not for any AMA activities like drones or RC aircraft. (unless.....it was launched with a rocket motor in which case it was apparently fine?)
Strap-on Booster? [emoji41]
 

georgegassaway

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I recall at NARAM during the briefing, we were told that we had received the COA for holding the waivered launch at the sport range, but not for any AMA activities like drones or RC aircraft. (unless.....it was launched with a rocket motor in which case it was apparently fine?)
That was specifically for NARAM-60 as a field owner restriction, for whatever dumb-ass reason. So the only R/C models allowed had to be rocket boosted.

NOT an NAR policy. R/C has been flown at lots an lots of NAR launches.

R/C models will be allowed at NARAM-61, because the field owner will NOT have a restriction against R/C models*.

I expect to fly my Lunar Module Quadcopter there (see my avatar), a couple of weeks after the Apollo-11 50th anniversary. Of course this year it was BANNED from flying at NARAM-60.

* - NARAM-61 will be held at Muncie, Indiana, on the AMA national flying site.

As for "Failsafe mode", most mid-range and all higher range multicopters, if they lose signal from the transmitter, they will go into failsafe and do one of two things. If it does not have GPS or no GPS lock, it will immediately begin a slow descent at a fixed descent rate, drifting downwind just like a rocket on a parachute does. It will land wherever the wind takes it in the time it takes to descend to landing, same as a rocket on a parachute. If it has GPS with a good GPS lock, then it will go to a preset minimum altitude, like say 100 to 150 feet, and fly itself horizontally to where it took off from (technically to right above where it was when it was powered up and got GPS lock). Once over that GPS spot, then it will begin vertical descent to a safe descent rate. Some even go to a slower/softer descent for the last 15 feet. Usually landing 2-3 meters from where it started. This is called RTL or RTH : Return To Launch (site), or Return To Home.

The copter in the video has 6 rotors, IIRC. Apparently the rocket took out one of the rotors/motors. A Hexacopter CAN fly with one motor/prop out, but it's hobbled. Would have plenty of thrust, most multicopters have at least 2:1 thrust to weight ratio so even losing 1/3 of its thrust that should have had at least 30% more thrust than needed to hover (I say losing 1/3rd thrust, not 1/6th thrust, because the opposing rotor's potential thrust has to be canceled out to prevent flipping out of control. This presumes a "smart enough" flight controller, some cheaper ones may be too dumb to handle it). This one seemed to try to stay under control at first, then started to rotate around and around. It should have had enough torque authority to not begin to rotate. But perhaps there was more damage than that (or the controller was not smart enough). If TWO side by side props/motors (out of 6) got damaged yeah, trouble time, even for an Einstein controller.

There are SOME multicopters that have emergency parachutes, that can be deployed manually. Or could be deployed automatically if the model begins to tumble out of control (in case of loss of R/C signal, Plan A would be failsafe controlled descent or GPS steered RTH. But if the model is gyrating or tumbling, indicating loss of control, then Plan B is to automatically deploy a parachute, if the onboard flight controller is smart enough to have that option. But I do not think too many are THAT smart. The Controller I use in the Lunar Module has that option, IIRC, as its an Open Source DIY'ers dream system with tons of options. But some of the big name upper end brands like say DJI may not have an automated "Plan B" option for loss of control. ).


Here's a slick 3rd party automated system, among others out there:

 
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Tobor

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I was allowed to fly my Mavic Pro at MWP-16 with the only non imposed FAA restriction being, "Keep the drone far enough away from the launch area to avoid any collisions from ascending rockets".

Sadly, the windy conditions that Saturday limited my flying time.
 

afadeev

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Reminder to you drone folks to fly careful on the range lol
On the plus side - this is by far the BEST drone footage of a rocket I've ever watched!

Not the cheapest way to obtain the the shot, but definitely impressive.
:)

lol love it, you couldn't duplicate that if you tried a thousand times.
+1.
I've flown drones to take pics of rocket launches before, but never got close to the "here it comes at me" shot. For many reasons, cross-winds being the major one.

As for "Failsafe mode", most mid-range and all higher range multicopters, if they lose signal from the transmitter, they will go into failsafe [...] it will go to a preset minimum altitude, like say 100 to 150 feet, and fly itself horizontally to where it took off from [...] landing 2-3 meters from where it started. This is called RTL or RTH : Return To Launch (site), or Return To Home.

But some of the big name upper end brands like say DJI may not have an automated "Plan B" option for loss of control. ).
I'll bet you big money that none of the RTH modes are programmed to account for a loss of a copter blade / motor / arm due to a mid-air collision with an foreign object.
Even with enough thrust, control and stability go out the window.

a
 
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OverTheTop

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Not criticizing, just wanting to understand the reasoning. I would leave it up to the RSO.
I am guessing a re-directed HPR rocket still under boost so the safety situation is that you have a powered rocket going in a completely unpredictable and unintended direction after the collision. Drones are not allowed at our launches, probably for this exact reason.
 

georgegassaway

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'll bet you big money that none of the RTH modes are programmed to account for a loss of a copter blade / motor / arm due to a mid-air collision with an foreign object.
Even with enough thrust, control and stability go out the window.
And you'd lose big money. A Hexacopter (6 motors/props) can potentially fly under control with one motor/prop/ESC not working A really smart controller simply shuts down the opposing motor (if numbered in sequence from #1 to #6, if #3 goes dead, the controller shuts down #6). So then it becomes like a 4-bladed Quadcopter, albeit one in a "squashed X" configuration (60-120-60-120 instead of 90-90-90-90).

In a less sophisticated but not totally dumb controller, it would distribute the load such as if #3 goes dead, then #2 and #4 go to 100% throttle response, #1 and #5 go to say 70% throttle response, and #6 (opposite of the dead #3) goes to say 40% throttle response (just some ballpark numbers, without getting into the geometrical analysis of how much #1 and #5 would need to go down to, to allow #6 to run some to share any load)

I say "response" in the sense of sharing the load, and not actual throttle thrust (that is, I'm not saying that #2 and #4 go to MAX throttle and MAX thrust, but a 100% percentage value compared to the other motors running at a lower percentage than #2 and #4). The thrust of course is changed by the commands to ascend, descend, tilt to fly horizontally, and of course the crazy moment by moment tiny throttle changes by the flight controller to each ESC to make the tiny little thrust changes that are needed for control, even for just hovering (unless the model is dead-pefectly baanced like a tire, it will always want to tilt over. Most controllers do a great job at keeping the model steady, even when the mass is offset - up to an extreme point. A single engine out is an example of a lot of "offset mass", in the perspective of the new overall center of thrust with 5 engines.

Indeed an advantage for Hexacopters (6) and Octocopters (8) is not just more thrust, but the ability to keep flying if something goes wrong with one ESC or motor or prop. But it does depend on the programming of the flight controller how well it can handle that kind of situation. I expect that the lower end price-wise, or lower quality mid-range would tend to be the ones that would not be programmed as well as they could (should) be.

And as such, sure, SOME Hexacopters would crash if they lost one motor/prop/ESC. But not because it isn't possible, but because the manufacturer has crappy Flight Controller software that isn't up to the task like good Flight Controllers are.
 
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Steve Shannon

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My chief concern watching the video was that the rocket was launched from an area that appeared to have a lot of fuel for fire, tall dried weeds, when a cleared section is nearby.
 

gldknght

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My chief concern watching the video was that the rocket was launched from an area that appeared to have a lot of fuel for fire, tall dried weeds, when a cleared section is nearby.

I saw that, also. A dry grassy field and no fire extinguisher in sight. And a drone flying almost directly above the launch pad. Hmmm.

Oh, by the way, I have a Dji drone, and two other quad copters that I fly regularly.
 

afadeev

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afadeev said:
said:
'll bet you big money that none of the RTH modes are programmed to account for a loss of a copter blade / motor / arm due to a mid-air collision with an foreign object.
Even with enough thrust, control and stability go out the window.
And you'd lose big money.
Do tell more.

My comments were based on first-hand experience with DJI and Hubsan 3-figure / low-4-figure drones.
Neither could sustain controlled flight with 1 out of 4 motors going into a funk (due to an encounter with an immovable object, or a mechanical malfunction).
Neither GPS auto-pilot nor manual controls could not overcome thrust dis-balance on one corner.

In theory, it should have been possible had individual throttle controls per motor were available (and if I had 4 hands, one for each throttle ;-).
In practice, it wasn't.


A Hexacopter (6 motors/props) can potentially fly under control with one motor/prop/ESC not working A really smart controller simply shuts down the opposing motor [...]
In a less sophisticated but not totally dumb controller, it would distribute the load [...]
[...]
Indeed an advantage for Hexacopters (6) and Octocopters (8) is not just more thrust, but the ability to keep flying if something goes wrong with one ESC or motor or prop. But it does depend on the programming of the flight controller how well it can handle that kind of situation. I expect that the lower end price-wise, or lower quality mid-range would tend to be the ones that would not be programmed as well as they could (should) be.
Are you saying the above adjustments are provided on COTA consumer drones today?
On commercial grade (5+figure) drones today?
Or that they are feasible, in theory?


And as such, sure, SOME Hexacopters would crash if they lost one motor/prop/ESC. But not because it isn't possible, but because the manufacturer has crappy Flight Controller software that isn't up to the task like good Flight Controllers are.
Completely agree here.
I am not trying to pick an argument, rather, want to better understand what the current state of the art is in higher-end drones, and at what price points.

a
 

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