Happy New Year 2019 by Joseph Phillips

2019 Is Going to Be Epic

Just wanted to say Happy New Year and mention new developments.

Graduated with a BS in Multidisciplinary Technical Studies

from California University of Pennsylvania. I am a Vulcan! I am really excited about getting back into the workforce full-time and building some drones. I had the time of my life writing my thesis. Cal U is awesome and I will miss the people I met there.

I had the opportunity to study some things at Cal U to improve design for drones. As soon as I get a job, I’ll build a drone and fly again. My DJI Phantom 3 Pro blew an ESC in August, finally, and it’s not worth repairing. Honestly, I could build a drone for the same price as it costs to fix it. A problem with the P#P is in it’s “non-repairable” MO. All of the avionics is on one board. The camera gimbals are on another board, it seems, but the point is the flight controller and all the ESCs are SMDs on a big flat board, and I don’t feel comfortable disassembling and reassembling the brittle shell of the DJI because it is a load-bearing shell. The motors are just mounted to the shell. Boo.

The Word of the Day Is J.O.B.

So, cash flow is crucial, especially right now, before Spring. I will take the drone out for a flight in a few days. We have had a record year for rainfall in Pennsylvania.

I am applying for jobs around the Pittsburgh area, but I can relocate this summer. I could move now, but it would require a thick dime because it takes two incomes to provide for our family, and right now, there’s only one and it’s pretty lean in the green. Kids just went back to school today after.

I bought some new canvases with Christmas money, and promised myself I will begin painting on Friday and carry something through the weekend. I am still working with oils. I know acrylic is less hazardous, and dries faster, but I can’t get the same light out of the composition I get with oil. Oil, mixed with clear mediums, is a luminous treasure. If I ever lose my legs, at least i could expect to have the chance to sit and paint the rest of my life. That’s not bad at all. However, I have strong legs, so I am using them for work, soon, hopefully.

I took my pains and created a spectrum array from colors in March. So, I have violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and magenta in different small containers just waiting for life.

Painting is a luxury I do not allow myself until I apply to a few more companies on my list. I am ready to work! To boost my skills, I am going to learn how to become a radio operator and build my own shortwave radio to broadcast tunes locally, and I will record the “podcasts” and create an RSS feed on this website or something, or maybe upload them to a website.

Getting in Gear

Between job-hunting, researching grants for small businesses, studying to run a HAM radio broadcast, and itching to paint, I am very busy - but not to busy to get back into shape - I ran 10 miles one fine Monday a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it hurt. For a week. I will run again tomorrow, but only a 5K. By June, I should be ready for Highlands Sky 40 Mile trail race on Father’s Day weekend. This will be my 6th running. The last time I ran it was 2014. It’s about the WVMTR folks. I have been “out of the loop” for a while and look forward to slinking back into the slow stragglers, a little grey in my whiskers, a little less worried about a PR, and definitely going to sleep in a tent the night before.

Looking for collaborators in Pittsburgh

If anyone happens to read this and needs a VO, I would be happy to assist you on your commercial flights. I still have my current AKT stamp and I will retake it in April. So, for the next three months, I will be studying FARs, METARS, weather phenomena and good flying practices to ensure I can maintain my commercial license, even if I don’t have a flying drone at the moment. I will soon. That’s how I see it. In the meantime, at least I have an Ibanez.


I live 26 miles outside of Pittsburgh, on the southside. Drop me a line. Buy my paintings so I can get new drone parts.. You can also use the contact form linked to the front page.

Moon Camera Banner

Meeting with UASSC about UAV bridge inspection by Joseph Phillips

We talked drone inspection of bridges. Above, beside, below, different kinds of bridges, At night, over people, roadways, that's an issue. Nights are important because thermal imaging works better in the evening, when the price increases at rental places, ha! Waivers and road clearances for drops or inspection. Waivers for crossing over a road. The most significant problem I have seen in PA is with the winter thaws. Water in the rock expands in the winter and cracks it, and when the ground thaws, the rocks tumble free of the slopes. Roads wash down hillsides. I would check the slopes around bridges. We have had incredible amounts of precipitation, even a tornado! last month. In Uniontown. 

From aerial survey, it might be possible to predict and assemble work schedules from precise measurements over time. 

One thing I was surprised no one talked about was using robotic craft to drive out on and over the ice on a winter's day or night to do checks on the bridge. 

I know it sounds crazy, but I wanted to test a five pound craft on the ice, so I made a gelatin puck about 10 inches in diameter, 2 inches tall and chucked it out onto the frozen river. The megapuck shot across the ice, and the ice held. I didn't want to pollute the river or spend any money. I used stuff no one would eat. I made it entertaining. 




Work with UASSC by Joseph Phillips

I am a volunteer in this network. Getting on a big UAS page will accelerate use of new bridge inspection technology like this. If you fly on the other side of the bridge you are going to lose signal as the main path, pylons, frame elements block the pilot's view. A hobby pilot can fly a drone. It's easy. Someone operating in the role as lead field tech could monitor the data and keep communication open to larger control structure through ICS, ATC, whatever. 


There will be an inability to inspect all drones without the use of submersibles and drones. There are bridges that are partially or totally inaccessible after disasters. BVLOS is going to collapse the level of risk for infrastructure inspection. Up close, cheap, no bodies in the air. Or in the water. 

Differential thrust, redundant sensors allow for precise movement, but really large metal objects are a pain in the butt. They can cause loss of transmission. If you could reference the size of bolts or rivets on a bridge, you can get positional control from that . The same technology used to sync up a Pokemon player with a "shrine" uses something like a histogram to obtain a feature or class of features to obtain energize a relay to a motor or another field device. Using three drones in an area is like using repeaters for WiFi. Waves. A UAS can capture all the waves. I like all the waves.

My challenge is to evolve an automation process and advance standards in that task. That is really exciting to me! PA is full of bridges. Very hilly, and I live in a valley area along a river. Cheap inspection makes bridges cheaper, no better. IR sensors can train up to 3 mm, but at that distance you risk losing control, signal. Also, put a camera on top of the drone, a little Runcam or something.