Waivers for River Race July 20, 2019 by Joseph Phillips

Filed a 4-part waiver to do interesting work at a kayak/canoe river race slash bluegrass festival/craft fair.

This be the 3rd Annual Poker Run Kayak/Canoe Race as part of the Friends of Belle Vernon Recreation , argh! The waivers are procedural stanchions applied to risky endeavors. I am looking to experiment with: high altitude, use of a VO in concert with operations from a moving boat, and flying the drone over people. I thought to file one for flying within 5 Nmi. of a towerless Class E airport FWQ, but there’s no need. Folks at PIT were much friendlier, and seemingly more informed than the person with whom I spoke at the Rostraver airport.

The requests to the FAA were made in earnest, and I also submitted supporting documents, including an SOP/COA, and a “full-spectrum” analysis of risks and mitigation, a one-page distillation of an eleven-page preamble that provides a more organic narrative for the event. It is my intention to use this 3-part filing measure for simple waivers. Pronounced improvement in my understanding and execution of the filings will give me a chance to provide training material to staff, so I anxiously await feedback. If, in the event I do not hear back from the FAA on these four waivers, then I can just do some other types of shots.

The race is 13+ miles of easy paddling up the majestic Monongahela River

as it meanders up the valley on the route folks used centuries ago to head West into Ohio after the Youghiogheny and Allegheny Rivers rivers join in confluence at the Pittsburgh delta. Pittsburgh’s downtown area, known locally as “the bathtub” is built on a delta where the three rivers join.

I have my eye on a couple of VO candidates. One has loads of technical expertise, and the other is very local. Either one can use binoculars and see well, stay sober and accountable.

The waivers lead up to the grant I will pursue next week. It helps me with scheduling, resources, JSAs and SOPs.

That’s what attracts me to engineering: rehearsals, gradual improvements, a sense of mastery after pivoting to synthesis of new ideas after one receives feedback.

The Drama of Perseverance

These critical elements used for planning are like a sort of unwitting chorus to a Greek play: Three unities: time, place, action, but in the case of the post-modern, post-everything, the action is seldom finished (it is a becoming-object, forever beta), the action itself is often subdued because of agendas, and the place is no longer localized. In short, these items are tessellate, fractal, incomplete. Scientific work is not a thing, it is a way towards understanding.

Following the contractor event in DC next week, I am going to focus on another event coming up in July, an autonomous shindig. I will work on my drone and my camera rig soon enough, but assembly and configuration are the easy parts. Getting capital is much more of a challenge.

It will be nice to fly a bit and explore new heights above the Mon Valley. It is a beautiful place, with lush garden, and is far from dead.

Falcon Photo and Oils is OFficially a "profit-seeking" entity, no longer purely academic project by Joseph Phillips

  • I built this site as a demo of what my company could be.

  • Now I am going to use it.

  • Refiled with SAM and SBIR as a profit-seeking company in an economically depressed hubzone.

  • Re-registered my drone as a component of a Part 107 UAS.

  • Got a proper buisness e-mail

  • Built a password-protected project portal

  • Shopping for partners, stakeholders, and artists

I’m going flying.

Going to try to do aerial shots of historical sites in SW Pennsylvania today. Hoping to create stylized orthographic mosaics of these models.

Joined an Experimental Aircraft Association chapter to entertain awkward conversations about drone integration by Joseph Phillips

If I want to see why drones are bad for airports, I need to talk with pilots. It is not comfortable for me, but the conversation has to start locally if it is to have any impact. I know I am on their turf and going to be ridiculed often, so, for all you drone pilots out there who want to learn from my mistakes and missteps…

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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.