My brother Rick Daniels

Today—July 28th—is my brother Ricky Lynn Daniels birthday. Family or friends that didn’t know me before 1978 probably never met him. He was born in 1953 and passed away in October 1978. He fell while painting a house.

Today he would have turned 65, 10 years older than me.

I looked up to him, with love and respect. As a kid I always wanted to hang out with him, and he was a big influence on my life. Living in Wyoming, Rick took me camping, fishing, shooting, hunting, off-roading in 4×4 trucks, motorcycle riding… He always treated everyone, including me, with respect.

1978 was a big year for me, a year that was greatly influenced by Rick. I got my motorcycle learner’s permit and the freedom that goes with it in February. I rode my little Honda CB125S all over southern Wyoming and northern Colorado. I love riding with my brothers, and in 1978, I rode to Ricks house often. One morning, while visiting Rick, I learned to rebuild my first Harley clutch. The only riding I ever did with Ricky was that year, in the warm Wyoming summer.

On this day in 1978, Rick turned 25..His friends and wife threw him a birthday party. I rode my motorcycle over to his place and was excited to park my Honda next to all the Harleys of family and friends that were there. It was a fun party.

That summer, Rick got me my first non-paper route job as a stone mason working on the crew he ran for a company called Universal Stone. It was great being able to work with him. It so happened that this was the year my parents were finishing their new home on W. Powell Road. Rick and I built them a beautiful stone fireplace, and we were painting the house as well. We had planned to stone the outside chimney that ran all the way up the side of the split tri-level house, but it wasn’t meant to be. Rick’s accident took his life before we could do the chimney. After Rick’s accident and me being only 15, my parents would not let me put the stone on the chimney. They didn’t want me on a ladder, so they hired Universal Stone to finish it.

Rick used to tell me that when it was your time, it was your time. Didn’t matter if you were sitting in your living room watching TV or in combat.

He survived a few motorcycle wrecks, a couple helicopter crashes, and more. Yet he passed away from a fall while painting a house. When it’s your time, it’s your time.

I learned so much from Rick that influenced my life. My father raised me to be a mechanic; however, my brothers Ray and Rick helped guide my skills toward motorcycles. When I was still young, my knowledge of Harleys used to amaze the bikers I would meet. My brothers’ friends always said it was because I was raised right, and I used to joke I was raised by bikers.

My father gave me my love of aviation by taking me to the airport to watch the planes fly, including countless Thunderbird shows. He used to buy airplane models for us kids to build. Rick was a UH1 (Huey Helicopter) Crew Chief in the army and helped guide my love of aviation to include helicopters.
As an avid gun collector/hunter, Rick was a big influence on my appreciation for and respect of fire arms.
I miss him and often wonder how my life would be if he was still around. I so wish I could take Rick and my parents for a flight in a Cessna.

DJI Mavic Pro 2 II and Mavic Enterprise

With the announcement of DJI’s “See the Bigger Picture” last month, followed by the recent DJI announcement of the postponement of the “See the Bigger Picture” event. Rumors have been abounding. Most of my circle are excited hoping for a Mavic Pro 2. So you can imagine our excitement of the leaked Mavic Pro 2 picture last week.

It looks like it has a swappable gimbal which not only could allow for different cameras to be mounted, but also from the pic I am led to believe that I can put this gimbal/camera on a hand held device making it a steady cam like the OSMO series (I love my OSMOs), and with the hint of a little truck/dolly vehicle in the background maybe install the gimbal/camera on a ground vehicle. A ground vehicle, with GPS, OA sensors could be programmed to do some very cool automated truck/dolly shots.
I get this is not for everyone, but for me it’s great. I often take pictures with my DSLR, or shoot video with my OSMO, and having ran my drone fast near the ground, or water to simulate a vehicle cruising along. I hope it’s an option.
The picture shows a beefier gimbal, and a different camera. Should be safe to assume it’s a better camera than The Mavic Pro/Mavic Air. Nice Air Scoops on the sides behind the gimbal. And what looks like sensors on the sides behind the battery for Obstacle Avoidance (OA). The motors look bigger as well.

So I’m all excited about the Mavic 2 and the next leaked pics are of the Mavic Enterprise…. Could it be “See the Bigger Picture” will have the release of 2 Mavics?!…. How will I ever afford both!… and all the accessories?!

The Mavic Enterprise looks to me like it’s the same as the Mavic 2 photo above just with a hard mounting point on its top in front of the battery. It looks designed to be used for commercial with it’s obvious swappable top load accessories. The first picture here looks to me like a Strobe light, which would be very useful flying near airports and at night. Not sure how the strobe would affect any video/pics.

This looks like a speaker, or maybe a light. I read that someone speculated it could be some sort of sonar or infrared sensor… guess we will find out soon enough.
I would love to see a 360 camera on the drone. This modular mounting system has endless possibilities.

Like the Mavic pro 2 picture above it clearly has bigger more powerful motors, which for a guy like me that likes to add things like float kits to his drones for water oops this is really great news. The Mavic Pro did great with a float kit however the lethargic motors on the Mavic Air just couldn’t perform with the added parts which no matter how light I made them struggled with float kits, especially in the wind. As for other features it is clear that the Camera Gimbal is much beefier than the current Mavic pro. I have never had an issue with mine in the nearly 2 years I have been flying it but I have heard people complain about how flimsy it appears.
The camera looks bigger, but I’m not sure if it is big enough to house the 1 inch sensor we have been hoping for. Since it looks basically the same as the Mavic Pro 2 picture above I’m guessing the gimbal is designed to be detachable and this different looking camera is one of the camera options you can have on ether the Mavic 2 or Mavic Enterprise. Like the Mavic 2 Picture above it looks like nice big air vents on the sides behind the gimbal . We can’t really tell from the picture, but it looks to me that it has sensors on the sides behind the battery like the Mavic 2 picture. I think everyone is wanting side, and rear obstacle avoidance (OA).

Excited for some release dates, and it’s looking like I need to make some more money.

Till next time have fun and fly safe,
Mike

 

Quiet Props: Comparing the Obeka low -noise props to the original DJI props for the Mavic Pro

Want to try the props? You can buy them here on Amazon!
Click this link!

Don’t have time to read the details and theories? Here are the quick links to what you want to know:
Tools used
Data
Drone Flight Theory
Video
Results

I’m a private pilot and have been building and flying model aircraft (sUAS) for decades.
I haven’t seen any reviews on DJI Mavic Pro quiet props that I really liked.  So when I was presented with the opportunity to test Obeka’s quiet prop for the Mavic Pro, I was very excited to do it.

For this evaluation I did visual inspection, weight, RPM/Power, and sound level, all of which allowed me to make what I feel are accurate conclusions.

  • I tried to make the tests as fair and accurate as possible.
  • I mounted my sound meter to a tripod so it would be at the same spot and angle for each flight.
  • I created autonomous flight paths so I could fly the same position flight path and speed for each flight.

Tools I used

Test Data

  • Prop Weight
    • Stock: 34 gm average per prop. Total 29.35 gm
    • Obeka: 52gm average per prop. Total 26.09 gms
  • Average Hover Decibel
  • Average Hover RPM
    • Stock: 570
    • Obeka: 440.
  • Average Hover Power as per DJI Go4. Visible in “Sport Mode”.
    • Stock: 25.5%
    • Obeka: 23.5%
  • Balance was as good as the balance of the stock Mavic props which are very close.

Drone Flight Theory:

The flight controller on these drones varies the RPM by what you are telling the drone to do. When in hover the controller spins the motors at whatever rpms it takes to keep the drone at a steady altitude and position. Something every full-sized aircraft pilot knows that most DJI drone pilots may not is that the air-conditions affect the performance of your wing/prop. Flying in Cheyenne Wy at 6000 feet above sea level the air is generally much thinner than here in Mount Dora Fl at sea level. So, the Mavic’s controller will have to spin the props faster to hover in Cheyenne than it will in Mount Dora. Spinning the props faster generally means more noise and shorter flight times.

More than altitude affects the density of the air. Weather plays a big part of it. Air Pressure, Air temperature, and even humidity. When the temperature goes up the air density drops. Flying airplanes in North Las Vegas there where days the air at the 2600ft elevation had a density altitude of nearly 6000 feet.

video

 

My Conclusions:

The Obeka props have an obvious shape difference and in spite of their less weight they are bigger and have more surface area. A prop is basically a wing. Generally a wing with more surface area creates more lift but at often at the penalty of more drag which would mean that the motor may have to work harder to spin it at speed.

The increased lift causing the rotors to spin at a lower RPM creates less noise but also a lower pitch noise so it doesn’t sound as much like a bunch of angry bees.

Lower RPM to spin the lighter more efficient props should slightly increase flight times.

Prop RPM, Flight Performance, flight time/battery life are effected by wind as well as the ever changing air conditions. When you fly your drone in the cool morning air, the motors will not have to work as hard to generate the lift needed—as compared to flying in the hot afternoon air, which means your props will make more noise in the afternoon, and your batteries are not likely to last as long.

Want to try the props? You can buy them here on Amazon!
Click this link!

Used to make video:

Waterproof Mavic?

Mavic Pro Water Recovery

 How I fixed my Mavic Pro after it crashed into the water and waterproofed most of the electronics.

For well over a year I have been bringing my Mavic Pro out in my kayak. I get out on the water, pull it out of the dry bag, set it up attach the floats, and then launch from the water. When I’m done, I land it in the water next to me, swap batteries for another flight, or stick it back in the dry bag.
A few months ago, my wife and I decided to paddle the Dora Canal here in Central Florida.

There I was paddling along in my kayak with my Mavic Pro on floats following me with Active Track like I have done dozens of times before. I would paddle along, and if the drone got near a tree Obstacle Avoidance (OA) alarm would go off and I would stop paddling and reposition the Mavic away from the trees, then paddle some more. This time was different. I heard a crack and looked over my shoulder to see the drone tumble through some branches into the water.

I turned the kayak and was paddling to the drone as fast as I could while I watched the rear float bracket with floats slowly rotate from under the Mavic and float away. As the rear floats came out from under the Mavic, the rear of the drone sank into the water. When I got there, the Mavic was upside down under the water with its nose up floating by the front floats. Even with rear floats missing, the drone didn’t completely sink. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of it, but I was a bit freaked out and anxious to get in in the boat. I was thrilled it was not at the bottom of the canal. I pulled it out, removed the battery, and paddled back to the boat launch to load the kayaks and go home.

This article is about recovering my Mavic from its swim, but I have to say that when the next version of a Mavic Pro comes out, I hope it has rear OA sensors so I can have it active track backwards in front of me—and can keep a better eye on it. I have said from the beginning the sensors are on the wrong side of these drones. I would much rather have my face in the shot than the back of my head. That’s partly why I bought a Mavic Air. Although I wish the Mavic Air had a longer flight time.

On the way home, I stopped and picked up a couple pounds of dried rice. After wiping the drone off, I dumped the rice, the Mavic Pro, and the battery in a 5-gallon bucket, clipped the airtight lid on it, and let it set in my shed for a couple of weeks.
Before pulling the Mavic out of the bucket, I watched a couple videos on how to dismantle a Mavic Pro.
https://youtu.be/ndZVS8CtTLw
https://youtu.be/_4rfiX7JmOg
https://youtu.be/ydabCZ4bUd4
I have years and years of experience building and repairing RC aircraft. Planes, Helicopters, Multi-Rotors/Drones. If you’re not experienced with this, taking apart a Mavic Pro may not be something you should attempt.
I carefully dismantled my Mavic until I had access to all the circuit boards—making sure to keep the bolts separated in a way to help ensure the different lengths and types go back in the right places.

The rice had done its job. I didn’t find any moisture in the Mavic. To ensure there was no corrosion or moisture I might have missed, I cleaned all the boards with contact cleaner then brushed Corrosion-X on the boards and all connections.

I was careful not to get Corrosion-X on the positioning cameras, which I cleaned carefully before reassembly. The drone needs a clear view of the ground for good low-level hovering and landings. I also cleaned and checked to make sure I could see through the positioning camera lenses in the heat sink.

If you’re not an airplane mechanic or boat guy, you may not have heard of Corrosion-X. It is great stuff.
Besides dissipating moisture and corrosion, it can protect metal and electrical connections for years from moisture and corrosion making the Mavic Pro very water resistant nearly waterproof in case this happens again.
This video can give you an idea of just how effective Corrosion-X is:

Then I carefully put the drone back together making sure I put the correct screws on top, on the bottom, and the long-shouldered ones in the middle of the heat sink on the bottom.  I also added a little Thermal Compound Paste between the heat sink and chips to help ensure good heat transfer.

I installed all the bolts in for each section before tightening them to ensure proper alignment. Then I snugged them in steps using a cross pattern working from the middle out, being careful not to over-tighten them.

The battery that was on the Mavic when it went in the water never recovered. It will not charge.
After a through pre-flight I powered up the controller and the drone. Doubled checked everything and gave it a test flight. It did drift some, so I plugged it into the computer and calibrated the positioning cameras, then calibrated the IMUs, then of course the compass. My Mavic Pro flys great again. The camera works and everything! With the Corrosion-X treatment and my float kit, I feel much better about flying it over water in case it crashes again.

Quick note on my float kits. I have said from the beginning that they are designed for water operations, not crashing. They are designed to break before breaking the drone in a crash.
They will stay on and float the Mavic upside down if it is capsized, but if they hit something they may come off.
Just ask No Fish Nick, he uses my float kit for his fishing channel.

• Check out 0:58

• Check out 2:28

I hope you found this entertaining and maybe even learned something. More stories tips and tricks coming soon.
Fly safe.
Mike

Mavic Float Kit Squishy Float announced via You Tube Live

I announced the Squishy float upgrade for the float kit live on youtube.
The Squishy float squeezes like a little rubber ball to more than half it’s normal size to easily fit in your Mavics case.
It comes in bright colors for easier visual tracking and a cool look.
In the chat during the video Gary asked about the camera/gimbal cover I have on my Mavic. like I said I got it on Amazon here is the link: http://amzn.to/2D4ZSaT