Last spring I was at my buddy Ed's shop picking up some parts he has done for me. Ed is a ex-marine, a pilot (a proud chipmunk owner), a badass welder and makes go-kart chassis for a living (Jaguar Performance of Lawrenceville, GA). While I was there, one of his customer Joe stopped by and somehow we start a conversation on drones. Not those ones take out terrorists but the one that you can fly around the park with a little camera attached to it. Joe is an airplane mechanic and has been building RC drones as a hobby. He showed me a 6-rotor drone that he build from parts sourced from online. I was quite fascinated and started googling . It turns out that there have been numerous company making "ready-to-fly" drones straight out of the box. One of them was what everyone knows now, the DJI Phantom Vision.
"Gotta have it." The Phantom Vision+ soon arrived from Robert at UAVproducts. I upgraded it with range extending antennas and stuffed the paper packaging core in a suite case to carry it around. In summer, I took it to Africa, Kenya and Madagascar to be exact. When we spotted an elephant family at the edge of the woods, I had the first flight of my Phantom in Mother Africa. My hands were shaken and my heart beat went up, all from the pure excitement. (You can see the video at the link below and pics in our Instagram account under ID BestemAerial.)
During the trip I start to think about making some accessories to make it easier to carry and easier to operate. My first complain was the prop guards, they are NOT easily removable but much needed during landing with high wind. The OEM guards make the drone so much bigger and hard to carry. What if they are instantly removable...
Now I have to bring up my Alma Mater Ga Tech, where I was trained to solve engineering problems and sing "to hell with Georgia" all day and everyday. Our Ga Tech intern Mao dived into Solidworks and after several prototypes of removable prop guards we finally decided to go with the "snap-on" connectors and named it "PhantomGuards". Another problem I had was to carry the drone around. Most of the cases available on the market now are sturdy as hell but just too cumbersome. We decided to come up with a EVA shelled backpack that can hold the drone, the extra battery, the charger, the upgraded helix and spherical antennas, the guards, and a whole bunch more but will still fit over an airplane's overhead compartment. We named it "PhantomPak" and it's now in the final prototyping stage. We're expecting production in a month or so.
The DJI remote control itself is just too plain Jane. I hate to use the lanyard but it's needed for a sturdy hold of the remote or you want to put both index and thumb fingers on the sticks. PhantomGrip and PhantomKnob were designed to solve this issue. PhantomGrip will help user to hold the remote comfortably without the use of lanyard and put two fingers on the stick. Phantomknob greatly increase stick movement range and reduce hand fatigue. PhantomKnobs are now available for more precision control over the sticks (if you played XBox you'd know where this idea came from). PhantomGrips will be available in a month or so. Check back soon.
Well, here is our first blog entry on our brand new website. If you happen to ride motorcycles, you may recognize the name "Bestem". We're the largest carbon fiber motorcycle bodyworks manufacture in the States, selling hundreds of carbon pieces every year. BestemUSA.com is our motorcycle site and where we started, but who knows, maybe our Aerial division will fly higher someday.
Make is fun.