The Droner's Manual: A Guide to the Responsible Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft

The Droner's Manual: A Guide to the Responsible Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft

by Kevin Jenkins


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The progress made in the field of unmanned aircraft within the last decade have made it possible for almost anyone to build their own UAV in their garage. For many, this is an exciting business proposition in fields from video production to agriculture. However, for beginners and even more experienced hobbyists, it can be a daunting. In this infant industry, reliable and relevant information for construction and programming of unmanned aircraft is often scattered across various sources. Similarly, the industry lacks an established set of standards for the safe and efficient operation of these small unmanned aircraft.

"The Droner’s Manual: A Guide to the Responsible Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft" compiles the most important and relevant UA knowledge into a guide for both beginner and experienced operators. With his expertise as a UAV operator in government, industry, and hobby applications, author Kevin Jenkins offers step-by-step guidance to build, program, test, and fly both multicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for a variety of purposes.

The purpose of this book is to compile the most important and relevant collective knowledge into a guide for both beginners and the experienced. Inside you will find step-by-step guidance to build, program, test, and fly unmanned aircraft of various types and purposes including tips from experienced operators. Also included are detailed schematics and diagrams for the construction of complex systems such as First Person View (FPV) and mapping payloads. Ultimately, you will be able to fly with confidence by following the guidance provided for mission planning, checklists, and safe flight operations contained within. Whether you use it to build your first unmanned aircraft or as a handy reference in the field, this guide is an essential for drone builders, pilots, and operators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619544338
Publisher: Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc.
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 7.25(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author

Kevin grew up outside of Portland, Oregon, near the airport where he first learned to fly. In 2009, he earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle in Prescott, Arizona. He spent most of the next 3 years working for the government, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a UAV operator. After returning the U.S., Kevin worked in a composites research and development team but was soon drawn back into the field of unmanned aircraft. What began as hobby in his garage developed into a full time job leading Kevin to work for 2 start-up companies, developing small UAVs for civilian applications. Kevin is deeply passionate about the science of unmanned flight and its potential to shape the world we live in.

Table of Contents

About the Author viii

Introduction ix

Abbreviations xi

Chapter 1 Unmanned System Components 1

Ground Systems 2

Interface Device 2

Telemetry Transceiver 3

Remote Control Transmitter 3

Payload Interface 3

Power Sources 4

Remote Control (RC) Systems 5

Theory of Operation 5

Configuration 6

Selecting a System 9

Aircraft Systems 11

Introduction to Airframes 11

Electrical System 32

Flight Controller 38

Flight Controller Sensors 40

Telemetry Unit 44

Maneuvering Controls 44

Propulsion Systems 50

Imaging Sensor Payloads 53

Selecting Components for a Multicopter 62

Selecting Components for an Airplane 64

Chapter 2 Aircraft Set Up 67

Assembly and Integration 68

Fastener Retention Methods 68

Using Caution with Electrical Components 68

Planning Component Placement 69

Protecting and Securing Connections 70

Wiring and Routing 70

Vibration Mitigation 71

Upgrades, Replacement, and Maintenance 72

Information Common to Multicopters and Airplanes 72

Standard RC Connections 72

Motor and ESC Set Up 73

Multicopter Set Up 77

Before Powering On 77

Set-Up Process 78

Airplane Set Up 81

Before Powering On 81

Set-Up Process 82

Chapter 3 Flight Controller Fundamentals 89

Common Flight Modes 90

Stabilize (Fixed and Rotor Wing) 90

Auto (Fixed and Rotor Wing) 91

Return to Home (RTH) (Fixed and Rotor Wing) 91

Land Now (Fixed and Rotor Wing) 91

Aircraft-Specific Flight Modes 92

Augmented Rotor-Wing Control Modes 92

Augmented Fixed-Wing Control Modes 94

Flight Controller Failsafe 95

Common Failsafe Conditions 95

Actions 96

Failsafe Summary 97

Chapter 4 Regulations 99

Recreational Use 100

Commercial Use 101

Small UAS Registration 104

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) 105

Chapter 5 Flight Testing Process 107

Multicopter Flight Testing 108

Selecting a Suitable Test Site 108

Safety 108

Arming and Tip Over/Control Checks 108

Low Hover Check 109

Hover Throttle Setting with Dummy Payload Weight 109

Pitch and Roll PID Tuning with Dummy Payload Weight 109

Yaw Testing with Dummy Payload Weight 110

Altitude Hold Tuning with Dummy Payload Weight 110

Maximum Horizontal Speed Setting 111

Climb Rate Settings 111

Autonomous Test with Dummy Payload Weight 111

Failsafe Test with Dummy Payload Weight 112

Mode Checks with Dummy Payload Weight 114

Flight Test with Live Payload 114

Fixed-Wing Aircraft Flight Testing 114

Selecting a Suitable Test Site 114

Safety 115

RC Flight Check with Dummy Payload 115

Configuring the Flight Controller 117

Stabilized Flight Check with Dummy Payload 118

Autonomous Flight Check with Dummy Payload 118

Autonomous Launch and Landing with Dummy Payload 118

Failsafe Checks with Dummy Payload 118

Flight Test with Live Payload 121

PID Loops and Tuning 121

PID Loops 121

Tuning Process 122

Chapter 6 Flight Operations 125

Mission Planning 126

Fixed-Wing Commands 126

Rotor-Wing Commands 132

Common Actions 134

Developing a Checklist 137

Power Off Preflight Checks 137

Power On Procedure 140

Power On Preflight Checks 141

Arming and Launch 142

In Flight 145

Recovery and Shutdown 146

Building a Field Kit 148

Glossary 151

Index 159

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