We bought a quadcopter flying machine through CIRB last year with the intention of using it to survey for invasive weeds in difficult to access areas . Of course it was also destined to be used for other things such as aerial assessment of erosion and morphological alterations but it wasn’t as straight forwards as we hoped and things just didn’t seem to work as they were meant to. Ultimately we ended up scared to take this tool out of the office in case we crashed it or worse still, lost it over the horizon.

Today with the assistance of Murray (who has just completed a PhD in flight simulation), we managed to get some of the headaches worked out, well at least enough to give us confidence to try again. This will be a fantastic tool and Gordon and I will soon be making the most of every opportunity to get out there and do some filming. Watch the blog for new videos soon.

Anyone interested in such gadgets would benefit from Murray’s expertise to get a custom built system to suit your requirements. Give the office a call if you need his number.

Here’s a clip of Murray test flying it after working the systems out.   http://youtu.be/gYJUWcmPxIs


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5 Responses to Quadcopter survey tool

  1. Paose Umaffa Are says:

    I am interested to use this kind a gadgets to do Microwave LOS survey for green field sites. I am really interested and wish to try it out. just need to know the price and see if it falls within my budget.
    appreciate if someone can assist

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      Thanks for your interest. The cost depends on whether you need FPV or not and of course the quality of the equipment used. This system cost around £1800 for everything and came built. You can save a lot of money by building and configuring it yourself. There are plenty of online guides on YouTube to help with this. I’d recommend doing this as your understanding of how the system works would be greatly improved. We are only just beginning to understand how to operate our machine. If we had built it, I expect we would be so much more advanced than we are now.

  2. Robert Steen says:

    Hi Stuart,
    I’m looking for a nice quadcopter for my business to lift my GoPro Hero 3. I’m thinking about this DJI Phantom http://quadcopterfly.com/phantom-quadcopter-gopro-mount-new-trends-aerial-shooting. Or should i get another one? Thank you.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      I may not be the best person to answer this question, but I’ll try.
      It all depends on what you are filming and what quality you require. I think a quadcopter is probably pushing it a bit for professional quality filming and a hexacopter or octocopter may be better suited to this. As you state that you are planning to use a Hero 3, I assume that you won’t ever be looking to mount a high end video camera or DSLR?

      The quadcopter we have is a DJIi Flame Wheel 450 which was custom built and much more expensive than the Phantom but I really don’t expect the quality will be significantly different. The quality of the gimbal is important and you should install the best you can afford. The DJi Zenmuse is excellent (I have one on my steady cam) but the cost is around £300 so it’s not cheap. I smashed the carbonfiber gimbal we had supplied originally and have just replaced it with a cheap Chinese motorised gimbal similar to the Zenmusse at a cost of around £60 and it seems fine. Neither of these gimbals will take a camera larger than the Hero 3.
      I’d have a look at the DJi Octocopter kit from Marionville Models in Edinburgh. It’s not that much more expensive than the 450 Flame Wheel and may give improved quality. I’s on my wish list at the moment.

  3. Robert Steen says:

    Thank you very much, Stuart!