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LOHAN gets intimate with 50,000 hot-blooded pilots

Hooks up with DIY Drones for fulfilling relationship

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It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) avionics front, what with handsome young autopilots springing into life and Raspberry picams snapping fetching spaceplane selfies, so this seems like a good moment to point those in search of the more esoteric aspects of the mission in the direction of our DIY Drones presence.

Described as "The Leading Community for Personal UAVs", DIY Drones is where amateur experts and newbies alike share their projects, seek and dispense advice, and generally hang about to see what's what in the wonderful world of UAVs.

The site was started back in 2008 by Chris Anderson, head honcho down at 3D Robotics, which kindly provided our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot.

Chris told El Reg he expects membership to hit 50,000 in the very near future - proof of DIY Drones' growing success and the explosion in amateur UAV projects over the past few years.

The place gives us a chance to connect with people such as APM:Plane and APM:Rover lead developer Andrew Tridgell, of Samba fame, who's lending us a hand with autopilot programming.

Since the LOHAN mission profile is unique, the Pixhawk needs a bit of wrangling to persuade it to behave differently according to specific phases: ascent, launch, descent and landing.

Some of the groundwork has already been done and people such as Larry Grater, and his North Texas Near Space 4, have shown the potential for autopilots to guide aircraft home from improbable heights.

So, we'll be chewing the fat with the folks down at DIY Drones about just how we handle our particular challenges, and those of you with a penchant for autopilot intimacy are welcome to join us. ®


More from the lovely LOHAN:

  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • If you're new to LOHAN, seek out our mission summary for enlightenment.
  • There are photos our our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane here, and detailed structural plans here.
  • For your further viewing pleasure, we have all our photographic material stored on Flickr.
  • Our LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) videos live on YouTube.
  • We sometimes indulge in light consensual tweeting, as you can see here.

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