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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drones Explained ......

So ... we hear lots of talk about drones, what are they, what do they do and how can I get trained on flying and advice on purchasing a drone.

Right now drones are not available for commercial use, 5 waivers have been granted to professional film companies for the use of drones. If you advertise the use of a drone for commercial use then the FAA may pay you a visit, even more important if you fly a drone in controlled airspace !

You want to look at to see if you are in the surface area of class B,C or D airspace, flying in this controlled airspace would be a federal matter. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !

As an EMS pilot and check airman I regularly see articles on drones delaying the arrival and departure of EMS helicopters, if one of these drones ended up in the intake of a turbine engine it would destroy the engine and maybe cause a fatal accident.

So on to the drones ....

We at Blue hill helicopters will be offering a training course on the use and regulations relating to drones in an attempt to educate people on when and where to fly them and buy them, many people buy the drone they see at the local hobby store without researching future upgrade options etc.
Drones come in several shapes and sizes, acrobatic drones and camera platform drones for personal use video footage. The best drone right now for use in acrobatic and fun flying would be the BLADE 350 QX , a great flying drone with lots of modes for the new pilot, if you want to just fly around then this would be the way to go .

The next drone to consider would be a drone for a camera platform, to obtain shots like in the video in this blog. Without a doubt the best drone in this market would be the DJI Phantom 2 , this is s great start and we will talk about what you need to add to this drone to get amazing HD footage.
DO NOT BUY the Phantom vision , it has a very poor camera and is not upgradeable.

First of all you need a platform that is upgradeable as technology improves, we know how fast cameras improve and already we are seeing the Go Pro 4 out on the 5th of October !  the phantom 2 is the best choice . Now we need to add a camera, its a no brainer that the Go Pro is the best camera on the market but get the BLACK edition , it has some higher frame rate options for making slow mo videos .

How do we keep this camera stable whilst we are buzzing through the air ? we need a gyro gimble . The best gimble to get would be the H3 3D, it works perfectly with the Go Pro and powers it from the drone so no fear of the battery going dead !

Now we have 

The Drone - The DJI Phantom 2 

The Gimble - The H3 3D

The Camera - The Go Pro (Black edition)

We can now fly our drone and take great HD video ...... but wait ! we can only fly it where we can see it unless we add some more options . How about a live video feed so that we can see from the eyes of our drone and fly it up to a mile away ? There are many options here and here is where you can make some big mistakes . We need a transmitter to add to our drone and a GPS interface so that we can feed back information from our drone to our screen attached to our remote control. The only way to do this is by taking our drone apart and connecting the required modules (some soldering required).

What we need for the FPV set up (First person view)

GPS Module - DJI phantom GPS module

Radio transmitter and antenna  - Boscam TS 832 , 5.8 Ghz TX 

Monitor screen and receiver  - 7 inch monitor with built in 5.8 Ghz  RX

Bracket to mount to the drone controller.

So this is the complete setup and very upgradeable, lots of options for future transmitter upgrades etc.

Here is a finished video 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another Instrument pilot !

Blue Hill Helicopters would like to congratulate Jeremy Jankowski on receiving his helicopter instrument rating.

There are a few milestones in an aviation career in helicopters.  Your first time in a stable hover.  First solo flight.  The day you pass that first check ride.  Everybody can remember them like it was yesterday.  For a flight instructor, it's the day your first student passes his or her check ride.  Not only is it a "look at 'em go" moment, it's affirmation of the course you've chosen to steer.

Permit a brief digression, if you please.  Remember the first car you wanted?  The one with the powerful engine, flashy paint job, and bucket seat for someone attractive alongside?  If you're like me, that is not the car you got.  Most of us got something dependable and safe.  The car our mothers would have picked out on our behalf.

If Mom could have picked my first student, she would have chosen Jeremy.  Talk about stacking the deck-this guy brought every advantage to the table.  A 7,500 hour fixed wing pilot with his ATP airplane and private helicopter ratings.  15 years of experience in the industry.  Willing to study hard, patient, a great fund of jokes, and let's face it- a very skilled pilot. Jeremy emailed us from Connecticut and from the beginning, you knew he was serious.  He knew he needed 15 hours to complete his instrument add-on and with the 2 hour drive, he was going to be here all day when he had time off.  Jeremy was looking for a Sikorsky 300 instrument trainer and a simulator.

Blue Hill was the perfect place for Jeremy to finish his rating in just a few visits on his days off- over the holidays no less.  He was prepared every time and brought a great attitude to his flying that was infectious to be around.  He easily skated through his check ride with our Designated Examiner, Mr. Don Cody.  (We're lucky to have him do the majority of our practical tests but he deserves his own post.  More later.)  In fact, as he packed up his things to leave after issuing Jeremy his new rating, Don summarized Jeremy's time here in the phrase, "It has been a pleasure flying with you."  Well said.

We will certainly try and post more this winter .. its not the lack of things going on but more the fact that we don't have time !!

 Th BHH Team !

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Blue Hill Helicopters !

As another year is almost over, we would like to thank all of our students and friends for flying with us this year ! It has been a great year with the addition of an R44 and a new Schweizer .

Congratulations to anybody who got a new rating this year, and good luck to those who will be getting ratings in the new year. We are hoping 2014 to be as good as 2013, it wont be long before we are flying with the doors off again !

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year !

Thursday, May 30, 2013

They have way more fun at school in the USA !

Growing up in England , I was not lucky enough to experience the school system in the USA , I still have no idea what a sophomore is ! Video cameras consisted of a shoulder mounted device with a VHS tape recorder in a bag, the whole device could not be carried for long and we have better quality in a car reversing camera !

When Foxborough High school asked us if we donate some helicopter time for a high school 'lip dub' project we could not say no !

Johann landed at the school to a group of very happy students and took to the skies to film the closing segment of the video, the day could not have worked out better and we were certainly very happy to help!

Thanks for great publicity FHS !

FHS "Lip Dub" video

The 'Lip Dub' story

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kelly, another great cross country completed.

Kelly is a business owner and has been interested in helicopters since she was a child. She tried a few lessons a few years ago in airplanes but never kept up with the training. She finally decided to start her life long dream of helicopter flying and once she started she was hooked ! Kelly has a high stress job running a large security company and loves the stress relief of flying a helicopter. She recently completed her cross country and is moving into the last stage of her training with confined areas and advanced auto's. Kelly will soon be taking the private check-ride and taking her friends for rides ! well done Kelly

Anderson did it and got the T shirt !

Anderson finally soloed ! Anderson lives on the vineyard and makes the trip weekly to BHH. His business has been very busy and he has not been able to come every week to train with us. Anderson worked very hard and made time to sit down and get in the books, he soon found found himself on the runway with his instructor stepping out and sending him off on his first solo ! well done Anderson , you got the T shirt !

The fastest solo ever !

Brandon Williams came to BHH to get his ratings FAST !  He worked hard with Johann and was ready to solo the aircraft at 8 hours ..... when we say ready we mean ready ! With the Schweizer for primary training there are no restrictions like the R22, you must have 20 plus hours to solo in the Robinson, holding students back. Brandon eventually soloed the Schweizer at 11 hours , yes 11 ! He is currently cruising through 25 with all his cross country time completed, now find another school that can do that !
Brandon is on our 141 program so he can obtain a private rating at 35 hours , we are the only Part 141 helicopter school in the area.