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As of late, I have been developing an unhealthy interest in DIY drones.  What?  You didn’t know there was such a thing?   Neither did I.  But I do now.

Technology has reached a point where it’s possible for hobbyists to build their own autonomous aircraft, capable of flying a pre-programmed course of, say, 20 miles under electric power, and return to its launch point.  Or it could be flown via what’s called First Person View (FPV) by wearing virtual reality goggles and observing the flight live from a video camera in the plane’s cockpit.   It leaves ordinary regular radio controlled aircraft in the dust as a hobby. Expensive?  Not terribly, and less so than many hobbies. Well, yes, but it depends on how often you crash.

In terms of obsessions, this could be a perfect storm for me.  It combines flying, radio, data links, video, electronics, coding, mapping and building weird and strange shit.  It would provide the ability to image remote and obscure places I might have an interest in (And for the record, I have no interest in snooping at THAT one!).


Here are some of the things I’ve been up to. This is a very new hobby, and it’s at a point where it has yet to be fully commercialized with everyone trying out new things. If you want some of these things, you have to make them yourself. Build, crash, open checkbook, rebuild. Oh yeah, and lots of soldering. I’ve tried to include enough detail so someone who has a clue as to what they’re doing might find some ideas here. I’ve certainly stole my share of ideas from others.

Links I find useful and/or entertaining:

Los Angeles/Orange County Drone User Group: Remember the 1990’s (eh, probably not). Remember IBM PC user groups? Well guess what, that’s the stage of evolution hobbyist drones are at. If you want something interesting you have to build it yourself. And that’s what this group is about. Building, flying, crashing, rebuilding…the cycle of drone life.

DIY Drones:  Everything about setting up your own fully autonomous aircraft

FPVLab:  Building, flying and crashing aircraft using FPV