VIRTUAL TERRAIN TOURS

Specializing in RC Helicopter Aerial Photography, Virtual Tours. GIS and Viewscape Photography

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

With this unique application of technology, and the variety of productions that can be created, there are bound to be questions about my services.

Q: [Can the air photos, ground photos, and GIS imagery be combined into a tour?]
A: [Yes, any source media I create can be integrated for a complete tour...even interior photos, nearly continuous from space to the kitchen sink!!]

Q: [What is the preferred method for operating at an Event ?]
A: [Have exclusive permission by invitation to shoot aerial imagery and to coordinate with staff during the event.  Also have the staff aware of the exclusive agreement and to stop others from interfering at the event and otherwise pirating aerial shots.]

Q: [What is the benefit of having the photos presented in my slide show?]
A: [Quick and easy edits without third party involvement, a consistent flow to the tour, and linking to additional tours]

Q: [Can Flash presentations and virtual tours be viewed on Android Tablets and smartphones?]
A: [YES.  Search; "archived Adobe flash", then select the Adobe web site, scroll down halfway to the list of Android flash updates.  Use the current one for Android 4. Download to your mobile devise.  In settings/security on your devise, temporarily select "allow install from non-market apps".   Then run the installation file you downloaded in the Download folder.]

Q: [Can background music and narration be added to the tours?]
A: [Yes.  Music though, can be a big distraction for many viewers, and finding royalty free FREE music with no copyright issues, that will be acceptable for everyone is a tall order to fill. The wrong music can turn away visitors that would otherwise remain to view the entire tour images, which after all is the sole object and substance of your presentation.   I, and others, do not recommend adding music to the tours, however, narration can contribute a lot to the informational content without turning away viewers]

Q: [Is the aircraft I use a "drone or long range UAV"?]
A: [NO it is not a drone or UAV, this is a hobby model RC aircraft which remains in close short range visual line of sight control, and is covered under a different FAA section (part 57) and category than the UAV Drones. A UAV drone is controlled by computer or long range (miles) telemetry and video links, and is capable of high altitude flight.  The problem with them is that they can be dangerous and cause interference with normal aviation activities. Without true aviation situational awareness, a drone pilot may not see approaching aircraft in the airspace   This can create a hazard and conflict with aircraft flights. In the hands of irresponsible and over zealous operators, drones are a real problem.  The FAA requires a type certificate if a drone is home built.  Other FAA requirements, limitations and restrictions apply to the use of drones. 
Experienced and mature pilots understand the potential problems caused by drone flights.  Additionally, thee FCC requires a an amateur radio license to use some of the video downlink transmitters used for viewing from the aircraft with video goggles or a screen  A drone equipped aircraft cannot be hired for photography.]

Q: [How can a person determine if someone is using a drone as opposed to a traditional R/C aircraft?]
A: [Just because the aircraft is a multi-rotor type does not make it a drone!!  It is not so much the appearance of the aircraft that makes the distinction, but what the operator is using.  If the operator has a transmitter equipped with an attached secondary, high power transmitter capable of controlling an aircraft up to several miles away. Also, if the operator is using video goggles or a screen to see the view from the aircraft without watching it directly by line of sight.  For non-drone r/c operation, FPV, or first person viewing, can be an aid to controlling the camera for centering the subject, but the aircraft must remain close enough to be visible for direct control.]

Q: [How far is the helicopter limited to fly?]
A: [Less than 400ft above ground, and about 1000feet from control point. An area with a diameter of 2000 feet, or a square 2000 feet on each side, can be covered.  About 80 acres can be covered in one flight]

Q: [Why are drones permitted to be flown by anyone for sport, but not for money?]
A: [I do not know why the general public can fly drones for any purpose.  The idea that they can not charge for flights is irrelevant, whether for drones or for short range R/C models.  The concern should be about conflicts in the airspace, not about a business earning a buck!]

Q: [How is the helicopter flown for photos?]
A: [Use the helicopter simply as a Tall Tripod to provide a platform for the camera above my head.  No aerobatic stunt flying around is needed.  See below for further limitations]

Q: [Can straight down view photos be taken, not just oblique angle?]
A: [YES.  The area photographed would be about 600 ft wide when the camera is at 300 feet above ground.  The resultant images can produce geo-tiff files for GIS,.and I can export them into Google Earth.]

Q: [What limitations are there for the helicopter?]
A: [Do not fly directly over back yards without permission, trees, vehicles, traffic, people, inaccessible areas, or near aircraft activity and farm animals. Other common sense conditions also apply]

Q: [How large is the helicopter?]
A: [Under 3 feet, much smaller than that which requires a designated flying field to be flown, but large enough to have excellent performance, visibility, and flight characteristics]

Q: [How noisy is the helicopter?]
A: [Being Electric, NOT gas, it is fairly quiet. It cannot be heard (or at least be a nuisance) more than about a hundred feet away. Certainly not as loud as a full sized helicopter a half mile away!]

Q: [How long is a typical photo flight?]
A: [3 to 6 minutes for still photography]

Q: [How many flights can be flown at a site?]
A: [Up to about 8 per hour, or around 40 in a day]

Q: [How quickly can the photos be made available?]
A: [Often, later the same day, but usually a slideshow may take a couple days]

Q: [Can HD video be taken?]
A: [Yes, up to about 8 minutes per flight. Multiple flights can create a longer Movie]

Q: [How soon can a video production be ready?]
A: [Typically within 5 days. A production can consist of content and imagery from many sources I create.]

Q: [What does a "Flight Plan" consist of?]
A: [Identifying safety considerations, the view, lighting, landing zones, aerial hazards, access requirements, coordination with people involved, terrain and microclimate conditions.  Also an awareness of any nearby helipads.]

Q: [Can a guest see a real-time view from the Helicopter?]
A: [Yes, with short range video downlink and portable viewer.  The "Pilot View" is possible. I do not use the viewer as a means to fly the aircraft without also keeping the aircraft in close line of sight view.  . A second person serves as a spotter.]

Q: [What are the usual file formats that can be produced?]
A: [WMV, Flash, 3GP, MP4, and JPG both hires for printing, and lowres for the web.]

Q: [Some Real Estate Web sites do not have provisions for uploading certain media and formats.   If the media and Google Earth cannot be posted on the website, can VTT host them?]
A: [yes, contact me about this.  See Sample]

Q: [What about privacy when flying?  A couple people have inquired or made snide comments without knowing the facts]
A: [I do not fly over back yards unless agreed upon by the owners as part of the photo shoot.  There is more privacy with my work than possibly most other aircraft including tourist helicopters, private fixed wing planes, ultra lights, motorized hang gliders, news helicopters and satellites. I am an advocate of privacy, and respectful and sensitive to personal privacy concerns, but cameras are everywhere and used by many unscrupulous people without your knowledge or approval.  My aircraft is not the problem.  Cameras can be used on any aircraft without asking your permission, so the notion  that an r/c aircraft is something special is based upon a biased notion and a bit of hysteria and paranoia.  Life in the technical lane can be frustrating, so I sympathize.]