The Vespid Has a New Home!!!

Big news from the Rabbit Hole!

As of a few weeks ago, our favorite little drone has found a new home at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC!   The intrepid little yellow fellow is now perched in a lofty piece or premium real estate at the very entrance of the Spy Museum.

Vespid @ Spy Museum

Vespid in its new home at the International Spy Museum













As you can probably guess…  we are super excited that the Vespid has found a home there amongst such important espionage artifacts.  I mean really, it’s hanging next to a car from a JAMES BOND film!!!  How cool is that?

Anyway, we can not thank the wonderful folks at the Spy Museum enough for their gracious offer to accept the plane into their collection.  Dr. Houghton and the whole staff of great folks there at the museum are a ton a fun and host the best museum in DC!

So if you find yourself in the Washington, DC area and want to experience a fantastic time while learning what it is to be a spy, checking out artifacts from spies gone by, trying your hand at cracking encryption codes, checking out all kinds of the coolest spy “gadgets” or buying your own killer spy arsenal from a gift shop that reminds me of Q’s closet…  the International Spy Museum ( should be on your list.

Seriously…  what are you waiting for…  go now!  And wave to the little yellow drone as you walk in



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Government seeks to fine companies for noncompliance with wiretap orders

Okay, let’s try this again since I cannot seem to press the appropriate buttons today.

So I am always reticent to comment on our *ahem national cybersecurity policy.  It’s painfully evident that there is a disconnect between the reality and the “world” as it is seen in Washington.  Today is an exception.  I literally spit my coffee out after reading this story in the Washington Post this morning.

The story is focused on a proposal to allow the government to fine companies who do not comply or are unable to comply with wiretap orders.

Original post here:

Now aside from the creepy factor that comes along with idea that big brother wants to see your Facebook page and Gmails, this is a bad idea for a few reasons:

  1. Having a skeleton key to Facebook and Gmail won’t help you stop terrorists (al-Qaeda will never expect you to be able to see their Facebook page), but it will stop law-abiding people from having confidence that our privacy is important to the government.
  2. The government has been whining and complaining about software companies developing insecure software for decades… decades!  Now that developers are finally listening and beginning to build secure software, what is the government’s response…  “Make your software less secure so we can protect you or we will fine you lots of money!”

“One former senior Justice Department official, who is not privy to details of the draft proposal, said law enforcement officials are not seeking to expand their surveillance authorities. Rather, said Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security from 2006 to 2008, officials are seeking “to make sure their existing authorities can be applied across the full range of communications technologies.”

Forcing companies to develop security bypasses for law enforcement use is counter productive to security and invites abuse, both by bad guys and “good” guys alike.  This is hands down the worst idea I have heard in a long time…  and that is saying something.



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Flying… check! Now on to the fun stuff.

Greetings inhabitants of Wonderland!

Well a few more weeks and a few third degree burns later, Red is back in the saddle and continuing to learn the hexacopter.  So far I’ve been slow rolling the shift from fixed wing to the copter because of time (packing to move) and work.  With the Vespid, our focus was so heavily concentrated on the payload that we didn’t get nearly the time to be as comfortable with the airplane as we would have liked.  With this iteration we wanted to take the time to get really proficient with the APM functionality before shifting the focus to the payload (although I know you will like it when you see it).

Feeling pretty comfortable with stabilize mode and getting a little more brave.  Testing out Loiter Mode in this video.  The copter is maintaining altitude and position automatically and, as you can see, is remarkably stable given the slight wind.

The screen caps in the vid are of the log replay from the Mission Planner application, which I think works great!  Just remember that if you don’t have an internet connection at the field, use the planner to zoom in on the area you are flying in to cache the imagery of your test area.  Otherwise you will not be able to effectively use some of the functionality that makes it so cool.

Today is a bit too windy and with weather moving in tonight, moving on to testing Guided Mode will have to wait for another day.  Me = Sad

So far I must say that the folks at DIYDrones have come a long…  long way from the Ardupilot we used on the Vespid.  Chris and the development team have really done some wonderful work with the APM 2.5.  And with the addition of the enhanced Mission Planner application, the barrier for entry for those not blessed with coding or R/C experience is significantly lower.


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Confidence building

More stick time is greatly increasing the confidence in my piloting ability.  I like to joke around, but for some reason this has about twice the pucker factor of the little helis I’m used to.  It’s so much easier to fly, but I guess the little monkey in the back of my head is thinking “it can’t be this easy” and is all like…  trap

Anyway, in spite of my shaky hands and reservations I’m getting a little more confident and as a result getting much better shots.  Here’s a great shot one of last weekend’s flights over the corn fields of southern Indiana.  I’ve got the beginnings of a payload in dev too, but learn to fly first…  hack stuff later.On final approach...


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One propeller just wasn’t enough

So big news for the Rabbit Hole…  White and I have been very busy in RL lately and haven’t gotten to play with our toys as much as we would like to.  After what was a way too long break from playing with dangerous flying robots, I have once again begun the process of sleep deprivation and coffee with another “Dude…  we gotta try this”.

We have added a multicopter to the mix (see video of my terrible pilot skillz).  Over the next few months I will update the build progress and some of the “secret sauce” that we add to spice up the recipe.

Thanks to the guys at 3D Robotics (who are awesome by the way) we have a brand spanking new Hexa-B hexacopter

Get your own here:  (seriously..  do it now)

Below is the video of the first real flight outside of being tethered in my garage.  I’m impressed at how well the thing flew right out of the box.

A couple more weekends of serious practice and tuning and we’ll be ready to take the next steps.



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