I've always had a thing for remote control (RC) aircraft. The kid and I have several half-broken ones to prove it. So now I'm thinking about taking it to the next level. Literally. With a DIY Drone -- a kind of aerial robot. You fly it yourself (FIY), but with your feet on the ground and a controller in your hands.

While the kid's interest is in piloting one, mine is in using it to shoot pictures. I've done some of that already, using far heavier aircraft.

There's a Linux angle too. Microcontrol platforms like the Ardrino are open source in both hardware and software.

So I'm measuring interest here. Anybody else around here into this stuff? Is it something we should pursue here at Linux Journal?


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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I love DIY RC Flyers, great

Lorne Fade's picture

I love DIY RC Flyers, great article, I will definitely keep reading.

Great stuff, very encouraging

Doc Searls's picture

Keep it coming, folks. This is very helpful.

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal

Just so you know..

Jason's picture

Hey Doc, did you know that Apple expressly states that the iPhone is not suitable for this very hobby? There's got to be angle there. - page 2, 1st para.

I so want one!

Anonymous's picture

Doc, you have to do it! The potential for good or evil are just too mind boggling to pass up! I want a really tiny one that can hunt down mosquitoes.


Anonymous's picture

This is the kind of stuff I was hoping I'd be reading in LJ.

Bring back Embedded Linux Journal!!

Richard Patrick's picture

Please please feature this article and many many more embedded (in any sense of the word) linux articles! I still mourn the loss of ELJ and have always hoped for it's resurrection.

arduino w/linux as a general-purpose controller

Roland's picture

Load Simple Message System in your Arduino and control it via linux (GUI via xmessage, or cmdline, or scripts, etc.) with the shellscript package SMS1.tgz from my website. 6chan 10bit AD is scaled to mV and formatted for import to OpenOffice or other spreadsheets. I am currently using reed relays connected directly to the 12 IO pins ( #22RD5, 5v/500ohm coil, 10+@ US$1.10 ea). Modular/expandable if you need more pins. Limit: length of USB cable.

Are you kidding??

Jason's picture

That's freakin' awesome - like a Linux Journal version of a "Make" project!!

Solution posted @ HackADay

Anonymous's picture

Open Source Hardware Story

Ethan Bauley's picture

Far be it from me to suggest the direction LJ should take, but I did stumble into this article on open-source hardware that is wickedly cool:

I think there's some DIY FIY apps in there for sure ;-)


mwallette's picture

Absolutely you should pursue this! I've been an aviation buff for as long as I can remember. In the 80s I started flying RC, and like you, I also have quite a collection of broken airplanes to prove it. In the 90s I earned my pilots license (fortunately, no broken airplanes here, knock on wood). I now have a day job as a linux network admin and a night job as a flight instructor.

Therefore, it's a given that the overlap between RC aviation and linux would be fascinating for me. An article (or better yet, a series of articles) on merging these two interests just might be enough to get me to break down my own LJ subscription instead of mooching off my coworkers :)

Intrested are you kidding? Of Course!

alphakamp's picture

I am absolutely interested in this. <--I have bought and soldered on of these already, and am itching see some articles about making use of it from a linux user's perspective. GPS arduino to marble for example. Command line control of my lightswitch via X10...the list goes on and on.


slewisma's picture

I'd like to see an article or series on RC and Linux. My father-in-law used to make beautiful RC planes, the larger scale ones with wingspans in the 6' range. He also has a large G-Scale Garden Railroad in his backyard. Connecting my Linux, hardware, software and programming interests with his model transportation interests would be fun.

Now if a auto-pilot program that includes take-off and landing could just make flying his planes foolproof, maybe we could dust some off and dare fly them with less fear of wrecking these museum quality planes he's built.

kites and cameras

mary hodder's picture

There is a guy in Berkeley who uses kites, that have small motors and remote controls, with camera mount, to take pix.

He's done thousands of them and put them online. I see him out occasionally when I'm walking, though it's been a while. I assume he still does it.

You should ask him about it.