Grassroots innovation movement

Flight fest 2016 was a celebration of flight , a most joyous celebration it was. A family oriented event, it brought radio control model builders and flyers of all ages together to .
TI stumbled accross this video about the building of the "Circle" airplane at the event as a community event, then they fly this big RC airplane and let the swarm of smaller drones and rc airplanes try toknock it out of the sky. THey actually fly several small aircraft through the circle wing while it is in flight.

There were at least 50 small quadcopters, rc-planes and all manner of other flying contraptions that took part in the contest. At least three major collisons occurred before it came down having survived more than a dozen collisions. At one point it had another small plane dangling from it's tail section.....

The community that built and flys these aircraft have a creativity and openness that is refreshing. They share their knowledge with kids and young people, The level of understanding of the principals of flight, the mathematics of flight control and the development of the FPV systems is exciting.

Today an Inertial Mesuring Unit (IMU) and a gyroscope come on a chip along with gps and a magnitometer. A flight controller to most folks at this event is just an inexpensive component. I remember my father coming home from his work on the Thor missile and saying that they had the first guidance IMU/Gyro and it cost over $ 1,000,000 and was the size of a coffee can Today the flight controller electronics package is a few grams + battery. The telemetry for the limited hobbyist unit is well integrated and available on several frequency bands. Cameras are pretty standard for FPV. Some also have beacons to help find them when they crash.

The ease with which folks accept crashes of their drones makes the learning process less painful than the old way of learning about flying.

Some of these airplanes combine a casual attitude with a sophisticated exploitation of foam board, hot glue, carbon fiber and very efficient electric motors. Folks from beginners to experts attend these events. Although I don't know what innovations will come from the spread of DIY drones and airplanes yet but I recognize verdant growth and imaginations that are glowing with excitement and growing competence.