On day two we arrived early, ready for action. Our first task was to assemble the ground control station, the aircraft and successfully complete the entire pre flight checks, and all of that on our own! We succeeded and then progressed to the more advanced modules of our training book. We learned how to plan a flight with waypoints using the built in maps and also in ArcGIS, we also learned how to program operations zones to restrict our areas of study. We then reviewed all of the voice commands and discovered the meaning of some of the more elaborate terms. By the end of the day we were slightly overwhelmed, so much to learn in such a short time!

Day three dawned bright and clear and we felt ready for take off! However, driving over to the UAV flying area, John B observed that maybe the wind was too strong and he suggested that we might not be flying, given that the car was being buffeted across the road and the trees were laying over! When we arrived on site, we measured the wind and it was blowing a steady 48 to 50 kph which was well above our maximum wind speed of 25kph. The airstrip was on top of a ridge and it was interesting to note that just behind the ridge there were patches of calm and varying wind directions, yet when you looked up at the clouds, the clouds were hurtling along. Clearly the conditions were not suitable for flying, so after a few moments of disappointment we made the most of the situation and practiced assembling and dismantling the system in windy outdoor conditions. Thanks goodness John B wore his wet weather gear, as the ground was very wet!  We took turns being the mission commander, shouting instructions (I quite enjoyed this role) and running through the preflight checklist, the ground station controller and the UAV handler. We even practiced using the bungy launch system, which was certainly not as easy as it looks when the experts do it. We all had a go, and by the end of the morning we certainly felt more confident!

We returned to SkyCAM after lunch and Lew gave us a demonstration on how to repair the airframe 
in the field and also back at the home base for more permanent repairs. These airframes are 
incredibly durable and robust, and relatively easy to repair (depending on the severity of the damage).

We are all looking forward to day four, and to getting up in the air!

The team assembling the ground control system (GCS)

Tim teaching John how to use the bungy launch system

John assembling the airframe