To mark the 80th anniversary of the protected area in Ussuriisk there was a special meeting of the Scientific Council of the Ussuriisky Nature Reserve on October 10. Directors from various nature reserves and national parks of the south of the Russian Far East attended the event. The following day the administration of Ussuriisky Nature Reserve invited the managers of the protected areas to take a walking tour of the reserve during which a quadcopter flight demonstration was to be held by the Phoenix Fund. Regretfully, the planned flight demonstration had to be cancelled because the quadcopter’s GPS navigation system failed to connect to the satellites there. As a result, when taking off, the quadcopter was blown off course by the wind, and specialists from the Phoenix Fund decided to stop the demonstration and confined themselves to telling about the quadcopter’s capabilities, showing videos of previous test flights, and answering questions about its technical specifications and perspectives for use.
After conducting a walk, everyone returned to the head office of Ussuriisky Nature Reserve in Kaimanovka village; and it was decided to give it another try and to fly the quadcopter. This time the quadcopter’s navigation system successfully synced to GPS satellites and the copter held its position which meant that it was possible to get an accident-free flight. The device took off and captured photos and video footage of the landscape and the guests. After safe landing of the quadcopter, the directors of the protected areas, discussed the perspectives of development of this pilot project and the possibility of purchasing and using copters, and UAV fixed wings on their territories.
Alexandre Vrisch, co-ordinator of educational projects, Phoenix Fund: “The guests attending the quadcopter flight demonstration proposed their own version of the cause of the failure, namely magnetic anomalies due to undiscovered iron deposits in this locality, undiscovered “Kolchak’s gold” and even UFO involvement. Of course, all these versions are jokes that could be used as new legends by interpreters of the Eco-Tourism and Education Department of the nature reserve. Now, we understand that this quadcopter model cannot hover steadily everywhere, and that before actual practical use of the device it is necessary to test it in various places of given locality”. It was agreed that Phoenix will purchase a quadcopter for Anyuisky National Park in the near future and hold training courses for the Park’s specialists.
Sergei Bereznuk, Director, Phoenix Fund: “I believe that the failure during the beginning of the flight demonstration was even good for us. It let all the participants understand that one should take the operation of such new “toys” seriously. Nature reserves and national parks should select and prepare competent experts for further work with copters. At present, we are exploring the potential of other quadcopter models and UAV fixed wings for the use in nature conservation work, their capabilities during flights over different landscapes, at low temperatures, and other conditions. For our part, we are ready and happy to share our experience and to help train pilots”.
Phoenix greatly appreciates the support of this project from Alertis, Whitley Fund for Nature and ALTA charitable foundations. More information about the project is found on this website.
A video of the flight demonstration in Ussuriisk can be found here: http://youtu.be/hIA2f8R9yg8