Monday, January 30, 2017


FOR DECADES, NASA HAS USED computer models to simulate the airflow around aircraft, in order to test designs and especially, to improve aerodynamic performance.

At the NASA Ames Research Center in California, researchers used this technique to explore the aerodynamics of a popular consumer drone, a modified DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter. 

According to Ames, the simulation reveals the complex motions of air particles, made especially so by the interactions between the Phantom 3's four twin-blade rotors and the X-shaped body. In the video, airflow interactions are shown as undulating lines, low-pressure air in blue, high-pressure in red.

The drone that NASA chose, the highly respected DJI Phantom 3, is a good example of a serious-amateur level machine.  

Drone manufacturer DJ reckons the all-white machine can do plenty:
* Easy to Fly: An intelligent flight system automatically keeps your Phantom 3 Standard in the air and under your control.
* Amazing Images: Take stunning 2.7K HD videos and 12 Megapixel photos with the integrated aerial camera.
* Stable Footage: DJI's advanced gimbal stabilization technology gives you movie-quality results no matter how you fly.

DJI also mentions the following:
* Enjoy the View: A live video feed gives you a 720p HD real-time view of what your camera sees right on your mobile device.
* Peace of Mind: Fly up to 25 minutes on a single charge, and the Intelligent Flight Battery will automatically remind you when power is running low.

A word of warning though. There have been quite a few near-misses between drones and airliners in recent months. So if you fly a drone, make sure you keep it well away from commercial air traffic of all sorts.

Click here for more information and to check out a range of drones.

Video courtesy NASA Ames Research Center/NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division/Tim Sandstrom. Click here to learn more.