In this lesson, students develop a fundamental understanding of how aircraft, specifically drones, are able to achieve flight. This lesson also covers drone pilot safety, an introduction to drone piloting using the Parrot FreeFlight Mini app, and pilot skills challenges that help to master basic flight maneuvering techniques needed to pilot the Mambo drone.
SCIENCE OF FLIGHT
In this section, students learn about the scientific concepts of flight and the terminology that defines how aircraft fly.
What is Flight?
Flight is achieved when an object is able to move through the earth’s atmosphere (or beyond) without touching earth’s surface.
What Makes Flight Possible?
Aerodynamics, the science of how objects move through air and how air reacts in response to the object’s motion, makes flight possible.
The Four Forces of Flight
There are Four Forces of Flight that allow an object to fly:
Lift - Upward Motion
Weight (Gravity) - Downward Motion
Thrust - Forward Motion
Drag - Backward Motion
FOUR FORCES OF FLIGHT - A CLOSER LOOK
Lift is the force that causes an aircraft to rise while in flight.
Lift is created when airflow passes over and under an airplane's wing.
Weight (or Gravity) is the force caused by the downward pull of gravity and is equal to and directly opposite of lift.
Weight refers to the relative mass of an object which creates a downward force.
The more an aircraft weighs, the more force it takes to lift that object into the air.
Since gravity is continuous, a constant lift must be applied in order to keep an aircraft airborne.
Thrust is the force that allows an aircraft to move forward.
Thrust allows an aircraft to overcome weight and produce lift.
Thrust is created by a propulsion system such as a motor turning a propeller.
Thrust varies by the amount of power being applied.
Drag is the opposite of Thrust and is the force that acts against an object in motion.
The atmosphere works against an aircraft in flight in the form of friction caused by air pressing against the aircraft while in motion.
Drag is the reason airplanes are built in a streamlined manner with clean, smooth lines allowing air to pass by more easily.
FOUR FORCES OF DRONE FLIGHT
Four Forces of Drone Flight
The Four Forces of Drone Flight are different from that of winged aircraft.
Unlike winged aircraft, drones move vertically up and down, side to side, forward and backwards, and can hover.
This changes how the Four Forces of Flight are applied.
Drones create lift, that is to move in a vertical (upward) direction, when all four propellers are given equal and enough thrust to overcome weight and drag.
Drones fly downward when power is reduced to the propellers, producing less thrust, allowing weight and drag to overcome lift.
Drones have the ability to hover, which is defined as “to remain at the same place in the air”.
Hovering is achieved when the Four Forces of Flight are all equal to one another.
Four Forces of Drone Flight - A Closer Look
To more deeply understand how the Four Forces of Flight apply to drone technology, we must first learn three new terms:
Roll, Pitch, and Yaw
Roll is the movement a drone makes around the Longitudinal Axis.
Pitch is the movement a drone makes around the Lateral Axis.
Yaw is the movement a drone makes around the Vertical Axis.
Roll (In Flight)
A drone rolls right by increasing the speed of the two motors on the left side, while slowing down the speed of the two motors on the right side.
This creates thrust in the intended direction (right) while lift and weight remain equal.
A drone rolls left by increasing the speed of the two motors on the right side, while slowing down the speed of the two motors on the left side.
This creates thrust in the intended direction (left) while lift and weight remain equal.
Pitch (In Flight)
A drone pitches forward by increasing the speed of the two motors on the back while slowing down the speed of the two motors on the front.
This creates thrust in the intended direction (forwards) while lift and weight remain equal.
A drone pitches backward by increasing the speed of the two motors on the front while slowing down the speed of the two motors on the back.
This creates thrust in the intended direction (backward) while lift and weight remain equal.
Yaw (In Flight)
Yaw is the action that rotates the drone along the Vertical or Z axis.
A drone yaws right (pictured) when the rotational speed of the front right motor and the back left motor are increased.
A drone yaws left when the rotational speed of the front left motor and the back right motor are increased.
Lift, Weight and Drag are equal in a Yaw maneuver while Thrust is increased by the diagonally imposed motors.
Safety is the most important aspect of drone piloting.
Always wear safety glasses or a face shield when operating a drone.
Fly With Caution
A responsible drone pilot never flies in a careless or reckless manner!
Where to Fly
Drones should be flown in an open area, away from other people, private property or moving vehicles.
How High Can I Fly?
Max Height: 82ft
Max Distance: 100ft
This course recommends flying indoors with a max height & distance of 20ft.
Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
Always Maintain a Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
While piloting the drone, it is important to always maintain a Visual Line of Sight (VLOS).
Night Flights Can Be Dangerous and Are Not Recommended for the Mambo
It is NEVER a good idea to fly a Mambo when it is not visible, including at night.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Never Interfere With Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
It is the responsibility of private citizens to stay clear of EMS.
Interfering with EMS can result in fines and/or jail time.
Pre-Flight Safety Check
Before piloting, make sure to conduct a Pre-Flight Safety Check to ensure the drone is in proper flying condition.
Propellers are securely attached to the correct Motor.
Propellers are not damaged. Replace if necessary.
Hulls are securely attached to the Central Body.
Hulls are not damaged. Repair/replace if necessary.
Central Body is not damaged. Repair/replace if necessary.
PCB and Motor wires are not loose or broken.
Batteries are fully charged.
Flight area is open and safe.
Always wear safety glasses or a face shield!
In the following section, students learn basic flight controls which are needed to pilot the Parrot Mambo Drone
Important: Please have a bluetooth enabled smartphone or tablet ready and accessible during this section.
Connecting to Parrot’s “Freeflight Mini” App
Place a fully charged battery in the drone battery compartment - once the drone’s lights start blinking green, it is ready to pair.
Next, click on the drone icon and choose the drone named Mambo_ (six digit number)
When the drone lights (drone eyes) turn solid green the drone is paired and ready to fly.
Prepare to Fly!
Click on the “FLY” icon to access flight controls.
FLIGHT CONTROLS - ACTIVITIES
Demonstration - Flight Controls 1
Press “Take-Off”, the drone will begin to hover and is now ready for further commands.
Demonstration - Flight Controls 2 (Directions)
The controls on the right hand side of the control screen are responsible for Pitch and Roll movement.
Demonstration - Flight Controls 3 (Elevation)
The controls on the left hand side of the control screen are responsible for vertical movements as well as yaw.