The drones have landed -- in New Zealand

 
Our vehicles in the background after arriving at our launch test site.

Our vehicles in the background after arriving at our launch test site.

We've already had two successful days in New Zealand prepping for the campaign. Despite the impending threat of a tropical cyclone, the weather yesterday was mild enough to do some test launches and flights in the glacial outwash plain. Not a bad place to fly drones, we think:

Tom McKinnon (foreground) and Brian Anderson (background) put together their drones for the test flight.

Tom McKinnon (foreground) and Brian Anderson (background) put together their drones for the test flight.

Today, we went up to Tasman Glacier to scope out potential launch and landing
locations. We plan to obtain imagery to make a DEM that spans with width of the glacier,
about 2km, and extend from its terminus to 6-7 km upglacier. Tasman Glacier terminates
in a large lake, as can be seen in the picture below, which presented an intimidating 
first domain for flying. Luckily, we found a few nice* places to take off and land as we moved
farther upglacier, so we don't have to tackle flying over the lake until later in the campaign.

The terminus of Tasman Glacier.

The terminus of Tasman Glacier.

The forecast is not particularly encouraging with respect to winds for the next few days,
but we are hoping to do a long-range test flight tomorrow, and then try our first over-glacier
drone flight in the next couple days. Once we have the first set of photos, we can begin to 
process them into our first Tasman DEM. More details to come about how the full process --
from drone to DEM -- works. 

*as in, not covered with giant boulders