OpenPilot turns 4 meet our team

November 10, 2013

Now that OpenPilot has turned four, we figured that you may want to know a little bit more about the people behind the OP project. Sometimes we forget to take a breath and show who the amazing people are that help make the OpenPilot project possible. Most of them are everyday people, just like you, with a passion for making their hobby the best it can be with awesome hardware and software that’s user friendly.

We asked some of the people that make this project possible to write a few things about themselves so that you can get to know the team behind OpenPilot just a little bit better.


Ricky King

My username is Rick~K and my real name is Ricky King. I’m retired, but here’s some of my work history: Department Head of Material Handling, Software Beta testing for Industrial Equipment, AC/DC Material Handling Equipment Service and Repair, Mobile Computer repair and service; years on the job 35. Retired Emergency Medical Service, 27 yrs full and part time. And here’s some of the fun stuff: Private Pilot, Spent 6 yrs as an active mission pilot in C.A.P., Dive Master, Amature Radio (K8OHM), Motorcycles and Motorcycle Club.

My R/C life started in 1970 with planes, then on to Helis in ’81, then in that same year I started flying RC Pattern where I made it to Master class. In 89’ I stopped flying pattern when I got more involved in flying Full Scale aircraft. I’d been flying real planes since I was 16 and got my license at 18. These days I keep a hexacopter ready for S&R use if needed with the local fire department. I continued flying RC planes and helis off and on until 2007 when I started flying Helis pretty much exclusively. Then along about the end of 2011 I started with Multis, where I started looking for better multiroters and Flight controllers. That led me to the OpenPilot project and waiting on the (then) latest board to be released. Currently I’m flying Quads and Hexa’s, some planes, and a lot of heli time on my current gas helicopter.


Fredrik Larsson

Username is “Hayvosh” pretty much all over the internetz. In real life, however, I go by the name Fredrik Larsson, 28 years old and live in a town called Piteň in Sweden.. and yes, it’s cold. I work as an IT technician/Systems Administrator on Sweden’s largest geographical software design (GIS) companies where I manage servers, storage, backup and a lot more. Before I got hooked on RC I did a lot of photography. My old portfolio page is still live ( www.hayvosh.net ) for anyone that wants to look. The RC world has been on and off during my life, but the past 3 years of my life has been full of it. Exactly 3 years ago, I was just like Jack, watching a YouTube vid of someone flying a quad.. and I was hooked.. I needed one! By that time a colleague at work had a friend that actually had one flying (Malx here on the forums), so he hooked me up.. and he was flying the CC flight controller.. and there my journey begins. I got more and more involved with OP, building prototype boards (first board I got to build was actually the v1 of the OPOSD..now that’s a long time ago ), now I do a little bit of everything. Admin work all around OP, basically “background” stuff and also git permissions and access, also do repair work for the community if there’s any broken boards and building prototype hardware, of course. Hoping that I’ll get the time to learn coding, because at the moment I know 0 code


Jack Russell

I’m Jack Russell (Terrier). I’m a project manager/designer for fiber optic and copper communications networks. The last several years working as a contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan, Alaska, and most recently, back in Nashville. I’d never heard of multirotors until stumbling into some FPV vids on YouTube while searching for another, unrelated video a couple of years ago. After watching a few FPV vids, I had to have a copter! I was first attracted to OP because the documentation and instructional information of the Wiki was just sooo much better and easier to use than other projects//boards, and the sense of community was really strong. I joined OP while in Afghanistan, starting my involvement by editing the Wiki for spelling, punctuation and general readability errors. As my knowledge grew, I was able to help in more ways, including helping users with their issues, the user awards, editing articles on the website, and building prototype OP boards for development. Building, flying and crashing multirotors is great fun, and I spend a lot of time (and money!) doing that… My preference is to design and build “crash resistant” copters from craft plywood. My ultimate goal is to get involved with Search and Rescue, using RC aircraft to help find missing persons…


Jim Johnson

MrHeli4444 – Jim Johnson. A career-long carpenter. For the past 16 years have worked as the Shop Carpenter for Binghamton University. I belong to the Portrait Society of America. On occasion I do commissioned portraits in oils and pastels and like most anything artistic in nature. I also enjoy woodcarving and sculpture. A few years back my wife bought my son and I small helicopters from a kiosk seller at the mall for Christmas. At times she has regrets, but for the most part has been really supportive. Progressed up through the heli’s and on to multi’s for a better and more stable video platform. Enjoy designing and building wood quads (16 of them this past year.) What a ride it’s been. Thanks to OpenPilot I’ve made some, for sure, lifelong friendships along the way. So cool, so much fun.


Anne

Hi guys.. Dusty Anne here. I am a 40-something year old disabled woman living in Tropical North Queensland. I have a colourful past, moving to Botswana from England when I was 4, living in Africa for 12 years, then back to England to finish my schooling. After a year at Nottingham University trying to study Engineering, I left England and moved to Australia. I have lived here ever since. When I was about 10 my dad progressed from control line aircraft with the old .049 cox engine to a radio controlled glider using bungie launch. Then on to a power trainer model with an OS Max25. I enjoyed the time with dad and picked up the hobby. My father was a commercial pilot and had his own Cherokee 6 that we explored Africa in and this also instilled in me a great affinity with all things to do with flight. Working in hospitality and tourism for 10 years, working as a white water river guide and dive master and managing back packer hostels, I decided to get a real job. I managed a coach company and then moved to driving concrete trucks, then on to road trains. Due to an accident 5 years ago whilst driving I ended up with a compression fracture and nerve damage to my back. This left me unable to work and in need of something to occupy my time and distract my mind from the chronic pain I experience. A friend gave me a tiny IR helicopter which awakened an old memory of more enjoyable times. I started by buying a HK450 and crashing it, repairing, and crashing. I then found out about multirotors on RCGroups. Being a Mac user I searched for Mac compatible systems. Finding OP and the friendly community led me to buying a CC board and the gap between flying and crashing became longer. I have been here ever since, getting a CC3D and Revo when they first came out. My flying has slowly improved over time. The thing I love about my quads and tri’s is that I can fly in my back garden when weather and pain allow. I am currently trying to teach myself to fly FPV without damaging myself or anyone else, and of course, my gear. I enjoy the family that is Open Pilot and the friendly, helpful people that make forums such a great space. I am on the forums every day and try to help and add a little humour if neBstress has not beaten me to a punchline. I am a good crash test dummy and find most of the easy problems people will have so I can try and help the new comers to OP. My job here is to bring a calming female presence to the group along with a slightly warped sense of humour.


Ben

Username neBstress, real name Ben, I live in an asylum in the South West of England, I had to stop working six years ago due to health issues. I had a varied work life in several highly technical fields, a few of which (in no particular order); care worker/manager in mental health, fishmonger, monkey spanking, harbour & factory chargehand, more monkey spanking, Liberty Cap harvesting & testing, even more monkey spanking & LSD consumption in HUGE quantities. I first joined OpenPilot in early 2011 when I got my first OP board but didn’t ‘get’ the project & didn’t hang around, I rejoined OpenPilot in late 2012, then slowly, over a few months, got my head round what OpenPilot was really all about and liked it. So, got more involved, helping other members where I could and most importantly having fun. I then joined the core OpenPilot team, it’s not easy being the most serious & sensible person in the team, but I enjoy helping as many people as I can as well as learning more myself every day.


Anthony Gomes

My username is ArnhemAnt. Basically, I live in Arnhemland, NT, Australia and most of my mates know me as “Ant’, hence the ArnhemAnt name. My real name is Anthony. I come from a multi-media background with field experience in graphic arts, layout and digital photography and video. I have been involved in the multi-rotor world for only a few short years and have learnt most of what I know through the OpenPilot forum and through the many helpful people that I have met along the way. I fly quads and tricopters and got into this mainly for the aerial video perspectives. My main role within the project is to help contribute to the forum where I can and to ensure that our new users get to experience the passion and energy that I feel when flying. I like to try and help where I can within the project, but don’t know the first thing about coding. My main drive within this project is to help to give back some of the energy, passion and generosity that I have received. To share the OP love. I also co-ordinate our official OP YouTube channel so that we can showcase some of the wonderful talent we have here. Outside of OP, I love spending time with my family, also fishing, hunting, camping and just being outdoors in this wonderful country we have.


Fredrik

My name is Fredrik (username is m_thread) and I live in beautiful Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I joined this project late 2011 when I happened to stumble upon it looking for an alternative to my expensive, but poorly working Korean-made KK type flight controller (no namedropping here). I was very impressed by the OpenPilot hardware, software and the projects mission statement to create something with a fair price that could be used for serious applications. I was almost immediately involved in the development part of this project. I have a background in software engineering since the early 90s. I have worked many years in the financial software industry, developing exchange trading software and big complex systems handling security transactions and risk management. Eventually, I felt like it was time to try something new. Just recently I joined one of the largest and best software companies in the world to work with the core development of a product I have come to love over the years, Java. When I am not ‘fixing Java’ or coding on the OP GCS, I love to be in my workshop fabricating stuff or designing some new things. For me it is the road that leads to the finished product that is the fun part. Using the end result can be fun, but the time creating it is the best.


David

Segueing into another Java fan. Another David, I stay near Edinburgh, another capital. I’m kind of hazy over when I joined this project, maybe two or three years ago. I was attracted by the idea of a project with actual open hardware at a time when I was looking for a software project to work on in my spare time. Having been into R/C flying in my younger days, the fact that this was an R/C related project was a bonus. I’ve been a developer since the late 90s and done the rounds of C, C++ and C#. I’m currently working as a Java and Android developer for a ‘well known’ GIS software company. I’ve worked on bits of the GCS software and also the Android GCS. One day I hope to actually build and fly quads, but at the moment I’ll keep practising with my X4 and writing software.


Mathieu

My name is Mathieu. I was born in France, then moved to Vancouver (west coast of Canada) 14 years ago. I have always been into RC stuff for as long as I can remember. I picked up on RC helicopters 4 years ago when I became interested in the flybarless systems. I discovered the CC board in the beginning of 2011 and started to contribute some firmware code. Being too scared to put CC on the heli, I built a quad. Since then, I have learned a little bit of SolidWorks and designed some quad and hexa frames. I was able to get them cut in Aluminium by a local company (thanks to those guys and their impressive water jet cutting robot). I have been on and off as my life became rapidly as busy as amyone else with a 1 year old. What do I do during the day: I work as a firmware and system engineer for a SoC company in the cellphone and tablet industry. What do I spend my spare time on currently: I spent this summer on some schematics and created some PCBs for robotic projects. I am now designing a bigger board. I prefer building and developing firmware rather than flying, but flying what I build is the best reward!


Alessio

I’m Alessio, born in a beautiful city in the east coast of Sicily back in the ’80s, then moved to Rome six years ago. Learning how things work has always been my passion since I was a child and this allowed me to gain some useful background in fields like electronics, mechanics and a lot of other stuff. Then I began to play with computers and programming languages in the middle ’90s and eventually I started to work as a developer in 2001. I discovered this world (multirotor and R/C in general) just as a coincidence when a friend of mine(who was already playing with multis) asked my support for some electronic stuff for his multirotor. At that time control boards where almost door-barn sized so CC was love at first sight. Unfortunately they were sold out so I ordered some PCBs and built my own “purple” colored CC. I started to become really involved in OP development during the early stages of Revolution development, at the beginning of 2012. When not hitting my head against some OP firmware issue I also enjoy engineering and building stuff with my CNC [ http://blog.alessiomorale.com/ ], taking photographs [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/alessiomorale/ ] or riding my motorbike.


Eric Price

My name is Eric Price (but online I go by Corvus Corax – the raven). I live in southern Germany. When I first discovered OpenPilot, I was studying for my computer science degree at University Stuttgart. It was still quite early in the project and I had no flight hardware and no board prototypes yet either. But I had a flight simulator, and the flight firmware code was open source – so I thought – it must be possible to combine these two and have some fun somehow. Thats how simposix was born ;-) A little later, I had prototype boards, and also taught myself to fly RC wings for real. The first attempts ended in trees and other crashes, but those soon became a lot less – once I managed to make the OpenPilot firmware do the flying for me. Consequently, I also used an OpenPilot controlled fixed wing as a base for my UAV robotics thesis project.


Philippe

Hi, My name is Philippe and I live in Paris, France. I joined OpenPilot about a year ago. I got interested in muti-rotors after watching mutli-rotor swarm videos on youtube. Shortly after a colleague mentionned OpenPilot, I took a look, saw some of juz’s videos and really got motivated to build a FPV multi-rotor. Well, the multi-rotor is built and FPV is the next step, if developping stuff in GCS leaves me some time… Professionaly, I have been in the software industry since the late 90s doing mostly Java (SE & EE). OpenPilot is the first open source project I am participating in. It’s a lot of fun, the team is great and there’s plenty of challenging things to do. My main focus is on the Ground Control Station, doing C++ and Qt coding, which is a welcome break from Java. Since my teenage years I have been hacking around on personal “projects” or wasting time on video games, now thanks to OpenPilot I have a purpose in life. All jokes aside, the mix of hardware, firmware and software that OP offers is a real plus in my eye. Writing abstract code to make concrete things fly better is great. The side bonus is that, socially, you get more attention when saying that your hobby is to build multi-rotors as to saying that you write C++ code! My better half also seems to tolerate that new hobby better than the previous ones because she can talk about it and I take the kids out to fly the toys. So, come on, if you want to improve your social life and re-ignite that little light of admiration in your partner’s eye, join OpenPilot now!


Kevin

My name is Kevin. I am a 40 year old zebra. I joined OP sometime back in 2011 when I got my hands on the original CopterControl. I stuck it into a tricopter I had built and I was hooked on OP! I originally got into RC back in 2010 when building my first quad with an Ardupilot running Aeroquad FW—I had illusions of eventually carrying a 5D underneath. LOL! After toying around with that a few months, I moved into flying FPV with fixed wing planes until I came across OP. OP really re-invigorated my passion for multirotors :) I would not really call myself a programmer, but I have taught myself how. Currently, I am managing a small team of front-end developers at an ad agency. I started my career as a graphic designer, but began programming out of necessity. I have been doing front-end web development since the late 90s. I have done quite a bit of Flash Actionscript development and for the past 3 years, iOS development. I did take a short stint into QML for GCS early this year. I am hoping to contribute more as time allows. I have been yearning back to school to study Computer Science. I just wish I could make the time.

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