Monday, Oct 21st 2013, AM. Work day began with a Mission Planner refresher to a good-sized group of trainees representing the WWF Nepal, the army and national parks. A-plus students all around. Theoretical aspects covered, we adjourned to the grass field on the opposite bank, (crossing the crocodile-infested water, no less), where we spent a couple of hours on launch practices of the second generation of Conservation Drones. The UAV is nicknamed ‘Caipy’.

Each trainee had 3 launch practices, all carried out outstandingly. Launching the Caipy is really fast and I had a field day trying to catch each action shot.

PM. Time after lunch was spent driving out on into the park to check out for other launch- / landing field sites, i.e. the realistic conditions of where the UAV’s would be applied. Crossing the river on a bridge, a rhinoceros was spotted.

The concrete bridge started to tremble as a company of men started jogging on it. We got into the vehicle and drove to the grass field not too far from the bridge and rhinoceros for a Caipy flight demonstration to army personnel.

Following the demonstration, the CD team received this message: Tomorrow, the trainees will carry out their flight operations independently.

It grew colder as the sun began to set, and the air damp. Driving through the forest in the open-air vehicle, our faces served as insect swats, orifices as unsuspecting insect burrows. It was completely dark by the time we reached the river bank. Good thing I had a flashlight, while the not so good thing was how it immediately attracted all kinds of insects to my hand.


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