Thursday, February 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fisher House phantom: Drone, GoPro document construction

11 drone 1

Gil Gardner, 60th Medical Group multimedia manager, flies a DJ Phantom drone outside the Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base, Wednesday. Gardner captures video using the drone and a GoPro camera to document aerial construction of the new Fisher House. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page C1 | May 11, 2014 |

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — A small craft launches from the grass across the street from David Grant Medical Center. It heads left, then circles around the new Fisher House, in its final stages of construction, next to the hospital.

It briefly disappears against the blue sky, then returns.

In hover mode, the DJ Phantom I quadcopter, with an attached GoPro camera, snaps photos. Just as it has nearly ever Monday since ground was broken in November 2013.

Controlling the drone is Gil Gardner, 60th Medical Group medical multimedia manager, who does medical-related illustrations in photography for the base.

Before construction began, Garnder said there was talk of putting a camera on top of the hospital to capture the construction photos. He stepped up with his own equipment and has been able to document, with video and photos, the building’s history.

Gardner, a jazz guitarist, purchased the aerial filming system to make music videos. He’s done one so far. After the new Fisher House’s grand opening, he’ll use the quadcopter and camera to make more music videos.

He’s modified the unmanned aerial vehicle to stabilize the camera so it doesn’t pick up vibrations from the engine. It’s operated with a handheld remote control.

It’s also GPS-based and returns to home base if communication is lost. It picks up to 12 satellites before giving him a green blinking signal that he can launch it.

Gardner lifts it about 60 feet in the air. Federal Aviation Administration regulations say the vehicles can’t go above 400 feet, he said.

He plans to add a gimbal mount to keep the camera parallel to the ground.

A pair of virtual reality goggles are also part of the package, giving him a much closer look at what the GoPro camera is capturing.

“I can frame the photos the way I want to,” he said.

Gardner said he’s always cognizant of traffic on the road that separates the launch pad from the medical center and the new Fisher House. He’s also on the lookout for pedestrians who may be in the area.

When he came to Travis 23 years ago, Gardner said he had no idea technology would come so far.

“It’s changed so quickly,” he said.

He was involved with the construction of the first Fisher House: His boss was its director. Gardner still has the original drawings for the first Fisher House on his office walls.

“I’ve known all the managers (of the Travis Fisher House),” he said. “I’ve made some good friends over there.”

Gardner is known for playing his guitar at the home-away-from-home for military families who have a loved one receiving treatment at David Grant.

He estimates that he’s taken between 2,500 and 3,000 photos of the new Fisher House while under construction. The camera snaps one every five seconds, he said. He said he plans to compile them into a montage and possibly do a time-lapse representation.

Gardner is able to fine tune the photos with computer programs.

“There’s no way to correct the wind,” he said of the gusts on the base.

The gimbal mount should help with that, he said.

The first Fisher House opened in 1991, During that time, the Fisher House Foundation has served more than 180,000 families and provided more than 5 million days of lodging, saving families more than $200 million in lodging and transportation costs, according to its website.

The new one, the second on Travis, should open later this month.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Charter ParentMay 12, 2014 - 8:25 pm

    Too bad it's against the law if he's being paid to do surveillance with the drone. And now there's a whole article about it!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RhondaMay 13, 2014 - 1:31 pm

    Gil is a true patriot who is VOLUNTEERING his OWN time and Money, and Machinery to document an ALL volunteer lodging building that gives a free place to stay for military families with loved ones inpatient at DGMC. SHAME ON YOU

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Charter ParentMay 15, 2014 - 1:53 pm

    Oohh guess I got TOLD. If he stands to ever profit from this venture, the bottom line is that it's against the law. That is fact. Go wave your flag somewhere else.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • GemmaMay 13, 2014 - 9:44 am

    Gil's name seems so familiar from my time working at David Grant. I just know he's the person I'm thinking of, but I'm horrible with faces, and it's been 14 yrs since I separated. It has to be the same person though, because the name is familiar(we used to print nightly reports, and his dept would get one) and he worked in the AV Dept, just like this Gil. Good to see he's still doing what he loves.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMay 13, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    ''Sorry, but our clinic isn't accepting military retirees even though you have a paid for contract with us! ''<<----what you get for your money at David Grant. The government of traitors needs to be sued until they uphold their contracts with their subscriber base.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Children tackle history during Wax Museum project

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Suisun Walmart to open March 25

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

     
    Searchers find infant’s body

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

     
     
     
    Pedestrians hit by cars in 2 separate incidents

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

     
    Vacaville police clear homeless from area

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

     
    Legislative committee votes for earthquake relief bill

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    NorthBay Healthcare Group expands lease

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
    State to close part of I-80 to continue project

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Feb. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    .

    US / World

    Family celebrating one-month birthdays of identical triplets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Massive I-95 pileup leaves 17 injured in snowy Maine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    CEO has plan for crime prediction system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Dog owner lawsuit alleges food made his pups sick

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    What happens, and not, in Homeland Security shutdown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Pet shop owner found guilty of arson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Harris only Dem left after Villaraigosa exits campaign

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Regulators eyeing tighter cybersecurity requirements

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Technology might have prevented deaths in train crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Speaker has plan to help fund affordable housing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hungarian village available for rent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Journalists arrested in Paris for drone flights

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Afghanistan avalanche destroys homes, kills 124

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Polanski appears in court to face extradition

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Opinion

    Chinese economy may be stalling – and that’s OK

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

     
     
    Time to put down the joystick

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Feb. 26, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Gucci designer makes debut during Milan Fashion Week

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    People: Lindsay Lohan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Clark says players against radical speed-up changes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Kings grind out 102-90 win over Grizzlies in Sacramento

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    Bay Area’s Semien in the mix for A’s shortstop job

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    IOC head quizzed about water shortages in Rio, golf course

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    McIlroy looking to keep momentum to the Masters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Felipe Mata Mislang

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Donald Grimm

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Thomas Browning

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9