Sunday, April 19, 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
.

Solano News

Waiting game: Woman, toddler hope for kidney transplants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Tiny twins call Heather House their 1st home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Solano ranks last in Bay Area for health

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
SID to consider water rate hikes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

California water saving mandate shrinks cuts for some cities

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

 
Who is the Bay Area’s most popular athlete?

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
City announces Browns Valley Road closures

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Healthier Living program begins mid-May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Bachelor party turns into community event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Il Fiorello serves up chocolate desserts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
When to throw in the towel on sickly plants

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

Coping with seasonal allergies

By Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, M.d | From Page: C4

 
Solano superhero back in school

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Church hosts health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Home, garden show offers something for everyone

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Weather for Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
2 nations at center of market drop

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield hotel gets major renovation

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Teen victim of Dixon shooting dies

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7

Land use, design, project synergy key to growth

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Commissary-Exchange pairing gains steam

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Airmen with county ties complete training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco marks anniversary of 1906 earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Time plus distance help some Oklahoma City victims move on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Officers kill man who charged at them near St. Louis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Scarlett O’Hara outfit fetches $137,000 at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Caged puppies on car roof trigger dozens of 911 calls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Transportation projects should benefit all drivers

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Justice not served

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Clinton should spruce up a bit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Brown support of ag water ruffles feathers

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Talk about corruption

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 19, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is it possible for Methodists to agree to disagree on gay marriage?

By The Washington Post | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
Vatican unexpectedly ends crackdown of US nun group

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: April 19, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Wife needs to decide if she can tolerate husband’s binge drinking

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Anna Kendrick has book of essays coming out in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Phil Klay, Leslie Jamison among PEN award nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Sports

Crawford, Heston lead Giants to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 34, Warriors beat Pelicans 106-99 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reddick’s 3-run homer sends A’s to 5-0 victory over Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cal defense shines for a change at scripted spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Serena Williams gets a rare test from Giorgi but holds on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tom Watson: Next Masters might be his last

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pete Rose hired by Fox as special guest studio analyst

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Marcotte, Ryan win US cycling Criterium championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Independent league experiments with 3-ball walks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt maintains edge through 3 rounds at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Jones throws 2 TDs, wins challenge at Ohio State spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As Spurs know, international players can impact NBA playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rose scores 23, Bulls beat Bucks 103-91

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pierce leads Wizards past Raptors in OT in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Little League baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Kenseth content in car and not contemplating retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Logano leads flag-to-flag to win Xfinity race at Bristol

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for April 19

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Using a prepaid card? Avoid getting socked with fees

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: blowers, bike hooks, mattresses, toys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
USDA veterinarian: Bird flu outbreak could be ‘devastating’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frances Bayona Lozano

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Larkin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Medders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carrol “Carl” Gordon Parker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Allen Ellsworth Dolby Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sterling Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics