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“Ghost Plane” Created By 800 Drones at Air Show

I just saw an amazing video of 800 drones being used to create a “Ghost Plane.” The plane in the air and its reflection in the water are magical.

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I remember my first drone. I didn’t have it long. I’d gone down to a local hobby store for some bits and pieces. While I was there, the guy behind the counter was nonchalantly flying a palm-sized drone around the store and then landing it on the back of his hand.
800 drones forming a “Ghost Plane” (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Screenshot from Xinhua Video)
He made it look so easy. I wanted one. I bought one. I took it home, charged it up, went outside, applied power, and — with my lower lip aquiver and a little tear rolling down my cheek — watched it zoom up and over the house, never to be seen again. I like to think of it as being still out there somewhere, flaunting itself as it zips around having a good time. Over the years, drones have become evermore sophisticated. Now, when you take your hands off the controls, they simply hover in the air, barely moving or changing orientation, even in windy conditions. It’s like they’ve been pinned to the sky. More recently, we’ve grown used to seeing drone extravaganzas involving hundreds of drones equipped with LEDs performing synchronized displays that make you (well, me) squeal in delight. My chum David Ashton who hails from Down Under just sent me the link to this article that describes how 800 drones at the 2019 Nanchang Flight Convention were used to create an amazing “Ghost Plane.” The article includes a video from the convention’s closing ceremony showing the “ghost plane” in the air and its reflection in water underneath. This looks amazing. I wish I could have been there. How about you? Do you like this sort of thing? If so, what’s the most amazing synchronized drone video you’ve seen?

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Rick Curl

That is truly amazing.

Here’s a slightly lower-tech moving LED display from a few years ago.
Really creative stuff!!

Aubrey Kagan
David Ashton

Does anyone know how this is done? Do all the drones position themselves relative to a reference on the ground? Or to each other? or to one “master” drone? Presumably the drones are programmable from the ground, and instruction would have to be sent to each where to position itself, but with reference to what? The article has no technical details.

Aubrey Kagan

And even more- when the 3D image moves- is the motion purely a software effect with the drones a presenting a fixed NxMxK cuboid with colour LEDs , or do the drones themselves move. Or perhaps even a combination.

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