Joncarlo Avila – Introduction

To begin this short auto biography, I will start with the basics about myself. My name is Joncarlo, I am currently a senior studying Mechanical Engineering. My interest in engineering started when I was really young. It all began when I had gotten my first “real” RC car when I was around 10 years old. By real, I mean a hobby grade one, one that could achieve some speed and required some level of knowledge. This RC car was my gateway into electrical and mechanical systems. It taught me the basics of electronics, how they work, and how to fix them. From then on, I was hooked to the RC hobby. I started building, racing and crashing bigger and faster RC cars. This evolved to include RC planes, and then eventually drones as the process repeated itself. For me, building a drone was probably the biggest challenge. When I built my first drone I did not want to build a basic one, I wanted one with more capability. So, I began building a quadcopter which was 500mm across with the intention of using a GPS to map missions and a gimbal to take smooth video. To do so I used an Arduino based flight controller. Using this allowed me to have the most control over functionality, but it came with a huge learning curve. After multiple failed maiden flights and a few broken pieces, it started coming together. Now, I have a few drones for all sorts of different purposes. For me, the RC hobby has given me mechanical, electrical and some programming experience, which has motivated me to study engineering.

The First Drone

With my use of drones also came an interest in photography. After building my first drone I became super interested in using it to take photos. I loved the idea of capturing the world from above. I think that looking at normal everyday landscapes, objects and scenes from a different view can really change our outlook on them. I run an instagram which I occasionally post my drone photos to, @jcaerialphoto

Aerial shots from my drones

When I am not building and flying drones I enjoy building model planes. For me, as I am in New England for the winter, the weather is not always conducive to going outside and flying planes and drones. Making models planes gives me an outlet to continue working on aviation related things when the weather doesn’t cooperate. I like the challenge of putting together small plastic pieces and painting them to make the most realistic model. Additionally I have always dreamed of adding LEDs to some of these models for added realism.

Most recently I build a large foam airplane which I used new techniques. I had the idea to build a foam cutting tool which would consist of a hot wire to slice through the material. This past summer I built a large foam cutting tool and used it to cut my own foam wings with proper airfoils. With this, I build the rest of an airplane around the wings, strapped a motor to it and flew it. It did not fly super well, but it did fly. The design of the plane was 100% made up by me. I am proud of this airplane as it was a completely new idea and it flew!

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