Monday, May 16, 2011

New Horizons

So, I finally got around to putting my Slow Stick back together after having last flown it in Oklahoma. It was a little dusty but I had secret plans for it.

I first put it back together and left it pretty much as is except for some super landing gear I had custom made for me by the designer. I didn't have the resources to put it together myself so he did it for me. Considering it was just $18 from him in Canada, it wasn't a bad deal at all. You can see the landing gear here.
I took it out for the initial test flight and crashed it straight into the road but only broke a prop and bent the motor shaft a little. It was a little windy and had been a while since I flew so I wasn't too surprised. Then I flew it again and it flew really well, despite the wind. I could tell the vibration from the slightly bent shaft was causing major vibration in the wheels and frame but I worked that out later.
Over the next couple of week, I started putting one new part on and then doing a test flight to make sure it all worked just fine. I did that over and over making little modifications to smooth things out until I finally decided to go for it and this it what I ended up with and I'm pretty happy about it.

Excuse the plaid pants as I wasn't feeling all that well that day and it was going to rain for six days straight so I just went out when I had a chance.
Yes, the video is in black and white but there's a reason for it. Before I put on the video gear, the plane's total worth was about $130 but with it, it goes up another $70+ before the camera so until I learn to fly better, I'm sticking with a cheap $10 B&W camera.
Now for any of you that have seen my previous videos, you know I've filmed in color before so this may be a step back but there's a good reason for it. The older videos were recorded onto the camera memory card that was connected to the camera. This time, I'm streaming video wirelessly back to the ground where I am, which gives me the ability to fly from the pilot's perspective. In the r/c world, this is a somewhat recent development called first-person view (FPV) flying. One of my dreams growing up was to be a fighter pilot. Well, that obviously didn't happen but this is the next best thing without spending thousands of dollars to get a pilot's license.
So, there are a few growing pains that come with learning to fly FPV and one is crashing. It doesn't have to be that way if you're careful but regardless, things can go wrong no matter how careful you are so I'm using a cheap camera until I get more proficient flying through the camera. This flight was just a typical r/c flight as I watched the plane and not the video feed. I have a 7" LCD screen and a set of video goggles that I'll eventually be flying through so I'm really looking forward to the fun I can have with all of this. Hopefully I won't be reporting a lost plane any time soon. I'll definitely need to take some precautions to make sure I can track the plane so I can find it should anything ever happen to it.
I have a nice little ground setup I'm working on too so I'll post as that progresses. Stay tuned for more as the weather is getting better.