FPV is regulated and has risks. First person video (FPV) is where the plane has a live down link so the pilot can see as if he were on the plane by looking at a computer screen or through special goggles. FPV planes are being flown higher and farther than ever before. FPV is great but it remains the responsibility of the builder and the fliers to follow local laws and regulations regarding the use of any plane including those carrying FPV equipment.
New electronics are making amazing things possible but just because you can does not mean you should. Planes should not be flown over populated areas or in a way that could put other people or property at risk. Some of the FPV planes are being flown in at altitudes above that allowed for model planes putting them in commercial airport traffic routes. There are restrictions in place already in some areas because of the behavior of a few. Please be courteous and wise with how and where you fly and follow your local laws and regulations. You are responsible for how and where you fly your plane and any damage or risk it may cause. Please be responsible and courteous with your FPV flying.
Crash testing - How do I protect my FPV gear?
At Crashtesthobby.com we build combat planes and we love to wreck them! Our years of combat building and combat flying have greatly influenced this design.
You can't fly if the plane is broken.
How many FPV planes have you seen that after a few flights have a crumpled nose and have more tape and glue than plane? The fist aerial photography planes I designed in the 1980s had a high wing with a fuselage. The high wing planes don't crash well. The mass of the fuselages and wings work against each other in an accident and the expensive FPV equipment is at risk. High wing planes get destroyed with an accident that an EPP flying wing can easily handle without any damage. EPP foam has been used in car bumpers. We try to use the foam of the wing to protect our radio and camera equipment.
During flight testing I did hard landings and nose-ins with the Hercules to see if the motor mounts and servos could take the abuse. I have to admit it was kind of fun to push the plane in ways I don't usually fly but I did it because I know you guys will try about everything. I have broken a few props and broke one servo when I cartwheeled the plane and bent a motor mount on a nose dive. I took the bent motor mount off of the plane and easily straightened it. The repair took less than 10 minutes. I never have done any structural damage to the plane that required a repair. The skid is a little scratched up from some of the surfaces I have taken off of. The plane is a little dirty from flying out in the wild and landing in brush, dirt and weeds but it is holding up amazingly well under conditions that would destroy most planes.
Twin motors are flown differently but easy to fly.
The Hercules Gentle Giant doesn't fly any different with the two motors than most planes fly with one. I have been flying with each motor on it's own set of batteries so when batteries start to get low I can hear the props turning at different RPMS and know it is time to land. The Hercules glides so well that landing is easy if you have a little altitude. I try to budget my power so that I land with both motors running but this is is how I fly any plane carrying expensive camera equipment. If one motor cuts out I turn my throttle off then feed in a little throttle so both motors are running at a low speed and fly back to base for a landing. The plane flies at 1/3 throttle so this works if you understand what you need to do.
How to get a heavy plane in the air.
I have had several requests a week from our customers for a bigger plane than our Reaper for FPV. We have also had many requests for a new design from flyers that are having problems with their expensive FPV payloads being damaged during launching. They asked me for some ideas on how to get their planes airborne easily and safely. Their planes fully loaded with batteries and cameras are heavy and awkward and required a fair amount of speed to hand launch. They report having frequent snap rolls on take off and unpredictable stalls with down wind turns. They were asking about bungee launching and were concerned that they were adding one more obstacle to overcome. Most FPV flyers are intermediate flyers, many are beginners and need a simple gentle plane that can be flown by a newer pilot.
We designed the Hercules to be easy to get into the air.
It can take off pavement, grass or snow. It can also be hand launched without diving out of the hand or snap rolling at low speed. The back of the skid is at the CG and has a perfect grip for launching. The Hercules is so stable that I can hit the throttle and it will take itself off. It doesn't have the tendency to snap roll on take off because of the front mounted motors on a delta design and it's fantastic ability to fly slow without stalling.
Wing Extensions for the really big jobs.
Before we had the first prototype built we already had flyers requesting an extension package to increase the wingspan of the plane. We have a kit with extensions that comes with two 6" extension that can be used together or alone to make your plane even bigger. These extensions are constant cord wing extensions that will leave the front of the plane flat for better FPV equipment and viewing and add about 1-2 square feet of plane to the wing. Extra spars and laminate are Included in the extension kit. I would recommend adding an elevator servo on the wing extension section to maintain the constant reflex across the back of the wing if you use the larger extensions to improve the glide and slow speed flying. Keep each wing tip elevon (with aileron elevator mixing) at 25% of the wing total span. The inside 50% of the control surface at the center of the plane would be elevator only.