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Old Apr 20, 2015, 05:32 PM
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Go big, get a gimbal, both, or what?

I dunno. I just don't.

Am currently using my Hobbyking Walrus as my AP platform. Nice plane and it's done a lot for me over the last year or so. But that prop up front just gets in the way of clean video. And I'm stretching the plane beyond it's capabilities.

Currently I'm using a Mobius Actioncam with a pan/tilt servo setup. And although it's stable, it tends to bounce around a bit compared to larger planes. Further, my tired old eyes have trouble seeing it when 900 or more feet up. Something bigger could fix that.

My application - I want to use whatever craft I get to record, lay out and document changes of a 20 acre parcel of land that I'm working on buying. I'll be doing this over a several year period as changes happen, so whatever I get now will be with me for a long time.

At this point, I don't plan on flying FPV. Got some medical issues with that which I'll have to check into and maybe overcome. So I don't want to spend a pile of money for something I may not be able to use.

Sooo... I've been looking at the 2400mm Super Sky Surfer or equivalent like the 2400mm Giant Glider from Nitroplanes. Nice and huge. Impressive even. And every video I've ever seen recorded from them (online) show a slow stable image. Even without a gimbal. Sweet. And I've seen a couple videos from those huge planes that DID have a gimbal and wow, was it ever smooth!

And I've also looked at the Ranger EX FPV plane as well. It's "only" 2000mm but I really like the open areas in the fuselage. Ease of use is a nice thing! And I really like the "purpose built" nature of this plane. The one downside for me is that I'd rather not use landing gear since I'll be flying and landing on rough terrain. And one upside is that if I ever DO get into FPV it will be easy to set up.

In order to get the full acreage in the picture/video, I need to be about 1600 feet altitude (per Google Earth.) So a big plane is definitely a big plus.

Some folks have said to get a drone/quad/multi-copter, etc. but clearly I'd need to fly FPV in order to use one at that altitude.

Lookin' for some feedback here folks. I've read the SSS and GG threads. Good info there but I just dunno what I wanna do. Something I've overlooked or not know about?

Got a birthday coming up in a couple weeks. Might want to buy something, ya know?
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Old Apr 21, 2015, 03:52 AM
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Why not just using satellite photos, they are refreshed every some months ?

I would also evaluate using a (captive) hot air blimp, if you have dead calm days there.
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Old Apr 21, 2015, 08:19 PM
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Why not just using satellite photos, they are refreshed every some months ?

I would also evaluate using a (captive) hot air blimp, if you have dead calm days there.
Good question. Answer is that around here commercial aerial/satellite photos are only updated every year or more. Not enough granularity there for my purposes. Blimp isn't in the cards.

And I want to have more than just a direct overhead view. As I improve the property, add features, etc. I want to be able to fly along the length of the property at a relatively low altitude in order to view the changes. A quad might be the best solution there.

What else am I missing here, folks?
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 03:20 AM
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indeed, a multicopter having a follow me feature would be sweet... you drive/ride along the property boundaries and she follow you at a preset altitude... no fpv needed
Or just simply a mission with some waypoints, but follow me allows you to keep an eye on the platform.
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by renatoa View Post
indeed, a multicopter having a follow me feature would be sweet... you drive/ride along the property boundaries and she follow you at a preset altitude... no fpv needed
Or just simply a mission with some waypoints, but follow me allows you to keep an eye on the platform.
Hmmm... Follow me feature. Gonna have to look into that! Must be something newer, yes?

Here are some of the videos I've done over at the property. Ran into tech issues or wind each time though. Bad camera mount, aileron servo dying, prop not folding back or the breeze popping up when I wanted nice, stable video.

Sure would be nice to have some slow flight video ranging from 20 to 400 feet up. Does the follow me feature allow programming altitude?

Apr 3 2015 (8 min 48 sec)


Jan 29 2015 (7 min 37 sec)


3 5 minutes of thermal flying (3 min 30 sec)


Aug 17 2014 Final (6 min 4 sec)
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 09:04 AM
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I have done both , AP from fixed wing, (like you) and more recently an F-450 quad.

Here is a video clip from the quad, versus one of my sailplanes. The quadcopter has the DJI h33d gimbal with a GP Hero 3+ black. Video shot at 2.7K X30fps. You can just hover over a spot, hands off the sticks..gimbal can point camera vertically down, though I didn't do that in this first clip.

Richards estate in Vermont (4 min 50 sec)


or on one of my sailplanes..GP camera creates a lot of drag, so sailplane won't stay up for very long..
Go Pro HD on my Hyper 2.3 (2 min 57 sec)
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Hmmm... Follow me feature. Gonna have to look into that! Must be something newer, yes?
Newer, as in... two-three years
Check here:
http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/fly.../ac2_followme/
And yes, altitude is a preset parameter.
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 08:54 PM
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Okay, I'm starting to look into this follow-me and pre-programmed stuff.

I've not flown quads/drones before, other than a tiny one that I bought on a whim. It had poor video quality so I lost interest and returned it. I'd also considered getting this little FPV guy but have shied away from it after reading the thread about it here on RCG. It does have good video though.

Been a heckuva day for me today but I'll definitely be doing more homework over the next few days. That bday is coming whether I'm ready or not!

Do the "follow-me" drones have the ability to "stay ahead" instead of behind? The goal would be to show the landscape and not me driving along. Or maybe offset it well to one side?
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Old Apr 22, 2015, 08:58 PM
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Hey! I wonder if "follow-me" tech has been put into a plane and the drone follows it to get great air-to-air in flight video?
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 12:38 AM
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Now you are thinking too big
I am afraid the speed ranges of the two intersects very little...
Most video drone max speed is under 50, and most planes stall speed is over 50 kmph.
You need a racer drone, but the video would be jerky, or a slow glider, to have a chance for follow me happen.
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by renatoa View Post
Now you are thinking too big
I am afraid the speed ranges of the two intersects very little...
Most video drone max speed is under 50, and most planes stall speed is over 50 kmph.
You need a racer drone, but the video would be jerky, or a slow glider, to have a chance for follow me happen.
Hey, thinking big is part of my nature!

My Walrus glider can go pretty slow. More to think about for the future.

Saw some more videos last night about follow-me mode. Interesting stuff for sure.
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 07:06 AM
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I would feel more excited to ride a horse and the drone above me like in Hitchcock's Birds
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 07:45 AM
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I would feel more excited to ride a horse and the drone above me like in Hitchcock's Birds
I have that movie on my DVR right now! Have seen it several times over the years and figured it's time to check it again.

What did you think of the little FPV quad in my post above? Is it worth the $300 as a test bed or should I just move on to something else?
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 11:53 AM
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Nope, is too small to carry a camera.

You should look at Cheerson CX-20, rebranded by HK as Quanum Nova.
Is the best ARF/RTF platform you can get for such small amount, and the only I know at this price featuring APM controller, thus follow-me.

"The Birds", drones version

The Drones (1 min 3 sec)
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Old Apr 23, 2015, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by renatoa View Post
Nope, is too small to carry a camera.

You should look at Cheerson CX-20, rebranded by HK as Quanum Nova.
Is the best ARF/RTF platform you can get for such small amount, and the only I know at this price featuring APM controller, thus follow-me.

"The Birds", drones version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcV71liAMwc
Love that commercial! I had a 2003 Audi Quattro Allroad. Very nice car.
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