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Old Feb 28, 2012, 01:17 AM
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United States, FL, Orlando
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Best way to take a GoPro2 airbourne

I have been doing my homework, and so far I narrowed down my potential purchase (to take place in late April) to the following planes:

Easy Star

Bixler

EPP Skywalker

Parkzone Radian

My goal is to maximize flying time by potential gliding capabilities, take photos/footage from a slightly slow, stable platform (no tilting or servos required to the camera). Eventually, I would like to evolve to fpv piloting, some long distance (3+miles) XC fun with electronic aids such as variometers, gps, OSD, etc.

Why the GoPro? Well, if I learn how to do this right, I can get a GoPro for free from work, as well as some monies towards the plane.

At the same time that I have experienced pilots saying the Radian is not a good option for AP/FPV (no internal space, prop on the front, too light, too slow, too easy), I have seen some really good images using the Radian exactly the way I intend to do.

I am not really sure where to go to get assistance in person. The local club here in Central Florida seems to be composed of members that are more interested in "conventional flying", with no interest in FPV or AP (besides, the youngest one there was 60+, having a hard time understanding some of the things that I was mentioning [SD card, USB download, 120fps on a GoPro, etc]. The other choice is the Orlando Buzzards, the local club devoted to soaring. They seem to have a younger crowd, lots of AP on their website, extremely friendly over the phone but I am afraid of showing up with something that is not a glider and suddenly become "persona non grata" (not welcome anymore).

So, what is your suggestion for a semi-intelligent person, with no previous rc experience, only 20-30 hours of virtual training using the RealFlight6 simulator? (I don't know how to CG, trim, assemble, solder or tinker anything). Should I give up and go back to chess?

Thank you for all serious replies. This is a great place by the way, lots of helpful information.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 01:36 AM
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Bangkok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anatomist View Post
...
So, what is your suggestion for a semi-intelligent person, with no previous rc experience, only 20-30 hours of virtual training using the RealFlight6 simulator? (I don't know how to CG, trim, assemble, solder or tinker anything). Should I give up and go back to chess?
...
My suggestion would be not to give up, but work on learning the things you need to know. Model balance is not that difficult to understand and I think it's important to have good knowledge of what does what and how in an airplane. It will save you lots of frustrations and repairs in the long run.

I would advice you to get a plane as soon as possible and get your hands dirty with it. Fly it without any AP or FPV gear on it, just to learn to fly and actual model and how all its parts work. Then you can add AP or FPV gear to it.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 02:08 AM
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Thank you for your reply AleG. I am using every resource available to learn the things I need to know. 30 days ago I didn't know what lift, drag, weight, thrust or CG was. Now I can take off and land any model from RealFlight respecting landing patterns that I can come up with. I can identify different flying characteristics of these models, I can visit LHS and engage in intelligent conversations.

The "as soon as possible" that I can get the plane is late April. I just want to make sure I have done my part to make sure I am getting the best for my needs.

You are absolutely right: I will fly whatever I get at least 20 times prior to adding any GoPro (or keychain camera to start with) into the plane. I just wish there was something perfectly created to my needs
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Anatomist View Post
...
The "as soon as possible" that I can get the plane is late April. I just want to make sure I have done my part to make sure I am getting the best for my needs.
...
The thing is, you won't know what's best for your needs until you try for yourself. Not everyone flies the same, on the same conditions or with the same purposes; what may work great for some people may be unsuitable for others.
I believe you need to try by yourself and find out what works for you and what doesn't.

From what you said a good starting point would be the Easy Star, but if I'm not mistaken the original plane doesn't have ailerons, so that is something you may want to keep in mind.

Having said that it may be a good idea to get a simple, cheap plane to practice while you build up your AP/FPV system on a more complex airframe.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 02:51 AM
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hmm. Good point. You are suggesting something between the simulator and the final, 4Channel AP/FPV (complex) airframe. The budget is still the same though, so if I get a $XYZ RTF learning machine, I will have a -$XYZ for my final plane. Something like the night vapor or the ember 2.

something to consider...
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Anatomist View Post
hmm. Good point. You are suggesting something between the simulator and the final, 4Channel AP/FPV (complex) airframe. The budget is still the same though, so if I get a $XYZ RTF learning machine, I will have a -$XYZ for my final plane. Something like the night vapor or the ember 2.

something to consider...
The budget will end up being XYZ*2 anyway...

The flight characteristics of an Ember or Vapor will be very different from a bigger, heavier model; but it will give you good experience in getting the feeling of flying, you need to get to the point where you put yourself in the plane as you fly and the controls become intuitive.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 06:52 AM
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I would get the Bixler in the allready assembled version. Learn to fly it without the camera, then add a simulated camera weight. Learn to fly it that way for a bit, then add the camera and go for it.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 08:12 AM
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Though ultra micros are fun and cheap/ easy to repair, they wont bear much resemblance in their flying characteristics to a big camera carrying plane. I would recommend getting a bigger RTF plane to start with, just a bit smaller than your eventual AP plane.

Personally, I started with numerous hobbyzone planes to get into the hobby like the old firebird outlaw and commander 2. First AP I did was with a flycam on an Areobird Xtreme. Recently, I have purchased a Go Pro HD2 and carry it on a old balsa and ply 2.2m motor glider that was handed down to me. Only recently discovered the benefits of a simulator!

Sounds like you are doing your research though. It is definately worth getting a good grounding in basic flight principles, as well as how all electrical and mechanical components in your plane work, before flying for real. Then, if/when something goes wrong, you will have an immediate idea of what it was; this will give you more confidence to progress. I just plunged into the hobby and everytime something went amiss, I almost got completely put off the hobby.

Anyway, best of luck to you good sir!!!!
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 09:56 AM
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If you have a budget of X, and you buy a plane that costs X, and then you have absolutely no extra money for anything else afterwards, you should only spend X / 2 because when you crash you will need to pay for repairs. Regardless of how good you are at Real Flight, things change in the Real World. Failures, Wind Gusts, Collisions, Orientation Problems, etc. You need to be prepared that you WILL crash and that if you want to get into serious R/C aircraft, then you will need to have a good dose of reality as this is NOT a one-time-spend hobby.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 09:57 AM
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Coldwater, MI
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Here's an idea of what it might look like on the Radian. This is the contour 720p camera so it has a smaller profile than the go pro. But if you're worried about the plane as a platform at least this might give you and idea. It was a pretty windy day.

http://contour.com/stories/the-farm-on-a-windy-day-clip
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Thank you for all the feedback. I seems that the Bixler will be very conservative money-wise. The initial budget for this project (besides the GoPro) was US$600.00. US$200.00 has been used on the RF6 (a good investment, I might add). With the $400.00 left, I am sure I can get the Bixler, upgrade the propeller as well some other minor changes, save the rest for repairs/replacements.

This thread has been very helpful. Thank you all!
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:24 AM
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KGarrison is right on the money....

Learn as much on RC sim
Then go for something like bixler /ez* 2 as first timer. Learn on that, get all crashes out of the way.
If you are lucky and it survives, you could put a gopro straight on it - but it will struggle a little
Now you are ready for something to fly and trust your gopro with. Personally I'd go with a SkyWalker at this point. Easy plane to fit a GoPro
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 11:46 AM
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I heard good things about the Skywalker. Is that the ultimate fpv that all should shoot to reach? What about the new X8? too much?
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 12:50 PM
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Palmdale, CA
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The larger gliders can supply useable wing area for making a dedicated aerial photography plane.
The GoPro's frontal area can be included in the shape of the fuselage, and need not be stuck out in the wind.
And pushers and twins and pylon mounts get the prop(s) out of the field of view.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Thank you Paul. I am in between the Bixler and the Radian. The Radian falls right along those that you photo-listed. Long wing span, "floater" behavior.
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