AerialVP's blog View Details
Posted by AerialVP | Jan 03, 2015 @ 11:50 AM | 3,283 Views
I've been burning through batteries with this new replacement Kodo and, if I say so myself, getting pretty darn good

I find this one flies MUCH better than the last one. While I'm sure my early attempts resulted in a high crash rate, and perhaps some deforming of the frame and prop damage, I don't think it would have been enough to cause the difference I'm seeing here, even combined with the fact that I had at least some experience by the time I got this replacement.

In the same training space, I can hover, generally work the space back and forth, up and down, even do multiple flips consecutively. Ok, I still make untended contact with surfaces, though these are generally mild, almost always recoverable, and none have been significant enough to call a 'crash' or result in any damage.

It feels good to be making progress - I was wondering if this was a hooby I should probably leave behind - and I look forward to be able to consistently work a box and rotate - that is my weakest skill at the moment.

I'm probably as good as, or close to as good as, my son now. Though, to be fair, I've buuned through 8-10 batteries more than he has, as I've flown alone a few times (I usually give him ~75% of battery time when we fly together). Maybe that's helped me catch up - a little continous fly time.

For anyone taking up this hobby and finding it a difficult skill to develop, hang in there, you will reach a point where you go "Wow, I'm getting the hang of this!" and it feels great!!

Until next time, Happy Landings!

Posted by AerialVP | Jan 01, 2015 @ 12:14 AM | 3,801 Views
May your 2015 be filled with awesome flights and soft landings!

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:19 PM | 3,739 Views
Well, I did it. It took some consideration, groaning and not a little procrastination struggle but I just went out and got my 2nd Kodo - to replace the one I lost a few days ago (see previous blog posts for all the gory details).

I'm just topping up the battery that came with it now so I'll have 4 full batteries to practise on. I still love that new charger I wrote about previously!

I think I've also decided that I will check all our old cell phones for MicroSD cards and test them with the Kodo before rushing out to buy new ones -the goal being that I have 1 msd card for each battery and hopefully prevent total loss if I lose this Kodo as well

I'll make a habit of changing the msd card with each battery change to guard against losing all photo's and video if I have another mishap.

Re-purposing any old cards we have sitting in old phones just makes sense if they work in the Kodo - plus it saves money in case I have to buy another Kodo.

More as it happen...

Happy Landings!

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 29, 2014 @ 12:18 AM | 3,822 Views
Well, I've made daily trips to the crash site with no luck finding my Kodo. Man, I really want that MicroSD card back!! Did I mention that?

I missed all the unusually great weather we've had since losing it. It's been in the double digits and all our snow and ice is gone. Temps dropped off quickly at sundown this evening and everything is freezing up again so I won't get to search the creek anymore until spring in search of that MicroSD card (they are water proof). Old man Winter returns.

On the bright side, I'm totally sick of wiping the dogs feet when they come back inside from doing business or chasing squirrels - 8 feet to clean many times a day, won't miss that when freeze-up and snow returns

Anyhoo, *sigh*, my LHS should have some Kodo's arrive tomorrow, well, glancing at the clock, make that later today.

Maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day and I can take to the skies once again and continue my learning with a little more hard earned experience in fly site selection.

I might even grab a few more 2/4GB MicroSD cards and make a habit of changing them with battery changes - they're cheaper than a battery and much more versatile.

Until next time, Happy Landings!


EDIT: Added a shot of my buddies, Bruno (left) and Baylee, whose feet get dirty. Bruno is a 4yr old Shepperd/Husky Mix and Baylee (6 Mos here) is a, well, we're not sure. At time of rescue they said Black Lab/Shepperd Mix but I think there's something else in there like Rottie or Mastiff. Doesn't matter, she's great anyway.
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 27, 2014 @ 05:59 PM | 4,090 Views
Not a good end to this guy's test session. Skip to 1:50 if you just want to see the action.

Multirotor (Hex) Flip of Death - Crash and LIPO Explosion (4 min 16 sec)

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 26, 2014 @ 03:20 PM | 3,876 Views
Queue background music please.... (my apologies to anyone who thinks this might be insensitive, just feeling some pain right now)

I didn't get out for a night flight last night as planned, but we did get out today. The wind was a little high so we sought shelter on the leeward side of a 2 story building with what seemed to be an adequately sized parking lot to do some good practise.

Got lots of video and pictures. I was very excited to get home and take a look at them.

On the last of 4 batteries, I went a little too high and as I topped over the height of the building, the wind took my kodo beyond the parking lot and out over an area where I knew there was a small creek, but the Kodo was also heading for an area where there were cars (band new, dealership). I really wanted to avoid the cars by getting the Kodo back on the ground asap before it reached those cars.

I panicked and reduced power too much causing it to fall from the sky - I simply could not regain enough power and control to safely land.

The layout, from where I started with my back to the building, was roughly as follows:

Building > 60ft PLot > 50ft Grass > 6ft creek, 50ft Grass, 20ft PLot, Building

The grass on either side for about 10ft, dropped about 6ft to the creek edge and so impact level was not visible from where I stood.

The other direction (north/south) had zero obstructions or danger zones for more than 500ft each way.

I was vaguely aware of the creek and praying...Continue Reading
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 25, 2014 @ 08:26 PM | 4,268 Views
Finally spending more time in the air than trimming or organizing rescue operations to retrieve this Kodo from some unplanned, inconvenient landing site. Ok, crash site is probably more accurate but why squibble over the details

I have progressed into a larger training area of perhaps 8ft by 8ft with a little more as I gain altitude from the floor. Able to navigate the space with minimal contact and even executed a few flips.

I've been lucky with a few breaks in the weather and got outside a few times to flex my wings (err, props) and did ok in an imaginary box 25x25x25 ft. Got some video during these and, while a very basic camera with modest viewability, it's very neat to take a look at things from the UAV's perspective. Makes me more excited about getting through the learning curve and venturing into an AP unit like the Q500 or QX3.

I'm heading out to an empty parking lot for my first night flight shortly. That should be a treat!

Final note on the charger I mentioned in previous blog posts - this thing is friggin awesome!! I no longer miss a training period because it's just too much hassle, or I don't have enough time, to charge enough to enjoy the time beyond a 5-7 minute battery. If you find yourself torn between flight time and the effort to charge, do yourself a huge favor and grab a charger similar to this. It quadruples the enjoyment factor and speeds/flattens the learning curve.

Wish list: LiPo-Safe Bag and maybe 4 more batteries

Thanks for dropping by and Happy Landings!

PS. Captured still from video to show what it looks like for a $60 RTF UAV
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 23, 2014 @ 07:07 PM | 4,275 Views
I had a chance to burn off that battery and charge all 4 at once on the new Hitec. I'm impressed - coming from a single USB charger, which, I suppose, is to be expected.

That said, it took about 1:15 to charge all 4 batteries, 2 of which were done sooner as they were new unused with some charge. The audible and visual alerts gave me comfort as I've been watching too many youtube videos of LiPo fires and had myself worked into a lather about accidental fire if over-charged. Next purchase, fire-proof LiPo-Bag.

Compared to nearly an hour each charging 1 at a time via USB charger, this is a vast improvement saving me nearly 3 hrs per charge.

Hopefully that will result in more practise and less pilot error... such as landing on my roof or cutting my face with the rotors (only once, small but lots of red stuff, inside, and my son [16yrs] was flying, no harm done though beyond grounding him for a bit ).

I highly recommend this charger for anyone with compatible batteries.

Happy Landings!

PS. Yes, the rotor guards were installed and I knew you'd want to see the cut
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 21, 2014 @ 09:05 PM | 4,477 Views
Well, given that no local shops had the USB chargers for the Kodo in stock, I decided to get this charger, which was available for take away, along with 2 more spare batteries so now I can charge all 4 batteries at once.

I just tested it charging 1 battery only. It worked great though seemed to take about 10-12 minutes longer (1:06) than the USB charger - though I've only charged 8-10 times with the USB previously so my estimate might be off as I only timed the charge for each of my 2 original batteries the first time I charged them.

Anyway, I'll drain this freshly charged battery down in the kodo slamming into walls and cutting my face (again!)

Then I'll charge all 4 at once and see how that goes.

Good bye 49

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 20, 2014 @ 10:14 PM | 4,064 Views
Well, 2nd valuable lesson: more chargers and at least 1 more bat.

Serial charging with one USB charger isn't going to do it .

At $6.99 per charger and $9.99 per bat, if I get 2 more chargers (1 came with Kodo) and 1 more bat (1 came with, I got an extra at purchase) I'll have 3 batteries and chargers so I can charge all 3 at once (I always have at least 4 USB ports available) in 45-60 minutes and save me a ton of time babysitting these charges - all I've read worries me about unattended charging.

It'll also mean more practise time

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 20, 2014 @ 11:39 AM | 3,724 Views
Wow, I finally got this little kodo off the ground. Mostly just 6 inches or so but I was able to trim it out, keep it in the air and get it back onto the floor on all 4's.

This is Fun!!

Oddly, I'm only using a space in the workshop that's about 3 feet by 3 feet. Maybe that just sharpens focus. Either way, I'm going to keep at this for a bit until I get fairly good at hovering and then I'll move into a larger space.
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 18, 2014 @ 04:23 PM | 3,869 Views
Well, this isn't as easy as I had hoped. To be fair, there was high wind - the box was blowing off of the table I used to set up on.

Kept side running with the wind and I didn't want to go too high due to topography and surroundings. Ended up dropping in snow a few times. I think that drains the battery more quickly as the power runs through the frame to the motors.

I'll hit her with the hair dryer - body got full of snow when crashing- and recharge before going back to plan A - inside learning.

Posted by AerialVP | Dec 18, 2014 @ 01:43 PM | 3,797 Views

Just boosted the batteries, tried a test flight indoors - miserable failure with trim issues etc... .

Reboosted the used battery and heading out to a park to really test this thing. More as it happens....

Belts on!!
Posted by AerialVP | Dec 17, 2014 @ 08:58 PM | 3,764 Views

I stumbled onto this site while researching quad/video options and didn't really have a reason to start a thread, or even post in the couple I'm following, so I thought I'd use this blog to say Hello and thanks for all the great info- though not likely this will be seen by many, if any

Like I said, got interested recently, after viewing some youtube vids and ended up here trying to learn. Mostly interested in the Blade 350 QX3 AP -and was within a pocket dive of buying one at my local hobby store the other day- but after reading every post in the humongous thread on the topic here, I learned that a $1149.99+tax package isn't the best way to learn. Thanks for that!!

I'll take that as my first, and perhaps most valuable, RC lesson.

I settled on the Dromida Kodo as my first unit and picked it up yesteray along with 1 spare battery. Waiting for a break in the weather now to try it out.

Wishing you a great holiday season and all the best for 2015!