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Posted by Whiskers | Jul 06, 2015 @ 05:10 PM | 6,535 Views
I've become addicted to flying FPV.
It's a little strange because when I first was given a 'ride' through a friend's FatShark goggles I thought that I'd never really be interested in this part of RC.
Later I became a little bit more hooked when he gave me the T/x and I did my first FPV landing.
That was enough to make me buy the HK DIY equipment and chuck it into an old trainer and my addiction is growing stronger as I become a more competent FPV pilot.
The greatest distance I have ventured so far with the Bix3 is a little over 600 metres (measured on GoogleEarth) and my video link is mostly very good.
Not bad for cheap gear.
I have no OSD so I am totally reliant on Situational Observation to get the job done.
I wish I had some way of knowing the state on my flight battery as so far I've been too conservative in my flight time estimates. Sometimes I'll hook in to a thermal and then soon I loose my 'feel' for how much juice remains in the pack.
I'm working on finding a way to address this, but in the interim I'm just having fun feeding my addiction.
Posted by Whiskers | Jul 04, 2015 @ 09:54 PM | 6,679 Views
I found the Bix3 exhibited signs of not having enough v-stab area so I taped on a triangle of foam and flew it this morning.
It did seem to improve things so It is now glued in place.
It has not done anything for its looks.
It was a beautiful morning for FPV flight and the landings were all fine.
When I finished my last flight I took off the goggle box and sat there for a minute or so with a big smile.
That tells how I feel about FPV...
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 27, 2015 @ 11:36 PM | 5,972 Views
With the Head Turner not working out it's back to the stock pod.
I am persisting with the inverted antenna and I am making up a foam fairing for no good reason other than the fact that I can.
Have foam, will carve (and sand and fill and sand and fill...)
Needs a bit more finishing but here it is.
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 23, 2015 @ 06:59 PM | 5,147 Views
I took to wondering if adding a head turning ability would enhance the FPV experience and decided to give it a go.
I cut a plywood base, similar to the Bix3 pod. and made up a camera mount atop a 9g servo.
My Futaba 6ex has no suitable control to drive this extra servo so I added another Tr and a UBEC to drive it. This radio is the HK-T4A V2 a solid performing great value basic unit. The Tr to control this I mounted on the arm of my chair. The right stick controlled the camera.
For this pod I mounted the video Tx inverted so that in flight the antenna would have unobstructed line of sight.
OK, it all seemed to work fine sitting on the back lawn so off to the field with it.
Oh Golly Gosh! The video image was rubbish!
Whereas with the previous setup the image was good with just the occasional flicker of static, now it was static with the occasional flicker of good image.
Back at home I stripped out the UBEC and HK Tx and later in the afternoon took to the sky once more.
Yup! Minimum breakup once again, so it's reasonable to assume the UBEC and extra Tx had caused the problem.
Back to the previous pod I guess.
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 08, 2015 @ 09:43 PM | 5,322 Views
I made the Bix3 FPV pod self-contained with its own battery. Having a dedicated power supply for the FPV stuff is supposed to be a good idea, and it does seem to work well.
The canon board camera is clamped in place by 2 plywood mounts and the Tx is retained by an aluminum strap. I wanted to have it in a nice cooling airflow as it does get warm in operation.
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 07, 2015 @ 09:32 PM | 4,713 Views
Yesterday I had the joy of taking a long-time friend for a virtual flight in the Bix3.
He had the FPV and I flew LOS.
We have known each other for a long time and although for geographical reasons we do not often get together, it's always great when we do.
As he is a frustrated would-be pilot I knew he'd like the FPV experience.
My plan was to have him seated with the goggle box on and to hand him the Tx when I had the plane at a good height.
The weather did not see fit to go along with this. At my home the breeze moderated enough to make me think a flight would be OK. Of course by the time we had everything in the van and had driven the 5 minutes to the field the wind had picked up quite a bit.
I have a bit of a yard stick re the wind. If the planes are getting blown about on the ground it's getting too breezy to fly.
So even though the Bix was trembling and shuddering and dancing on its wheels in the blustery Southerly I decided to fly.
And fly we did and my friend loved it. I gave him a couple of loops and rolls which generated a gasp or two (in a good way), and he gave a running commentary on what he was seeing.
The Bix made slow headway into the breeze and rocketed down-wind like a crazy thing. I abandoned the plan to let him fly because I was having to really keep on the case in these conditions.
Keeping plenty of juice in the battery in case I had to go around again (and again) I lined up into the breeze for a landing.
Lots of rock and roll as the plane made really slow progress and eventually she touched down nicely.
I then attempted to taxi back to base and the breeze promptly picked it up and flipped it on its back.
We decided to quit while we were still all good.
When we returned home the breeze had dropped, my wife noting that the wind had picked up shortly after we left home and dropped down shortly before we came back.
Anyway it's all good. He loved it. I love that he loved it and I didn't ding the Bix.
'Ya gotta love that.
Posted by Whiskers | May 27, 2015 @ 07:41 PM | 5,068 Views
Had everything in the car last night so I could head out to the field without delay this morning.
In fact I was just a bit early. My first flight was when the sun was obscured by cloud causing the vision through the goggles to be somewhat flat and dull.
The sun cleared the clouds for the next pack and the vision was so much improved that I now think that if the day is not pretty it's not worth flying FPV.
Did 3 FPV landings. All OK and I got in closer with each one. After the last landing I taxied back FPV, heading towards a small group of pixels that eventually evolved into the image of a seated old man with a box on his face.
I gave myself a wave.
Finished the pack off with a few landing drills. It's much easier to land close when in LOS mode.
So, a nice little bit of fun...
Posted by Whiskers | May 20, 2015 @ 08:03 PM | 4,176 Views
Although I think of myself as a scratch builder I have lowered my standards and bought an ARF Bix3 from Hobby King.
It's OK.
There is a lot of stuff online about it being under powered but mine will takeoff at half throttle and it climbs away well.
The only mod I have made is to give it bigger wheels. I made up 2.5 inch tyres to replace the stock ones and they work well.
I have the FPY canopy set up as a self contained FPV unit with its own 800 Mah battery as the plane needs weight up front if it has the specified 2200 3s pack.
Had my first FPV flights with it this perfect morning.
Being either brave or foolish (the latter I think) I firstly tried an FPV takeoff.
"Tried" being the operative word.
The plane swung to the right and suddenly the goggles were depicting the chain mesh fence looming large.
I slammed the throttle shut and the plane stopped with the camera giving a nice closeup of the wire mesh.
Waddled over to it and found the nose of the plane to be about 6 inches from the wire, Phew!
OK. So perhaps an FPV takeoff is not (yet) such a good Idea.
Put the goggles tilted back on the noggin, settled back in my chair and off we went again. This time I could see to give a touch of rudder to keep things on line and when some altitude was acquired I deployed the goggles.
Nothing much to report about the FPV flying except that the video link was good. Just a couple of small flickers.
I decided to land FPV and that went OK but I landed way long.
The combination...Continue Reading
Posted by Whiskers | Feb 01, 2015 @ 03:09 PM | 4,077 Views
I modified the old Fly Dragon, giving it a T tail with much more area and bigger control surfaces.
I launched it, flying LOS, into the perfect early-morning air and found that the changes made it fly much, much better and improved its stability no end.
I trimmed out the elevator and found that the plane was quite happy flying hands-off.
OK, sit down and pop on the goggles. Yep, all good.
We stooged around the area experiencing a little image break-up from time to time, but mostly it was fine.
Then, as I was positioning myself to come in for a landing the image totally vanished and became snow.
I wish I could tell you what happened, but I do not know.
I shut off, and heard the thing go THUMP. Not good.
I didn't get to inspect the plane at the crash site, on the road, because a helpful dog-walker had picked it up and was bringing it towards me.
I think the plane hit the power lines because there is a deep cut in the LE of the port wing. This cut is at a strange angle.
What I don't know is the sequence of events.
There's a big transformer on top of the power pole at the crash site. Did that cause the vision glitch?
Did I just fly into the wires and destroy the camera? The camera could not be found. Its back plate is still stuck to the mounting but the rest is probably in the tall weeds and grass.
The plane hit hard. The battery took a hit and is distorted. The wing is cracked but easily repairable as is the v-stab. The front of the fuselage will be replaced.
Now I have to get another camera.
Posted by Whiskers | Jan 20, 2015 @ 06:32 PM | 4,365 Views
I had 4 FPV flights this morning.
The conditions were perfect, and this time I made sure to align my chair to the north so I'd have information re the breeze, which was light but variable.
I did some altitude checking with the light poles and the trees and found that its good to know how things look at a known height.
All of my landings were good except the 3rd flight where some turbulence got me, and the plane finished up on its back. No damage however.
I have not tried a FPV takeoff. This plane is a pig on that, so much so that I hand launched the last 2 flights.
I had the goggles on the ground next to my chair and took the plane to a good height and let it go hands off while I put on the gogs. This usually showed that the plane was doing something stupid, but hey, that's what the controls are for.
I buzzed myself a few times (not too close) and it's sometimes weird to hear the sound seeming to go the wrong way.
I did one loop.
So while a HUD may be cool to have you sure can get by without one. Also, at the moment, I think it's more fun to not have flight stabilization.
It'd be good to know the battery state, but even that is no biggy.
I'm a bit over this plane. I want something that handles better on the ground and in the air.
I want to do FPV takeoffs. And the odd roll and loop.
Maybe it's time to build a twin motor thing...
Posted by Whiskers | Dec 21, 2014 @ 04:55 PM | 3,924 Views
Strictly speaking, it was not my first FPV flight. This was my first with my gear.
A flying buddy had given me a flight with his well sorted out plane, but that one has an OSD so there is always handy information like altitude in view.
My setup is much more basic. The Hobby King DIY goggles and radio which cost about A$110 posted. No OSD for me... Yet
I needed to add some foam rubber to the goggle box to give me a longer eye to lens distance, and the image is OK but not great.
An old (modified) Fly Dragon trainer was brought out of retirement and the gear was installed in a. "minimum effort" way.
So off to the field I went with all the the whole kit, plus my wife and a chair.
The plan was to do the first flight LOS with my wife looking at the FPV image to see if we had a solid link. This all went well, except that I made a rotten down wind landing (The breeze had shifted 180 deg ) and bent the LG. I straightened the gear and did another short LOS flight and shot a good landing.
For the next flight I had the goggles up on my forehead and took the plane to a reasonable altitude LOS and then dragged the goggles down to start FPV.
All good. I know the terrain very well so I knew where I was at all times.
I asked my wife to place the chair behind me and sat down, even though I was having no problems with balance at that point.
The breeze had come up a little and I had to ask my wife where it was coming from because although I could feel it I had no idea which way I was facing.
Lesson: Orient the chair and sit before FPVing.
OK. Time for the landing. I had thought I'd land LOS, but as I'd had no problems with the flight I opted to land FPV.
I had to come in over power-lines and gave myself a heap of clearance and landed way long. No problem. I had plenty of field and no matter how far away you get the view is still the same. I could see when I needed to flair and the landing was fine.
So, all good.
Posted by Whiskers | Dec 09, 2010 @ 02:38 AM | 7,180 Views
These are the planes I have ready to fly at this point of time... a couple more are under construction.
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 29, 2010 @ 07:24 AM | 6,505 Views
I've been keen on aircraft forever, so when as a young teenager I was offered a job at the Royal Victorian Aero Club it seemed like a good thing to do.
Essendon Airport was within bike riding distance, so I started working at what I thought (at the time) was a most wonderful place to be.
Essendon was then the main Melbourne airport, and various "Airliners" roared off or chirped their tyres on landing in a very satisfying way. The RVAC hangar contained a number of DH Tiger Moths, a Miles Whitney Straight, a Wacket Trainer (not being used) and an exquisite Ryan STM with polished metal body and wheel covers. All the fabric covering, and metal on planes other than the Ryan was silver doped, this being the most durable finish to withstand strong sunlight. The Club colours of 2 dark blue vertical stripes with a central light blue stripe, all of equal width, adorned the rudders and the large VH- registration letters were black. Smart enough in a utilitarian way.
Swinging props to start these planes gave me an insight into how unreliable people can be.
The starting procedure was simple. Wheel chocks had to be in place (no brakes on the TMs) and we'd call, "On, off and closed." The pilot would turn the fuel 'on' make sure the ignition switches were 'off' and set the throttle 'closed' and say, "On, off and closed."
We'd pull the prop through to prime the engine, then call, "Set, contact." The pilot 'set' the throttle and flicked the...Continue Reading
Posted by Whiskers | Jun 25, 2010 @ 07:04 AM | 6,496 Views
A word about my avatar:
While on holiday in Bali one of the local ladies who make a living on the beach providing beauty treatments to tourists, paid me the funniest complement I have ever received. I told her I was too ugly, and it would be a waste of time; and she said, "Oh no! You are very handsome! You have face like Monkey Head God!"
It still makes me laugh.