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Posted by Whiskers | Mar 29, 2016 @ 03:36 AM | 2,646 Views
There I was, having a nice time in perfect conditions, flying at about the legal height and 1000 metres from launch when my plane dropped its left wing and refused to respond to my frantic stick waggling and did a vertical rolling dive into the back yard of a house in a gated estate.
The vision was crystal clear all the way down to the impact.
I got the thing back but it is not well.
Posted by Whiskers | Mar 26, 2016 @ 06:56 PM | 2,731 Views
I go FPV all the way. Takeoff, entire flight and landing all FPV. It's the task I impose on myself just for fun.
I always set up my chair in a known direction and up till now I have been relying on feeling the breeze blowing past me to work out my landing direction.
This method lacked precision so I have used a FG folding tent pole and some fluro plastic tape to make a wind indicator I can see from the air.
I tested it this morning and am very pleased with it.
Posted by Whiskers | Jan 11, 2016 @ 06:05 PM | 2,816 Views
On this perfect morning I flew a couple of late Dawn Patrol flights with my FPV3 plane (mentioned previously) and my new OSD
This gear works very well indeed and I particularly like the information it provides about the health and happiness of the battery.
The grass at the field is a bit long and was wet with dew in spite of the warm sun.
I took off LOS and when I pulled on the goggles I was dismayed to see 2 blobs of water on the lens really messing up the image. But I could see enough to fly so I pressed on hoping the water would soon evaporate.
The image did clear a bit, but not as much as I thought it would, and when I landed I saw why.
As well as the water drops the lens had acquired a good collection of fine grass seeds.
Removal of the seeds made the second flight much more visually pleasing and I had the fun of being suddenly gifted an extra 100 metres of altitude thanks to a strong thermal.
Having glided down to a good landing it was a happy and contented old man who departed the field and set his course for home and breakfast.
Posted by Whiskers | Dec 19, 2015 @ 06:53 PM | 3,383 Views
I lost the Bix3.
The vision went away and I couldn't find the plane in the sky and the thing vanished like it had been abducted by aliens.
I think a badly soldered connection in the head-set wiring caused the fault. It's all been checked now and made as good as I can get it.
Searching, posters and inquires were all useless so I needed another plane.
FPV3 is the result. I gave my ego a bit of a battering with this one. I have become used to having my planes fly well first go. This one was sort of OK but not as I wanted it to be.
After a lot of mucking about. particularly with the landing gear, it went pretty well except that it was a nasty tip-staller.
It sure grabs your attention when you are flying an FPV landing approach and your plane suddenly drops a wing and goes into a spin. After much thought I added cuffs to the outer leading edges of the wings and these have completely cured its nasty behavior.
This plane does not have a rudder but it does have a steerable nose-wheel. Ground handling is very good.
The ailerons are drooped as flaps for takeoff but not used this way for landing which requires a little power to do sweetly.
Posted by Whiskers | Aug 17, 2015 @ 08:04 PM | 3,631 Views
I flew with the Quanum HD DIY goggle this morning, and was astounded how much better they are relative to the first version.
As can be seen in the picture I zip tied the VRx to a loop on the goggle sleeve and also tied the long wire loom to the side of the set so plugs will not be dislodged.
The substantial LiPo that powers the screen and VRx sits in my flight bag beside my chair.
I just need to do a little foam carving on the bit of the set that contacts my nose to make it perfectly comfortable.
Also I think my camera lens could be focused better. That's the next thing I'll do.
Am I happy with 'em? You bet I am!
Posted by Whiskers | Aug 15, 2015 @ 01:03 AM | 3,491 Views
My headset consists of the HK DIY goggle box hot glued to the brim of a cap.
Also the VT/x is attached to the top of the brim with Velcro. And so far it's worked fine. Until this morning.
To have the goggle box part company with the cap is disconcerting to say the least. Suddenly I was forced to fly with my right hand and hold the goggles to my face with my left hand. One of the good things about being seated when flying FPV is that the T/x can rest on your lap. I shut the throttle with my right hand and then got it back on the stick to do a dead stick landing. No big deal. That went OK although a bit long.
Anyway, it's now glued and screwed so it should stay on but that may not matter much because tomorrow I get my V2 goggles.
Woo Hoo!
The Bix3 flew well after its repairs, so that's all good.
I read that it's a good idea to put some matte black paint on the white nose of a plane if the camera can see it. That makes sense to me as I don't want the camera to be factoring that blob of white into its exposure calculations.
So the Bix3 now has some black on its nose.
Posted by Whiskers | Aug 11, 2015 @ 01:44 AM | 3,730 Views
I flew some more FPV this morning.
The conditions were perfect and the first flight was a delight.
However when I was out and about on the second pack the vision on the screen went totally black and then came back. Then it started flashing black and picture, about 1 second of vision and 3 seconds of black.
Grabbing what information I could I made my way back to where I thought I would be able to see the plane and land it LOS.
But I couldn't find the white plane in the bright sky (very bright when you take off the headset) so I resumed using the flashes of vision to come in to the field. During one of the blackouts I heard the plane arrive with a THUMP.
The damage was not too bad and everything is repaired now. It could have been a lot worse.
But what caused the problem?
Answer: The battery that powers the screen and the video receiver had gone flat. Doh!
I had used battery that was not fully charged to power the headset. I figured that it would be OK as I was only intending to fly 2 packs.
I won't be making that mistake again. That's for sure.
Posted by Whiskers | Aug 09, 2015 @ 10:28 PM | 3,456 Views
As I fly over my chosen field I have often eyed off the Hockey fields on the Eastern side.
It would be cool, I thought, to land over there and then takeoff again and resume my flight.
Yesterday I made a couple of approaches and powered up again when quite low. This morning I decided to actually land on the one furthest away.
All went well until the Bix3 was on the ground and then the vision went to grey garbage.
I tried to do some blind taxi turns to see if the vision would return, but no such luck.
Off I went with the T/x and headset and I was way over in the first Hockey field before the vision became clear.I made the plane taxi to me the final 50 meters.
I guess there were too many wire mesh fences sucking up the 5.4 Ghz signal. The downward facing VT/x could also be a factor.
Anyway, no harm done and a lesson has been learned.
Posted by Whiskers | Aug 04, 2015 @ 01:52 AM | 4,521 Views
This is a good little thing and handy to have in the field pack.

12 volt glue gun (2 min 42 sec)

Posted by Whiskers | Aug 01, 2015 @ 08:07 PM | 4,261 Views
A plane with FPV gear, a chair and a sunny morning with zero breeze.
What more could a man want?
Posted by Whiskers | Jul 23, 2015 @ 08:44 PM | 3,442 Views
I ordered this: and guess what?
It works!
I have tapped into the leads between the ESC and its plug and connected it all together and now my display has a reading for my flight battery.
Not an accurate reading perhaps.
The OSD said 11.0 V for the used pack I tested and the multi meter said 11.47 V.
That's OK. Most of the cars I have owned still had fuel in the tank when the gauge read zero.
I guess I'll fly it down to 10 V (indicated) at most.
Charging batteries now...
Posted by Whiskers | Jul 12, 2015 @ 07:32 PM | 3,861 Views
We have a mass of cold air originating in Antarctica invading our beloved Sunshine Coast but the morning air was calm and the warm sun shone in a perfect blue sky.
I just had to fly some FPV.
Lots of early morning dew on the grass at the field and in the zero breeze takeoff and landing direction was optional. I did, however, make sure to line my chair up due south so I'd have a good reference if a breeze came in during flight.
Took off into the dead still air but encountered quite a bit of wind above a 100 feet (estimated) and it became stronger and more turbulent as we went higher.
All good though.
Shot a landing after a while and taxied back to base and then did another takeoff and landing, all FPV.
Replaced the battery and took off again and encountered a new FPV experience. A little drop of water landed on the camera lens so I had to peer around The Blob. I flew towards the sun and after a short time it diminished enough to be tolerable.
The breeze came in lightly from the south and of course as I had lined up my chair I could easily pick my landing path.
I drove home feeling satisfied and happy and my car told me the temperature was 9 C, an exceptional low for here.
Posted by Whiskers | Jul 07, 2015 @ 08:50 PM | 3,732 Views
I have ordered one of these things:
If it works as it should it will give me some idea how my flight battery is feeling and if it is happy to continue on for a few more minutes or not.
Now I have to wait for it to wing its way from HK.
Posted by Whiskers | Jul 06, 2015 @ 05:10 PM | 3,809 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 | 3,977 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 | 4,719 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 | 4,021 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 | 4,188 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 | 3,872 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 | 4,266 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...