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Mar 20, 2017, 04:37 PM
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FlightZoomer: FPV, IFR, ILS = unbeatable realism


Hi all

I am the developer of FlightZoomer. By some small chance, you might know it from this thread (click!). In the past FlightZoomer offered mainly a solid but somewhat underwhelming groundstation / telemetry / cell network based / IFR FPV solution with some cool autopilots modes (e.g. ILS approaches).

But, this was only true until now! I am pleased to present you the next upcoming release of the apps (version 3). And this time, the product has been complemented by some cool new features that potentially could be very interesting for FPV pilots.

In the new version, for the first time the Video-S-feed can be shown in the cockpit of the app. That's nice, but that alone would still only be a me-too solution. But, and this I the big novelty, the classic FPV can be displayed in combination with a synthetic FPV camera, that basically shows the view from the aircraft on a full HD 3D landscape. Both views (real and synthetic) can be either displayed separately or even together at the same time. Here are 10 reasons why the synthetic FPV view complements the real FPV in a compelling way:
  • No video transmission dependency. The normal FlightZoomer databus is sufficient.
  • Truly worldwide range if there is nothing more than 2.5G cellular connectivity.
  • No additional connectors, no fancy power supply solutions, it is a in-built, pure software solution.
  • Offers stunning full HD FPV views without any additional cost, HD is just included.
  • Principally no yello, no shaking.
  • No fog, no clouds, no twilight, never night.
  • Switch between any viewing angle at any time during the flight!
  • Apply any tilt angle to the camera pitch axis. The tilt angle can be adjusted in small or large steps.
  • Change the yaw angle of the camera electronically. You want to quickly look to the left, to spot the runway while flying on a downwind? No problem, two clicks and you look exactly 90į to the left!
  • Additionally you can control the view direction by dynamically dragging with the mouse or a finger over the screen. The view direction snaps back after releasing the pointer.
  • And last but not least - there is an in-built, rock steady gimbal, that can be switched on and off per axis

Now I donít want to waste more words, don't miss the following video, to get an impression how this works & feels & looks:
Synthetic & Classic FPV combined - FlightZoomer 3 Feature Preview (7 min 15 sec)


I am curious, a) what you think about this solution and b) what you would improve...

More details about FlightZoomer you can find here (the current versions):
http://flightzoomer.com

Please consider, that the published documentation still covers version 2, which was smartphone based and quite limited vs. the new version 3.

Especially keep in mind the following areas, that changed with version 3:
  • The apps are now Universal Windows Apps
  • The primary intention is the usage on a tablet, but the app runs on any Windows 10 device
  • So everybody should be able to try the apps at least in simulation mode
  • The groundstation app is now called FlightZoomer Cockpit
  • The new system context diagram looks like this:

Of course there are other new innovations for version 3. In my previous video, another unique feature of FlightZoomer version 3 has been presented:
The ultimate terrain view for drone pilots! - FlightZoomer 3 Feature Preview (5 min 4 sec)
Last edited by FlightZoomer; Apr 24, 2017 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Better wording
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Apr 24, 2017, 11:18 AM
Registered User
Hi, as the release of FlightZoomer Version 3 is coming closer, I am pleased to present the next new feature.

When Microsoft announced the Surface Dial last October, I immediately knew, that this controller perfectly fits to control the flight of RC aircrafts. For weeks I checked availability in Europe, only to order an overpriced device from the US Ebay finally. As it arrived I probably got one of the first Surface Dials in Europe...

But it was worth the effort: Changing modes by pressing it and selecting target values by turning it - how more simple could flying be? One man - one hand - one controller.

Have a look in this video, to see how the controller perfectly supports relaxed flying as well as street canyon hunting:
Fly With A Single Rotary Controller - FlightZoomer 3 Feature Preview (4 min 26 sec)
Apr 25, 2017, 04:31 AM
Registered User
My goodness FlightZoomer, that is an astonishing body of work!

I'm a little surprised you're not receiving more encouragement from the community as what you've achieved is truly breathtaking! I'm not quite sure what to say myself other than I am duly impressed.

Keep up the good work Zoomer while I collect my jaw from the flaw.
You are an inspiration.
Apr 25, 2017, 03:01 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the encouragement and the kind words!

One of the reasons could be, that the system is hard to put in boxes. It also changed its character quite a bit over the time. It was only telemetry and instruments first. It got mated with ArduPilot in oder to gain significant precision. Then the autopilot was added. But only with version 3, features are going to be introduced (see videos above) that place the product in the center of the FPV market (or at least much closer to the needs of a classical FPV pilot).

Because of this, it is a bit hard to find the correct forum to find the "correct" audience for FlightZoomer. In the beginning I had a thread in the "telemetry section" of rcgroups.com (click), I also presented the system in the Scale FPV thread (because IMHO FlightZoomer would perfectly address the lack of "scaleness" how RC aircraft are flown). As the system closely recreates the Boeing 787 cockpit, I might present the system over in the RC Airliners forum too...
Apr 26, 2017, 04:32 AM
Commercial UAV Pilot
Outstanding work.
Apr 26, 2017, 12:50 PM
400' ..... NOT
Martin Y's Avatar
Nice simulator for a computer game but think the latency from 2 smartphones would be make it too slow for safe fpv flying, even for a multi.
Apr 26, 2017, 05:39 PM
what goes up, must come down..
AussieHoppy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Y
Nice simulator for a computer game but think the latency from 2 smartphones would be make it too slow for safe fpv flying, even for a multi.
I'd agree.
I'm thinking perhaps the possibility for commercial applications.
I can imaging this being set up in the back of a van with decent hard wired PC, powerful 4G access (or whatever is required), or even something like what Carl Berry did in the 1990's when he converted something like a Sega gaming console into a full fpv joystick/rudder pedals converting his rc controller, setup in a trailer this Flightzoomer could be a one-stop solution for anything from surveilance drones, security drones, beach patrolling drones, police drones, or even farming/ mining drones.
Just my humble opinion but I'd be aiming higher than hobby fpv...
FWIW your work on this is exceptional. I sincerely wish you the best with it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...v=fL8rIUkXAco#
Apr 27, 2017, 02:52 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Y
Nice simulator for a computer game but think the latency from 2 smartphones would be make it too slow for safe fpv flying, even for a multi.
About latencies, the following can be said:
  1. The classical FPV camera feed, which can be placed freely in the cockpit, is not smartphone dependent and offers consistent latencies below 100ms (the Video-S signal is connected via UVC-USB capture device).
  2. The typical latency for the telemetry link (data from aircraft to groundstation) is 50-100ms (with occasional spikes up to a second or more). With this latency the instruments are updated.
  3. The same latency applies to the data uplink (autoflight commands from groundstation to aircraft).
  4. Using the in-built lag time test feature allows to measure the actual min/max/avg lag time precisely.
  5. You are not completely wrong, the concern regarding latency can not be totally neglected. Therefore it is not recommended to fly in ArduCopter's STABILIZE mode or ArduPlane's MANUAL mode, only based on the feedback of FlightZoomers instruments. Using the PosHold mode (copter) or one of the planes FBW-modes however is possible without any difficulty. Also using FlightZoomer's own autopilot has no limits regarding the latencies...
Summarized I would say, that Acro- or 3D-flying is not supported by FlightZoomer. It is perfect on the other hand for relaxed cruising (or even en-route flying).
Apr 27, 2017, 03:19 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieHoppy
...Flightzoomer could be a one-stop solution for anything from surveilance drones, security drones, beach patrolling drones, police drones, or even farming/ mining drones.
Just my humble opinion but I'd be aiming higher than hobby fpv...
FWIW your work on this is exceptional. I sincerely wish you the best with it
Thanks for the encouragement. You have good, inspiring ideas. I was also thinking along the lines, that I could extend FlightZoomer in order to have a master control center, where multiple flights could be managed from a single workplace.

On the other hand, it would seem very hard to me, to set my foot in the professional drones industry. In my perception this is a densely crowded market of small and medium-sized enterprises, that all somehow do very similar things, all somehow struggle to sell their stuff but anyway set the bar high for new entrants...

What I can say, is that the following professional product inspired me quite a bit (check the video). FlightZoomer is like a low cost solution compared to this:
https://www.kongsberggeospatial.com/...tions/iris-uas

Also Carl Berry's cockpit was and still is quite revolutionary I would say...
May 26, 2017, 05:37 AM
Registered User
drewjet's Avatar
I really like your groundstation and may copy some of the ideas to make my own.

I also ordered the Surface Dial.

Very much looking forward to the release of 3.0
Last edited by drewjet; May 26, 2017 at 05:45 AM.
May 27, 2017, 03:46 AM
Registered User
drewjet's Avatar
I am trying to set up the ground station server, and this is not easy. I am by no means a network IT guy and this is all going way over my head.
May 27, 2017, 05:08 AM
Registered User
Hi drewjet

I know that there is some computer fiddling required initially. So there are two answers:
- Mid term: a relay server less version is coming! The next thing after version 3.0 will be a simple app-to-app communication. Planned release version is 3.1. The proof of concept is already working here, so I am confident it will work.
- Short term: As I like how determined you are, I can offer a Skype call for support to get the current version running. If you like I will PN you my coordinates...
Last edited by FlightZoomer; May 27, 2017 at 06:55 AM.
May 28, 2017, 12:51 AM
Registered User
drewjet's Avatar
Thanks for the offer. My son was over for dinner last night ( he used to work in IT) He said he would help me set it up.

3.0 Sounds awesome! I have a windows 8 tablet, will that be able to run the ground station?

When do you think 3.0 will be released?
May 28, 2017, 11:12 AM
Registered User
Unfortunately version 3.0 will need a Windows 10 computer. The reason is the availability of map APIs for the outside view.

B.t.w. the relay-server-less version (planned for 3.1) will need Windows 10 mobile for the airborne device too. The dependencies on used libraries don't allow to support older devices. Older devices of course will continue to work with the relay server...

About the release date: I can make available a beta version of 3.0 to anybody interested for sideloading (installed locally from a downloaded file instead from the store). The beta can be used only stand-alone to play with the simulation mode. There are no documentation or guarantees though.

The final 3.0 apps are nearly finished (except plane support, I am currently setting up an EasyStar as test platform). The big open topic is the documentation, which is lacking. I am thinking about writing just a short how-to document initially.


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