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Nov 01, 2007, 01:52 AM
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The ultimate R/C experience...?


At least it was for me earlier today.

Our club president has started an aerial photography business. His platform is a massive gasoline-powered 26cc Century helicopter which will easily lift fifteen pounds. Or if you prefer, seven kilograms.

President, chopper and professional grade camera platform were all present and accounted for at the field this morning. The equipment has been present quite a bit, in fact. That's because "Da Prez" has been doing a lot of flight practice with and without the platform.

He had set up the platform with a Nikon digital SLR instead of the usual Panasonic digital camcorder. The platform, which operates from its own discrete radio control system, uses an ordinary Hitec mini-servo and servo arm to sweep in and engage the shutter via a spare channel. Tilting the camera corresponded to the throttle; panning the camera corresponded to the ailerons.

Wouldn't you know it. I got tapped for duty to operate the platform while the helicopter was in hover. Oh, darn.

I'm fortunate and very blessed to work in radio broadcasting, but the emphasis of my broadcasting education was in video production. Couple that love of playing with TV cameras with a love of R/C flight and you'd better believe I was in heaven.

Not only did the setup work, it worked perfectly. No blurring, no glitches. While the tilt function just affected the camera, panning actually rotated the entire platform beneath the 'copter. That was a possible bone of contention, but as it turned out, it didn't affect flight in the least. A lot of the credit goes to the inherent stability of that Century, but the rest goes to the amazing helium-suspended gyro which flawlessly kept that platform in check. Simply amazing and I'll post pictures soon.

The best part? I may be "assistant cameraman" as his business grows. Video production will be a real blast with its 2.4 GHz monitoring downlink. Talk about "eye in the sky!"

As I posted in a previous blog: I dig this hobby.
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