Hello,
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I had my 10th flight with Easystar, a nice number it is.
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This time we flew in really strong wind. I flew in constant steady wind at the sea, that is not easy but you can manage after that you get familiar with wind direction and strength. But same theory did not apply on Sunday. There was a steady wind of 6 m/s most of the time. But every now and then the wind just died to almost calm state, then we got some really strong gusts of up to 13 m/s speed. That was the challenge. Upon start and landing I had major difficulties, I am not at all comfortable with such strong wind. I did not crash the plane, but I had to fight for it several times.
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Prior to flying I changed propeller. I had a 6x4e pusher on, some cheap propeller from Hobbycity. It was not really well balanced from start and then I cracked it when one of my early start attempt ended up in a very low pass over the vegetation. It was so low that I actually flew straight across some tougher grass and the prop acted as a chopper for some brief time. This cracked the last half centimeter on one blade, so it wasn’t really healthy.
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I thought that I will be smart enough to try a 6x3e pusher prop. How hard can it be? It did not really work out. For some reason thrust is very low. It pushed the air backwards but just. Maybe I put it up in wrong direction, I have to check this more. Anyhow, right now I have maybe 2/3 of thrust at maximum. Maybe less. Starting the plane and flying it in that much wind was a major challenge. At some point I thought that wind is pushing it more backwards than I can get forwards. Since it was very turbulent I had difficulties flying straight, it was all over the place.
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Landings were extra tricky. When descending a sudden gust can take away altitude at alarming rates. A quick descent of 3-4 meters is likely. At low height this can mean plane in the lake for instance. So I was very careful above the lake. But no matter how careful you are, some unexpected event can happen easily with such wind speeds. Once I landed already, Easystar was skidding on the grass and slowing down. Suddenly a stronger wind gust liftet up the plane from the ground, since it was strong enough to temporarly simulate much higher speed of air flow around the wings. So even though that the plane was already landed it just took off.
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Another risky event happened at one of my starts. I am plainly rubbish at hand starting the plane, not much to sugar myself about it. Normally you should throw the plane into the wind. So you get more lift at low speed. Now I had reduced thrust on the propeller, my skills are slowly improving (but still being rubbish) and I had tricky wind conditions. I wanted to start, the wind just dropped, I had no good thrust to pull me out of trouble and I probably even threw it badly. So the plane just ricochet from the grass and then it could take off when the next wind gust helped it. A really chaotic takeoff it was. HaBoRC put some funny comment from the depot as you may hear 🙂
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I managed to try out my brand new 35 USD camera, that went without issues. Works like a bliss. In my video you can see the difference. I have a standard definition keyfob camera on the nose of the plane. It has a 180-degrees fisheye converter lens mounted. The Wing Camera from Hobbycity is a stock item, it comes with a nice wide-angle lens from the store as stock. So ready to use. If I count the price of SD keyfob + the fisheye converter I am already above the price of the HD Wing Camera, so choosing the former is just silly. The latter is much better value. You may see a comparison chart in my post from the other day.
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The footage I got with the new camera is simply amazing for me, now I can see much more detail. If I manage to fly this kit on a calm day the turbulence will not influence so much, so I can get really nice footage. Looking forward for some nice sunny and calm autumn day.
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There is one issue with HD resolution. The computer power you require for it is extreme. I have an old computer that was put together by no other than my humble self. This act of brave assembly happened late 2005, I bought some proven components that were already free of childhood inperfections. So I went for stability instead of power. I used following base components:
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– AMD A64 2200+ CPU
– Asus A8N-E motherboard, on Socket 939
– 1 gig of DDR-I ram
ATI X800GTO2 graphical card (a variant of X800XL) with 256 megs or VRAM.
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This was quite okay up to the time when HD appeared. On SD resolution it handles all tasks except gaming. But I don’t do gaming anymore. With HD it becomes a different story. HD videos don’t play on my computer without judder. Even 720p (1280×720) resolution drops frames while the computer struggles on 100% power. 1080p (or 1920×1080) is not even worth trying. It is just some frames every 10 seconds maybe. Hopeless.
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It is important to make some difference between playing an HD footage or processing it. Playing can be helped by some more modern graphical card that can take over computing. So even a low-end computer can handle playing it. But processing in a video processing utility is a different story. For that you need high power from the CPU, a lot of RAM and good data transfer on the motherboard. In short you need a modern computer.
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I made the editing anyhow and had a lot of waiting. When trying to align two video tracks for a picture-in-picture layout I am checking on the preview pane if the two frames are in roughly aligned. It is no professional work, if it plays within a half second I consider it already a pass. On SD footage this operation was already difficult, since my computer is low on performace. There were a lot of dropped frames, you had to sort of “lead” the cursor, move it and wait for the result before you let lose of the mouse button. With HD this is much worse. It takes several seconds for the preview pane to update. A simple play operation is meaningless, it takes seconds without picture update, then you pop up somewhere else on the timeline. Totally useless. The only way to work with it is to move the cursos very slowly and then wait for the result. I fought with it for 2 hours to get 4 pieces of picture-in-picture shots aligned. Very time consuming.
Rendering itself was surprisingly fast, despite HD clips the 8 minutes footage rendered in roughly 1 hour. Not so bad. I render still 640×480 resolution, maybe should try 720p rendering next time. I don’t know if there is so much to win about it in my case.
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What I would need is much more computing power. I read a lot of reviews and came to the conclusion that it is time to buy something that will last for some years in the future. Maybe not 6 years, we shall see how long I manage this time.
I set my eyes on the Core i7 architecture from Intel. It has 4 cores and all 4 can simulate 2, so alltogether you get 8 virtual cores. Despite being “only” quadcore it beats the respective offering from AMD by a good margin in video processing. In some test under Sony Vegas 9 it was almost 2x faster in rendering (compared to a 6 core Phenom II processor). So that is the aim, to have a really powerful CPU. I will target a lot of RAM even. Minimum is 4 gigabytes, but can extend later depending on needs. Considering the graphical card I don’t really have high demands. My favourit RC simulator shall run without glitch, that is the specification. I made some studies regarding this issue, checked homepage of the simulator and checked their recommendations. Also checked some Nightflyyer reviews about specs.
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We shall see how I manage. When I will get the new system running and I tested it I will try to get some comparison.
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Update 2011-10-30
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I tried out my 3-blade propeller. It is a Master Airscrew, 6×4 pusher. MA0640TP is the type of it.
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As a subjective feeling it gives more thrust than the 6×3 I had on during the last flight. I look forward to test it in real life. Made a short test video of it. Looks nice when the tail control surfaces get aerodynamically active at half throttle. Haven’t revved it over 2/3 throttle, it is quite loud in the living room 🙂
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Best regards,
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Sir Crash a Lot
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