Tag Archive: indoor


Hello!

I had quite some pause in my RC activity. My daughter had priority over RC stuff, so please excuse my lack of posts.

Now the indoor season is going, so we can join in a school sports hall on Friday evenings for one and a half hours.

Outdoors flying is probably getting very problematic in the future, our club is being kicked out from our flying field by the municipality. Unfortunately there is quite some politics and corruption involved, so we don’t really have much of a chance in this game.

My 10th flight was rather boring probably. I haven’t been flying for quite some time, so I tried to freshen up my reflexes.

My latest indoor flight was the 11th flight with my Extra300. I used a new camera for recording, purchased recently an SJCAM SJ4000 action camera. It is basically a copy of GoPro3, with some attractive pricing.

The camera is rather okay for my application. I knew that it has some limitations, so I was not expecting it to beat the latest GoPro4 series. For instance it has some issues with white balance and it would not work so fine for FPV either. It cannot do 60 fps, only 30 fps. But it is fully compatible with GoPro accessories and has a rather okay picture for the price. I made some very simple reviews of it, you can find some videos below.

I look forward to fly a bit more during the winter season.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

It was quite some time since I reflected on my Extra300 EPP indoor plane. The build was rather long and I had many questionmarks. I think this happened partly due to my inexperience in building and due to the manual being written by a very experienced senior pilot who mentioned only the most important aspects of the build. I am not even novice in building, so I would have needed a lot more detail in building instructions.

Anyhow, the plane is ready and it flies well. I tried to take a stepwise approach with flying. I knew that indoor flying would demand constant usage of rudder. While flying my Easystar I started to turn with rudder and aileron together. So I made some rudder practice to prepare myself for indoor challenges. However I knew that playing with rudder while having “the whole sky” to my disposal is rather easy. I was prepared for some crashes as I knew that indoor will be a lot more difficult.

To not ruin the plane within 10 seconds of flight I tried to practice on the ground first. That said applying a fraction of throttle and “driving around” in circles rather than lifting off. This was more difficult than I have thought it would be, since nothing was trimmed and I had a new radio system even. As result I had some occasional unintended takeoffs. These were aborted mostly, that said I crashed the plane nose-in to the floor. Like a warbird tip. I consumed propellers at some rate 🙂

Maiden flight:

2nd flight:

3rd flight, I started to enjoy high angle-of-attack slow passes. Not easy, but fun. Tried to mix directions, figure 8 and slalom flight. Very exciting to do, maybe not so exciting to watch, though.

4th flight, I tried to transition to hover.

5th flight, with hovering practice.

6th flight, more hovering and fun flight.

7th flight. I started to grow devil horns, had some “moments” of daredevil actions. Landed on the wall for instance.

8th flight, my first roll indoors. Scary but fun.

I skipped last weeks flights as I was fortunate enough to have my daughter born. She was born at 1:30 on the 20th of January 2014. A real miracle, 49 cm and 3230 grams of new life. Funny enough it is my birthday, I received the best possible present ever! I stayed home to help my wife and the baby, no flying right now. I will regain action soon, just need to sort out the first few weeks with helping around.

I am not sure what will happen to our outdoors flying. The flight club is going through a very difficult time period. The council announced that they will remove us from our flying field. As from 1st of February 2014 we are no longer allowed to use the field, we have to clear the area and cannot return. We haven’t received yet any other area to use, so the very existence of the club is in danger.
Our flight club and cross motorcycle (dirt bike if you like) club is removed from the area. The cause for this unfortunate decision is that an investment group tied to some politician tries to build a set of luxury golf flats in the area. It is rather interesting, since the golf club itself went bankrupt several times during the last few years. Besides that there are many issues around the build plans, as it seems politics and corruption got mixed up things quite a bit.

The club tried to apply for a negotiation, but the council does not really listen. So as for new it looks like that 1st of February is the end of our current flight activity.

I don’t know yet how we will do. There are some locations where I can fly, but the club itself will not be able to survive without a flying field. We will see.

An article from local newspaper.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I was participating at Winter indoor flights earlier but never could fly for real. I made some practicing with my Lama v3 helicopter and watched the others fly with their special indoor planes.

Now the time has come for me to join as a flying participant. I ordered a nice indoor plane and some matching electronics.

The plane is an Extra 300 made from EPP material. Has 830 mm wingspan and a high visibility colour scheme.

ap-e300-epp-3_9628 ap-e300-epp-1_9626

According to the description this can take some crashes without being converted to confetti. In my case this is not only a good plus point, it is more or less a basic requirement. I think I will need to get some good practice in simulator.

I found a clip where a really expert level pilot flies such a plane indoors. Amazing piece of piloting.

I will be happy to just fly around without touching the walls or other hard surfaces.

As for the electronics I went for the following list of components.

Turnigy 19 gram brushless motor.

2S 370 mAh battery.

HXT900 servos.

10A ESC.

GWS propeller. A lot of them to have spares 🙂

I planned to use my existing Turnigy 9X v2 radio with it. I have 4 extra receivers, got them together with the radio. Then I have got some second thoughts.

I was watching a lot of reviews about FrSky radios earlier and started to be interested. Rc Model Reviews had some great reviews of FrSky. They just launched a new transmitter, it looks like a very capable piece of kit. Maybe a bit too much for me right now, but I keep it in mind as a possible upgrade for later. My current knowledge and experience does not really need such a high spec radio.

Then I came across a nice review of Turnigy 9X radios and how they can be upgraded to a much more flexible system and also software. The original firmware of 9X radios is a bit cumbersome to use. Rather illogical menu system and some limitations. The receiver is huge and heavy for a foamy plane (18 grams). However it is possible to modify it with some cheap items. The result is a very capable radio unit that still has an exceptionally low price.

With FrSky DIY kit you can actually convert your 9X radio to FrSky protocol. A more robust protocol with great range and features.

With a clever little programming card called SmartieParts 9X it is possible to reflash the radio to er9x firmware even.

This will enable unlimited swith mapping. Anything can be assigned to any switch on the radio. Also it extends model memory to 16 planes (originally 8 memories). And with er9x software you get a more logical menu system.

To be able to fly my Easystar with FrSky radio protocol I need to retrofit it with a compatible receiver. So I purchased a receiver with telemetry. A nice feature, I could for instance see the battery voltage while flying. As I understand I can set a warning even for low voltage. Will check how this works.

For the indoor plane I bought a small 5-channel receiver. It weighs only 2 grams (!!!)

5-channel

This unit is so small that I will need to solder micro servo connectors onto the servos.

To really upgrade my radio I also bought a LiFe battery specially made for transmitters.

Transmitter battery pack

This battery will replace the current array of 8 AA cells. Charging 8 pieces of Ni-Mh AA batteries takes ages and they are hard to maintain on the long run. A TX battery on LiFe will give true voltage reading for the radio and it provides 10V against LiPo batteries which would overdrive the radio circuit board.

I will have a major upgrade when everything will be ready. First I need to get hold of the packages. Chinese celebrations mean that hobby parts are delayed. Now the celebrations are already over, so hopefully next week my package will get posted and travel to Sweden from Hong Kong. Exciting it is.

Weather is turning into Autumn, so indoor flight season is soon to be started. As I understand from 1st of November we can fly again at the school sports hall. Not much time left to build my plane.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I need to start with an apology, my blog activity was plumeting to new depth since my last post. As you can see the title I try to summarize what happened since February.

Last time I talked about the Ladybird quadcopter. I did a maiden and several fun flights with it since. It is a bliss to fly when weather is not allowing outdoor flights. You can fly it in the flat easily. I checked whether the propellers can be any harm. They aren’t, I tested them on my own palm, it doesn’t hurt the skin. My cats are very keen on catching the copter, but I keep it a bit off of their proximity. As I know that the prop cannot hurt them it is more like a precaution for the sake of the small copter. No animals were hurt during the making of this clip:

The 16th flight of my Easystar. Some Ringebu RC style landing even:

17th Easystar flight:

18th Easystar flight:

19th Easystar flight:

20th Easystar flight:

21th Easystar flight:

I am getting more and more used to the Easystar and fly it faster and lower. So far I had some hairy moments in combination with wind gusts, but did not crash it yet. I think that I am getting more and more interested in extending my flights to other models as well. Easystar is a great plane to begin with, it can show you many different flight types. It can glide, it can do loops. It can fly rather fast. It is easy to land and it has a forgiving character. Maybe this latter is its biggest weakness after all, as it lacks “the thrill” when you are getting used to it.

I will keep my Easystar, since I really like it. A great allrounder plane with high fun factor. But I will purchase some other models soon. Which ones? I will tell in my coming post.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I wasn’t flying too much during this year, had some issues of private matter that took my energy from flying.

Now I am back, trying to catch up. It seems that part of my club is already flying multicopters at an advanced level. And there are also some news about our flying field. Unfortunately bad news, the local council is taking it away from us, we are no longer welcome there from 1st of January 2013. So rather interesting flow of events.

The multicopter issue is worth covering in more detail. I am learning the important notions about multicopter flight, will try to get more advanced in this matter during the Spring. I plan to build one beginner model actually, that will teach me the basics.

The flying field issue is more complicated. There is a motocross track in the vicinity, it is quite loud and dirty. But hey, dirt biking is so. Anyhow the council wants to move them and also us. First they did not give anything in return, then the club protested. Now they consider to offer another field somewhere close to the city. It is not so easy to just pick an empty land. We have to process the land, make it smooth, plant quality grass, cultivate it to be smooth and also transport our tools and containers there. And build up the fences, the benches and the basic club facilities. So a huge piece of work that the council does not want to help with. Very awkward way of handling this issue.

Update. End of 2012 we received some great news, we can stay on our flying field for some time. The council changed its mind.

My 12th flight from week 17 you can look at here:

My 13th flight is also recorded:

I just had my 14th flight with the Easystar, please find the video here:

During my summer holiday we were taking care of the house of our friends. They live in the countryside, close to a lake in the forest. Very nice location, calm and peaceful. I could not resist to explore their garden with my Lama v3 helicopter. So I did. I came up with some challenges that I pursued. Some hovering, then some flying around the garden. Also some precision landing on our car.

Then my fantasy got cranked up and I came up with even more exciting plans. Why not try to fly through the car? I mean, how hard can it be? 🙂

And while I am at it. While not fly into the baggage compartment, land there? Then take off from the baggage compartment and land outside the car? It is really that hard? 🙂

During the winter I had very few flights. Two of them were recorded, these were indoor flights in Mölndal school sports hall.

I am getting more flights now. This Spring I am stepping up from the Lama v3 and will start with multicopter action. On last flight 13w07 I crashed the Lama and I do not intend to repair it any more. I had a lot of practice on it, it helped with orientation skills. Hovering nose-in and orienting at low speeds. However I am getting tired of the stupid limitations of Lama v3. It cannot fly beyond a lean angle, otherwise its control system just locks up and the heli gets in an unstoppable dive. It is very sensitive to wind and at the same time does not have the power to cope with it. Even its own turbulence disturbs the flight, so I am happy to consider it part of my past.

I am looking at a tiny multicopter called Ladybird. It is from Walkera. Helipal.com has a nice description to it, you can read it on their page.

There is a v1 version of the Ladybird. That has a much bigger radio controller with some programming possibility. And it has a 6-axis gyro system (gyro and accelerometer) instead of a 3-axis system (only gyro) of the v2. As I understand the v1 is slightly more stable, but the v2 is still very stable so if you are not looking for the nicer radio you might just as well like the v2.
Hobbyking has a detailed review of the v2 Ladybird, where they tell about the differences.

I have another project, will tell about it later.

Thank you,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

May 2010 it is. I practice flying, try to improve skills.

I am still reluctant to turn my heli 180 degrees aspect angle, this means that I still cannot do nose-in hovering. I try to practice 90 degrees aspect angle, when one side of my heli is pointing at me. This works at some extent.

In this video I try to do nice turns, when I coordinate rudder and cyclic during my turn. Aim is to turn so that I obtain a fluid movement, a nice dynamic turn and transition to forward flight. Not so easy.

I tried a 360 turn as well. From hover I push rudder and spin it around. You can observe that during this I am unable to compensate for hovering and my heli starts to drift away. This demonstrates fine how much input is needed for a basic hover. As soon as there is no compensation the heli drifts away. Once I do the spin slightly slower and I drift quite away.

Once I nearly crash, a person is coming into the workshop and asks me a question. I look at him for 2 seconds (more like a glance) and during this time I almost smash my heli into the concrete. Constant awareness is needed to fly. A good lesson for me.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

In my last post I described how I managed with simple hovering and landing on table. This post is also the past, what you see happened in February 2010.

Now it is time to do some figure flight. It is a major step in my helicopter career, I shall explain what is so important here.

As you can see I fly in living room, same location as previously. What is different is how I fly. The heli does an “eight” and some rounds. This is a big step forward.

When you start learning heli flying you will start with hovering and basic flight. This is rather easy as long as the tail of the heli is pointing at you. Why? Because when you push the joystick to the left on the controller the heli will move left. As long as the tail points at you the nose of the heli will look the same direction as you (the pilot) are looking. Easy.

To get some science into this let’s talk about coordinate systems.

In a 3D system you have 3 coordinates, or 3 axis if you shall say so. X, Y and Z. You can have these as you want but for easier understanding we consider:

– X is forward,

– Y is to the sides

– Z is vertical

On your transmitter these will correspond to various stick inputs.

On a Mode 2 transmitter left joystick will control Z-axis, right joystick will control X- and Y-axis. (I made it simple now, on left stick you also have yaw that will interfere with both X- and Y-axis.)

How will this look like if we apply our coordinates to the heli?

Now let’s try to imagine these two coordinate systems in relevance to each other.

When you do tail-in hovering (nose of heli pointing where your nose is pointing) X of heli will match X of transmitter. Same with Y and Z.

If you do side-in hovering (nose of heli pointing 90-degrees left or right) X of heli will correspond to X of transmitter. Where is the catch then? You will percieve that when heli moves “to the left” that you need to add stick input corresponding right. But this will not work well, since heli is actually traveling forward (its own X coordinate) and you need to add backwards input (transmitters X coordinate), not side (transmitters Y axis). If you take a look at my first flight you can see that I was fouled by this. The heli kept rotating, it went all over the place, I had not a single clue how to gain control. I could not keep track of the helicopters coordinate system in short.

What is the solution? You need to keep track of the nose of your heli, this will give you correct control.

Mikey’sRC has a great tutorial on side-in hovering. Please check it out, this will give you a nice explanation.

He has another tutorial about nose-in hovering, a good explanation in graphic nature.

What is to be told of my flight? I crash at the end of it. Several times. You can see for instance that I get close to the lamp and then crash. I got into turbulence there. What is turbulence?

Turbulence is like a vortex. Depending on what produces turbulence it can be all sort. In the case of helicopters you get a downstream flow generated by the rotor (rotors). As air is lazy it wants to get calm again and escapes to the side. Since this downstream flow is like a cylinder it escapes in all directions.

As the rotors suck air from above and push them down some air recirculates at the tip of the rotors and creates a torus-like flow. Like a donut cake without sugar glazing.

As you get near objects this flow will interact with them and create a suction force. It was long time ago that I studied fluid dynamics, I hope that I don’t get it wrong. According to Bernoulli’s principle as you compress the flow speed will increase and pressure will drop.

So as you get closer with your rotor to the lamp the heli will actually suck itself onto the lamp. As Lama is not a power-house it has limited resources for manoeuvres and after a while you cannot get away from the lamp. It is better to close throttle and let it fall. That is what you can see in the video. I do the same with the sofa once. And once it is just pilot error and crash into the table.

After a while my poor piloting showed traces of destruction on the rotor blades.

So I replaced them. The difference was noticable. New blades track better. This reduces vibration, gives smoother flight and provides better overall control.

As I described in my post earlier you will need some basic tooling for changing blades.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot