though i am more interested in fpv flying at the moment than the autonomous movement or automatic collision avoidance. collisions are where all the fun is at! :D still cool though.
i met up with some dudes from an fpv forum last weekend & one guy had a long range setup & he could fpv his flying wing to over 15klms! i snooped in on his video transmission & he was 14.7klms out over bribie island.
My understanding was that CASA isn't ok with FPV stuff (without a full-on license), how the hell do they not s*** on things like that from a great height? Or does he have whatever insane license they require?
Buying or building a model aircraft and taking it flying can be a fun way to spend the day. The Model Aeronautical Association of Australia has established model aircraft fields and experienced advisors who can help you with questions about model aircraft.
Model aircraft may be up to 150 kilograms so there are rules about where and how you fly. These include:
Keep your model aircraft away from populated areas and the immediate vicinity of others (i.e. more than 30 metres)
Do not operate within 3nm of an aerodrome without approval
Do not operate in controlled airspace above 400ft without approval
Do not operate in military prohibited or restricted areas without approval
Do not fly in poor visibility, clouds or at night
Consider the benefits of approved flying areas
As an idea, normal 2.4Ghz operating range is pretty much outside any visual range you'll ever get.
(A good 2.4Ghz radio setup and strong batteries with minimal environmental interference or barrier will get you 1+ km away).
No real reason you should need to FPV outside a 1km radius from where you launch!
Everytime I see one of these videos I swear to myself that I'll go out and buy one. It never happens though lol
I'd be all over those fancy ones that only run on iphones if they actually came with their own controller. For the money you pay for them, they bloody well should come with one. That's not to say I'm a cheapskate, I don't have an iphone. Also I'd much rather use sticks than a phone.
whoop : the parrot ar drone that apple markets that can be controlled by an iphone or ipad isn't exactly fancy :) my father has one n he like to fly it indoors because it sucks with even a slight breeze. it's a very cool toy & the in-built fpv & downwards camera are bonuses.. range is crap though & they don't have proper failsafe so if it flies out of range it can just keep on going till it's batts run out or it hits something.
foolix : how does the tricopter fly & what flight controller are you using? got any build pix? :D
my father has one n he like to fly it indoors because it sucks with even a slight breeze. it's a very cool toy & the in-built fpv & downwards camera are bonuses.. range is crap though & they don't have proper failsafe so if it flies out of range it can just keep on going till it's batts run out or it hits something.
Oh wow, glad I don't have an iphone then (because I'd probably have been more likely to get an AR drone).
Has anyone made a homing pigeon kind of quad copter yet? Take the thing out somewhere and have it automatically fly home using GPS. I reckon that would make for a pretty interesting video recording device. It'd be cool to have it lock on to a transponder in a car too, would make for some good birds eye views at a track day.
my quadcopter has gps return to launch... so if it loses control signal or if i initiate failsafe from my transmitter, the quad will fly up to 20m & go back to where it launched from. it will then hover for 20seconds in gps position hold, then land. the gps module isn't installed in that pic ^ though.
the control systems that have gps waypoint navigation are a bit too pricey for me.. at the moment :)
demon: Tricopter is pretty stable now that I have most of the bugs ironed out, a lot of power, but that is without the GoPro on yet. The flight control board is the CRIUS AIO Pro which is about $55, for an extra $25 you can add a GPS Reciever for full autonomous flying. Maybe I should make my own thread :D
As HurricaneJim says, everything has gotten insanely cheap in the past couple of years. Multicopters are massive now that the control board and parts are all super cheap. Example is even with my transmitter which is a full 9 Channel tx/rx for only $50, and the open source software for it (Open9X) is awesome
I had the idea of using a quadcopter to scout the area where i hunt so i wouldnt leave a scent for tue deer to pick up on. Id need something that would have around a good 500-700 meter range and the ability to return on its own if something f***ed up plus a video feed of course.
Oddly enough deer dont give to much of a s*** about machinery or man made objects so noise from a quadcopter probably wouldnt piss them off to much. Not as much as tromping around the bush on foot anyway.
Any recomendations for a copter that would work well in this role?
I'm running the stock module but I intend to u/g to the frysky telm soon! Mod's I've done on the 9x are Open9X firmware, backlight mod plus I made up a small lithium battery pack, lasts longer and much lighter than 8x AA's!
Being held together by zip ties and rubber bands, nice :)
hobby style! :) the rubber bands on the gopro are really good for dampening vibrations & also makes it easy to take off & put back on. some guys get real pedantic about their builds & won't use zip ties coz they look cheap but once you've crashed & rebuilt a few times... cheap zip ties all the way!
foolix : cool! i've not used (or seen used) a cruis fc but that's an awesome price! did you build your own tricopter tail pivot or buy a premade one? that's the only thing that kinda puts me off a tri ... it looks like it might be hard to build that tail pivot assembly.
mephz : also cool! i was considering buying a 9xr just coz they were so cheap but they went outta stock real quick! :) i've had 2 x turnigy 9x transmitters.. first one had a problem where the elevator signal would wobble all over the place & the craft would pitch badly. it was too expensive to send it back so i got another one with no modules & swapped em over. the 2nd one was good till last xmas when i left it in the car in the sun. all the clear plastic bits including the lcd cover peeled up n fell off. hehe. it also had bad range (standard 9x module). i also did the lipo mod to replace the 8xaa pack.
after xmas i figured i was gonna be into this for a while & shouted myself a futaba 8fg super. 10x more expensive that the 9x but the quality is awesome. my 2nd 9x still works & i use it on my "test quads" & use the futaba just on my fpv beast. the other reason for that is 9x recievers are $9... futaba s.bus diversity receivers are $120 !!!! :p love my futaba now tho!
taipan : sounds totally do-able... lots of copters would probably do the job. but a pre-built "ready to fly" job would be pretty expensive ($2.5k-$3.5k guessing) & a kit job would require that you know how all the systems work. i could make a recommendation but honestly i have only had experience with 2 flight controllers.. dji naza & hobbyking kk2.0. dji naza (with gps) could definitely do the job ... kk2.0 could not. (no gps). there are tons of flight controllers out there! i know ara uses the openpilot cc3d which gets awesome reviews (i have one on order lol).
@ foolix: Stay with the 9X for now, I haven't set up my 9XR or tested it yet [waiting for Frsky module to arrive] but there are some problems some people are having it seems (drifting of signal with the orange DSM modules etc.)
I was going to look at potentially flashing my 9XR with ER9X firmware if I have any issues (reportedly the 9XR uses a modified earlier version of ER9X anyway)
@ demon: I've heard some people having that problem with the 9XR as well, hadn't heard that from the 9X.
I will be doing a lot of ground testing! Hearing you had issues with the 9X and some people with the 9XR has me a little scared :)
Where do you gentlemen fly? I'm on the northside.
I don't have a quadcopter only fixed wing but I see no reason we couldn't fly in the same airspace with a few ground rules if anyone is interested sometime :)
@demon: the 9XR was out of stock when I ordered. I think it took about a week for the backorder to come in and then be shipped out.
It was a 3 week turnaround total which I don't think is too bad, I buy all my stuff in advance and keep replacement parts around instead for that reason.
To which you reply: well, unlike you I intend to fly my copter, not leave it sitting on a shelf to look at.
heh. mostly. but occasionally it's a dude that is old school &/or conservative pilot & doesn't crash anymore :p
mephz : for every report of problems there are hundreds of folk who aren't having problems i rekn. 2 guys at work have turnigy-9x's & have had no problems. always good to test it all out first though.
i am northside too. 90% of the time though i fly during work hours in the morning before the wind picks up... find a park with no one in it... setup & fly 4-5 batteries.. pack up & go back to work. other times i fly with the work guys.. usually a work organised event at the pine rivers park... normally i wouldn't fly there coz there are too many people but when the whole work crew is there it's fine coz they can spot for me. always looking for good spots to fly but it's hard atm coz of the sunny weather gets lots of people out.
@ demon: very nice! that's not far from me at all your park.
I fly at mungarra reserve.
Plenty big enough for even my 1400mm fixed wing.
Park clearance is approx 200m. Airpsace clearance a good kilometer. And in most directions if your model goes down its going to be in brush or empty land so no damage.
Never seen anyone on the field except for people flying planes/helicopters/fixed wings.
And the occasional person walking across the field to the dogpark.
bah edit problem again.
@demon: I also fly early morning as its the calmest part of the day. Though when im working a day shift i'm at work before flying is possible.
i use this site to track wind conditions near my flying site.
It will do any of the weather stations in Brisbane. I've found its reporting @ Brisbane Airport to be fairly accurate compared to the reports the airport itself gets (friend is an air traffic controller).
Sorry for double posting. Just curious if any of you know of any jobs that actually utilize these things outside the obvious military uses? I was thinking about this earlier and it seems the potential uses for investigating or checking structures in hard to reach places would be pretty limitless.
If you consider possible costs ofthe usual equipment and man power need to say inspect something like a bridge of even powerlines. There may be a good buck to be made out of these little suckers itd just be a matter of pitching the idea to the right businesses and then backing it up with some decent results.
Of course i havent looked into this but itd be a pretty sweet way of making a crust. :-)
I understand there maybe certain obstacles to intorducing something like this into a given industry not least of which would be overcoming a level of sceptisim from businesses themsleves. However if you can perform certain tasks that would otherwise incure considerable cost not to mention an element of risk to personel and very expensive equipment i cant see how anyone could knock the idea without first giving it a chance to prove it self.
As for insurance i dont get what could be so expensive about using a piece of equipment that is probably worth a tenth or less of the normal equipment used to do the same job? I am of course not knocking what you said perhaps not fully understanding the implications in reguards to insurance.
Are you interested in helicopters or fixed wing.
(I classify quadcopters like in this thread as helicopters).
Either way procure yourself a simulator to learn on.
Realflight G4.5 or
Phoenix RC 4.0 can be 'acquired' to work with say an xbox 360 controller.
This will teach you the orientation and general feel for how to start to fly either/or.
Don't just jump into an expensive model or you're likely to be spending more time repairing and fixing than flying. I honestly recommend the simulator route, once you're getting bored on the simulator because you can thrash the heli/plane around without crashing you're ready for the real world and the skills will pretty well transfer over.
Except landing, dear god landing fixed wing aircraft will be forever an always improving and never perfect part of your flying and is nothing like a simulator in my opinion!
Otherwise, start with an RTF model. (ready to fly) it is literally as it sounds, gives you everything out of the box ready to start flying, including transmitter.
Once you're into the hobby you'll start to understand more and eventually you might want to upgrade Tx and start making mods etc.
I was looking around years ago to get into and RC hobby i had already been racing competitively with electric off road cars. I thought id like to try out aircraft and checked out a few places around brisbane and while very keen i found the cost a little bit much at the time (mid 90's) so i got into gas cars. As it turned out i ended up spending a ton more on the damn cars than i would of to get into aircraft.
I used to race every second.sunday at england park in brendale and it was great fun.
Thanks for the reply Mephz. I'll take you're advice and go down the simulator road first. I'm stuck at work for the next 5 days so I'm kinda keen to start ordering bits and pieces for when I get home.
From what I've gathered, for the guts of $300ish you can get a fairly reasonable setup including a transmitter, battery charger module etc. which is great buying and not a huge concern if I crash it. Hobbyking seems to be the best site to buy from as they give detailed information on the product and what its compatible with, I'll grab some gear from them.
Probably a stupid question, but will I need to get a solerding iron initially?
i didn't do the simulators.. i was too keen for hardware :) i started with a cheapie wltoys v939 that you can buy from ebay for about $40 including the transmitter... ready to fly! it looks super goofy (ladybird) but it flies just like a larger quad but is a bit more unstable due to it's small size & light weight. it teaches the basics of quadrotor flight & if you can fly one of these things ok with the dodgy little tx that it comes with.. then you will fly a larger heavier quad easily. like all cheapie chinese heli-type toys it will withstand a few crashes & then you chuck it in the bin :p i chose the v939 coz it's small enough to fly inside so i could practice at night, out of the wind.
bromby : chances are you will need a soldering iron. a lot of the latest esc's & power distribution setups have presoldered connectors but all the older stuff doesn't & you will have to solder on your connectors & heatshrink over the joints to isolate them. even if you do have a fully plug-in system... later you will need a soldering iron to repair broken connections & to add new systems to the power distro, etc..
i would like to recommend some forums but tbh they are just like gamer forums.. full of trolls, idlers, noobs & misinformation. when i have a specific problem i google it :p
If you are going the hobbyking route I suggest getting a bunch of connectors and get yourself a soldering iron etc.
This way you can make all your hardware universal.
I use EC3/DC3 (same thing) plugs for my battery <-> ESC/Motor connectors.
Hobbyking batteries and pieces always come in a variety of different connectors so lop em off and put your own on.
With Hobbyking gear just read reviews and research the model you're going to fly as well. Especially if it's fixed wing as the cheapy chinese complete models tend to come out of balance in the fixed wing department and their specs are usually wrong for the COG.
As demon said, don't expect the cheaper chinese stuff to last as long but its 1/10th the price of the expensive gear so you always end up ahead as well.
Thanks demon and Mephz. Sorry, I wasn't clear on what my intensions were. Not really interested in fixed wing, only quadcopters.
Its a little difficult trying to put it all together in regards to connector types and if\what type of additional connectors i need to get without having it all in front of you, but I'm confident what I've put together so far is enough.
Also, the acronyms, jesus christmas you have to have a fair idea on what they mean. So much jargon when ordering individual items!
Any chance of running you're eyes over what's in my list before I purchase?
I might take your advice Mephz on the RTF. I'm thinking this one for its price point sounds good and it received great reviews. Might order one tomorrow and continue looking into building my own. I've already ordered a few bits and pieces but this will do until the rest of the parts become available.
Lots of courage but little ambition.
That's the key to success in flying R/C.
Take things slow and have patience pretty much all my accidents have been from being overly ambitious and always when trying to spot land.
(Fixed wing this is).
Just ordered a Blade mQX RTF from modelflight.com.au. Only $15 postage and threw in an extra battery cause I'm a mad dog (or had problems ordering online). Should arrive on Thursday and I'll be home Friday. I'll post some pics and an update then!
You have to love the fact that something like this has such an awesome ability to record things in our every day life from such a cool perspective. Putting this ability into the hands of the average punter is frigging fantastic.
cool video foolix :) those kite surfers get some mad speed & it really stands out when seen from above.
be a while yet before i start flying my quads over salt water... any mistake or technical problem means total loss. looks friggn sweet though :]
i ditched my hoverthings fpv flip quad (top left in my last image) on teusday morning in a paddock with long grass (lost video signal & crashed blind). no damage to the quad but my gopro camera ejected & i never found it :( i know exactly where the quad ended up after the crash but i searched for about 3 hours, combing the long grass... no sign of it !@# grass was so thick though it could be right underfoot & you'd never see it. o wells... it was an original hd hero that had copped a beating so i've ordered a hero 3 black... orrrrjeh :D
So I got home yesterday and tried to install my new Xbox 360 receiver so I can try some simulators.... be f***ed if I can get it to work properly. I can manage to get it to connect, then it drops out after a few minutes and disappears from Device Manager. I've run through all the tutorials and trouble shooters on the net to no avail. Anyone have an experience in the matter? I'm desperate to try something, my RTF quad arrived on Wednesday when I wasn't home and the depot doesn't open till Tuesday now. Help!
nice foolix... but where are the pics of your build? ;) as per the internets standards i will also require a maiden flight video & a crash or close call video ;)
s*** weather so not much else to do but build multirotors! i got my openpilot cc3d on friday so i built my quadrixette40 & got some issues sorted out. test flew it in my loungeroom this morning & it seems to fly real nice but i need some decent weather to test it out properly.. can't do much cept hover in my loungeroom.
build is still very messy coz it will change a fair bit once i install fpv gear. so there is a lot of excess wire :p
So with the simulator programs, Realflight or Phoenix, do you only need an xbox 360 controller or do you need a proper radio to use them?
Trin, I've managed to get Realflight to work with an Xbox 360 controller but can't work out Phoenix. I was gonna ask these guys for some tips. If you've got a cable for you're controller I gather its easier (not certain) but if you've only got wireless you'll need to buy a receiver. They're like $10-15. For the love of god make sure you install the drivers first before plug in the receiver in though.
Also, simulators are hard. If your calibration isn't spot on it makes flying very difficult as you're constantly trying to counter the neutral inputs of the controller.
Using gaming controller for simulator instead of real Tx is the throttle gimbal is not on a neutral return spring on a Tx. (The other gimbal is) . So on sim. You have to hold down for less than 50% throttle... Also.bromby at least it prepares your dexterity if COG or trim wildly out for.your maiden flight :) as demon said maiden footage is necessary!!
Post from mobile sorry
I should have listened to the old guy who warned me that it wouldn't end well if I flew it in the slight wind on the day. there was another guy there with something like a 1/8 scale wood / carbon composite aerobatic airframe who was showing off this cool stall move into the wind.
not sure what scale mine is but it doesn't like gusts in slight coastal onshore winds.
Fly in 5-6kts max for now (you shouldn't be able to feel the wind) - Palm leaves shouldn't be moving at all or just barely moving the leaves but not the frongs themselves.
Once you get experienced that bird will fly in winds 16-20kts (inclusive of gusts) with ease.
Once you can land very comfortably in no wind, start learning to spot land in zero wind (putting it down exactly where you want).
Then start learning in slightly breezier conditions.
I say landing because that's when your airspeed will be lowest and wind + gusts has the most dangerous impact.
Any turn from upwind to downwind increase throttle a little.
there are plenty of full size ready-to-fly quadcopters on the market but it's like a pc where you are paying a guy to assemble the bits for you. i think most people just opt to build thier own coz it's cheaper & you get a working knowledge of how to repair it after the inevitable crashes.
@demon: I picked up a Blade mQX quadcopter for my old man.
I did the test flight and setup.
Can I ask a question? What are these things supposed to be like to fly?
I found if you moved forward then released the stick it sort of just continued to track that way.
I expected if you moved the stick forward then neutral stick it would return to a hover.
I got it to hover relatively stable at about head height. Lower (only a few inches off the ground) I couldn't get it to not drift with trimming at all, it was futile, but I put that down to ground-effect as higher up it was a bit more stable.
But yeah, that drift after you make a move. It's a killer, if my planes continued to roll or yaw for awhile after I made an input I'd be tearing my hair out from repair bills!
Is this normal behaviour? Didn't seem to be a trimming issue from what I can tell.
mephz : i can' t speak for the blade mqx as i've never had that model but my cheapie copy of it had 2 flight modes... normal & acrobatic. to change these modes it was basically a rebind of the rx to the tx... might be different for the blade mqx... but on mine the flight mode change couldn't be done while in flight (which was a bummer).
in acrobatic mode you get the behaviour you are describing. pitch forward & release the stick & the craft stays pitched at the angle it was at when you backed off the stick. you will need to increase throttle or the craft will lose altitude fast. you need to pitch the stick back to re-level the craft. most experienced quadcopters guys fly this way as it give greater control but it will feel uncontrollable if you've never flown a quad before.
in normal mode you kinda get the behaviour you were expecting.. pitch forward & release the stick & the craft auto-levels but it will slowly drift to a halt. i would have thought this would be the default setting as it is the easiest way to learn. it won't stop dead on the release of the stick though... it will hover flat drifting with the momentum of the move until friction stops it.
to get it to stop immediately when you release the stick can be done with flight controllers that can be programmed ... but i don't think you can do it with these cheap rtf copters. it can also be done easily with any flight controller that has gps (called position lock).
thanks demon, the controller that came with it has "mode" sort of button that does, well nothing :P
Appreciate the explanation there. I will try the manual for working out the modes.
I just assumed the different modes was different dual rates but not different behaviour.
My old man will definitely need the less aerobatic mode.
doh! that sucks! i would have no chance trying to learn on a fully manual non-levelling mode... i can handle it now after months of training muscle memory for quick response but when i was totally noob i couldn't fly a quad for more than a few seconds in non-levelling mode!
with the mode button on the tx... does it change anything on the tx lcd when you press it? a mate of mine had the wltoys v929 (another clone) & he could change the mode during flight with a mode button on the tx. on the lcd it would cycle thru modes 10%, 30%, 60% & 100%. 10% is noob mode. 100% is acrobatic. but yer... the blade mqx could be totally different.
Nah the mode 'button' (or what looks like one) is just a template button on the RTF controller.
The dual rates button is just clicking the right gimbal in.
That's ok. As long as he starts slow it should be ok.
Once I had it hovering and clicked that it was the ground-effect causing the drift it was actually quite stable at about head-height when deadsticked.
Ermagherd. Gave it another go just to see what impact low rates would have.
How do you fly these things :)
My brain does not comprehend 4 channel helicopter flight very well, I want to bank like a plane and I just dumbthumb it.
I assume to fly like a 'real helicopter' and bank through lets say a left turn its a combination of forward attitude pitch, left roll + left yaw?
When I tried I ended up with the helicopter turning through a natural curve for about the first 1/4. Then I found it still going the same direction but going backwards and some slight opposite drift.
Oh well, not mine to keep playing around with but I think my old man is going to have a very hard time. Hopefully with no expectations of how it *should* behave he has an easier time. I didn't have much issue flying a 4-ch single-rotor heli on the sims (or a cheapy 3ch I got for free with a bent motor shaft :P)
you don't need to bank.. that's for craft that are aerodynamic ;) but banking does help when going fast & yup, it's a pitch/roll/yaw combo move. when you are cruising fairly slow... just yaw to make a turn & blip the pitch to keep forward motion. no roll required.
when i was learning to fly em line-of-sight i wouldn't even yaw.. i'd just pitch forward to go forward, roll to go left/right & pitch back to come back again.. so the front of the craft never faces me. it took me quite a while to wrap my head around flying back towards myself line-of-sight. i'd always get the roll direction backwards. with fpv that all changes & you always fly from the front.
one of my quads (with gps) has ioc (intelligent orientation control) so it no longer matters which way the craft is facing... pitch forward & it moves away from it's launch site, pitch backwards & it moves towards the launch site... etc... pretty cool as a novelty but it's really not very useful.
did the low rates make it easier to hover on the spot?
Oh also thank you demon for the tips, I'll pass them onto my dad for when he learns.
I would have suggested trying hovering, then square movements (forward, then yaw and forward again etc.) but keeping it one direction is probably simpler again for learning, good idea!
The real killer I found for me was the manual levelling.
I'll leave the quad flying to you but I'd be keen to be shown how its done sometime! I won't be out for another fly for awhile.
Due to the AS3X heading lock gyro technology, if you tilt the Blade mQX forward at 10 degrees for example, it will lock onto that forward pitch setting until you give it a counter correction to level out and stop moving.
Like the Blade mSRX or any collective pitch heli, the Blade mQX therefore requires active piloting, but not to the same extent as those harder to fly RC helicopters. My wife can fly the mQX no problem and the only other heli’s she can fly well are the micro coaxials so that’s a good indicator of how stable and easy the mQX is. On the flip side of the coin, it can fly very quickly in all directions yet remains super stable.
Oh cool. I suck so bad at flying helicopters this reviewers wife can outfly me :P haha
yup that turn in the video at 1:00-1:05 is the slight pitch forward, slight roll left, slight yaw left combo ( i think :p) i guess i found the square movements easier coz i have no other r/c background.. started with quadcopters on mode2. with fpv i had to learn to fly like with the nose (like a real pilot ;)
i just got my new gopro in the mail today so i am thinking of going out for a quick fpv flight before work tomorrow morning with my discovery. depending on the timing i might give that mungarra park reserve you linked a go :) ie: if i am running late i will just go to my local park.
(edit) if it makes ya feel any better... i can't fly r/c helicopters at all :p coaxial or otherwise.