Up, up and away…
I did that, and filmed it, but the bit I liked most was the journey ‘down, down, and back home’, where I had some battery pack to spare, so took a leisurely parade above the tree tops as I made my descent from a 400 ft pan, which the H handled flawlessly despite a constant stiff headwind. Nailed to the sky again, which is always nice.
That Old Cricket Ground…
As regular readers will know, Petersfield Heath Cricket Ground is my default practice ground, where I have town council permission to fly, except during matches, and the topography of the land makes it ideal for all sorts of multirotor tests. But although I did use the wide open space for some exciting auto-missions and orbit tests, today I wanted to explore the tree-line a bit more – not too close, but just a gentle forward tracking glide and a fairly steep angle down for the camera… as this is only flight 42 on the H I kept it higher than I will in the future to be absolutely sure there was no big blocks of tree between my aerials and the controller at any point – as it happens both control and video systems were drop-out free for the entire session, as was GPS.
One long shot…
My piloting is getting to the point now where most corners are quite smooth, and with the odd exception, this is giving us much longer clip times. So this episode is a little break from my normal style, and the whole video is one continuous shot, complete with slightly ropey cornering in places :) Still, we are at half speed, using DaVinci Resolve’s excellent Optical flow frame interpolation to keep things ultra smooth at 30FPS.
New Kit Alert – the Big Orange H
My landing pad, ordered from Germany, but now having been round the world twice on its way to me finally cleared customs, and was delivered yesterday. Excellent thing to have, that – very visible from the air, perfect for taking off from long grass or dusty / sandy surfaces, and collapses down to a quarter of its unsprung size, and fits in its own bag, which attaches to the main Hex Case. Very pleased with that – cost £8.99 from GearBest.com, and appears to be identical to models I’ve seen costing £100 ! Perhaps it will all collapse after 4 flights :) It’s blue on the other side, for when you need to stand out from sand, otherwise the orange and white is great for grass and foliage. It even comes with 3 mini tent pegs to hold it down in the wind.
New Kit Alert
Testing out some Neewer Neutral Density Filters for the H. I currently have an ND4, and ND8, and an ND16, which will enable me to get my shutter speeds down to 1/120 of a second, which gives ultimately smooth pans at 60 FPS, or to 1/60 second, which is perfect for 30FPS for when I am shooting 4K, for later downstepping to 1080P. They are not on for this flight, as the light has almost gone, so shutter speeds are great without them… but there’s some daytime flights coming soon, so I’ll crack them out then, and see how we do…
To Expo or not to Expo
My flights with the H are definitely smoother now I have adjusted rates / expo for Rudder, Aileron and Elevator, but I think there is still some room for improvement. Despite frequent calibration my aileron sometimes returns to +/-1% at center, and this was causing my landing drift because the craft thought I was inputting when I was at centre. The quick fix was to gently stir the right stick, which almost always resets it to true center, but ultimately I will have to find a way to clean that pot, as any sticking is usually solved by that step. In the meantime I can eradicate even having to stir the right stick by just setting my aileron rates to stay at 0 for the first 5% of stick travel, which sorts that drift problem right out any time the stick centres to anything other than 0, so much so that it’s almost never a problem any more.
As has been the case since I started flying the H, as I grow to understand the behaviour and responses of this craft more and more my confidence in it rises, which is making flying considerably less stressful than it was a few short weeks ago. Long may that continue !
Last thing I want to mention and publicize today is UAVForecast.com, the single most useful resource there is for UAV pilots wanting to know if they are good to fly on that day – all the information we need is there – from cloud cover to KP index, from precipitation likelihood to gusting wind speed, and all manner of things in between, AND a map with all the no-fly zones and airports marked, so even more helpful in preflight planning, before you even leave the house !
See you next time