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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Blog

Short Cuts

Short Cuts

Eventful flyings !

Having missed golden hour twice this week, I was a  bit more resolute to go and get it today, so headed up to Harting Down for about 7.30pm, and there it was.

Here I had hoped to do some 1000 ft flight tests on the old hex, and had a veritable arsenal of batteries with me, ready to be put through their paces in what I thought was going to be some rather rewarding evening flights…

The Trees

The Trees

The Valley...

The Valley…

The down

The down

Return to what ?

The grass on the hill from where I would normally launch was very long, and would cause my gimbal to bind, and there are reports of big Naza GPS problems if you try and take off from the roof of a car, so I went for an area of car park close to the edge of the grass, and launched from there, making sure I had a full GPS home position register sequence before I took off.

I completed a decent first flight (nothing too high, as first of day), and was just coming up for 6 mins on the timer (brand new Turnigy hardcase 7200 mAh) when I remembered that I’d had to abort an RTH attempt during my massively windy flight on Elsted common last week.

I thought that needed testing again, so parked my hex over the far side of the field, about 10 m up, and manually kicked off RTH watching closely so I could see what it did.

And exactly as hoped for, it raised itself 20 m and dutifully flew home to me. Of course as I needed to land, immediately people and dogs appeared, so I interrupted the RTH, hovered about 15m up, and waited for them to go. And that’s when my RC transmitter died, and GPS lock decided to go flakey. Before I even registered that my TX had powered down, the craft went back into RTH, climbed again to 20 m, and began to descend tediously slowly in the prevailing wind.

I now realised my TX was dead and that restarting lasted 5 seconds before it died again, so I knew to just leave it and wait for the Naza to land itself.

Oh dear.

But it wasn’t landing in the right place… because GPS is only accurate to 2m, I could see it was now coming straight down on top of a wooden post protruding only a foot from the ground, but which I thought would cause nothing good should the 2 make contact. So with the craft only 2 m from landing I chose to intervene, and push it out of the way of the post. I grabbed its landing gear and succeeded in holding it off position until it was just 0.6m from the ground, when I thought I would withdraw before it could go low enough to contact props with my arms. This was a mistake, as it immediately tilted itself towards me to try and get back to its original trajectory, and I didn’t get my left hand out fast enough. But down it went, undamaged but for losing the tip of a single propeller.

Concerned as I was with how the craft was doing, I didn’t immediately notice that my hand was covered in blood, or that I had cut myself to the knuckles in 3 places and ripped the skin between thumb and forefinger.

Oh dear

Less of that please.

I sought help, and  a nearby couple were kind enough to wrap my hand in 5 KFC hygiene wipes, on top of which I placed a fingerless glove to keep it all together while I packed up and drove home. Once home and cleaned up, I see I have been extremely lucky that my career as a musician has not been cut permanently and prematurely short. Thank goodness for Carbon Fibre props, which have relatively smooth, blunt edges. If I’d had Graupners on there, I would have lost fingers I am sure. So lessons learned there then.

Today’s Lessons

  • Don’t take off within 5m of any short posts you hadn’t really noticed before.
  • Don’t trust AA rechargeable batteries when they are registering 2 out of 3 charge at the beginning of the session, or have been fast-charged to only 2/3 of their capacity and will run out quickly, and sooner than you expect. If I’m honest, I should probably get that whole 8 cell AA battery pack outta there and just fit a Deans and use a 3S LiPo.

Over shoulder TV holder

My £11.99 shoulder mount arrived from HobbyKing, and is a surprisingly sturdy bit of kit. I say sturdy, that isn’t the same as well made – though it’s functional, and at this price, there’s really nothing to whinge about. It’s pretty comfortable to wear, does hold the monitor where you want it, but I shall leave any review of it until a day when its use isn’t being eclipsed by other events :)

Ok dokey, rechargings and flyings again today then ! A few little cuts I have to say were worth the view from the ground and in the air. Wish I could have stayed for more flights.

Beautiful cloud-banks, no matter where you look...

Beautiful cloud-banks, no matter where you look…

Epic Clouds and sun combo. Wish I could have done more here, then.

Epic Clouds and sun combo. Wish I could have done more here, then.