A practical approach to RC planes
September 26, 2014Posted by on
Next weekend BackyardRC is moving to a new home. We found a great farmhouse out in rural PA. Over the past few weeks I have been working to clean up and setup our awesome new shop. But more to come on that soon.
Today I found some time to enjoy the perfect weather and get in a few FPV flights on the farm. The first flight was somewhat standard. I just put on a new set of props and it’s clear that they weren’t balanced.
During the second flight I started to get a bit more aggressive. Pushing the little quad into some tighter spaces and exploring some new nights. I’m pretty sure that during this flight I hit a new high altitude this quadcopter. The hight really helps illustrate the beauty of central Pennsylvania. I am truly lucky to live here.
For the final flight of the day I decided to push it a bit more. There are a few times in this clip that I squeeze the little quad between tight places.
Overall I am super excited to be living in a place that I can simply step outside and fly. I’m also super excited to have a giant shop right at home. Looks for a post in the next week or two for a full introduction of the new shop. Until then get out and fly something!
PS: Flying at Shank Park tomorrow (9-1) Bring a plane and join us!
September 23, 2014Posted by on
Well I think it’s official. Sunday mornings at Shank Park are flight time with the guys. This week Viet, Chris, Ray, and I met up for a few hours of flying. The day started out a bit chilly, foggy, and damp but ended up perfect. I got 7 FPV flights in between my twinstar and blackout quad.
The first flight was with my Blackout quad was just testing the waters after a few weeks without flying. I did a few passes as Chris had his 3D biplane in the air. I’m really impressed with Chris’s skill level. For only flying for a short time he really has a strong handle on 3D.
Second flight of the day was as the fog starting to lift. Chris was flying his mini wing. Showing off with a ton of inverted flight. It might be time to challenge him to drag the vertical stabilizers on the ground 😉
Next up was the first flight with the twinstar. It was still a bit foggy and moisture built up on the lens. Even with this I still managed to get some great footage of Ray’s new Sky and Chris’s Parkzone Sukhoi SU-29MM.
Next us was a little chasing Viet’s Pandora with the twinstar. Chris fly one of his many 3D planes. All ending in am mid-air collision. No real damage inflicted. Just a little gluing needed on Chris’s 3D plane.
The fog finally clearing to blue sky and I transitioned back to the blackout quad. (A motor mount on the twinstar was loosening up) I got some great footage of Chris’s Twisted Hobbies 3D hobbies plane. And if you look closely a 3:34 Ray almost scores a goal but comes up short. Nice landing Ray!
The next flight was with the Blackout mini h quad somewhat following Chris and Viet. I get a great shot of Viet’s Freewing Pandora taking off but after that it proved a bit hard to keep up. I think the props on the mini quad had a bit too much pain inflicted and were well out of balance. There are a few times in this flight that the quad shakes hard in decent and the video is a bit wobbly throughout.
Last flight of the day with the Blackout quad. Chris playing with 3D flight while Viet was flying his Archer. We had a little crowd gather on the bench to watch us fly. I think Ray walked over to give them play by play. Always the good PR manager for the group.
In the end I had a blast with the guys this Sunday. I think this might be our new standing meet up. Sunday mornings at Sunday morning RC at Shank Park. So if you are in the area and have something RC. Come join us Sunday mornings 9-12!! Look forward to see you there!
September 23, 2014Posted by on
Saturday morning I met Viet and Ray for some flying. There were a few soccer games going on so we took it pretty easy and only got a few flights in. Viet had a tough day with two hard crashes. Both catching the same tree. He’ll be spending most of the week repairing his planes. Ray brought his quad and gave Viet a quick demo. He also got some stick time on the twinstar.
Not too much in the way of media to share. I have a short video from a test flight of my Twinstar. I had reset all the control linkages to better neutralize after the crash.
And I got two chase videos in from the Blackout quad while Viet took his planes up.
Near the end of the day the wind started to pickup and we decided to call it in for the day.
Thanks to the guys fir a great day out flying. Can’t wait until next weekend!
September 4, 2014Posted by on
This evening I met up with Ray at Shank Park. He brought his hand built quad running the AMP 2.5. I got a chance to capture some quick footage of it hovering in GPS lock mode. Ray did a great job putting it all together. The little quad was super stable and well constructed. He used an old FPV setup for some aerial video, some household items, and basic hardware to build this Über-cool mid-sized quad. I wish I snapped a picture but you’ll have to settle for the flight footage from my Blackout.
Afterwords I got in a quick test flight on my Twinstar. This was the first one after the hard hit Saturday and things were just not right. The plane wanted to bank hard to the right and down. There is going to need to be some work done to it this weekend to get it back into tip top shape.
Ray and I have plans to head out to the flying field tomorrow as well. I’m hoping to get some video of Ray’s Parkzone Beaver, weather permitting. Let the weather gods be in our favor.
Overall another relaxing evening out flying.
September 4, 2014Posted by on
My replacement ESC for the Blackout quad finally got here. So after work yesterday I quickly switched it over and headed to Shank Park for a little test flight. After a warmup run I was pushed off the field by some kids playing soccer. So I moved to the little camp fire circle surrounded by trees and it was time to put the quad through it’s paces. Hope you enjoy…
September 3, 2014Posted by on
Saturday starter out perfect. After sleeping in late there was a tall cup of black coffee ready for me. Thank you Dana!
QSOPC and I got the the field about 1:30 in the afternoon and decided to start with a little demo of the mini-P51. QSOPC had not seen it in person and I just had to share. This little thing is a rocket but also a handful to fly. It requires you to carry a ton of speed in the corners and bank hard but not too much or you’ll roll over into dive.
After a the quick demo we transitioned back to where we ended the day before. With a little streamer cutting action. But today’s results were a bit different….
On the first FPV flight of the day disaster struck. We were having a blast cutting the streamers with the props while in flight until the Twinstar pulled a full stream off the Nexstar’s wingtip, binding the left motor and causing a sharp left diving turn. The Twinstar hit with such in impact it cracked the plastic wing mount, spit the fuselage in two, and the force of the nose in impact striped the elevator servo.
While this sounds catastrophic the footage is epic! FPV streamer cutting is easily one of my new favorite challenges! ! It was to total blast and well worth the destroyed plane!
From there I decided to madden my 30 inch scratch build P51. I finished the build back in May and haven’t had the balls to fly it. The build turned out so nicely that I just didn’t want to see it crash and get beat up. But with the Twinstar out of action and the confidence of the earlier high speed mini-p51 flight I though it was high time I took it out.
Here is where I’ll pause and give a work of caution. An all black plane is difficult to see and even more difficult to judge it’s stance in the air. Stick to lighter colors that show shadows and contact of the aircrafts positioning.
About 3 minutes into the flight I was feeling super confident. The P51 was flying great and I could throttle back to a nice smooth pace unlike the mini that needs speed to keep it under control. I started to extend the simple box pattern that I was flying. Just breaking in the new plane nice and slow. Until I got about 100 yards away n a hard left bank I couldn’t tell if I had over rolled and was looking at the bottom of the plane or if I was still looking at the top. Something told me i rolled too far so I started a smooth roll back and started to pull up. Realizing too late I was inverted and pull back directly into a nose dive. Only being about 20 feet up there was no time for a correction. I found the ground with a hard thud. Luckily for me none of this was caught on camera and I can claim the sun was in my eyes or the new plane just was too uncontrollable or something like that. But the truth is it was simple pilot error that brought her down. Moral of the story. Don’t paint your plane black. And if you must give clear highlights that diferenciate the top and bottom. Lesson learned.
Not to be discouraged we went back to flying the Nexstar with streamers and my Twinstar with landing gear. All line-of-sight, no FPV here.
The second streamer flight was fairly uneventful. Just a nice solid chop after some great footage.
Next we tied on the same streamer and headed back up. About midway through the flight I managed to catch the streamer on the front gear. Fly linked together for a moment and then steal most of the streamer. It stuck to the front gear until I landed a few minutes later. Not to be outdone QSOPC decided that he would take back what he thought rightfully his… and he did. On the 4th touch and go he snagged the streamer and pulled it back up into the air! We nearly died laughing. Checkout the video!
We ended the day there with some comedy after the crashes from earlier in the day.
September 2, 2014Posted by on
What a great weekend! I hope you got in as much flying fun as I did this weekend. I headed back to my old stomping ground where I learned to fly. The Leigh Township Athletic Association’s Community Center on Delps road. QSOPC and I spent 1/2 of Friday and most of Saturday flying.
We hadn’t flown together in a while and we had a lot to catch up on. So with a car load of planes we got started. First up on Friday was the first flight test of QSOPC’s 3d printed FPV setup for the F22-28 inch.
The first flights were simply to see how the new hardware would affect flight performance and center of gravity.
We also wanted to see how the cheap 900 Mhz FPV setup from HK worked. I’m hoping to convince QSOPC to do his own full write up of the project so for now I’ll just say it’s a work in progress but looks promising!
After a few attempts we ditched the F22’s FPV gear and simply focused on getting some air-to-air footage with Twinstar 2 FPV chasing the smaller nimble F22 28 inch. You have heard me say it 100 times before but the 28 inch F22 is such a fun plane to fly. It has a ton of power for verticals, does loops and rolls with ease, and on a 3500-4000 mah 4 cell gets nearly 20 minutes of flight time!
Next up was the madden flight of F-22 40 inch with the new Tacon 46 sized motor from HobbyPartz.com. QSOPC runs this motor on his Nexstar with great results. Running an 11×6 prop he gets 18-25 minutes of flight time and easily a top speed over 50 mph all on a 6 cell battery!
In the past the 40 inch F22 had been flown on a Tacon 32 sized motor and a 4 cell battery. The plane just seemed too sluggish and just wallowed through the air. This is a great motor but just under powered for the giant wing surface. The hope was that the extra voltage of the 6 cell paired with the larger motor would result in the same performance that we have gotten to know and love on the smaller 28 inch F22.
But in the end the first flight didn’t end so well….. You can just catch it crashing deep in the corn at the end of the above clip.
Looking at the footage the tail just looks too heavy. Maybe on the battery shifted on the launch. QSOPC did a good job of saving it but in the first bank it just fell out of the sky. The damage is all in the nose and repairable but it was the end of it’s test flights for the weekend.
After the death and destruction of the F22 40 inch we decided to take it easy and video the Nexstar with some streamers on the wingtips. I’d be chasing with the trusty Twinstar 2 FPV. This is the first time we’ve tried this and it was a blast!
Overall Friday was a blast but it was only a teaser for the main event: Saturday!!
August 27, 2014Posted by on
A few weeks ago I crashed my tricopter destroying the HK KK2 board. At the time I was fed up with it and just hung it on the wall. Let it just sit there in a pool of it’s own shame. Busted. Broken. Alone. If you are a pilot you know what I am talking about.
But really I was just tired of the KK2 board just not living up to the expectations I had. Don’t get me wrong the KK2 board got my tricopter off the ground and I have over 50 flights on it. But something about it was just lacking. I always seemed to not be fully comfortable with it.
Then when I got my Blackout Mini H Quad and my perspective on flight controllers changed. I bought a CC3D and it flys great! From that point on I know the KK2 board was no longer my go-to board and I felt free to explore other options. So I left the current KK2 Tri together until the inevitable crash that always seemed to be a flight or two away occurred.
When it happened I started to look for another cheap flight controller to command my tri. I came across the Flip 1.5 from ReadyToFlyQuad.com. At $15 it is 1/2 the price of the KK2 and there is a ton of people on the web showing it working well. Even Alex from FlightTest.com uses it on his Mini H Quad.
Yesterday, after finally feeling like the tri had enough shame inflicted, I set out to configure the tri with the new flip board. But first I thought I would share how to solder on the angel pins to a PCB board. This is an often overlooked art. If not done correctly can damage or destroy your new fancy flight control board.
The first step is simple enough. Cut the angle pin cluster to length and test fit.
The next step is to remove the pins and to apply flux to the pin leads and board contact pads. Flux acts both at a cleaner and as a bond enhancer for the solder. I use a simple flux pen like this one from SparkFun.Com. If you solder and don’t use flux, start to. It make a big difference.
Step three is to reinsert the pins and solder one corner pin and stop. This will allow you to move the remaining pins to the exact 90 degree positioning without much trouble but also without fear it will move before you solder the rest.
Then finish up by soldering the rest of the pins. Be sure to use a good soldering iron with plenty of heat. You want to heat the contact points quickly before the heat transfers to the rest of the components and kills them. Keep a drop of solder on the iron to help transfer the heat and work down full rows before moving to the next to help distribute the heat.
And there you have it. Soldering is a simple thing to learn and with little practice easy to master.
With a ready Flip 1.5 I’m ready to move on to part two of the build. Programming and mounting but that will come in a later post.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.
August 26, 2014Posted by on
Here at BackyardRC we are working on a few cool things that are not ready for full posts but I couldn’t wait to share! This fall we will be unveiling a ton of cool projects. Here is your insider sneak peek!!
We love our foamboard F22’s. And now we have designed retracts for them!! Deep in testing now. The final set will be posted and uploaded to thingiverse.com soon!! While you wait get your F22 ready by building your own from out guide.
And who doesn’t want to turn their F22 into and FPV platform?
The mini 250 quads are everywhere these days. And we thought we should jump on the band wagon by designing and sharing a 3D printed version. Looks for this little racer’s post on our blog and thingiverse.com soon. And yes I will print one for you if you like. Just pay for printer time and shipping 🙂
The shop is full of a ton of other fall projects as well. We have the ongoing Flip 1.5 tricopter build, Nick’s MiniTri kit build, a 40 inch F22 6 cell project, and more 3D printed goodies to name a few. On top of it all, Chris at the Club was kind enough to give me a Twisted Hobbies Crack Yak 55 to learn to fly 3D! I can’t thank him enough. He even threw in two batteries!! Thanks Chris.
Overall we have a ton of great projects about to hit the blog. Stay tuned and get out there and fly before the summer is over!!
August 23, 2014Posted by on
Today started out simple enough. Chris called me up and told me that he lost his ParkZone Stryker in the corn field this week and asked if I could do some FPV recording to see if we could find it. So Chris and I meet at the Creamery Field around 9:00 AM. I put up the trusty Twinstar and it quickly became clear the the Stryker was not on top of the corn and would be hard to spot. But never the less we did some flyovers recording as we went. Couldn’t see anything directly with the goggles but maybe you can spot the downed plan…. If you find it post a comment!!
After the Search and Rescue flight we didn’t really feel like walking out in the wet corn so we started to fly. Chris put up his ParkZone Ultra Micro Styker (I think he missed the full sized one) and I chased him around with the Blackout Mini H Quad.
Next Chris got out one of his many 3d planes and I filmed with the mini quad. The video turned out fairly well. It was my first time following a 3d plane and I was off a bit but it still was a ton of fun.
Then a couple of other club members showed up with a bunch of cool planes and helis. I Got some footage of some 3d hell action. The power in this thing is awesome. Two 6-cells in parallel. Overcharged a bit to 50 volts. The sound and speed is just mesmerizing.
Next he took out his Curtis Youngblood Stingray. Which if you have not checked it out you have to. Fast, precise, and just wicked.
And of course it would be full day with the mini quad if I didn’t hit a plane… So only 20 seconds after takeoff I collided with Dan’s Precision Aerobatics Addiction 3d plane. Luckily I didn’t do any damage to the plane and it was back up quickly. It does make for a great closeup 🙂
The guys also had a pair of large scale 3d 85 cc planes. once again they put on a little show. Here is just a shot clid of the flights with my iPhone. Can’t wait to talk them into sicking a GoPro on the wing tip.
and the second:
Later on we took a second crack at some video of the Precision Aerobatics Addiction using the Twinstar… it was a bit harder chasing a 3d plane with a high-wing. But there are a few good passes in the footage.
The last flight of the day was the Twinstar chasing a large glider. Once again the mismatch on speed and the grey sky made it is bit hard to see but by the ned I got it down and kept the big glider in frame for a bit.
Overall a great day. A ton of action and just another reason to join a local club.