Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Back to the RC stuff for a minute

still playing with toys just so you know, and wanted to fill in some info from previous posts.

Heres a pic from 60’AGL. This is a screenshot from a video, so the prop is ‘visible’.

Note the date, this is from over a year ago, and the ship has changed a tad since then. She was a flat topped .9meter Cessna styled highwing trainer, now, she is a bipe with some extras to increase lift (and allow slower flights without stalling.)

(You can embiggen the pic and see where I added vortex generators on the upper wing. She nearly floats in the air with all the additions.)

The camera system in use then was a wifi type 720p camera. Good stuff, but severely lacking in range: 330′ was max,and that was away from everything else. Get near a wifi source and that range halved or worse. Boosting the signal was out because wifi operates on 2.4ghz, which is the same freq the transmitter for the controls works on. Transmitting video from the ship sometimes overrode the signal from the ground, and, well, you get the picture. There was also roughly 100ms latency for the FPV side of things, and when your ship is cruising along around 30nm/h, your view was from quite ways back from reality. Never caused a crash itself, but the potential is definitely there. (My down in flames were mostly signal loss and the ever present pilot error. Flying third person from the ground has some challenges to say the least.)

Now, I do have a simple FPVset up, not wifi, but running 5.8ghz. Due to regs, I am only pushing 25mw, which,so far is about 1000′ range. The latency is microscopic at about 5-10ms. Its still there, but able to be adapted to pretty readily.(simple calculations put traveled area vs projected view at only a few feet. Easy to correct for.) It is weak enough that I need to maintain LOS (line of sight) or I get break up and even drop outs. It recovers quickly, but that can get nervewracking in a tree covered area. It also does not have a record feature, so my flights are unrecorded,hence the old image for ya all. There are higher powered units available, but a HAM licence is needed. (I’m working on that too.)

I have not setup for headtracking as yet, that is a whole nother animal, and quite a bit more cash involved. There are some digital options there,but they isolate sections of viewed area and only track within that scene, not true 180° rotation. With a camera using 120°lenses, I’d only need a 60°sweep for full pan with a real system. This is easily doable with most servos, but that is another channel for the radio,tilt would another, and power for both camera/transmitter, so you can see things start getting a little crowded under the hood. I will likely hold off on all of that until I have a larger plane, more lift for more battery, and gear. (Note, there are some seriously kick ass systems out, that have GPS nav, programming for Auto pilot, return to home/base if signal loss, full featured instruments like airspeed, groundspeed, artificial horizon, altitude, vertical speed indicators, g meters, power/fuel levels, temps for motor, battery, processor, and all overlaid in the goggles/station screen. Wild and cool,and really not as pricey as one would think.) (The gentle lady I built could handle a small system, but being rudder/elevator only, I’ll pass. I haven’t even trial flown her yet due to technical issues I haven’t addressed yet. (Fried receiver if you must know.) )

Yeah, I’m thinking at least 2 meter span with a rear-facing and folding prop, big enough for soaring once at altitude, and still able to carry an extra 8 ounces of gear for the fpv. Batteries are the biggest part of all the equations.

One little tidbit: if you are prone to motion sickness, do not even think about trying FPV flying. It will have you heaving your guts within the first 30 seconds of flight. The takeoff in RC tends to be a lot more reactive than even a small light aircraft, simply due to scale. That translates to seemingly violent maneuvers in view, even if they are moderately sedate in action. Once fully airborn, things settle down and that is also in scale, as distance opens up. Trust me, if you get even a little ill feeling riding a rollercoaster, avoid FPV. I shared a video from my wifi camera with a friend and he was getting ill watching it. It doesnt phase me at all, and I even have a sim I ‘fly’ in first person using the goggles and it doesn’t bother me no matter how squirrelly I get things. Guess many many first person shooter games as a kid helps.

Now, why am I posting this. I want to think of it as an extra prep. Yeah, its fun, but more importantly, its a way of expanding ones information system on their surroundings. If you can fly a pattern over a 1/2 mile radius at 1000′ and see whats going on, you have more information than trying to ‘listen’ in the same area. Even a 2 meter wingspan at 500′ agl, looks a whole lot like a turkey vulture when viewed from the ground. Keep the color scheme of a TV, and no one would know for certain except the pilot and ground crew. (Side note, a guy in California has ‘copied’ turkey vultures, seagulls, and pelican, to make some really cool RC sailplanes. The TV one looks damned real even from 20′.) Now, while I can’t say we will need such, it cant hurt to have it around. For a rancher, it could make finding the herd easy-peasy. From a small unit standpoint, an eye in the sky with information flowing from a central point would be a force multiplier. I realize that jamming these things is likely fairly easy, but it would need to be known about first. Keep it high, and small, and secrecy is much easier. (Small being figurative. 2m wings aint small in person, but distance makes ’em so.)

Just sayin’.

(Heres the funny for ya. When I first started writing my story about Gamer and Tick-tock, I was clueless about the tech now out there. There are guys (youtube Flighttest) that have remote cabins built into pod styled trailers with full controls and widescreen monitors. The weakest link they deal with is in the planes power system as the trailer has far more power available than some dinky Lipo battery. They can even set up a tracking antenna system to narrow the power they need. Yeah, I learned enough about what I didn’t know when I started writing that, that I would have had to scrap 90% of it and start over. . .

Why bother when my ‘fiction’ is now someone’s reality (minus missile systems and autocannons of course.) )


3 responses

  1. Nice setup.

    June 3, 2018 at 11:20 am

    • Its fun for certain, but even fun can be daggum useful. I know of one small outfit near here that hires out a drone/pilot for large property inspections. Of course, the drone they use is one of the high dollar ones, not a wallyworld special.
      Saw something briefly that the feds are wanting tighter legislation on drones. Not sure what the intent or writing is, but it may not be a bad idea to start grabbing up some of the components now, as yet another prep.

      June 6, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      • Forgot to mention, I choose fixed wing for efficiency in flight over the quadcopters. One ‘engine’ instead of four, and depending on conditions, that can be throttled back quite a bit, especially with a large wing area like a soaring plane. Granted, the quads can deliver a super stable platform, but flight times tend towards quite small in comparison.

        June 6, 2018 at 9:36 pm

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