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2009/06/22 Taking Videos from my Minimag RC Plane
π 2009-06-22 00:00 in Rc
So, first I made sure that my plane would be able to carry the extra weight imposed by the camera and be able to fly despite the possible change in CG and in the case of my camera, the added drag (it's likely you'll have to significantly retrim. It's specifically important that the plane flies as straight as possible without any input, both to get nicer videos, but also to predict where your plane is going to fly when it is too small to tell which way it's pointing or flying (more on that later).

Next, I used a long range Spektrum DX7 transmitter with dual channel and dual receiver AR7000 (giving 4 antennas and chances to receive the signal). This isn't park flying anymore, at those distances you want guaranteed control of the plane, it would suck that you can't make it turn back and come back to you. While my plane is reasonably slow speed and all foam and very unlikely to cause any personal harm or property damage due to the low kinetic energy, but you just don't want to take the chance.

Camera angle: obviously, it's important :) In my case I tried a few placements (see previous blog post)

Sometimes video looks like it was shot by a drunk person, but that's really because the video wasn't shot per se, I tried to fly the plane over the target the best I could from a fair distance.
The problems were twofold: first from a distance, it's hard to tell whether you're anywhere above your target, not not. Then, from a greater distance with a smallish plane, it quickly gets hard to know which way your plane is pointing. I even lost it in the sky a couple of times at Rancho when I was pushing distances.
First, I always made sure to have a full battery to start with, and a flight timed to only be half my battery capacity due to how I have to push the motor a lot more to sustain the extra weight, and also keep plenty of altitude so that I could make errors or have a chance to glide somewhere somewhat useful should I lose power (I hadn't quite planned for losing the prop like in the first Google/Shoreline video, but that one worked out quite well :)

Then, when I start to lose the plane and can't even tell which way it's pointing, I do gentle turns to raise a wing, making the plane more visible and the turn then shows me which wing is raised and which way the nose is pointing :)
(needless to say that this is somewhat pushing it a little bit, this may not work for you and you may just lose your plane into the horizon ;)

Now, given all this, it'll make more sense when I explain that given those conditions, and non live video (recorded onto SD and downloaded after landing), it is very hard to film something on purpose, so don't be too critical if you think videos were shot badly: that's because they mostly weren't shot :)

Now that this all out of the way, here are the videos and a few frames I hand picked:
First, flights around the Rancho San Antonio park:


Two of my better and more daring flights around Rancho San Antonio, shows 280, nearby neighborhoods and hiking trails.



Then, flights around Google and the Shoreline Amphitheatre:


First test flight of Google and Shoreline Amphitheatre with prop that flies off:


Better flights of google and Shoreline Amphitheatre (especially 2nd video):
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2009/06/16 Taking Videos from RC planes at Rancho San Antonio
π 2009-06-16 00:00 in Rc
One of my coworkers had thrown around the idea of attaching an Android G1 phone to an RC plane and taking a movie and GPS track. I found the idea amuzing and knew my Multiplex Minimag had enough power despite its short size, for the added weight (in RC scale, the G1 is a heavy brick :) ).
I'll skip my first flight a few days earlier where I used packing tape to attach the phone, and packing tape didn't hold at all, with the end result of the phone falling off soon after takingoff and falling from 10-15ft up to the packed dirt. Micarulously, the phone actually survived.

Anyway, I came back a few days later with another phone (an already damaged one just in case), and got a reasonable GPS track and so so video (video from the top of the plane pointing down isn't actually so great).

very professional attachment
very professional attachment

looks pretty streamlined, except for adding a *lot* of weight :)
looks pretty streamlined, except for adding a *lot* of weight :)


seemed lke the natural place to put the GoPro camera, but it picked up the prop
seemed lke the natural place to put the GoPro camera, but it picked up the prop


this was actually a better place thanks to the extra clearance I got from the big wheels
this was actually a better place thanks to the extra clearance I got from the big wheels

First two flights recorded from the Android G1:

gps track of flight #1 and gps track of flight #2



Flights recorded from the GoPro camera, pointing forward (above and under the nose):

(Yes, the lines on the first video are due to partial every X line recording from the camera capturing pieces of the prop, doesn't look so good...)

Flights recorded from the GoPro camera, pointing down and back:

The camera pointing forward and down actually doesn't look that good, I angled it too much. The camera pointing back gives a nicer few, all the way up to where I crashed when the battery crapped out and the plane went out of view (below the ridgeline), so I wasn't able to glide it to a safe landing :(

2009/06/14 More Rancho San Antonio Flying
π 2009-06-14 00:00 in Rc
I recently found out that not so many people come flying on weekends, especially the afternoon when I typically show up, both because the winds are higher, and because there are too many tourists who get in the way and/or stand on the "runway" :)
But I didn't know that people show up in the morning on weekdays and come flying every day while others are going to work :)

Some people bring nice planes
Some people bring nice planes

A gyro plane
A gyro plane

Ok, some have better collections than me :)
Ok, some have better collections than me :)

this one is quite nice
this one is quite nice


See more images for More Rancho San Antonio Flying
2009/06/14 Bought and Built Multiplex ParkMaster 3D RC Plane
π 2009-06-14 00:00 in Rc
Daniel tricked me into getting a new RC plane, well, at least that's my story :)
Building was not too bad, the control surfaces are huge, and the overall build was well designed and worked well.

I felt a bit weird that the wing of a high G 3D plane come in 2 pieces
I felt a bit weird that the wing of a high G 3D plane come in 2 pieces

but a good gluing surface and carbon spar for strength helped
but a good gluing surface and carbon spar for strength helped

I thought the parkmaster was small, it's actually bigger than my minimag
I thought the parkmaster was small, it's actually bigger than my minimag

maiden flight
maiden flight

Unfortunately, on my first video'ed flight, in high wind, I found out my DX7 just wasn't programmed properly for the plane: in dual rate mode, a stick throw gave so much deflection and authority that the plane turned all the way left, and then right, and then crashed :)

maiden flight video
maiden flight video

This was later quickly fixed by putting my exponential rates to 80% so that I don't get so much deflection on partial stick throws. In a later flight in calmer winds I actually did much better, including a little bit of harrier and knife edge.

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