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the prefect platform for aerial photography

Old 07-27-2006, 05:40 PM
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Default the prefect platform for aerial photography

Over the past few years I have used many different model planes as camera and uav platforms.
Like:
--The Wright flyer 60 trainer
--The sig kadet senior
--The telmaster

All of these are good deigns in there own rite.
Not wanting to start a debate but here are the hits and misses of each.
When considering it for a camera plane or a uav platform.
Please note I am not considering the normal alterations and mods that I make to a plane to convert it into a uav or a camera platform, just general all-around fit and feel of the model during its use.

1. The Wright flyer 60 trainer.

Hits:
--Well built takes the punishment of hard landings.
--good all-around trainer and fun fly plane.
--good layout of servo locations and pushrod channels.
--good solid fuse to mount cameras and antennas

Misses:
--heavy, needs to have a bit larger wing.
--limited range do to weight and short glide path.
--after you install all of your standard electronics you will be limited on space inside the fuse.
--very weak nose gear that comes with the arf you will need to modify it.
--flies a little fast when loaded with equipment 4 or 5 lbs or so.
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:42 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

2. The sig kadet senior

Hits:
--Well built wing deign, easy to setup and install at the field.
--good trainer, low wing load can carry a good bit of lbs.
--good large control surfaces for better control at low speeds.
--most of the covering is somewhat transparent so it is easy to see if rigging and connections are correct with out removing wing after each flight.

Misses:
--lite ply construction, needs a lot of reinforcement to survive a hard landings.
--the landing gear that comes with the model is very weak for this large an arf.
Replace it..
--a bit hard to fly in a stiff wind.
Old 07-27-2006, 05:49 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

3. The senior telemaster

Hits:
--grate flyer, like it is on rails
--good gear and hardware with kit
--good space for equipment and electronics.
--easy to get to fuel tank and servos

Misses:
--covering is a bit loose always needs to be looked at, it slowly becomes unstuck from the bas and it self.
--wing mounting is not well setup, the slots and brasses have a lot of play and the rubber band mounting is not adequate (posts are very short) you must use the wing struts on the wings at all times.
--this plane is a flying advertisement for hobby lobby, the decals’ are easily removed if need be
--you are limited to a small fuel tank. The inner dimension of the fuse are the issue here.
I ended up using a home made drop tank of sorts for longer flights on the one that I built

Old 07-27-2006, 06:00 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

I finally have found a model from
CEDARHOBBIES
that solves all the issues of the other kits out there. Basing on the use as a camera system platform.
The Lift Master is a gigantic trainer based ARF with a 100” wing span and a cavernous fuselage that can take any equipment setup that you can come up with.
The plane even comes with two fuel tanks for extended flight time.
This thing is the prefect platform for aerial photography.
I am building one up now. I hope to have it ready to fly in a few weeks.
I will be posting picts as I go.
Just how big is this plane? Take a look below. No that’s not a 46fx its an OS 160 with a BCM muffler turning an 18x10 prop. Yes the aluminum gear and tail wheel setup come with the kit the wheel are of my doing but the supplied ones are fine as well.
below are a few picts of the work at hand.
more to come...


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Old 07-28-2006, 12:01 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

I sure like the lift master, how are the reviews on it as far as quality of construction and flying?

Dave
Old 07-28-2006, 01:10 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

I've been thinking of the Nitromodels Cessena Skymaster 337 for some quick conversion. Leave the front engine off and install a quality ccd box camera on a gimble instead of the motor. Just add a larger pusher motor.
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Old 07-31-2006, 12:05 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Dave:
I will have the one I am building on a test flight some time next week.
So far this plane is a real find it is well made and looks like it will be a good flier.
Just like with any plane this large you will need a large space to put it together, not to mention you will need to take your time building it.
I have added a bit of reinforcement, but I always modify a few bits on every plane I build so I can set it up my way.

I will put a few more Pict's up on the build this evening.

PS. if you want one of these you need to get it from cedar hobbies soon , Neal is going to be running low on them so if you do not want to weight for the next shipment you need to give them a call.
Old 07-31-2006, 12:30 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Dean:
I just finished a tiger moth and a long easy from Nitromodels for a Friend out at the feild.
I personally was not impressed with the quality of the kits.
Don't get me wrong nitromodels makes a good looking kit but on both the planes that I had to reglue a good bit of the joints in the fuse as well as a lot of sanding and cutting to get the wings to fit correctly on both planes.

these are what you call narfs not arfs.
Old 07-31-2006, 03:51 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Hey thanks Steve,
I saw a P-38 from them in pretty bad shap but I thought it was the builder/assembler....a newbie. I guess I was wrong. Next time I see the guy I'll be sure to give him a compliment for doing such a good job!
Old 08-02-2006, 10:23 AM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

As you can see from the picts below I am getting close to having the fuse and wings ready. The tail wheel linkage is a bit tricky. I made a control rod from a 5/16 wood rod with 256 steal ends. I had to use a gear strap and a wood block as a guild for the control rod to get the slop out. It seems to word well.
I am going to put the receiver and batteries just behind the fuel tanks in the forward bay in the fuse. Now I need to do some mods to the inside of the main wings so I can get the POA. tube and the yaw and tilt sense mounted in opposite ends of the structure of the wing.
This is a list of the toys that are going in this big bird.
1. OSD GPS and control telemetry unit
2. 1 watt 2.4GHz video transmitter
3. two 600 line resolution cameras, one on a tilt control and one pointing down from the tail of the plane.
4. BTA auto pilot with altitude hold and wave point tracking
5. air to ground transponder
6. on board generator driven by engine
7. on board fuel heaters and glow driver
8. LNA and notch filter for rc receiver for long range control of the rc system

This should give me a range of about 50 miles or so with the high gain tracking on the ground station setup.

Please note that this plane will be used as a test bed for this 3rd generation fly by video system. I always fallow FAA and NSA rules and regs when operating these aircraft in FAA air space when flying beyond the range of an AMA sanctioned field.

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Old 08-04-2006, 02:50 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

I am trying to finish the RC gear installation this week.
here are a few picts of the on-board glow wiring and switch placement.
due to being out of Town this week I will continue with the video equipment installation on Thursday of next week.
during initial test of the OSD found issue with the zero function of the gps altitude. Looks to be a code issue.
Need to let Kennith re-flash the pic.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:21 AM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Did range test on the video transmitter today.
getting about 4.5miles on the ground.
Looks like i can start putting the system together in the plane on Friday.
Old 08-15-2006, 04:44 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Today I setup the onboard power system.
For the RC equipment I am using two 4.8 volt 2 Amp ni-mh batteries.
I have a battery monitoring circuit (Kguard) that connects both batteries to my receiver, it monitors the voltage level of the batteries with a bright led and a loud buzzer that can be heard over the mic on the video system.

The on-board glow drive is powered by a 1.2 volt 4 Amp ni-mh battery.
I can control it with an e-switch on my transmitter. (jamco unit)

The video system is powered by two lithium polymer 12.6 volt 3 Amp 15c packs.
The switch for the video system will be a pull wire in the side of the plane behind the main wing.

Tonight I will start the installation of the receiver and the video transmitter system.

For now here are some picts of the work at hand.
cheers
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:07 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Steve,
I assume that the on board generator is going to charge batteries. Which are you going to charge and how are you going to regulate the voltage etc ? You also so mentioned that that you are using a transponder, what data are you passing with that ?
Build looks great, I cannot we to hear how the Lift Meister does with a payload and see the videos.
Great job with the install and thanks for the info, I for one am reading all your updates...
Old 08-16-2006, 01:16 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

dzbum:
The on board generator will be used to recharge the 4.8 volt packs and the glow driver battery. I have a voltage regulator system that I have used many times it is rock sold.
It will charge the battery not in use at that time when the battery is fully charged it will shut off and then charge the other battery. The batterie in the glow driver circuit will only be charging when the drive is in the off position.

The transponder is going to send out a call sign and location beak-en along with range and other flight data from the plane.

I am taking my time on building this one to document it. The idea is to use the lift master as the main platform for all of our equipment testing.

I am hopeing to get it out to the field on Sunday if all goses well.
Old 08-21-2006, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Finished installing the radio equipment as you can see from the first pict.
Now for the video equipment first I had to modify a few cables for proper length.
In the past smaller planes made installation snug but I usually never had to add additional cabling like in this big bird.

For the camera and the mount I used a whether resistant tube camera with 600 line res and aluminum strap (and dens foam padding) to make the fixed forward mounted cam.
The mount was setup to give to best view for flying the plane.
An additional cam will be added near the tail of the plane for a look at the ground a little later.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:47 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

To help with the CG I mounted the antenna and the gps in the back or aft of the fuse.
(note: that I added a bit of additional support for the antenna as it will be under a lot of stress due to wind drag and vibration)
Note: If you decide to use the garmen gps 18 lv remember to use only the large red, black and the white and green leads form the harness. The yellow and the 2 thin black leads are for operation of different functions during programming the unit. You will need to add a 5 volt regulator to your parts list also as the unit can not be connected to the 12.6 volt battery with out it.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:51 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

The osd unit adds the gps and alarm info to the video image it also turns on the auto pilot when video signal is lost and or when the plane becomes out of range of the rc transmitter. The unit also has an altitude zeroing function that sets the altitude to zero prier to take off.

The picts below show the modified osd unit and the modified video transmitter along with the supporting bit mounted in the plane. Pleas note looks can be very deceiving as I modified the circuitry of the video transmitter with a notch filter and a crystal controlled loop circuit to stop rf signal drift and to drastically improve the range. The osd unit now contains a relay control board and a TTL controllable servo board to work with the auto pilot unit.

The ground test look go so fare . Do the heavy rain Sunday I was not able to test fly the plane. I will get it in the air at the next window of opportunity.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:55 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

The microphone is mounted as fare back in the area as I can get it.
As I don’t want the sound of the big 160 to drowned out the important sounds like the out of range alert and low battery chime. This location can be seen in the last pict in the above post. the pict below shows the camera select rc switching unit. a must have for using more than one camera.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:01 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Here is an example of a ground station setup.
(This one is for Neil. Should be shipping out Tuesday. The LNA arrived here this morning)
The box attached to the bottom of the receiver is to house battery packs and a charging circuit. The yellow led is to indicate charging (switch down) and the red led indicates power on to the equipment. (switch up) The gray and white cable terminated with a 2.1 mm power jack connect too the receiver. The long black cable connects to the LNA and the red and black twisted pair cable are to be connected to and additional battery pack if needed. A typical rc servo connection is also provide for charging the battery for the LNA (4.8volts).
The receiver has two notch filters added to it as well as a signal sensing circuit to prevent multipath issues and to keep noise to a minimum.
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:26 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Very interesting Steve...I am watching closely What A/V TX are you using?

Mike
Old 08-30-2006, 05:27 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Skycam41:
I am using a modified lawmate, 1 watt transmitter.
It is sold under a number of names here in the states.
Old 09-04-2006, 01:08 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

A day off from work maybe I can finally get some real work done on this.
Did a run in on the engine today at about 1/2 throttle and with all equipment on ran the hole system till the fuel gave out.
RC gear batteries are still at 75%.
Video system is at 83%,
the on-board glow battery is at 70%,
no electrical problem at this point.
The total run time was 2 hours and 26min on about 38 ounces of fuel not bad for a 160 two stroke.
I will put up some Pict in a few days showing the video display and the camera mounting point views.
have a good holiday everyone.
cheers
Old 09-10-2006, 09:23 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

This morning I finally got to test fly the lift-master.
The first flight went well the only issue was a large amount of trim to get the plane to fly strait and true.
The problem I found was that the wing had shifted during flight.
Other than that the plane flow very well.
I will post picts in a day or so.

The next flight will be with the video system up and running later this week.
If all goes well, I hope test the system out at high altitude next weekend.



Old 09-10-2006, 10:55 PM
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Default RE: the prefect platform for aerial photography

Steve,
are you using the wing struts in your set up ?

Dz

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