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Flying above 300 feet

Old 09-01-2007, 02:08 PM
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Old Man Mike
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Default Flying above 300 feet

After several attempts to break the 300 foot level, I'm ready to start looking around for something to help with the seeing. Ideas which have been discussed are:

1) Adding large colored skids

Problem: Skids large enough to really help are going to catch a lot of wind and/or add significant weight

2) Spotter friend with binoculars to call out orientation

Problem: I fly alone

3) Head mounted monocular.

Problem: Finding one. Not sure how the loss of depth perception would effect things. I don't think a head mounted binocular would be good because of the potential to loose sight of the DF during ascent or descent.

Anyone have any other ideas or know where I could buy an appropriate monocular?

Thanks,

Mike
Old 09-01-2007, 03:34 PM
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

Mike,

You are correct about using head mounted binoculars. I purchased a pair of glasses which had the binoculars built into them. Even though they allowed me to more easily view the Draganflyer at greater distances, the problem is with the narrow peripheral vision. With the narrow peripheral vision you are not aware of the amount of horizontally movement, especially when you are only seeing blue sky. I was flying at around 400’ with the glasses and did not realize the Draganflyer was drifting horizontally. By the time I removed the glasses the Draganflyer had totally drifted across the park and was too far away to maintain visual flight orientation. I had to just cut the power and let it come crashing down.
Old 09-01-2007, 07:24 PM
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

ORIGINAL: Old Man Mike
1) Adding large colored skids
2) Spotter friend with binoculars to call out orientation
3) Head mounted monocular.
4) T-Rex!
5) Maxi-Joker!
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:04 PM
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Old Man Mike
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet


ORIGINAL: BB_DF

ORIGINAL: Old Man Mike
1) Adding large colored skids
2) Spotter friend with binoculars to call out orientation
3) Head mounted monocular.
4) T-Rex!
5) Maxi-Joker!
Or maybe we keep increasing the Draganflyer payload capacity until it can carry up a T-Rex with it's large bright color skids hanging below.

(kinda like those little tugboats in the harbor pulling the monster boats)

Mike
Old 09-01-2007, 11:34 PM
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Sky High
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

The problem that I see is that the DF's incredibly small CF tubing and the rotor discs begin to disappear into the sky past 200' with only a glimmer in the sun, if you're lucky, to reassure you of its orientation. I don't think the DF or any design similar to it is going to be easy to fly for extended periods with absolute control at 300+ ft without auto stabilization better than Ti in addition to something like GPS and altitude position hold.
Old 09-01-2007, 11:48 PM
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

Mike,

With all seriousness aside... If something is not large enough to see clearly at altitude, then perhaps there are other ways to make it appear larger. So let's address this logically. Since there's a problem with wind affecting any kind of sizeable outriggers, the choices are limited, but not nil. My next attempt would be to use something like 4 orange ping-pong balls extended out a foot or two on some very thin CF rods. This creates a virtual square, which makes it surprisingly easy to judge the attitude of the device, and shouldn't create too much wind resistance or weight, especially with the new BL conversion.

Secondly, one must learn some nuances in flying techniques. There were some new GPS-based attitude indicators that came out a few years ago and for the life of me I couldn't figure out they could use GPS data to show whether the wings were level or not! Then it dawned on me: YOU CANNOT VARY YOUR ATTITUDE WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR DIRECTION! And vice versa. They just use GPS data to figure out that your course is not a straight line and THEREFORE YOUR WINGS ARE NOT LEVEL!

This directly relates to flying high AP hovering maneuvers. You're staring at your gizmo way the heck up there, and very nervous about the situation in general. Just relax. Have some faith. All you have to know is where the nose is pointing, and if you see it start to drift off in one direction or another, it is telling you that its attitude is no longer level, or there's some wind. Just correct for the drift and it will take care of the camera leveling.

I used this technique with the T600 before I installed the stabilization computer, and believe me, the 600 is a lot more skittish than the DF!

Cheers,
Bruce
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Old 09-02-2007, 12:13 AM
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Sky High
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

ORIGINAL: Old Man Mike

Or maybe we keep increasing the Draganflyer payload capacity until it can carry up a T-Rex with it's large bright color skids hanging below.

(kinda like those little tugboats in the harbor pulling the monster boats)
I forgot to reply to this one. So here goes, BAHAHAHA! Never mess with a pilot with more rotors than you, right Mike?

ORIGINAL: BB_DF

... All you have to know is where the nose is pointing, and if you see it start to drift off in one direction or another, it is telling you that its attitude is no longer level, or there's some wind. Just correct for the drift and it will take care of the camera leveling.
That is true, but if you can't see the nose then you don't know when to react to correct. I usually stand directly underneath the DF when flying really high. I use a green nose LED and a white or blue tail LED that fire straight down so, like you said, there's no thought as to where the nose and tail are even though I can barely see the DF. When I see it drift, I gently apply opposite stick or trim to neutralize the drift. What you really have to learn with the DF at high altitudes is that if you overcorrect too much once and then again and begin to pendulate up there, you're in real trouble. So, very subtle corrections are very important with the DF at high altitudes.
Old 09-02-2007, 12:18 AM
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Old Man Mike
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

BB: Good idea with the Orange ping-pong balls but I think it is going to take something much bigger. I would be comfortable adding up to 1/2 pound for some sort of extended frame that would:

1) Triple the visible footprint
2) Provide additional hard landing protection by absorbing the shock and/or adding air resistance during the fall.

One thing I've been surprised about is that the dayglow green is more visible than the dayglow pink. I thought the pink would show up more against a blue sky but that does not appear to be the case. Maybe it is because our eyes are peaked in the center of the spectrum.


SKY: Altitude hold should be fairly easy to add to the brushless design because of the extra throttle control at the ESC. I've also been thinking a lot about how to add a GPS hold. A GPS module and a Basic Stamp board might be able to do most of the job for around $100. The problem I keep coming back to is determining the compass heading so that the processor can steer in the correct direction for the target. There are compass modules that interface to the Stamps but I think the motors would make it ineffective. I've even considered adding some mu-metal shielding to the motors but that stuff is really heavy. I guess you could get by without the compass by doing small guess movements and then correcting based on the new GPS position. It just seems that would add a lot of unnecessary movement. Or maybe there is a much easier solution that I am missing. Certainly the Germans have been successful doing it.

Mike

Old 09-02-2007, 12:23 AM
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Default RE: Flying above 300 feet

I just thought about this when you mentioned the colored balls in contrast with the sky. Has anyone tried flying with those special sunglasses that polarize the light and significantly reduce the blue? That might make all the difference in the world and the DF might show up really well at high altitudes while wearing them.

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