Foggy Halloween

I had to take the bike this morning and was in two minds whether to go or not. It was quite foggy and everything was damp, to the extent that you could feel it in the air. In the end I packed the flying wing into the ruck-sack and set off, but an hour and a half later and I was beginning to wish I hadn’t bothered.

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The first problem was that there was a Halloween event going on and most of the roads were closed. OK, I thought, I’ll just cycle as far as I can and then cut across through the woods. This turned into a cross country hike, but I couldn’t see where I was going because, the closer I got, the thicker the fog got. In the end I had to admit defeat and accept that even if I did get to the other side of the trees, I probably wouldn’t be able to see the aircraft to fly anyway. On the way back, though, I did get one stoke of luck in my favour. They were just about to close the bridge because of an object sighted in the river. I could see the lifeboat out in the water looking for something and I was the last person to get across the bridge before the police closed it. One minute later and that would have been a huge problem and added at least half an hour to my journey home.

Oh, well, so I didn’t fly anything, but I’ve finished the trim on the autogyro:

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You can see my old Wot4 in the background, which is where I got the idea for the star burst pattern on the tail from. The “ATOM” lettering is just cut out from solarfilm using scissors, but it looks very effective.

Also this week, we’ve got another “Done Master Class” to run at the end of November. This time it’s 16-17 year olds, so I’m thinking about using a live video feed from a micro drone in conjunction with Pix4D to do a 3D reconstruction from.

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I’ve been doing some tests with the FPV camera attached to a Depron mount on one of the “H-Frames” that we 3D printed for the last Royal Institution session. In this setup with a 380mAh LiPo I’m only getting 2 minutes 40 seconds of flight time. After some testing, I’m fairly sure that this is down to the additional weight of the FPV transmitter, which weights a phenomenal 4 grammes. That might not sound like much, but it’s around 7% of the 56g flying weight. Ideally, I would like it to weigh around 40g, but we know that the 3D printed frames are quite heavy for what they are. We need to experiment a bit more to get the weight down. When I take the 4g camera off, but leave all the Depron mount on, the flight time increases to 4 minutes 26 seconds. The camera consumes 200mA of power, but flight times with the camera attached but not plugged in (2m38s), then with it running (2m52s), are almost identical. I’ve also ruled out the aerodynamics of the Depron mount causing problems, which was worrying me because the blades are so close to it. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether the high centre of gravity and aerial have much of an effect? My next step is to start lightening the frame to see if I can save the 4 grammes for the camera, then I’ll repeat the flight duration test.

My aim is to end up with something comparable to the new Blade Inductrix FPV, which looks awesome for indoor racing.

OK, I’m off to do some soldering and electronics. I need to sort out the external power for my FPV screen and figure out how to get the video input into the computer so Pix4D can read it.

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