Free Flight Fun and Problems with a Mavic

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You can see from the picture that it was cold and clear this morning with the sun very low in the sky. I had my first flight on my own this week, then a family turned up with an old fashioned free flight glider made from balsa, tissue and dope. Apparently it was quite old and still yet to fly, so I lent him one of my metal weights to get the C of G right and they launched it into the sunshine.

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It all went really well and they had about a dozen flights with it until it finally broke the wings. It’s easily repairable, so maybe it will be back? Anyway, as they were leaving, I had the second flight with the RS352. I also had a 3 channel helicopter that I bought on a bit of an impulse when shopping yesterday, but, despite working really well in the house, the wind was just too much for it and I ended up having to retrieve it downwind. It was only £8, though, and my first thoughts were to modify it for computer control.

I took a few videos of the free flight gilder, as you don’t see many of them these days:

After that, we had the EFlite Advance, plus three other people, all with drones. One was a vortex, the other I’m not sure about, but the third was a brand new DJI Mavic. As it’s new, I wanted to see how it compares to the Inspire, but my video missed the point of take-off.

Now, it’s important to realise that this is all a bit anecdotal, but it looked like the Mavic was causing a problem with my Futaba FF8, TM-7 and R617FS setup on my RS352. I didn’t get another flight this morning because of the problems I was suddenly getting with the radio. I switched it on for flight 3 while the Mavic was in the air and the radio wouldn’t bind. All I got was the red light on the receiver. Now, to put this into perspective, I’ve been using the Futaba FASST system for years and it’s never ever failed me. The aircraft is four years old, as is the equipment, apart from a servo change and new batteries. I have never ever seen a problem like this with Futaba FASST before. So, then the Mavic lands and switches off, I switch mine on a few minutes later and it works perfectly. I hadn’t actually made the connection with the Mavic at this point, as I was playing around trying to figure out what was causing the problem and thinking that I wasn’t happy flying until I had a definite reason. So I walked away to have a think and the Mavic went up again. My radio wouldn’t bind. The Mavic came down, my radio started working again. So then we tried testing with the Mavic and RS352 on the ground next to each other and found that we couldn’t replicate the problem. He put the Mavic into the air with the video transmitting, took it out away from us and still I couldn’t replicate the problem. So, that’s now left me wondering what was going on and whether there is any kind of problem. The only thing I can think of is that DJI transmit the video on 2.4GHz, so it must be using up a lot of channels. Add to that two other quads in the air and the EFlite Advance and you wonder whether maybe all the channels were being used? One further piece of anecdotal evidence is that the EFlite Advance pilot thought he had lost control when he was landing as it didn’t appear to respond to the rudder as expected. All I can say is that we’re going to have to do some more investigation.

That’s it for this week, except to say that I also saw a green woodpecker in the grass foraging for food. They’re really big and it’s the first one I’ve seen, although, apparently they’re quite common around there.

OK, I know, go and finish the Autogyro.

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