This was pretty much a spur of the moment flight, the weather had been awful for a few days and most of this day too, but it brightened up nicely in the early evening so I decided to go for a quick flight somewhere.
I ended up here because I spotted by friend Pete shouting in the middle of the field for his dog. She’d ran off into the ditches and he’d been chasing her for an hour, not very pleased at all. She came back just as I arrived.
Seeing as Pete was there I thought I’d show him how nicely this quad flies, a TBS Discovery with DJI Naza and GPS, compared to the last thing he’d seen me fly two years ago, a Gaui 330X.
I flew out over the trees, looking through Fat Shark FPV goggles, and did a circle of the university’s telescope then did some flying over our heads up and down the field.
Right near the end of this video you can just about make out me putting the radio down on the ground to demonstrate how well the GPS holds the quadcopter in the sky with no interaction from me. The camera used is a Gopro 3 Black Edition, shot at 60FPS at 1080P.
Needless to say, Pete was pretty impressed – it’s a far cry from the alligator-wrestling days of flying the Gaui 330x with it’s GU-344 controller.
So last week I lost a plane, an EasyStar I, at a place called Skipwith Common between York and Selby in North Yorkshire. It was entirely my own fault and no fault of the plane’s. I was flying from a clearing in some trees and flew over the treetops beyond line of sight, which would not have been a disaster if it weren’t for the fact my video goggle’s image cut off at the same time.
The loss of video signal was because 5.8ghz does not travel through trees very well at all, in fact it needs a pretty much clear line of sight same as we do. I already knew this but I’ve never flown from inside a forest before so I’d never experienced a total outage due to these circumstances. Anyway, lesson learned, always fly with a no obstructions between you and the plane with 5.8ghz video, and if you want to fly over trees like this do it from outside the forest.
Anyway, we spent two days looking for the missing plane (it did have a return to home autopilot, but in my panic I was flicking the wrong switch and turning the AP off altogether) and covered pretty much the whole area on foot, using a map. This video is me having a last attempt at finding the plane, thinking it may be stuck up in the tree canopy somewhere, either in the main forest area or a couple of smaller clumps of trees.
I didn’t find the plane with the quadcopter, but it is a good demonstration of the large area you can cover in very short space of time. Also, it was hellish windy but the TBS Disco coped with the gusts pretty well, bobbing about quite a bit but going where I sent and flying nice and faithfully. The Camera used is my old Gopro Hero, as I’d lost my new Gopro 3 and 2 on the plane!
The good news is some guy handed the plane in to the police so I got it back, totally unharmed. I will be offering him a reward over the weekend.
I’ve now bought a GPS tracker, which I will be testing and reviewing here. If it works it would have saved us a lot of time, the plane was miles away from where we were looking.
If you've seen my aerial photography pages you will notice there are rather a lot of DJI Wookong videos, this is because I'm totally addicted to them. So much so I've decided to make a new little website just for DJI flight controllers with tips for other potential DJI addicts.