Monday, December 12, 2011

Fly Time With Video

Wow!  Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to fly my plane!  I know it’s fun, but I forget how much fun.  I’ve been waiting for almost two weeks now to fly and it’s been a tough wait.  I have these plans to strap my cell phone to my Wild Hawk and video.  I thought I was all set to fly and video my last timeout, but there were technical difficulties.  The first thing to happen was that the cell phone I was going to use (because I’m too cheep to buy one of those mini video cameras) had issues with the touch screen working properly.  After some searching with Google, I was able to partially resolve that issue and deal with the limitations.  The second issue, well OK, the second and third issues were kinda simultaneous.  On the first two flights with the cell phone camera videoing, I found out that I was only getting 43 seconds of video, and also the tape that holds the cell phone to the plane was causing damage to the trailing edge of the wing (because I was having issues with achieving a decent landing).
The 43 second video issue was resolved (with the help of my good old pall Google again) bu un-checking the messaging video setting on the cell phone.  The setting that limits a video to the size that can be included in a text message (43 seconds for this phone).  The trailing edge wing damage issue was resolved by adding support in the form of a tongue depressor.

This was all resolved within days of my last flight.  But it would be much longer before I would have an opportunity to fly again.

To make things worse, my Dad sends me an email describing his latest outing and how much fun he had flying his Wild Hawk, his buddies T-28, and his Radian.  Flights with three planes in one day.  Torcher!

OK, I get to relate on thing about this that makes me feel a little better.  My Dad was testing his Radian without the wing attached and accidentally bumped the throttle to full and had his plane launch across the garage!  He was lucky though and only damaged the canopy (only about $5 to replace).

Ok, OK, my weekend is half over and I still have to install brakes on my Jeep.  But, after that I’m free to fly!  I rush through the job (I've done this enough times) and am done in just shy of an hour (no air tools!).  I had already put my new LiPo pack and cell phone on their chargers to make sure they were topped off and ready to go.  I grabbed my plane, my transmitter, the battery, and cell phone.  Oops, almost forgot the tape to hold the cell phone on with!  That would have been unfortunate.  OK, got the tape too.  Jump into the Jeep and head out to my local flying spot.

I can hardly contain myself as I park the Jeep and get out my plane and gear.  I hurriedly walk across the park to the paved path through the wild life preserve next to the park.  Half way down is where I like to fly from as this puts me closest to the middle of the area.  I find my spot and fuddle through my mind all the steps that need completing.  Connect aileron servos.  Make sure wing is right.  Connect the battery, wait, turn on the transmitter first!  Whew, now connect the batter.  Darn it, the beeps, forgot to put the throttle to full and then off to program the speed controller!  Wow, got it just in time.  OK, the cell phone is already on now start the video app.  Almost forgot about the tape again.  Hurriedly strip off a piece of tape.  Darn it!  Fishing in my pocket for my knife.  Fumble with the knife and cut the tape.  Stick the tape to the phone and strap it to the wing.  One final test of the controls, and toss the video equipped Wild Hawk into the air.  Wow this plane is so stable.  What a joy to fly!

The plane has a natural trim up and in a left hand circle to I just lit it climb.  It’s over cast and I really wanted to get up into the clouds, but they proved to be too high today.  I flew up as high as I dared (can’t see it, can’t fly it) and cut the motor.  I was having a blast cruising this plane around and wondering what the video would show.  Knowing that the cell phone camera was just pining down, I made a few high banked turns to try to get the horizon and sunset into the picture.
After a little while I decided to bring it in for a landing.  Now I have been trying to land on the paved walk way for some time, but it’s really tricky as it is only about 10 feet wide and lined with 8x8 posts about 3 feet high and with cables strung along them.  So, any mistake on landing can be a bad one!  First pass I aborted and hit the throttle to gain altitude.  Turned around and came in again.  This time I used the right mount of rudder and elevator and made a nice touchdown.  The plane slid right up to my feet!  OK, I did jump back a little as I did not want it to run into me and cause me to do something stupid like, step on it!

I was so excited that I just picked it up and tossed it into the air again.  I did pretty much the same thing and took it up high.  Then I shut down the motor and just let it glide around.  There was a group of kids that noticed the plane and were all excited.  I could hear them from across the field as they were pointing it out to each other and trying to find it in the sky.  I flew over them hoping to catch them on film (digital film) and maybe give them a thrill of the plane flying over head.  I did a few maneuvers again to catch the scenery and this time I did a loop.  Just a mild and lazy one, kinda ended up on it’s side at the top.  I didn’t want to pull to hard on this one with the added weight of the cell phone and the possible frailness of the winds.  I’d hate to have my first flight video be of one of the wings buckling and then a nauseating rush of the scenery as it spiralled into the ground.  So, I didn't push it.
This time I brought the Wild Hawk in from the opposite direction.  And, again, I aborted the first pass.  But I did it again!  With the judicious use of the rudder and elevator, I coaxed my plane in for another spectacular landing.  OK, at my level of experience any landing that does not cause damage is spectacular!

What a rush!  I had the best time!  I wanted to fly some more but the sun was setting and it was getting cold again.  Plus I had diner to make.  My wife was braving the Christmas season shopping with my middle daughter so the least I could to was to have dinner ready when they got home.

Included is the video I took.  The unedited version is just over 17 minutes.  I’ll try to edit it down into smaller segments to make it more manageable and also get it into a better format (mpg maybe instead of 3gp)

Well I actually figured out how to use Youtube tools to edit my video and was able to cut it up and embed them into the text of this blog.

I added this video just to provide a view of where I fly.

I hope everyone enjoys this and please comment.

I thought I would update this post add a little video that shows the status of my battery after this outing. It till looks pretty good! Other that saying that the battery was fully charged right before I went out (12.?v), I can't say exactly what the charge was. But, with the info from this video, and knowing how long I flew, I think I could have flown a lot longer. Generally LiPo batteries have max battery voltage of 4.2 and minimum voltage of 2.8 and nominal voltage of 3.7. Ok, I know you would not want to run your individual batteries down to 2.8v, but even if they only went down to 3.0v, they are still only 1/3 their way down. So, a lot more flying could have been had.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and please post comments, good or bad. Be sure to come back and check for future posts.

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