14. Finding North, back on track – part II

Previously: losing direction

A week passed quite quickly. After a busy Saturday, I finally got the time to fix my gimbal mounting with the new rubber connectors and finally test that my gimbal survived the crash.

A quick test at home showed that for the most part the gimbal is working, although it seems like it is not going full range facing down relative to how I remember it, and it starts to shake as it gets to about 80º. I’ll need to verify this later on and see if I need to re-calibrate the gimbal’s range….

Happy and confident, I made my traditional cappuccino and off I go on my way, back to where I left off last week.

Just before leaving, something in me felt like it is about time I’ll mark my drone with some “return-if-found” label just in case I lose it, so that maybe someone nice will actually return it to me if they find it. So I quickly printed some labels with my phone number and a Thank You message and I was ready to hit the road.

If you ever rode any motor-bike, big or small, you probably had an accident with it, jus the rule of owning a motor-bike. Although I only drove a 125cc Yamaha bike, I had my share of crashes and falls. Even got my first cast and first ever surgery thanks to that 2-wheels toy in 2005 which was the last time I ever drove one after realizing that 4 accidents are just too much! So, like any biker recovering from an accident, you have to put yourself at the same spot to get over the fear of the accident.

Yes, I was not actually in mid-air during the crash, but it was still shocking enough to feel like I have to “fix” this fearful feeling.

I got back to the crash site at SkySong, parked, set everything up, and just to be on the safe side, I ran another calibration. I decided to take off from the same spot.

While I was setting up, I noticed a couple of ladies that came to take still photos of the SkySong construct which was my target as well.

I did my quick flight check, made sure the GoPro is set to video mode (a new item on my check list since I made that mistake on our last family vacation, where I ended up with short bursts of photos instead of my video…) and off we go.

For a second I felt like I’m in the matrix, although I didn’t see any black cat, I did see my plastic bird acting as strange as last week, I guess I can’t only blame the calibration for what happened last week, the quad started to fly against my will, and almost hit the buildings around us. I managed to stabilized it and push it towards the white domes of the structure.

The little practice from last week did help, but before I knew it, I hit one of the metal wires that holds the structure in place and my drone is performing a familiar rotation in mid-air and throwing its nose down while starting to fall.

[DRAMATIC MUSIC GOES HERE – pause for 3 seconds and then continue reading]

[3 Mississippi]

[2 Mississippi]

[1 Mississippi]

But unlike last week, it stabilized after about 10 feet and adjusted itself to float in mid-air! Probably a black cat is a must for a real déjà vu, lucky me!

Draining one battery pack, I reloaded and went to my next spot, flying in the center of the structure.

Got some, what I hope would end up being nice shots and was able to attract the two ladies why started to shoot the flying object instead of the original target, what can I say, I man with a drone is like a man with a baby… you can’t go unnoticed…

Feeling more confident by the second, I’ve started my 3rd and last juice load, putting everything in, picking up a new takeoff spot and we are off the ground.

I decide to do a quick vertical acceleration to get a nice shot when I hear a loud POP sound and I can see that the drone has decided to puke out the battery. Luckily for its own good, the wires of the battery are strong enough that the battery can’t just detach from the power plug. Now,  I know you wouldn’t believe me when I’m saying that every time I locked that battery door I was thinking how come it never opens? Well now I have my drone in about 40-50 feet off the ground with its electric “fuel door” unlatched and the battery on its way out, hanging by the power cord…


So, how do I bring it down without causing the battery to fall off it and by that kill the power and drop the drone to its “death”???

As much as I tried to keep the drone level, it kept pulling its nose down which means the battery is ready to jump off….

With a  shaky hand and sweat over my forehead, I managed to bring it for a short pit stop to fix the battery door and secure it before this little touch and go is complete and the drone is back in mid-air finishing some nice aerobatics moves before the battery is emptied and I’m landed with no major issues to report.

So boring that even the two ladies decided they can go without even exchanging contact info with me (so we can share photos and videos, what did you think???)

So finally, after a 2nd weekend, a broken gimbal, and a somewhat restored confidence, I’m giving you: the “SkySong of Scottsdale” video…

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