Previously: crashing in tight spaces…
The new landing gear with the extended legs and the camera lowering kit arrived, which provided me with plenty of screws to play with. Between the eight screws of the landing gear and the two of the camera’s mount, plus the four rubber shock observers that are like screws, I got my daily screwing fix covered.
Now my camera got a new vertical position far enough from the ground yet low enough to capture more of the view and less of the propellers… (except for the very fast forward moves where the drone is tilted at about 30 degrees forward and the props are unavoidable).
After my last practice in tight spaces I was ready for a challenge!
I’ve decided to fly my drone in circles and above the famous Frank Lloyd Wright statue in Scottsdale.
I’v never been that close to it before. The closest I’ve got to it was on my way to/from Maggiano’s which means I was either too hungry to notice it, or in a food coma after eating too much of these bottomless family style Italian dishes…
It appears that this amazing statue has a very nice garden around it with beautiful statues and water fountains… who knew.
So, I setup my drone on its new and taller landing gear on one of the nice concrete benches around the statue. This is going to feed my daily dose of mistakes…
I plugged the power on, listen to the lovely and loud 6 tones sound, doing my pre-flight check of RC’s controls, the camera and the drone and I’m ready to take off.
I turn on the engines by pulling the sticks to my favorite starting position, bottom centered, and the rotors starts roaring.
As I push the throttle stick up, the drone moves a bit forward, and before I understand what happens, it dives nose forward from about 2′ to the concrete ground, on its side, in such grace and strength that the entire camera gimbal is disconnecting from the mount and all four rubber connectors are off.
It looks so sad, like a baby bird falling of a tree after its first attempt to fly. I pick it up carefully like it was a bird with a broken wing, slowly and carefully bringing it to my starting position to assess the damage.
After 5 minutes of mechanical CPR I confirm no fatal damage to my 4-props mechanical bird, except for the detached gimbal. I reconnected the 4 shock observers of the gimbal and everything seems fine and ready for a second try.
All this was not for nothing, as I learned later in when I was back at home, it seems that the failed attempt was done without me starting the camera! So maybe this is why my drone chose to crash! It was actually trying to communicate with me, or was it afraid to fly without seeing what’s going on???
This time the camera was running, and, learning from the last mistake, I placed it on the GROUND level and started it all over again.
Quick pre-flight checks again, after I learned that my belly likes to push the switches of the RC every time while I’m connecting the camera and battery, so I learned to always ensure my RC is configured as it should: GPS: on, IOC: default!.
My plan was to circle the long statue while rising up and then fly from above and film downwards while spinning slowly in place.
As usual perspective screwed my plans and what I got was close but far from being what I really wanted. (I already see a FPV addition in my drone’s future…)
After it landed safely I was smart enough to review my footage to ensure my GoPro captured what I wanted before leaving the location.
This is when I learned that the GoPro will not stream recorded video to the iPhone App!!! :-/ so, I had to trust myself and go to my next location, the nearby CrackerJax, to get some medium length shots of the statue.
I ended up shooting from the empty DMV parking, and got about 0% usable footage. The shots were too far, pointing at the wrong targets, and all in all just boring and bad (movement was too quick, bad parallax effect and too much sun glare. )
Next location was at the soccer fields near the famous TPC Golf Course, home of the annual West Management Open golf tournaments.
The place was packed because of a lacrosse tournament that took place there.
I was setting my drone to fly over the overpass between the two parts of the park, and over the playing teams, hoping to get some nice shots of the players from above as well as some long shots of the FLW statue.
Guess what went wrong? Well nothing bad, but, damn that perspective illusion. I could swear I was flying above the center of the soccer field, while in reality I didn’t even rich the baseline… 🙂
Still got some nice shots, and this time I needed almost no cropping because the propellers almost never got into my shot…
The picture did turn out a bit more shaky when I flew quickly in any of the 3 dimensions, but I don’t know if it was due to the wind, or because of the new camera lowering kit. I will run tests in the future with and without it to be able to tell.
Enough talking … Now lets enjoy some video…