Archive for September, 2004

September 27, 2004

September 27, 2004

I knew something was not right yesterday. After setting up the winch we broke the winch line three times straight trying to launch a plane. Now this was unusual in that we have not broken the line three times all year.

Bruce finally got his Mantis launched. In just a few minutes he hollered, "I don't have it" Turning around and looking above the Golf shed Bruce's Mantis was spiraling down in an uncontrolled spin. Just before disappearing behind the trees the plane leveled out and Bruce was able to make it back to the field. A sticking aerlion servo was the cause of the near demise of a Mantis.

In a few minutes, after putting the Mantis away, Bruce has put his Hand Launch into a tree and it is stuck really well. Not to be out done Perry has put his Bird of Time into the tallest tree in the stand of woods near the tennis court. Like Bruce, Perry had a plane malfunction where his elevator ceased to work. Now, only minutes apart, we have two planes stuck in trees at the same time. We were not done yet!

Within an hour Tony had one of his Fire Birds battery packs die and we all watched the plane free flight back to the Christmas tree farm. It took almost an hour to find it in a Pin Oak tree back there. I decided my flying was done for the day. We had a year worth of calamity in one afternoon and I wanted no part of it.

Two of the stories have a happy endings as Perry and Tony both got there planes back from the trees undamaged. Bruce was not so lucky as his plane was wedged right against the trunk of the tree and was severely damaged getting it down.

This coming Sunday (October 3) I will be in Muncie flying in the final OVSS soaring event of the year. Ron will be flying also. Gordy will be in Visalia California flying in that large soaring event. If someone can and wants to get the winch contact me to make arrangements to have it unlocked.

This coming Thursday is our last scheduled evening flying session. It is getting dark so early that there is very little time to fly before darkness sets in. To wrap up our evening flying season we are planning to go in mass to an area restaurant and eat dinner and test the liquid menu. See you then.
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Adventures in Remote Video

Adventures in Remote Video

I've always been fascinated with photography and videography, and what would be cooler and merging soaring that photography and videography? Following in the footsteps (and standing on the shoulders of) the RC-CAM 4 project, I set out to build a wireless video rig. With some diligent hunting on eBay and an order from Mouser, I had all the pieces-parts to complete the setup. The camera (an X10 XCam2) was only about $40 and the receiver was around $25 (I got a good deal). The extra pieces-parts I mostly had laying around, but in sum I think the whole rig probably ended up around $80 to complete.

Finally having a chance to work on it, I completed the setup last week and had a chance to test it out last Thursday, and finally do my first recordings this last Sunday during our Sunday fly. The all-up weight, including batteries for the camera module is a scant 3 ounces, and the range seems to be greater than 300 meters. Considering that it actually worked, it was a blazing success! The video signal was actually better than what I thought it would be, though it could stand for dramatic improvement and I intend in the coming weeks to improve the antennas for both the receiver and transmitter modules. For a first test, it was a great success.

Check out the two in-flight videos we recorded Sunday:

BoT inflightstratus inflight

2004.09.12 – Inflight Video Gallery *

The first video, "BOT" is the camera strapped to Eric's (new) Bird of Time. The second is David Gruneisen's Kyosho Stratus (a powered sailplane). Many thanks to both of the pilots, and all who provided recording equipment.

* – NOTE:
In order to view these videos, you must have the DivX video codec installed. I would
HIGHLY suggest downloading and installing the K-Lite Codec Pack, as it provides not only the DivX codec, but just about every other codec you are likely to encounter on the web, and a compact version of the Window Media Player. It's a great one-stop shop for everything you'll need to view video from the Internet.
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September 10, 2004

September 10, 2004

We are nearing the end of our Thursday evening flying sessions. Early darkness will end our ability to fly in the evening very soon. Last night the sun was behind the trees by 7:30 and it was getting hard to see the planes by 8:00.

For those of you that missed last nights flying the weather could not have been more perfect. Almost no wind and small gentle bubbles of lift was giving up 10-minute flights. Bob and Ernest Kidder were out last night with their free flight electric and rubber planes. It is amazing to watch these planes circle and climb with no outward control. With the nearly calm air last night they were getting some nice long flights.

We are also seeing more and more park flyer type planes showing up at the park. These small electric power planes have been looking for a home. I have talking to several of the new flyers. They are finding it a bit friendlier to fly at Vettiner than at area power fields. We have always allowed electric "glider" type planes at the park. I think, as the designated group in charge of all models flying a Vettiner, we need to strike a balance between the needs of the park flyers and the safety of flying all of our planes in the park. One positive point has been several park flyers have moved up to flying gliders and have become members of LASS.

Park usage is key to us having a place to fly in the future. In the past thirty (that's right, THIRTY!) years I have worked with the Metro Park Department our usage has stopped other groups from claiming what is the last open space we can fly out of in the county. The more we use the field the more secure we are in keeping the field for years to come. I think everyone is aware we are under pressure from baseball and football teams who contest us for "their" spot on the field every time we get a wind shift. I think the addition of park flyers to the field can be a good thing for all of us. We can discuss this during our winter meetings.

Speaking of park usage Labor Day weekend I saw the largest gathering of flyers at the park for one day of flying I have seen in years. With several regulars missing we still had 22 individual flyers flying various models all day.
This coming weekend (Sept 18-19) I plan on going to Tullahoma Tenn. to fly in a contest. We need to have someone else get the winch for Sunday flying.

The coolest item – Ben Wilson has a video set up to mount on a plane with live feed back to a camcorder. His camera and transmitter weigh only 3 oz so mounting on most models is no problem. Early test have shown some amazing shots. Eric's BOT was the test bed last night. Maybe we can produce a film of flying at and over Vettiner.

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