Old man, new skill

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jerry Ginn, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Jerry Ginn

    Jerry Ginn Member

    I don't know why I bought a drone. bored I guess. I didn't expect much so I didn't spend much. A Syma X5c was cheap and big enough that I can see it. List of lessons learned so far:

    5 -7 minutes is a very short time.
    120 minutes is a very long time.
    50 meters is not very far.
    5 mph is not much wind.
    Keep your eye on the bird.

    After several cycles of very short and very long times, I realized that there is more to this than meets the eye. I don't guess you don't gain a lot of skill in the first hour of flight (over a 4 day period), just enough to want more.

    My flying field is 10 acres, mostly clear but one fourth of it is occupied by house, garage, barn and pool.
    The perimeter is lined with trees and covered with pasture grass, kept mowed but not lawn grade. I learned very early, to start in the center, fly upwind, with the sun at my back. On the first flight of day five, I had begun to gain some confidence, occasionally needing an emergency landing to regain orientation. On one occasion, I brought the quad down about 25 feet away. It landed upright and I know right where it was. I started to walk to it and stepped in an unseen hole. I'm old but I know how to roll into a fall and with grass and soft ground, nothing broke. I got up and started walking to the quad and realized it was not there. It was nowhere to be seen, not in the field, not on the farm. It was gone! Add one more lesson to the list.

    When the quad lands or otherwise hits the ground, turn the transmitter OFF!

    My best guess is that when I fell, I kept the transmitter in my left hand and as I rolled, my left thumb pushed the throttle full up. Nice little chopper flew straight up as it was told, way up. I was not in the center of the field and there was more wind than it could handle by itself. It just flew awaaaaay!

    Second chopper was another X5 but this time, I spent another few dollars and got one with altitude hold. I thought it would help with the learning curve and it did. I gained more confidence, enough to try a night flight on a full moon night. LEDs are easy to spot at night, there was no wind, I got ahead of myself and went for high altitude. I was hoping to get a panoramic video of the neighborhood.

    LEDs are easy to spot but at night, it is hard to estimate their distance. I think that a combination of altitude and range, it lost the transmitter link. The LEDs started to blink. The throttle dropped. It fell from the sky, but not to the ground. I came down in the trees to the east of our property, a heavily wooded area. Even if I could spot it, I could never reach it.

    To add insult to injury, FedEx delivered a box of spare batteries the next day.

    I'm through with cheap, flyaway light weight quads. I guess I will have a lot to learn before the next flight day. I have started to design and build a custom quad. It will be about 350 cm wheelbase and weigh about 1000 gm up to maybe 1200 gm. I can't be sure until I have a better feel for the frame.

    The present design uses pre stressed basswood and 1/32" birch plywood in an H pattern. I am hoping to keep the frame weight around 350 gm but that remains to be seen. I will need a lot of help with selecting motors and controllers and all of the rest. I don't expect to be flying before spring but I will post updates if this intro gets any response.
    KentA likes this.
  2. T.C.

    T.C. Active Member

    haha, welcome. Syma X5c was my first as well.
  3. Rick M

    Rick M Absent-minded professor

    You're right, it takes a while to get skilled. Keep it close to you while learning.
    T.C. likes this.
  4. Jackson

    Jackson USA member at large

    Not me, luv being able to step out the door and burn a few batterries. And if actual flying is a goal, if you ain't crashing you ain't learning. :)
    T.C., RENOV8R and Rick M like this.
  5. RENOV8R

    RENOV8R Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Jerry. Don't forget to start a build thread, we'll all be interested in your DIY build and may be able to provide some input
    T.C. likes this.
  6. Jackson

    Jackson USA member at large

    Here's 2 vids that may be interest.

  7. Jerry Ginn

    Jerry Ginn Member

    I said I was through with cheap drones because they are not cheap at the rate that I am losing them. I know I broke all the rules about keeping them close and low but I have room to fly and the thrill overcame my caution. I guess not having much skin in the game leads to recklessness.

    Besides that, I get more fun from digging into the details. I don't have enough knowledge about the electronics yet but I do understand the basics of control mechanisms. I spent a fair amount of time in the left seat of a Bell Jet Ranger, flying to job sites in the hills of Central Pa in the 80's to understand the basics of helicopter flight so that helps. I have some experience in both wood and metal fabrication and a reasonable shop so I want to build and fly my own. I don't need to go fast. I want a quad that will go where I tell it, hold still when it gets there, and return safely.

    My build log starts now in the build section.
  8. Rick M

    Rick M Absent-minded professor

    Nothing wrong with that. No one should pretend there is only one way to do this hobby. If you have the time, funds, energy and inclination, have fun with it!
  9. Fly high

    Fly high Well-Known Member

    “I said I was through with cheap drones because they are not cheap at the rate that I am losing them.”

    Lol, that was funny!! I ordered a five pack of batteries because I only had the one that it came with. Then the next day one motor stopped working so I figured it was broken. I quickly cancelled the battery order from amazon. Then I remembered something I read in the manual about recalibrating the gyros. Once I did that, all four motors were fine again.
    I lost that same drone the next day after it got away from me. But I’ve purchased three more since that happened. I’m new here too!
  10. Tentoes

    Tentoes Well-Known Member

    If I let it get very far away, I can't figure out which way it's facing and can be hard to fly back. Stay close. Landed one of my microdrones in the neighbors yard. Thought I saw where, but after half an hour of searching, I gave up. Walking back, figuring I'd lost it, I nearly tripped over it. "I thought it was over there!"
    ArmyVet likes this.

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