Flying Over Lake Simcoe, Orillia, Ontario – Carthew Bay

Flying around beautiful Carthew Bay near Orillia Ontario. This slice of paradise was a fun little spot to fly around with shallow warm water (wasn’t too too worried about going for a swim to find it if something went wrong). Should have flown a little higher so I could get a few views from a higher angle since it is a really beautiful bay. Perspective is a funny thing since from where I was standing I thought I was getting perilously close to some hapless birds. Watching the video afterwards I can see I was really miles away.

Winter Is OVER! (it better be!!)

This has been a tough winter and I am glad it is quickly coming to an end. Its actually been tough to find good opportunities to fly since both of my ‘copters seem to become a little brittle in the cold (broke landing gear on my RCT800 and 350Qx this year… on decent landings!). Early spring in what will become a very busy park… for now its deserted!

350QX Maiden Flights

Have been dying to fly my new little Quad around to see what quality video I can get. I’m quite happy with the results given the less than ideal conditions for these test flights (this was a very windy day with 20-30km/h winds). A little tentative since the quad is new and I don’t have a good feel for it yet. It seems very stable but at the same time very maneuverable.

Initial thoughts:

  • This is a great stable little quadcopter!!
  • This rig seems ideal for a little camera! I think the “Jello table” camera mount is awesome since the quad doesn’t sound that smooth but the footage seems to be largely absent of vibration. I filmed the above in 20-30kms/h winds and for the most part you can’t tell it was windy. I think I need a similar camera mount for my RCT800 (maybe a little more robust because I’d like to carry a bigger camera)
  • Flight control functions are great and actually quite slick (return to home and safe circle). I paid ~~$400 for a Naza-M flight controller with GPS and only a little more for this fully functional quad. You could make a good argument for the Blade functions actually being better than the Naza but I haven’t done any kind of comparison (yet!).
  • For those of us that like to RTF… they need to provide a real one with the model.
  • Here’s another early flight… conditions weren’t ideal and the 350QX got a little wet because the fog was so thick… Still couldn’t resist going for a flight!!

    Winter Flying – RCT800

    Flying around in the fresh winter air!! I am getting good performance from this setup in the winter however on a recent flight I came down pretty hard and broke some landing gear on my rct800. I am sure this would have been fine in the summer but in the cold they snapped… extreme cold definitely will affect your battery performance! I came down early when I broke my landing gear after draining my battery at least 3-4 minutes early (it was -7).

    UFO Sighting in Uxbridge…

    Recently found a great place to fly around in Uxbridge, Ontario; a big empty field on the outskirts of town! From the right perspective and distance this would have been a UFO sighting for sure. Anyway, if you look around on the internet for this kind of thing I am sure you will find quite a few supposed UFO sightings where the video looks something like this:

    I think that in *most* cases its probably not aliens flying around… just someone like me having a bit of fun!!

    **I’ve actually been thinking about adding more LEDs (orange) to the rear of the craft because its still ((surprisingly!)) possible to lose orientation.

    Ansnorveldt: flying around an empty space

    Recently tried to capture a sunset at a local nature conservancy: Ansnorveldt (not sure what the heck that name is about but apparently its also a hamlet in Ontario?).


    There are about 3-4 houses nearby (whats the definition of Hamlet again?) but otherwise this area is mostly deserted! After recently crashing I am looking for deserted areas to fly around and film so the risks are minimal. I don’t want to risk an accident and I am still not certain about my craft given that it flew away without a well known cause. (I suspect parts failure and the parts has been fixed… but you never know)

    Anyway, flying in a deserted area also allows you to have some comfort about flying fairly high/far… not sure if the video worked out how I saw it in my head (there was a good sunset and it was a nice night) but there is a pretty good view of the Holland Marsh at points and the farmer just across the street is irrigating his fields. Ansnorveldt is mostly fields and a few little forests here and there; a good place to hike and check out the birds. There are quite a few hiking paths and relic buildings on this property (accessible from both Dufferin and Bathurst) and a million birds!!!:

    Back to making videos…

    The RCT800 is back up and flying after crashing into a river a few weeks ago. After rebuilding almost the entire aircraft it was finally time to strap on a camera and go make a video of a nearby nature conservancy.

    It was a nice day and the area was completely deserted but I was taking it nice and easy too! I lost a little confidence after the crash and I am slowly working back to feeling like the aircraft is an extension of my arm again.

    Looks like I am on track since the video shows almost no vibration:

    RCT800 Video – FPV Camera Mount Testing

    RCT800 FVP Camera Mount Testing (Also known as the last few videos and pictures I took with my Canon Digital Elf before it went swimming and never came back).

    The brushless motors I bought from RCTimer (630KV) seem to have one fatal flaw; the motors are great in terms of performance but the prop mounts are poorly milled and or cast. They make it almost impossible to mount your props without causing an imbalance and vibration. This turns your sweet flying rig into a vibrating machine and makes good videography pretty tough (make that impossible… see the last clip) even if your props are balanced.

    I’ve been testing various materials to deaden the vibrations and sponges from the dollar store seem to make great (cheap!!) vibration absorption material. In total, I tried rubber bands, paper, duct tape, string, a homemade shock, and two different sponges before coming to a solution. The homemade shock had some promise but it was outclassed by a simple cheap ($1) sponge so I didn’t take it further than a few quick tests.

    As you can see from these two test videos the results for regular dollar store sponges were decent (compare these videos to the last one). I found that all I needed was a little bit of sponge between the camera and the aircraft’s hard surfaces. This almost completely eliminated the vibration from the props.

    Got pretty high in this video… You can clearly see the river that I later had to wade into in order retrieve my Hexacopter after it went haywire and crashed.

    These results are especially good if you consider the movies I was able to make earlier (before adding the sponge).

    Here is a sample of those vibrations, as you can see the movie is unusable and a little sponge will absorb quite a lot of shake (the only real difference between the movies above and below is the camera mount sponge padding)

    RCT800 Video – flying at dusk, new LED setup

    RCT800 – flying at dusk in a local parking lot. Recently modified the LED configuration in order to see them better. Was using the IOC (intelligent orientation control) in Head Free Mode at certain points during the flight. With this mode enabled it doesn’t matter which way the nose of your aircraft is pointing; the direction of the craft is controlled by the right stick (in Mode 2) and the aircraft moves in relation to it’s takeoff point.