Multi-Rotors, a new hobby.

Long story short.   I’ve have wanted to get into RC helicopters for a long time, but they are hard, real hard to fly.  At least the cool collective pitch types that have the most maneuverability and seem like the most fun.   A buddy of mine tried, and gave up.  Then he found multi-rotors, and the Ardupilot platform and started building.

I initially acquired a Blade Nano QX for use in the office to learn to fly, and because it’s cheap and easy fun.  Almost indestructible.

Then I picked up a Blade QX350, which is awesome, but not programmable, or missionable.  But it has ‘safe’ modes, is GPS aware and will return to launch with the flip of a switch.

On Thursday, I built a Ardupilot based DJI F550 Hex with Jason.


We assembled it in one day and test hovered it by 3:30pm in the afternoon.   This was only doable because Jason has built a couple of these and spent countless hours figuring out the nuances.   I am forever grateful for that.  I’m sure he saved me much frustration.

So we built it on Thursday and flew it a little bit.   And by a little bit, I mean hovered a little, tested a few modes, but didn’t get out of his back yard and not more than 30 feet off the ground or more than 30 feet away from me.

This morning that changed.

I was able to get it out and fly a bit in the front yard.   Living on 16 acres has it’s advantages.   I was able to exercise a couple modes.  Standard stability, Stability with simple, the new Drift mode as well as test return to launch.

This Google Earth plot shows everywhere we went, using the actual mission planner GPS data.


I don’t have a camera mounted to it yet, but Molly took a little video of it with my phone.

DJI F550 Hexcopter first real flight.

Some video footage (raw) from a QX350 flight last weekend is here:

Blade QX350 with Contour HD camera mounted.

We were flying the Blade QX last weekend on the edge of that nasty storm.  It was surprisingly stable in up-to 30mph gusts.    It was blowing like crazy but stability mode really kept it controllable.  Pretty amazing actually.

I would never have tried that with the new F550 but the blade is rock solid in conditions like this.

Until next time.

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