Multi-Rotor Madness

Saturday March 15th was awesome.   The weather was perfect and nobody was home but me.  The perfect opportunity to get outside and do some flying.    A buddy was supposed to come up and partake but he had “issues”, so it was a solo day.

First we spent some quality time with the Armattan, my current sport quad.

Some sporty flying…

After burning up a few batteries with that, I moved on to my newer “Dead Cat” Quad.  Built from a cheap frame upgraded with legit DJI arms, and utilizing PixHawk for the flight controller.

It flies awesome.   It’s not a hot rod by any stretch, but it will flip and roll too.   I had some issues testing the acro mode in Arducopter 3.1.2-r2 so I’m waiting for 3.2 before I try it again.   I don’t have a good camera mount for it yet, no gimbal, nor FPV gear so I ‘temporarily’ attached the ContourHD camera to the front.   All and all for as ghetto as the mount was it did pretty good.

Dead Cat with ContourHD

I ran it through a bunch of different flight modes.   Even executed a pretty significant autonomous flight.   Had some fun with guided mode from the tablet too.   Thought I almost lost it too.


In guided mode I flew it out over the pond at the gravel pit, then over to the east, then asked it to come back, and well, it was trying but while it technically wasn’t beyond visual flight distance, I couldn’t see it from where I was standing.

It was apparently on the fringe of my telemetry radio’s range.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.   I did eventually flip “Return to Launch” and it came back.  So all is well.

I also got out the Hex, which has the gimbal installed.   I still need to fix the Jell-O-cam issue which seems very EFI’ish to me.  But still, this hex is a stable flier.  

Hex Gimbal Footage


So this was an all around very awesome multi-rotor day.    I can’t wait to get the FPV gear and get going.   I really can’t wait to get my hands on a TBS Discovery Pro frame. 

More Multi-Rotor Fun.

First, the weather was mild Thursday Night so I slapped my legacy ContourHD camera onto my Armattan “Sport Quad” for some sunset flipping and rolling.   Working on some acro skills. 

Armattan CNC 355 Quad.

Then after getting home Saturday.  I went outside with Matthew and let him get some stick time on the Franken Quad.   Once he got bored, I noticed the Hex was calling me.   So I fired up Mission Planner and decided to pick up where I left off when I hit the trees.

Plotted out a new autonomous route, verified the feet/meters settings, and let her rip.

No music in this vid, only prop and wind noise. 

DJI F550 Hex, APM 2.6 running Arducopter 3.1.2

Certainly open to suggestions for the Jello video.  It seems EFI related and once you get flying is almost gone, but when the Hex is just sitting there, it’s bad real bad.

Acro Quad Flight

Flying a quad or multi-rotor is a lot of fun.   Flying isn’t really the proper term though.  Like a  helicopter, they don’t ‘fly’ traditionally.   They simply beat the air into submission.

Collective pitch helicopters are hard, multi-rotors when tuned well are not.  But getting this proper tune and balance is hard.

Doing acrobatic maneuvers isn’t simple.   By design, multi-rotors have a flight controller that’s working really hard to keep the thing level and they often limit your ability to Roll or Pitch too far.   You have to turn that stuff off if you want to get jiggly with it.

An upside down multi rotor that’s no longer fighting gravity, and is instead assisting it, usually ends up badly as it plummets into the ground and breaks things.   It also can be really easy to lose your orientation.  If you’re upside down and your right is your left and/or your forward is aft.   Well, that’s generally not good.   The results usually suck.

We had a break in the weather and I finally got to spend some time really tossing my Armattan qaud around.    This thing is awesome.

Chris really makes an outstanding product.

My CNC 355 is using the Afro Acro Naze32 flight controller.   This is just a quad for quad’s sake.  No GPS, No compass, no other smarts other than accelerometer and gyro stabilization which can be turned off and/or tuned.   And fine tuning we will do.

Getting Jiggly with my Armattan CNC 355 Quad


It’s tough as nails.  I’ve crashed it multiple times, usually only losing props, which are cheap.  I’ve bent arms, and you just bend them back.   Might need to take them off to really straighten them but you can just bend them back as you’ll see at the end of the video.

If you have a Blade or a Phantom and you want more performance and don’t want to stop buying plastic parts.   Buy an Armattan Quad.   You won’t regret it.

Building flight skills apparently just takes time.  There is no magic pill.   I think, or at least hope I’m over the hump cause crashing sucks, and crashing you will do when you start doing stuff like this.   Also, trees are still the enemy.

Not even 24 hours later and we have snow again.

But I just had to test the PID and Rate changes I made after yesterday’s fight above.

Freshly balanced props too.   Wow, so much more responsive, pretty easy to flip and roll without losing altitude.

On quad camera, front porch launch cause I’m not dressed for the weather 🙂