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Old December 11th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #16
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If you do eventually get into a traditional heli, please get a computer simulator and find a local club and ask who the best heli pilot is and do whatever you have to do to get that person to train you. You will save a lot of time and money and will progress much faster than going it alone.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #17
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in complete agreement with getting a sim package first. You'll save yourself a LOT of money in the long run. Helicopters are wonderful fun when you master them, and a huge money pit until you reach that point.
A computer sim program is a cheap investment up front.
An option I started exploring too late in the fall was using a traction kite and suspending a GoPro from the flying harness.
It worked surprisingly well. The kite I used is an 11 foot parafoil four line, more than enough lift to pull me off the ground in a 20 mph wind, so camera weight is certainly no issue. It's VERY stable in flight, and highly controllable. Also a lot cheaper than even a pretty basic .60 size heli. As soon as the deep-freeze ends, I plan on experimenting with that platform a lot more
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Old December 29th, 2010, 12:28 AM   #18
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Now that's a cool idea! Oddly my boys got into kites over the summer and of course I found a site that sells insanely large ones but couldn't justify getting one as the boys lost interest. (they are all under 5 so it's to be expected!)

Look forward to seeing what you come up with!
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Old December 29th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #19
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Wayne could u post anything?
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Old December 29th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wayne Reimer View Post
One option I started exploring too late in the fall was using a traction kite and suspending a GoPro from the flying harness.
That is a fantastic idea. I never thought of that. Can you post your findings so we can check it out? Also, where did you find those kites?
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Old December 29th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #21
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there are a huge number of parafoil and traction kite manufacturers. Here's one company I've used;
Dual Line Parafoil Sport Kites at WindPower Sports Kite Store
There are a bunch of shops on the Oregon coast that design and build their own variations; Lincoln City is sort of the centre of the universe for kites, it seems. if you google traction kites, or parafoil kites, you'll almost certainly find a source for them close to wherever you live.

You don't want to get anything too large; the 11 ft. that I have now was a big step up from several smaller kites; This thing has serious lift. you need 400 lb. test spectra lines (a kevlar like material) to fly it, and it will pick up a 170 lb man, easily in a 25 mph wind.

single line Parafoils around 4 ft. can be had at Toy's r Us, or places like that, for under $30. They have no spars, so they're really compact and the single line versions are designed to be very stable in flight. they go straight up, stabilize and sit nice and flat in flight.

Going into multi-line kites gives you manoueverability; two line gives you up/down, left/right steerage within the wind envelope ( if the winds at your back, usually a 30 degree deflection left and right).

Four line kites are a bit tougher to master, and cost more, but they are significantly more manoueverable. Up/down. left/right, forward (upwind) and back (downwind), again within about a 60 degree wind envelope.

You can get into a pretty decent 2 line parafoil for under $100. You can spend thousands on them, but for what I'm trying to do with it, a $25 single line with a cotrollable harness should work out...the big traction kite's a bit too much. I've flown R/C helicopters for years, and my wife and I used to fly team kites
( precision pattern formation flying), so I sort of understand what they will do aerodynamically. I'm trying to design a simple, servo controlled hang harness for the GoPro. It's light enough that a couple of mini-servos from one of my crashed heli's, a 2 channel r/c receiver from the same source and a single cell li-poly battery.

I'm using a light aluminum strap, bent in a flattened "U" shape, attached with a rivet hinge on each side so the bottom of the "U" pivots. Attaching a servo to the bottom of the "U", and a servo control rod to the top of the side frame gives me up/down tilt for the camera. The battery is centered uder the camera for weighting, and since the whole thing is pretty light, the servo isn't working very hard to tilt the rig.

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to pan with a servo drive...toying with a few ideas.Of course, with this set-up you need a second pair of hands; someone needs to fly and the other for camera movement via an R/C transmitter.

There are a lot of advantages to a kite vs. a heli...MUCH easier to master, cheaper, less risk if it comes down, etc.

Unlike a heli, the wind is your friend with a kite, although with the modern designs you don't need much more than a breeze to launch ( a parafoil will fly with as little as 2-3 mph). Also, you have a vastly increased lifting ability, and to a point, increasing weight improves flight stability.

the negatives of course are there too; you're at the mercy of the wind and your angles are limited, but....I think it's worth exploring.

Everything's in bit's and pieces right now. I got this bright idea to use carbon fibre rods and small u-joints from an R/C truck axle for hinges, so I'm waiting for parts. As soon as everything arrives, I'll re-assemble it and post some pics if anyone is interested.

Anyone that wants some specific suggestions re: kites, lines, etc. please drop me a PM
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Old December 29th, 2010, 06:00 PM   #22
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Seems someone much smarter than me has been doing this sort of thing for a while


He concentrates much of his efforts on mounting design ( a good thing)...I'm going to explore some of his ideas and adapt them to a flexible platform instead of a rigid frame kite
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Old December 29th, 2010, 06:22 PM   #23
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There is quite a bit of information at this site.

Aerial Photography and Video - Page 1 - RunRyder RC Helicopter

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Old January 4th, 2011, 11:05 AM   #24
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Our RC Heli ship...

Showreel for our RC Heli..

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Old January 5th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #25
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Hi Sean, some really nice footage there.

Which heli do you use and what camera. How do you monitor the picture.

So many questions......

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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:44 PM   #26
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Looks like the camera is the Go Pro HD
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Old January 18th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #27
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The camera is the Go Pro Hero HD.

I think the heli is a Trex 450? (I don't do the flying, that's my pilot Neil)

It's relatively small... we're working on building a bigger rig for a bigger heli...this time to carry a Canon 550D.

It works pretty well with the Go Pro... but the rolling shutter causes a few issues.. but we're getting them ironed out.

We don't monitor at the moment... it's all done by guess work and looking at the footage as soon as the heli is down on a macbook pro.

The next rig will need a live feed though...probably the teradek cube or something similar.

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Old January 19th, 2011, 12:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
People here don't have experience because it's illegal. If you're thinking of acquiring footage for compensation using RC helicopters, you can't. Most of the posters here are professionals.
No offense, but RC/POV footage is gaining big momentum these days. It's funny you are in Hawaii. I have a friend who lives on one of your Islands that started out doing wedding videos. He was keeping his head above water, but with so much competition just breaking even. One of his clients asked if a fly over could be done. He was an RC hobbyist on the side. Never put the two together. He tried it and it was a success. It was a huge hit for his wedding gigs. Puts to shame any jib that's for sure. He ran into a real estate mogul and low and behold he now does copter shots for high end properties. Someone selling a multi-million home has no problem paying a few grand for a nice overhead video of their property. Takes him less than 2 hours to cover a house. Easy and basic video editing. He's got a nice niche now making top dollar. No longer does weddings. His total outlay was $2000. Nothing illegal about it. Get your facts straight before you post next time.
EDIT: Of course there are areas where an R/C copter is not allowed. Those who are interested must check their local laws. But for a blanket statement like "it's illegal" is ridiculous. AND uninformed.

Last edited by Mike Bagley; January 19th, 2011 at 07:59 PM.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 05:01 AM   #29
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Re: R/C Helicopter + GoPro or POV camera

FAA has restricted all RC Helicopter flight in the USA airspace mi6films.com
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Old January 4th, 2012, 03:44 AM   #30
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Re: R/C Helicopter + GoPro or POV camera

I've been experimenting with a T-Rex 450 and a Replay 1080XD camera. Results were ok. Park Flight test - YouTube

A big challenge is eliminating vibrations. The main rotor blades is a significant problem, of course. And the tail rotor adds to the complexity. There are more than 60 moving parts on a helicopter and they all have to be performing nicely in concert to get good results.

I did a lot of modifications to get it to what I'd call decent performance.

Then there's that main rotor blade that can do a great deal of harm if it hits anyone.

Also, the helicopter has a tendency to lean to the right, compensating for the tail rotor that's pushing it to the left. It's an unavoidable trait.

With all that in mind, I decided to build a multi-rotor helicopter from scratch. Researched a variety of motors and props, looked at necessary materials and other components.

Advantages of a multi-rotor: There are only four moving parts. The four motors and props. They're easily balanced. I managed to balance the motors so they merely "hum" at high RPMs. This is a lot easier than dealing with the dozens of moving parts of a conventional helicopter where any single small component can go out of spec and cause a vibration problem.

Conventional helicopters expend a significant amount of energy on the tail rotor, just to counteract torque. A multi-rotor directs all of the energy to lifting the load and that's more efficient, translating into either more payload of longer flight duration.

Multi-rotors will hover level. Not a really big deal, but one less thing to mess with.

And the props of a multi-rotor can be shrouded. A huge safety advantage, especially if it's going to be operated near people or property. Doesn't help if it drops from the sky and gives someone a concussion, but at least it won't lacerate someone, too.

I also managed to acquire an OpenPilot CopterControl board -- something that's extremely hard to get. This is the heart of the system and will make the UAV very stable. Here's a demo where someone finally manages to jerk it out of the air with a string. And even with a damaged motor mount, they're still able to get it back into the air: Testing the 3C quaternion filter with CopterControl - YouTube

Someone else here in Hawaii built a 6-rotor heli and posted a demo video. It looks like it's shot from a crane. Rock solid!

Test video using a hexa - OpenPilot Forums

The OpenPilot CC board is being produced by a group of volunteer engineers. Production is limited and demand is high because it performs remarkably well. And the price is right: About $100 shipped. A commercial product is four times more expensive and performance might not be as good.

Here's a log of what I've been building: Building my first quadcopter. From scratch. - OpenPilot Forums

In a few weeks it'll be ready for initial test flights. I'm planning to mount a Canon Vixia. I felt that if I was going to spend money and time trying to get aerial videos, I may as well get a decent camera up there. I've shot other things with the Vixia, including a cooking demo where that camera is intercut with a Sony EX1. I was truly amazed at the quality this little thing gets.
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