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Old November 1st, 2012, 09:55 AM   #1
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Microcopter CRASH

If this had hit someone on the head, I think it could have been fatal.

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Old November 1st, 2012, 11:02 AM   #2
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

And some people talk about using those at weddings!!!!
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Old November 1st, 2012, 11:11 AM   #3
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

The controllablity of these things might not be up to coping with the extreme gusts and eddies between tall buildings even if at groundlevel things seem calm. The lithium fire is not very encouraging. If the burning bits had lobbed in through a bus window, the public liabilty risk does not bear thinking about.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Ouch! Smoke and all.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 05:00 PM   #5
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

We have a young lad in town who has one, and seems to flown it in, what I thought, were high risk places.

The footage of the beach at the begining was a test of the copter's homing ability. It saves a GPS location of the transmitter, and if it looses it control signal, it returns to that location. Youn Daniel says it got about three kilometers up the beach before he lost the video feed, (he has real time video link to the copter). At that point he turned off the transmitter, and it came back to him. Clever stuff.

Incidentally, he has some shocking flicker in his footage. The camera is the NEX-5 but I don't know what settings he used. Any thought on what the problem is?

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Old November 1st, 2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

I was going to say that Larry, Curly, and Moe in the first video didn't seem to have it all together... there are risks to anything, but clearly those guys needed some flight time (and a belt!?) before flying/shooting in a urban setting.

I've played with "microcopters", some handle better than others, and it definitely takes TIME to get the feel for them, even just flying around indoors with no "environmental" issues. That video looked more to me like a rookie pilot who didn't know how to control the vehicle than anything else. Even after some computer R/C simulator time, flying an actual heli is "interesting"...

The last video shows how you go slow and control the aircraft, not hit the throttle and "go" - again, the difference between a "rookie" and a seasoned pilot/operator... and the natural instinct to "cut" the throttle would likely have dropped the thing straight out of the air long before it careened off with a mind of it's own... unless there was some other mechanical/electrical issue.

I almost wondered with the massive amount of "pyrotechnics/smoke" whether this was another "staged" viral video attempt? Do they have "Jacka$$" in NZ (the show, not the breed, as I know THOSE can be found anywhere...)?

I've seen local R/C flyers crater a traditional "stunt" heli (doing agressive maneuvers, doesn't take much to cause a crash, and it happens FAST!), at the local airshow - you wouldn't want to be right under it, but it sure didn't blow up or injure anyone... the "parts recovery" did elicit an approving cheer from the crowd <wink>... and stunt flying is far more violent than anything you'd expect from a video platform properly operated!
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 12:29 AM   #7
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Well...I will say a few things about this highly illegal act...
(First video of course)
First...this is just the kind of crap that is going to get ALL R/C video and photography banned forever. And for those of us who follow the letter of the law knowing full well the risks of flying ANY machine, that will be a major bummer. This is a fresh topic with the FAA, AMA and several other organizations trying to figure out how to accommodate hobbyists and professionals. It's not settled yet!

Second...there are no pyrotechnics involved. The thick smoke is from a punctured lipo battery. I've seen this up close and it's scary as they explode violently in certain situations causing fires. It's a very common type of battery that is sealed in a foil pouch. Puncture that pouch in a crash and basic chemistry takes over. Lithium burns when coming in contact with air and can reach temps above 1400 deg. Oh and the smoke is toxic.

Cannot say how pissed off this video makes me!
Going to bed now!
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Last edited by Robert Turchick; November 2nd, 2012 at 09:34 AM.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:22 AM   #8
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

I thought Dave was mixing up the posts for a moment there, as I had not noticed the crash video was in New Zealand, and the second video that I posted was also in NZ.

When I first moved to NZ from the UK I was more than surprised at the casual attitude to risk. At three different Motocross meetings I photographed, I was allowed to wander anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted. I think I could have stood in the middle of the track with the bikes racing past me, and no one would batted an eye lid!

I'd still like to hear opinions about what the likely cause of the flicker in the second video was caused by?
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 06:39 AM   #9
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

I didn't observe flicker as such but there is stutter in the playback of the clip at my end. That may be related to the upload and download to viewer path.

If there is flicker that I am not observing, it may be attributable to strobing in the image due to propellor blade shadows falling on the front element of the lens, or vibrations from the propellor airflow trembling the camera ever so slightly and inducing a very slight rolling shutter artifact.

This operator is very good, harmonising the crane ups/downs and the tilts to retain pleasing compostion, not an easy task I am sure.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 2nd, 2012 at 06:42 AM. Reason: error
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Yeah, I noticed more than a few NZ "epic fail" style videos of stuff crashing and blowing up (sometimes deliberately!). Maybe I should consider a move! The first video IS a good example of poor practices, the second a good example of a operator that knows how to fly and protect against risks.

I have heard of the "risks" associated with Lithium batteries - and no doubt under certain conditions they can be a serious problem (recalling the loss of the UPS cargo plane because of a lithium battery fire in a large shipment of vell phone batteries IIRC, and the resulting bans on large or large quantities of LiOn batteries in aircraft/shipments).

Even an alkaline battery gets pretty hot if shorted - improper handling is one issue, but it appears that "catastrophic failure" is another, and it appears in that first video that the battery was ventilated by the severe impact... based on a number of "battery abuse videos" on YouToob. I'd speculate that better packaging and perhaps better airframe design could reduce any such risks...

I somehow suspect Larry Curly and Moe "homebuilt" their "chopper", and THAT might have contributed to the EPIC FAIL - while not a fan of regulation, some people simply don't properly evaluate risks (texting and driving being a prime example) and must be "induced" to do what their tiny little brains are otherwise unable to fathom... There is a reason for the saying "dumber than a bag of hammers"...




RE: Flashing

In the second video, I noticed what appeared to be a very slight "pulsing" in spots (wasn't overly bad), and without knowing the entire workflow, it's hard to know where that was introduced (original footage/ingested footage/edited footage/rendered footage/uploaded footage). I did see one severe instance of "flashing" in the bell tower, caused by moire/aliasing that is a well known "weakness" of large sensor cameras. That was because of what appeared to be a fine "mesh" grill over the bell tower openings, that pattern really messed up the ability of the camera to process the detail in the image!
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:51 PM   #11
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Thanks for your comments re the flicker. It is _very_ apparent at my end, so I am surprised some of you are not seeing it. I've sent Daniel (the 'pilot' in the second video) a link to this thread, and told him he ought to sign up to DVInfo, so he just might happen along.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:15 PM   #12
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

I guess the operator was not the owner. If you turn up the volume and listen carefully, you can hear the heli operator call the apparent owner and apologize. At 2:12 you can clearly hear him say "I do apologize".....then mentions the building at 2:18.

Looking at the footage again, I'm wondering what caused the crash:
1. A sudden gust of wind blew the aircraft out of control and into the building?
2. Radio interference, or multiple reflections caused a break in the link, causing loss of control?
3. Pilot error?
4. Equipment malfunction?
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 08:42 PM   #13
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Crash was pure pilot error. Watch and you'll see it spinning as it gets higher and higher. There's no indication which is the front or back of the copter and once you lose orientation...game over! And the bounce off the building probably killed the radio or the pilot panicked and stopped trying to save it. Most of the guys flying these put a very bright piece on it to mark the front. We do the same with helis. They get visually small really quickly. There is zero room for error if you can't tell the orientation.

Once again...inexperienced dumbasses in the vid. Very lucky no one was injured or killed!
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 03:24 AM   #14
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Re: Microcopter CRASH

Well I can't hear the comments Warren mentions.

The guy standing on the right is wearing some heavy black goggles. Would they be some sort of gizmo that lets him see live video from copter camera? Daniel's Hexacopter needs two operators. Daniel, who owns and built it, was controlling the movement, and he had a buddy with him who carried what looked like a seven inch screen with a deep hood, and he looked to be controlling the camera. In the Auckland crash video, the guy with the big black goggles also appears to be carrying what could be a second RC unit.

Robert's comments about orientation vividly highlight the problems involved in controlling these unhelpfully symmetrical flying kaleidoscopes. The copter might be responding to a wind gust, confusing the operator into thinking he caused the movement, and reacting by moving the joystick 180° in the wrong direction. i.e. into the side of a building.

Don’t worry too much about injured Kiwis. Most NZ hospital Emergency Departments have a big jar of ‘Harden Up’ pills on the counter. So long as all your limbs are still attached, one or two of these pills fixes up a crook Kiwi.
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