aerial shots of bastrop push fire burned out woods

It ended in a crashed quadracopter. More on that after the jump, but first a photo and a 5 second video from above the burned out woods near Bastrop Texas.

lost pines

This still shot? THIS is why I like aerial photography so much. You just can’t get a photo like this on the ground. You have to break free.

And here is a 5 second video from the gopro:

And this is what the quadracopter looked like after the receiver lost contact. Gravity still works y’all.

That squiggly thing on the top right? That would be the receiver with the gyro dangling off of it. The other part of the receiver remained attached to the mounting plate but luckily all cables came out without tearing.

Currently flying again until parts arrive with a replaced arm, one internal ESC that is now taped externally. Luckily I had one spare motor in the bag. No landing gear because I had to use the aluminum plates in the landing gear as braces to hold the duct taped main body together.

All in all, it could have been worse. Now I just need to find out WHY I lost contact with the little guy. I don’t think I was flying THAT high. Maybe my wonderful new aluminum landing gear plates shortened the range of the  antennae? That is my best guess at the moment so probably switching back to G-10 for fabricating replacement.

Kudos to the GoPro camera. No damage at all and no loss of images from the SD card. Minor scratches on the case. Held up like a champ as did the clearly over-engineered landing gear. All LEDs still work (in the photo two were pulled out of the power supply connector, but they still work when plugged back in.) Weak link was the carbon fiber main frame which snapped in half.

Will have to purchase new main body parts, but for now I’m airborne again and the gopro is flying in a craft that Han Solo would be proud to fly.


quadracopter update – not that anyone asked

Quadracopter update — not that anyone asked — Prototyping new landing gear with clear legs for LED lights for night flight (red in front, blue in back) and 16 centimeters of clearance for a GoPro mount below the body. 4 centimeters to spare for hard landings and leg flex. Interchangeable with lighter gear for stunt flying when the camera isn’t attached.

In this photo the old landing gear is still attached and it is just sitting on the new gear. I haven’t built the new dampening mechanism yet. Was told by an engineer friend that my springs on the current video/camera front mount “were dampening for the wrong frequency” so while I will keep those for hard landings, I am shifting mass to the landing gear to lower the COG and and putting ALL of that on the other side of several sheets of rubber/foam between new aluminum plates to smooth out the video against the electric motor generated high frequency vibrations.

The main-plate vibration dampening  sandwich  is tentatively set to look like this:

============================== <-- 1/16 aluminum sheet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <-- rubber sheet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <-- rubber or foam sheet
------------------------------ <-- 1/32 aluminum sheet
possibly counter-opposing cut-outs in the aluminum sheets to save more weight.
      /\        /\    
     /  \      /  \   
     \  /      \  /
      \/        \/
  /\        /\       /\
 /  \      /  \     /  \
 \  /      \  /     \  /
  \/        \/       \/

Not necessarily that pattern. It was the best I could do with a <pre> tag and years since I did ASCII art (kids – ask your grandparents what that was.) But you get the idea.

Anyway, the first adhesive test failed having problems with sticking to the aluminum. Although a sage friend this morning suggested cleaning everything with rubbing alcohol before joining might fix it. If not it will be size 4 or 6 bolts with rubber washers holding it all together so there will still be no metal-to-metal contact for the vibrations to pass through. I just need to be sure the adhesive won’t come off if I do a roll with the camera attached. That would be bad.

Or to put it another way, the quad is not flying this week, but will be back with new capabilities by the end of the weekend. And then you won’t see the rotors in the video like this one

So if you see a camera and landing gear falling out of the sky with no vehicle attached, please return it? Thanks!