Keeping your cool in a long distance flight

Discussion in 'Cinestar Misc' started by Tyler Olson, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Tyler Olson

    Tyler Olson Member

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    How do you keep your cool and orientation when the copter is a long distance from you (300m or more)

    The lights on the booms get hard to see so it's tough to tell which is left and right if things get spun around.

    it's also very hard to tell if the copter is going super fast towards you, slowly towards you or away from you. When it is windy, things get more complicated as simply pulling back on the stick doesn't mean the copter is coming home. It could still be flying away slowly in the wind.
     
  2. Nick Kolias

    Nick Kolias Moderator
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    Hi Tyler. Flying 300m or more away from you via line of sight control is difficult and dicey at best. As you mention, it's so small at that distance it's nearly impossible to maintain orientation safely. Please be very careful flying that kind of distance on set. If you're out in a truly rural location a FPV monitor is a good way to augment orientation at long distances. With an OSD it's also a very valuable and nice telemetry aid- especially with a RTH marker. Very helpful getting back home. But if you're in even the slightest urban area I would urge you to not use FPV and simply don't fly any further than you can comfortably maintain positive orientation. Our machines have many advantages but ultra long distance shots are not one of them. If they really need 300 or more meter runs it's time to bring in a full size. It's not easy to turn down money but we need to keep safety first.

    nick
     
    Scott Strimple and Kristian C like this.
  3. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I second what Nick says --- I'm shooting out in the Alvord Desert in South Eastern Oregon using a Smart On Screen Display (SOSD) and Cinemizer goggles. Because it's (literally) deserted out here, I've been doing some shots that have the Cinestar as much as 1200 feet away. There is no chance of visual orientation, distance perception, or direction of flight determination without the SOSD. In the event I lose SOSD, my next backup is Come Home. If that doesn't work, I'd turn off the transmitter. I also have a Walston Retrieval radio beacon on the Cinestar in case of a fly-away or sage-brush landing.

    You will not be able to determine the horizontal velocity and direction of a copter much beyond 100 feet if it's low down -- if it's high up and near you, you can see the LEDs or the silhouette against the sky even at 400 feet overhead.

    I've asked Irek, the designer of the SOSD, if he would consider adding a direction indicator to the speed indicator -- right now you know you're doing X mph/kph but not in which direction the copter is doing it....


    Andy
     
  4. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I ran a test with my Cinestar with a similar setup as Andy described above and I was able to maneuver around the beach and out over the ocean near my house at a maximum distance of 600 meters. At about 250-300 meters the copter was all but invisible. But the SmartOSD allowed me to retain control over the copter. I'd never try this without a SmartOSD. In addition to the video link, the OSD functions (artificial horizon, altitude, etc.) are extremely valuable.
     
  5. Zach Beggs

    Zach Beggs Member

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    Third the SOSD. Just got done shooting the ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier from the beachside. Without the SOSD things would have been really tricky.

    "If that doesn't work, I'd turn off the transmitter." -Yikes!
     
  6. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Wow you are a brave soul. The only problem with the OSD is that you lose the OSD information if your FPV goes out.
     
  7. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    Josh did it from a 1/4 mile away line of sight with only nav lights... thats 1320 feet, 402 meters, 440 yards, 3.5 football field lengths! He should be in the guinness book of records for that one...no one else on the planet can do that line of sight.
     
  8. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Dave King has already tested that the emergency come home works as advertised so it's either you turning off the transmitter to trigger the emergency come home, or letting the bird fly away and have it trigger the emergency come home.

    I had an instance in the Alvord Desert this past week where I still had FPV video downlink, but the MC-32 started beeping indicating loss of telemetry signal -- and about five seconds after that, I could see from the FPV that the emergency come home had kicked in. After a couple of seconds contact was re-established and I flew the rest of the flight without incident.

    Andy.
     
  9. Tyler Olson

    Tyler Olson Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts guys. I'll check into an OSD and see if I can manage to install it. I had looked at those before but wasn't sure how many people really used them.

    The weather felt pretty calm but when I got the copter in the air it floated away pretty quickly in the wind which is what made it tough to know if I was pulling it back hard enough when it was time to come home.

    I was truly flying over barren lands (Saskatchewan Prairie) and I had 0 fear of landing on anyone or anything. The worst case scenario was loosing the copter or landing on a barbed wire fence or hitting a mule dear or gopher. Having FPV would probably help quite a bit as well, even if it didn't have OSD. I did turn on GPS hold and alt hold one time when things got a bit hairy - giving me time to re-orientate myself and would have used the come home if necessary. I still find it a bit of an optical illusion to see which way the copter is tilted when it is flying away / coming home.

    Practice practice practice.

    I wasn't doing a job, just practicing and wanted to get a shot over a large valley.
     
  10. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Andy, I don't see a place in the GPX LOGs where RSSI is logged. There's an RCRSSI entry, but the documentation says "Signal strenght of (old) ACT 35MHz receivers". The "RCQuality" field says "Quality of the PPM-Signal (not the signal strength in case on 2,4GHz receiver!)". I wonder if that's logged in the Graupner mx20 logs? I have never quite gotten my TX to do the logging, but I haven't really tried, either. I guess this is an opportunity to do so.

    I was curious on my 600 meter sojourn how low the receiver strength had fallen, although I never got a warning. However, the Fraulein was only announcing my voltage level.
     
  11. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Steve the MK stack does not report RSSI. There is a column but it has no true value. Always about the same reading. However the Graupner, if you have logging enabled, will give you great info on the signal strength.
     
  12. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Tyler see the recent post on position lights. Different set of lights makes a real difference. See Nick's comments on that post.
     
  13. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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  14. Tyler Olson

    Tyler Olson Member

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  15. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I don't think RSSI is used with the 2.4Ghz radios. Also remember that with the HoTT system there are two signal strengths at play: the flight Tx to the bird's Rx, and the bird's telemetry Tx back to the flight Tx's Rx (if that's not confusing!)

    Andy.
     
  16. Zach Beggs

    Zach Beggs Member

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    Andy, really interesting.

    So all this time, I've been having my graupner chick tell me "reciever strength" in Voice Trigger > Receiver > Strength. Which Rx is this?
     
  17. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Zach have you ever heard it say anything different? Not sure that it has any valid values.
     
  18. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I think Andy's referring to Holger's use of the RSSI data in the Mikrokopter stuff. The Graupner itself seems to know, and I've definitely heard the numbers fluctuate a while back (90%...85%, etc...). Eventually I was convinced that the numbers were always good because I was flying in close. But now that I'm venturing out farther, it would definitely be interesting to correlate the RSSI numbers with the MK logs, especially in light of Andy's experience of losing signal.
     
  19. Shane Moore

    Shane Moore Member

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    I recently had a scary FPV incident when at about 400 yards out, I tilted the camera down to get some different angles over a forest and when I attempted to tilt back up to see which way to return, a cable got bound and the camera could not tilt up. I could barely see the helicopter visually, but could tell the orientation. The method that eventually worked for me was to move both the aileron left and rudder left until I could discern that the helicopter was in fact going left, then I knew the orientation. It was a good warning that I really need to get the GPS working - but that caused a crash by itself in the past - so it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence for me. Some type of locating device seems like a good idea. The other lesson: be careful of your wire routing, so it can't bind!
     
  20. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Shane on my FPV monitor I have 2 receivers (one for the camera on boom one for me and one for the camera feed). I have a little a/b switcher box that sits on top of the monitor and I go instantly switch between feeds my feed goes out. It's come in handy a few times when I'm flying myself and keep the radians in stabilized mode so that the camera is orientated with boom 1. If it happens when I'm flying with a camera operator I will alert the camera operator to pan to boom 1 so I can use the feed if we are in slew mode.
     

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