The ALTA Is Here

Discussion in 'ALTA' started by Steve Maller, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I had the great good fortune to be invited up to Seattle today to collect ALTA #1 from the folks at Freefly. As some of you may know, I managed to get myself into the number 1 spot on the preorder list by responding to a tweet on a plane on the way to NAB back in April. I floated the idea of coming up to Seattle to collect my copter in person when it was ready. I was hopeful that all the planets would align for this to happen, and today it did.

    It was such a thrill to meet many of the Freefly people, and the pride and excitement in the building was really quite special. It's clear the effort to complete the ALTA has been an incredible journey, and it was amazing to be there as the first customer collected his (my) precious rig.

    We took it out in a nearby field, and after a quick flight primer by Tabb, I got to fly mine for the first time. I wrote on Facebook in answer to folks' questions about how it flies:

    The best way I can describe it is like a high-end European sports sedan. Super luxurious and smooth with an astonishing amount of power and responsiveness. I'm so excited. Spent about 10 or 15 minutes in the air with it and it was zero drama. Just works.

    The attention to detail throughout the ALTA, even in the packaging and the beautiful iOS app (which just dropped today!) is nothing short of outstanding. I'm so impressed. It's going to be really fun spending time getting familiar with it. Do I sound excited?
    My ALTA handily survived its first encounter with Southwest Airlines' baggage handlers, too, and it's safely on my living room floor (after an obligatory "watch how fast it's ready to fly" demo for my family) tonight.
    I was followed around by some of the folks with cameras, presumably to make a video for me to show my wife what I was doing up there. :rolleyes:
    2015-07-24-Freefly-0001.jpg
    2015-07-24-Freefly-0002.jpg
     
  2. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I got a private question from a forum member (best to post these publicly, folks)...

    I did spend some time looking over Tabb's shoulder at the OSD as he was giving me a flight demo prior to me flying mine, but I did not take notice of the altitude numbers in relation to what he was doing in the air. So I can't speak to the readout accuracy.

    However, I can say that he showed me some truly impressive moves with the ALTA that strongly indicate that its "height hold" is very robust. With HH engaged, he did some really aggressive moves in all directions, and the ALTA stayed exactly at eye level. It was easy to tell because of the propellor discs. He also used the fine tuning capability to dynamically turn the rate (?) down for pitch and yaw so that you can do extremely slow horizontal or vertical moves. When doing this for horizonal moves, the ALTA moves like it's on rails. It's really quite amazing. But even more so, when Tabb really pushed the ALTA into 30°+ banks it held its height perfectly.
     
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  3. Pete Maughan

    Pete Maughan Member

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    Hi Steve, lucky man!
    Do you have an idea of radio channel requirements yet in terms of mode switching etc?
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  4. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Hello Steve,

    I wish you safe flights with this unit.

    I have lots of questions so far, but some of them:

    * Any words on RTH from Tabb? Does it work flawlessly? Does it need to configured by the user?
    * GPS Lock: How fast is it?
    * Do you need to initialize the Alta like MK?
    * How would you compare the power of Alta to your previous X8 bird?
    * Taking off from moving objects like boats?

    I'd be very glad to hear your thoughts about the flight characteristics of Alta compared to MK.
     
  5. David Gamble

    David Gamble Member

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    Hi Steve, been reading about your adventure and firstly would like to say congrats on the new bird, It looks awesome!
    Let me know when you have a video to post from it, I'd love to see some footage from yours!

    Best,

    Dave
     
  6. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    • The video I posted in another thread shows all the parameters available in the app for setting RTH behavior. There's quite a few. As for its performance, I strongly believe that Freefly have tested this extensively and wouldn't have shipped it without a high degree of confidence in RTH's reliability.
    • The manual states that Failsafe with Futaba receivers is handled 100% by the SYNAPSE, and that there's no Failsafe configuration required on either the transmitter or the receivers. That's welcome progress!
    • As far as initialization (MK calibrate ACC, gyros, etc.) none of that is required with the ALTA. Compass calibration is very easy to do with an on-screen choreography shown as you go through the procedure. And you can directly see the compass data in the app to figure out if you even need to run the calibration.
    • As far as power and flight performance, I haven't flown mine with any sort of significant payload yet, so I'll report back on that once I get to that point.
     
  7. Katya Nelhams-Wright

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    Hi Steve.
    Congratulations on your Alta and look forward to following your adventures over the next few weeks:)
    Can I just ask what capacity flight batteries did you go with for your Alta?
    Thanks
    Kat
     
  8. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I'll be flying with the same matched pairs of Tattu 10,000 mAh 6S LiPos as I used with my previous heavy lifter. I'm assured by Freefly that these are a good match.
     
  9. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I've got my FPV camera installed and I wired up my vTX, too. All tested and OSD is so nice. Very easy to configure.
    IMG_4177.jpg IMG_4181.jpg

    IMG_4180.jpg
     
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  10. Drew Kachurak

    Drew Kachurak Member

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  11. Katya Nelhams-Wright

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    Thanks for the info.
    Kat
     
  12. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

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    Steve, you will regret being #1. You are going to have to answer questions all day long until the Alta II comes out.

    But Thanks anyway!
     
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  13. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Shhh, Mike. I was hoping Steve wouldn't notice that. :)
    Andy.
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    400mw 1.3gHz
     
  15. James Adkins

    James Adkins Member

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    Great job Steve. Now I know how you slipped in front of us. We were the first to order at NAB! :)
     
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  16. Jose Luis Ocejo

    Jose Luis Ocejo Active Member

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    Hi Steve how do you feel about the narrower footprint of the landing battery cage specially when the gimbal/camera are on top
     
  17. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I'll let you know about that when I try it. That's a little ways down my list of flight operations.
     
  18. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    My ALTA's 1.3gHz FPV transmitter is now installed and operational. Brilliant carbon fiber mounting solution from Freefly that allows the TX to snug safely away when the arms are folded for transport. Just need to attach the antenna and I'm in business!

    IMG_4204.JPG
     
  19. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

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    Steve, I'm thinking about going 1.3 for FPV. Where did you get that antenna ?
    tx,m

     
  20. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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