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 have the M5, not the M10. I haven't flown with it inverted on my ALTA yet.
    The MR kit components are not necessary if you're flying inverted (actually, you don't want to use any of them).
    And as I understand it, the M10 is not easy to retrofit. I'm not aware of any plans that Freefly have to do that.
     
  2. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Starting to push the performance of my ALTA, and seeing wonderful results.
    Here's a little bit of aggressive flying at over 15 meters per second (almost 35mph).
    My MōVI is a little jittery in some spots, but I have some additional tuning to do...haven't done so in a little while.
    Video is straight off the GH4 at 1080P. No stabilization.
    ALTA OSD image is overlaid.

     
  3. Bryant Bell

    Bryant Bell New Member

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    Steve that looks great!

    I must say though, it's my belief that we should not ever fly crafts this large directly over anybody (parking lot turn) especially if they aren't informed prior or 'in on the shoot'. It made me a bit uneasy, of course I appreciate the incredible testing and engineering by Freefly in building this very reliable ship but I believe that we also have a responsibility towards total safety as UAV operators. In Canada it's stipulated as one of the restrictions for us, and I think that it would serve as a good unwritten rule globally.

    Very appreciative of all of your content and informative contributions here, so it is with respect that I suggest this.
     
  4. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Thank you for your kind words, and your admonitions, as well.

    This beach area is literally a stone's throw from my house, and all of my neighbors and most of the people in our community are aware of (and support) my aerial adventuring. Most of them joyously comment and share the photos and videos I post. So there's rarely ever anybody who expresses any concern or questions about me being there. I'm usually set up with my groundstation right next to that parking lot, and inevitably end up fielding lots of polite questions and even posing for photos with the ALTA when it's safely on the ground.

    I, too, am concerned about the safety of flying over crowds of people, and am well aware of the risks. But the ALTA represents a significant leap forward from our hobbyist beginnings. It's a professionally-engineered machine that has thousands of hours of flight testing. Combine that with the thousand or more flight hours I have on various multi-rotor platforms, and here's my take-away:

    If I was taking my kids to the beach, I'd feel safer during a PerspectivAIR ALTA flyover than I would having them walking through the parking lot with manic, distracted drivers looking for parking spaces. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Jose Luis Ocejo

    Jose Luis Ocejo Active Member

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    Hi Steve are you planing any new Alta testing with a heavier camera and accessories to compare performance against the payload you are flying now?
    if so on a heavier craft, have you given any thought on how the Alta is affected by air density, air temperature, and air humidity
    Thanks
     
  6. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    In addition to the GH4, I've flown one of my 5D Mark III bodies with 24mm and 16-35mm lenses, but nothing heavier yet. I don't have any fizzles or other gadgets, or REDs or other cameras.
    Quadrocopter have been flying their RED around quite a bit.
    Nope, haven't found myself very far from sea level or our mild Northern California weather with the ALTA yet. I have flown it in some decent wind (15-20mph) and it behaves very well.
     
    MIke Magee likes this.
  7. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

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    Steve, glad to hear about the wind. That's typical out here.
    -m
     
  8. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I have been looking forward to experimenting with top-mounting my MōVI M5 on the ALTA, but I was stymied by a couple things, including not knowing quite how to use my Tattu batteries in the lower tray/landing gear. Freefly Tech Support came through with the answer, and so I went for it (see new thread I started about hints and tips here: http://forum.freeflysystems.com/index.php?threads/alta-hints-and-tips.6859/). As advertised, it was a pretty simple conversion, and both the MōVI and the ALTA were very happy with their new relationship. I wanted to find a spot where there was plenty of soft landing spots and there was something interesting to look up at, so I went to a local area where I've flown my little 250mm racing rig for tree-dodging practice. The light was quite low by the time I got there, so I didn't want to fly with the FPV goggles on. The results were great. I did discover that altitude hold should not be relied upon when you're less than 1 meter off the ground. And of course GPS was pretty spotty in a heavy tree covering. So all this flying was purely manual. But the ALTA is so smooth it was as if it was on rails. Fortunately I avoided all the low-hanging branches and the tree trunks, not to mention a hawk who was soaring above the tree grove when I left.

     
  9. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

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    Interesting to see the motors pitch into the shot from below at 2:01 or so.

     
  10. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    BTW, for the first time I managed to massage the Synapse flight log into Google Earth GPX format to see one of my flights! Here you go...as you can see, I was definitely in the woods! :)

    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.25.35 AM.jpg
     
  11. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

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    Steve, what did you use to extract the GPX? Any scripts needed that you can share?

    -m

     
  12. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    There are some websites out there that can take a list of lat/lon coordinates and make them into a GPX file. I had to massage the Synapse data format with a few Excel formulas...
    1. there's a bug in the Synapse right now (certainly will be fixed) where the sign is off on the longitude, so you have to correct that first
    2. then you also have to divide the numbers shown by 10000000 to get a proper decimal value
    3. then you eliminate everything other than the line number and the lat/lon, and paste the result into http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/convert_input
    Hopefully somebody will hack together a proper converter program soon.
     
  13. Jeff Camden

    Jeff Camden New Member

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    Hi Steve,
    With your current experience with the Alta, do you see there being any conflict or issues with running a gimbal other than the MoVi? Say Gremsy?
    Appreciate any insights, Im still tossing up getting one, considering the outlay on a new gimbal, but love the Alta, hoping its a possibility.
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Not a clue. You'd probably be the first to fly with something other than a MōVI.
     
  15. Jeff Camden

    Jeff Camden New Member

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    Maybe its better to run with a MoVI then, cheers
     
  16. Andrew Griffiths

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    I haven't seen anyone post a return to home procedure. Seems that info on this and motor out redundancy is a bit sketchy. Any reports Steve?

    Also interested in the performance of the GPS lock. How long does it take to lock on? Any comparisons to the DJI GPS?
     
  17. Klaus Friedrich

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    Or second ;) - I will also use a different gimbal.

    There are three topics to note when using another gimbal than Movi,
    1. Adapt your NONE-Movi gimbal with the "Toad In The Hole Quick Release";
    2. Use a 3 leg landing gear (copter weight!) or adapt the Aero Landing Gear to your NONE-Movi gimbal;
    3. Your NONE-Movi gimbal should have the same weight as a MOVI or less;
    I managed 1 & 3 already;
    2 is in process. But it looks good and with an empty gimbal weight of around 1000g I can handle cameras up to 1kg. So plenty of margin for the batteries :cool:
     
  18. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    RTH works, although I didn't let it autoland.
    No practical way to test motor out, and no desire, either. I trust the Freeflyers when they tell me they've yet to have a motor or ESC fail on them in their flight testing. They stress the hell out of these in testing (watch their videos) and I'm confident that while losing a motor/ESC could happen, it's quite far down the list of things that could take her down. Pilot error is still an order of magnitude more likely to kill an ALTA than most mechanical/electrical issues.
    In my experience, it's very, very fast. By the time I'm done with my pre-flight, I usually have 9-10 satellites and a full lock (less than 60 seconds on first boot, instantaneous on subsequent ones).
    As for comparisons to DJI, I'm only familiar with the NAZA-M V2, and that's not really fair...like having an Aston Martin pull up next to your Subaru and asking if you'd like to have a go.
     
  19. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I've started looking at my ALTA's data logs. Here's a plot showing the power output in watts for each of the motors on a very constrained flight the other night through a local stand of trees. I was flying very slowly in manual mode at about 1-3 meters off the ground with the MōVI mounted on the top. As you can see, there are some glitches in the data, but overall, it's more or less what I'd expect. Max power output is about 2500 watts on this flight.

    Untitled.jpg
     
  20. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Interesting plot, Steve. Looks like a presidential candidate's hair.

    Andy.
     

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