Amazon Prime Air Deliveries — Concerns ?

By now there is a pretty good chance you’ve heard about Amazons announcement a couple weeks ago in regards to their drone package delivery experiment.  I have no doubts that within time it would actually be a really good program for them when it comes to delivering small packages and hopefully they will be able to support all the issues involved in this type of thing.   Those of us who have already been in the hobby for sometime are well aware of the potential risks involved with rc helicopters,  multi rotors and rc airplanes etc and how badly things can go if your not well prepared to deal with them.    There are all sorts of things that can happen with quad copters such as a lipo catching fire,  or having the quad fall from the sky which could do quite a bit of damage even if it only weighed something under 8 lbs , or whether it fell on someone or crashed through the window of a house or dropped on vehicles on a road way causing an accident.    There are quite a few hobbyists and aerial video professionals who are also well aware of controller boards that have been known to cause the multi rotor to “fly away”  and not knowing where in the area it could have possibly ended up which is obviously  a pretty expensive loss for some.   I recently came  across an article that discussed this interesting delivery idea of Amazons where it was mentioned that the drones ,  a.k.a. the quad copter,  could potentially be moved with the delivery vehicle to the particular area of the city where packages would be delivered.

This did begin  to make  a little more sense to me in that you would have an actual human being in the area with drones to manage their where abouts in the area and to service any potential problems the drones may have.  The one thing to think about is,  should the quad have a problem ,  I would assume the machine would just be taken back to the vehicle only to be repaired later.   The other question I have to ask is,  will this actually help ? or would it reduce the efficiency of the human being by them having to “babysit” the drones before they could move onto to the next delivery?   No doubt that there is a team of professionals addressing all types of these concerns who could make the system work.   Many countries have in fact banned the use of drones which does cause a problem for Amazon Prime Air.   Interestingly Amazon is not the only one delving into this idea of drone deliveries but there are other companies looking into it as well such as DHL.

Probably the only thing that could cause a real problem for these companies is the public in general.   There is a video on You Tube that shows a multi rotor that had actually been shot with a gun and has a bullet hole in the frame ,  in which case the owner of the machine brought their concerns to the local authorities about it but nothing is being done.  It is understandable that some people have privacy concerns about drones with cameras on them but you have to admit it is pretty disturbing when someone has the mentality that they need to shoot something that does not belong to them.  All in all this is a particular topic that will have a tendency to “drone on”  for some time but in a few years time it may become just as acceptable or useful to people as the automobile has become , as well as the cell phone.

Here are a few  videos that show examples of drone deliveries :

I hope you have found this article a least a little bit interesting and don’t forget to leave a comment with your thought’s  on this.

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Quad copters that can SWIM !

Now we all knew that there would eventually be a time when you would actually be able to land a quad copter in water but who would have thought it would happen so soon ?  Many of us are not strangers to multi rotors but the idea of being able to land your multi rotor in water and without consequences is extremely appealing.  I just so happened to come across this site called AquaCopters.com .  What they offer are quad copter frames that appear to be vacuum formed.  I’ll show you a couple of videos here soon that show these phenomenal machines in action.  They seem to be able to take a bit of abuse and keep on going !

Many of us at one time or another have experimented with their radio controlled craft by landing on water just to see if we could do it without having a tragedy.  The thing I like about this idea is that should you feel like going outside for a quick flight and it is raining,  there is no doubt you would be able to get away with it.  The other thing I like is that now with the Go Pro camera being a common sight on most aircraft,  the idea of mounting your camera underneath and landing it in a pond or lake is now a possibility.  Now you could have a crash in a pond and walk away with your camera and everything in tact.    I can see this item being a part of my future projects however that maybe be a little further down the road.  Another great thing I like about these is that the price is just right,  they offer the frame only for $119,   or you can purchase the frame as an ARF unit costing you around $350.  If you check out the one video there is mention about the clear frame and a brief suggestion of mounting your LED lights inside the frame and still being able to see the orientation of the craft in flight,  how cool is that ?

Check out these vids ,  keep in mind I have no affiliation with the company or product nor do I profit from it.  Hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Multi Rotor, Quad copters , Hex copters etc. Motor Maintenance checklist

With Quad copters and Hex copters becoming increasingly popular on the scene of RC flight as well as many other types of multi rotors,  it is important to realize that there are some inherent risks involved when it comes to flying one of these.   Electric motors in particular are very unforgiving once they are powered up and a disaster or injury can happen instantaneously and even without warning.  If you are new to multi rotor helicopters be sure to check online in the forums first and seek the help of someone or a group of people with good solid knowledge of the hobby and you will have a safe and enjoyable experience.   Realize that there are people out there who are willing to help you with good advice as to how go about getting into the hobby.   In regards to motor care especially I found some really useful information that you will really appreciate and find helpful if you are multi rotor enthusiast.   This information comes from the Multiwiicopter website and I wrote none of it nor do I take any credit for it but I thought it was important to share it with you.

Setup & Maintenance:

  • This is not a toy – Aviation requires discipline, inspection and risk analysis – Multicopter motors form part of the critical aircraft flight system and become your duty of care when purchased and built.
  • If a motor fails the Copter can fall from the sky and cause harm to person or property below – Always do a full pre-flight inspection on the motors ; A post flight temperature check for thermal stress (hot motor)
  • Schedule of maintenance you must perform includes : –
  1. Remove and add Blue Loctite® to the shaft grub screw – make sure Loctite® does not enter any bearing!
  2. Ensure the Circlip is set (crimped) correctly to hold the shaft in place – inspect closely for any sign of looseness
  3. Carefully apply 1 small drop of OIL to each bearing every 5 hours flight time – with a syringe & needle (new SAE20-50 motor oil) – allow the oil to soak in for 1 min; wipe away all excess oil – oil traps abrasive dust!
  4. Avoid all dusty Landing/Takeoff zones – We recommend Ops from a dust-free rooftop LZ on a 4WD/SUV vehicle or a 1.5m circular plywood dust-free Helipad on the ground to prevent any dust ingress to the bearings.  Abrasive dust entering bearings will shorten the effective life dramatically – inspect the bearngs for wear and replace if worn -Spin the motor – Magnetic cogging will slow and stop the motor which is normal – check for any wear or abnormal sound/roughness/dryness or non-linear friction indicating a bearing failure.
  5. Use high pressure air (can of comressed air – or air line) to clean any sand,dust, grass or dirt away from an engine after every flight
  6. Inspect the wires to ensure the insulation is in-tact
  7. Check that the collect (Prop-adapter) is tight and cannot be pulled off with 2kg force – Dont assume it’s tight – check it in Pre-flight
  8. Use Blue Loctite® to mount the engine screws to the carbon/G10 engine holder.  Check the engine mounting screws never penetrate too far into the engine & short the winding wires
  9. Inspect the prop for any fatigue cracks or white stress lines – immediately repalce any prop suspected of weakness – Routinely replace props every 10 flight hours.
  10. Shaft must be replaced if bent – using a 3mm punch and tapped out – or shaft can be reversed by removing the grub screw and using a bench vise to push it further in and out the other side – then retighten the grub screw
  11. if the motor is observed to be showing some initial warning sign – AN INDICATOR – noted by the pilot but not considered to be a risk by the pilot – and he decided to continue flight ; consider fully the RISK ; this can cause subsequent engine failure and total loss of your aircraft if it has less than six engines. Be aware –
    the most common causes of engine failure are
    • ingestion of FOD (foreign object damage) dirt, dust, stones or debris which can enter the motor during take off and landing – causing trauma (cuts) to the windings or insulation of the windings, damage to bearings
    • breakage of one or more of the internal lead-in stator winding wires by stress (pulling of the wires during ground handling or assembly) – can be caused in incorrectly handling a motor, crash impact tension, carry the craft by gripping the motor assembly wires causing a break inside a motor.
    • magnetic variation – de-magnetising of one or more magnets by placing the magnets on or against other motors/magnets or in magnetic fields – tapping against metal objects of the can of the motor – this partial de-magnetisation can cause the ESC to overheat the engine because the timing cannot be accurately determined by the ESC. Thermal run-away – engine overheats because it is effectively overloaded – Copter is too heavy.  Overheated magnets are permanently ruined.
    • dry-joints or inconsistent  loose push-connections/soldering between an ESC and a motor leading to timing faults – if one of the three connections is loose or not 100% soldered correct – Should you observe ANY motor hesitation or stutter on first power applied 10% throttle – immediately cut power – do not Power-up further or you will blow the ESC  – DO NOT FLY especially relevant for long wiring runs or self soldered joints – USE solder paste – use a Digital Multimeter DMM to check all 3 wires show the same Resistance in ohms – check the wires for breakage or shorts.  Save your ESC by careful observation of problem indicators.
    • Shorting of any motor wire(s) internally to the metal/carbon booms or too the airframe– INSULATION of ALL WIRES annd joints is vital.  – short of the insulation from sharp carbon edges not filed smooth during construction – leading to timing problems or stuttering – Should you observe ANY motor hesitation or stutter – DO NOT FLY – replace the motor /wires/ESC as applicable to the fault – Beginner fault to observe AN INDICATOR – such as hestition then continue to fly – delibrately blowing the ESc – leading to failure and a crash – Pro-Pilots discontinue flight/Land at the slightest hint of a problem – because they realise that warnings are only given once.
    • Poor bearing maintenance lubrication and/or exposure/ingress of abrasive dust leading to bearing breakdown
    it’s VITAL to monitor the temps of all engines on the post-flight check, avoid operations where FOD. dust is a risk and keep motors padded in transport.  It is also recommend to ground the aircraft and 100% locate the cause of any abnormal performance item.
Notes:
  • NEVER fit the propellers to a motor until AFTER you have fully Tested and set-up the motor and YOU understand that electric motors can start suddenly without any warning.  With proper understanding and maintenance the motors are safe.
  • NEVER run a propeller without FIRST balancing it on a magnetic balancer
  • Do a staic and a dynamic balance of all props for best results
  • Do a hand Maiden – before any flight maiden;  to observe all engines running normally under power applied condition – and all controls responding correctly.
  • During the hand maiden feel the airframe for vibration levels – there should be none – smooth – vibration indicates an out of balance motor/prop and must be traced and balanced.

In conclusion I hope this really helped and I wish you many happy and safe flights !

Follow Me System for quad copters and hex copters explained in a video

Hi everyone,  yesterday I wrote a post in regards to the Follow Me transmitter and where to get the information for it.  What I should have done as well was post another video which explains HOW the system works.  The video is about 12 minutes long so if you have a bit of time this morning with your morning coffee and find this particular topic interesting then you might appreciate this.  The guy also does a sample flight with his hexcopter so you can actually see the system working,  very cool.

Firmware-0.84#en.2BAC8-PointOfInterest.Video_with_explanation

Enjoy.

MONSTER sized quad copter from Next Level Multi rotors

In my earlier posts I had talked about Next Level Multi rotors and how they just came out with a 500 and a 650 sized quad copter with the capability of interchanging the parts to create a multi rotor of your chosen size or for whatever your needs are.   Well,  in the next couple of months you are going to be seeing much LARGER machines from RC Dude and Innov8tive Designs.   These machines are going to have amazing payload capabilities as well.  They have been doing a lot of testing in regards to what size motors are compatible with different types of  ESCs at certain amperages as well as battery requirements and I have to say that things are really coming together for them.  I like the way they have done all the trial and error for you and making sure things are compatible so that you don’t end up seeing the grey smoke.   The sizes you will soon see are in the 800 mm and 1000 mm class which is the distance from one motor to the opposite motor on a quad copter.   I had inquired about what the payload capability would be just for the 800 model alone,  and get this,  you can actually load   8  6s 5000 mah batteries on the plate.   I totaled up what 8 batteries on the quad would look like and here is what I calculated,  one Zippy 6s 5000 mah battery from Hobbyking weighed in at 769 grams / 1.695 pounds each.  If you were to install 8 batteries the total battery weight alone is 13.52 pounds !  I have to see if I can find out for you what the flight time looks like but if you factor in approximately 20 pounds of quad copter with the included 8 6s 5000 batteries then ideally the quad may be looking at around 40 or so minutes of flight time !   The payload plate is about the size of a dinner plate.  I find this incredibly amazing to think about.  Just imagine being able to load up a few flight packs,  a camera gimbal and a DSLR camera without having to to worry about whether you quad copter has the ability to lift the payload.  These quad copters look exactly like the 500 model that I have only a lot bigger.   If you want to see an 800 Next Level multi rotor in action then here is a video showing you its ability to fly with a NAZA controller board.

Blade MQX quad copter …

If you have been uncertain whether quad copters are for you because the price seems a bit high then I have a potential solution for you.  Blade helicopters has come out with a new model that I am sure you have probably heard of by now but if not ,   then you just might be interested.   The model I am referring to is the Blade MQX and it is a very agile and  lightweight quad.   It comes with the AS3X 3 axis stabilization unit,  a 4 in 1 DSm2 receiver/ESCs/mixer/AS3X sensor unit,  as well as an Eflite 1 s 3.7 volt 500 mah LI-Po battery.  You can purchase the quad as a RTF or a BNF.  The RTF model comes with a MLP4DSM 4-channel DSM2 transmitter with batteries,  and also comes with an Eflite Celectra 1 cell DC variable rate LI-PO charger.  This quad can be flown in ‘x’ or ‘+’ configurations.  It is a great little starter unit for anyone interested in quad copters.   If you want to see a quick video of this HOT little quad in action then here it is :

Enjoy.

FY-90q Pro controller for multi – rotors …

I have to admit I have also been doing a little research online in regards to multi – rotor controllers as I am in the process of attempting to initiate my own quad copter project.  One controller that came across my attention is the FY – 90 q Pro.  The thing that appears attractive about this type of controller is that it is a plug and play unit with very minimal set-up and it can be used for aerial video and photography.  The price is about $40 more than the Open Pilot control board but its actually not bad for someone looking to hang a Go Pro off their quad copter and looking to fly right away.  I could repeat a lot of the information already written about the FY -90q Pro but it’s just as easy to send you to a link where a lot of the information is already there … http://www.rcdude.com/servlet/the-1905/Fyetech-FY-dsh-90Q-Pro-Gyro-fdsh-Stabilizer/Detail .   If you want to find the forums regarding the FY -90q you can go to … http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1465144 .

Here is a quick video showing you the FY – 90q in action …