Monday, July 27, 2015

Almost settled in, FPV Vapor

Went out Saturday morning for the last round of thing-buying - bought stuff like a sauce pan, a tiny stool, and a lightweight hanging rack for my clothes. Apart from wishing I had more lights at night, I'm more or less almost settled in for the time being.

Visited the hobby store to get some parts for my heli, and then came across this incredible offer for a Blade FPV Vapour for 89CAD - iirc it was around 200 just a few weeks ago. In fact, the fpv camera mounted on this plane alone costs a hundred bucks. So given the crazy price and the fact that I'd always wanted one of the Vapours for flying, but they are super expensive for what they are, I bought it!

I just maiden'd my vapor a few hours ago in my basement carpark and it was a blast. While it required a fair bit of throttle to actually take off, it actually needs very little throttle (30%?) to keep flying.

Hand launching this baby is uber fun, just set a 1/3 of the throttle and just throw it. I'd previously removed the FPV camera since I have no fpv gear, so it must have changed the flight characteristics. This aircraft loves to climb! I was never able to use more than 60-70% throttle as it was too fast, and I had to push the nose down constantly at that kind of throttle.
Quick bit on the fpv camera, it's around the head of a usb cable, and weighs nearly nothing (google says 4.5 grams). Given that the fpv vapour is only 24 grams in weight, removing the camera means it's about a fifth lighter! I've been lookingi at fpv gear but it's rather expensive and I'm probably going to experiment with cheap gear from hobby king or something.

Anyways, the vapor flies like a dream for uber noobs like me. This was my first r/c aircraft ever, but thanks to time spent in the simulator I had no issues flying it. Originally I had downloaded the Night Vapor's setup for my controller, but I'd modified it to have a switch disengage the motor (like my helicopter), a timer for the battery as well as adding a little bit of expo to the ailerons and elevators, and having a 3 way toggle to have various servo travel rates. Out of the box, my vapor flies to the right, so I'd tuned in lots of left trim and it flies well and true.

In the carpark, it is very possible for a brisk walker to go faster than the vapor in flight. Heck I can probably do it. Landing is uber easy, and I've successfully done what some youtubers have done with their vapors - catch it in mid air instead of landing it.

After two battery packs inside, I decided to tempt fate by flying it outdoors in an empty field near by. The winds were rather strong today, you can see the branches move, and the vapor is sort of flyable, in the sense that even at full throttle, it just can't penetrate the wind. It is very fun though, to see the aircraft hover as the winds were that fast! It was also twitchy as hell with the winds blowing it all over the place, but it was still generally controllable, but required an extreme amount of concentration. I think my heli flying experience helped alot.

When the battery ran out, I was rather worried as I lost thrust (_somebody_ overestimated the countdown timer for outdoor flight), but somehow with just the flight controls and a good strong wind, it just landed vertically lol.

I've had a few crashes outdoors and this was in a well trimmed grass field, and apart from the battery dropping from its velcro'd perch, everything appears to still be in perfect condition. Given that my vapor is now probably less than 20 grams in flight, there isn't much momentum to cause damage. Or so he says.

Looking forward to bringing my baby for a flight in the bigger field where I fly my heli at. Can't wait :)

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