As the weather starts to thaw, I feel like I am crawling out of a deep dark cave where I've been hibernating. Granted, over the frigid winter I've spent time on various projects - Jeep upgrade (plus frozen creek adventures), BOEBot, Arduino, a bed for my thirddaughter, a quadcopter rebuild, and various foam airplanes. I've even spent some time on an R/C trainer to try and hone my skills. Still -- the darkness had me feeling unproductive and unmotivated.

Now it's time to wake up and get stuff done!

My recently completed FT-22.

Lately I've gotten into flying my quadcopter with FPV goggles from FatShark. Unfortunately for me, it's been like re-learning how to fly. Orientation, altitude -- all complicated until I can get used to flying by visual reference instead of looking at the quad itself.

I did have a chance over the weekend to do some indoor flying at a local gym. It really helped to tune my quad without interference from the wind.

Quadcopters and FPV gear.


Light it up!

My friend Tim gave me a two foot long strip of RGB LED's a while back and I've been planning to add them to the inside of one of my foam planes to light it up at night. Being impatient, I wired up a harness and attached two small strips to the front of my quadcopter instead. The result is stunning -- super bright! I just don't know how much of a drain it will have on the battery.


My Growing Foam Fleet

Thanks to the guys over at Flitetest, I'm now addicted to building R/C planes out of foam core. This weekend I finished yet another (upper left). Pictured below is half of my foam fleet.

FT Speedster, Simple Soarer, and Versa Wing


Quadcopter Fall Colors

I decided to expand my R/C hobby into quadcopters -- that is, I ordered parts and scratch built my own. The frame is an impressive 2.2 pounds with four 11" propellers. After tuning for a while, I finally got brave and mounted my old Creative Vado camera to the front and took it for a test flight. The results were stunning. (Turn your volume down if you don't want to hear prop-noise.)

Unfortunately, my luck did not prevail and on a follow-up flight a couple of days later, I crashed hard into the sidewalk. After rebuilding the frame, I'm still tuning and plan to upgrade the firmware on the controller board before I get brave again. Patience. Perseverance.


Continued Success

While my parents visited for a High School reunion, my Dad and I built yet another plane -- this one the FT Versa model from the geniuses over at FliteTest.

Today my son Jake and I took it out for a maiden flight. After some confusion with reversed controls, I was finally able to get it up in the air. And it flies awesome. As in, I'm super stoked that something we assembled in 2 hours is able to fly as good as it does. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole time.

Continued success is what drives me through all of my projects. I'm not talking about 100% success, just something that comes together and really wows me. Now it's time to combine some circuit building into my designs -- maybe some pulsing or rotating lights?



Armed with fully charged Lipo batteries, I went out to a nearby field to maiden my foamcore delta wing plane. The first two flights were a disaster. As with my F22, the elevons were reversed and it was completely uncontrollable.  I quickly fixed that problem and actually had a decent flight. (See video.) After changing batteries, I took it up again and realized that I could not turn left or right. I quickly nosed down and put it in before it went into the trees. Luckily it sustained only minor damage. The problem was that the paper was pulling away from the foam causing the control surfaces to malfunction.  Back to the shop for repairs...at least I learned something today.


More R/C Airplanes

When I was around 15 years old, I was heavily into radio controlled cars, boats, and planes. I had (and still have) an Electra glider with an electric motor and a 6' wingspan. For years, the glider sat in the back of my basement collecting dust. Recently, I discovered a YouTube show called FliteTest which re-kindled my love of R/C. With advice from the experts in the forums I've managed to get a nice radio and with a few pieces of foamcore from the dollar store a working plane; the FT Flyer.

Tonight I finally got some time between soccer practices to build an FT Delta. Now I wait for its maiden flight with a pit of fear in my stomach.