Ads and umFlight

In mid-January, I moved my blog from WordPress.com, a free service, to a host that costs me $60 a year. And the domain name (umflight.com) costs $10 a year.

Sadly, I am adding ads to umFlight to pay for hosting, the domain name and other costs related to running umFlight. This will put more money into my RC budget, allowing me to review more planes and possibly do some experiments (the planes may or not survive!). If I make extra, this will also allow me to get even more review and experimental aircraft along with parts for builds to share on umFlight. Of course, sharing my builds depends on if I ever get a successful build!

However, I hate websites that have lots of ads like many others do. So that’s why I’m only putting one banner ad on the top of the home page, right below the title. It should be approved by Google soon. umFlight will NOT become a place for thousands of ads! Because, like many of you, I hate too many ads that make the user experience bad, I am not planning on adding more than a couple of ads per page or the least amount necessary to make enough money to keep umFlight thriving.

Thanks for understanding and for reading umFlight!

My New Fleet

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You may be wondering why I never posted yesterday. And why part 2 of last week’s post hasn’t been published. I’ll give those answers.

Firstly, I remembered that I would have a few new aircraft come in today. This gave me the idea to, instead of a part 2, give some brief previews on these new products that will be reviewed. Be assured that part 2 will come out on or before next Sunday.

1. UMX Radian:

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I couldn’t resist. The remarkable wind handling of the last one, which I reviewed here, and long flight times made me finally cave in and buy a second one. At least I was able to hold out for four months.

2. Spektrum DX6:

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I really enjoyed my old DX6, but it had a problem with no signal coming out only a few months after purchase. I decided to not send it in, but to keep it as a simulator transmitter and get a higher-end transmitter for normal flying. That never really worked out. I ended up getting another DX6i, missing the DX6’s features a lot.

So, when the time came for me to really rebuild my fleet, I decided to upgrade to the DX7. However, it was too much money to get at the same time as a Radian, Nano QX, and the NQX’s big brother. So I got another DX6, and I’m really happy with it.

(Note: my old DX6 always failed to bind on the first try. I had to try again for it to work. This one binds perfectly.)

3. Blade Nano QX:

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I really enjoyed the first one that I had in 2013. It, as I said a previous post about how I got started in RC, broke in August-ish. Then, I got another. That was still going strong until a few months ago. Somehow, I managed to lose it. I guess I’ll find it once I fly the new one.

Anyway, the Nano QX is one of the best indoor quadcopters. I would have said it was the best, but then its big brother came along…

4. NEW Nano QX 3D:

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This thing is… AMAZING! I was flying so fast around me in the living room that I thought that my head might spin off from moving in circles to keep it in view. Everything else was blurry, and that was only in intermediate mode!

Even more impressive, the NQX 3D got five minutes forty seconds until LVC with the timer activating/deactivating when the throttle went above/below 25% with this flying! I have decided to try to make the timer start and stop at 10% throttle, leaving the timer at five minutes. Maybe I’ll change the timer to start/stop at 25% throttle and last for four minutes.

Conclusion:

Well, there’s the new fleet! I’m going to finally review what I haven’t reviewed soon.

This fleet actually has some type of structure so I don’t buy things left and right. The Radian is the plane that will be flown in high winds, the NQX is the standard house flyer, and the NQX 3D is the indoor pocket rocket! Oh, and the Champ that I’ve had since Christmas, well, I still think that everyone needs a Champ. Also, the Proto X that I’ve had for a while is my very, very, very small flyer.

Thanks for reading, and part 2 of last week’s post will be posted sometime on or before next Sunday the 1st. Then there’s Reader’s Opinion, and then more reviews.

FPV Planes vs Quadcopters: Which is a better First FPV Aircraft? (Part 1)

Warning: you should be VERY proficient at flying RC planes normally before attempting to fly an RC plane via FPV. If you are going to fly FPV quadcopters, you should be proficient at flying quads normally before attempting to fly a quad copter via FPV.

Now that the warning/disclaimer for new pilots is over, we can get started.

This is part 1 of a two-part series about whether you should choose a plane or quad copter for your first FPV aircraft. Note: The quadcopter that I’m going to make a build post is still being refined, so the post won’t be out for 2-3 weeks.

So, you’re a good UM RC plane or quadcopter pilot and want to get into FPV. But, should you go with a plane or quad for that first FPV flight? Read on to find out.

My Story:

I flew “FPV” for the first time last December. It was with an AR Drone, which has an FPV camera and displays the video on an iDevice, but I really spent most of the time looking at the drone, sometimes looking at the screen. Then, the Friday after Christmas 2013, I got the Walkera Ladybird FPV, which I barely spent two seconds looking at the screen at a time while hovering.

So, none of those were real FPV. I just looked at my screen every once in a while to either try to fly FPV, or look at where I was from an areal perspective. That all changed at 9:00 AM EST on Christmas Day, 2014…

I received the NEW Blade Nano QX FPV. After charging the battery that came with it (and trying to find my other batteries), I took off. For the first few flights, I sat on the couch in the family room and hovered above family members in the living room. After a few flights, I was racing around the house in less than a minute each time. Then the camera sensor CAME OFF. I was trying to twist the lens to focus, but it wasn’t on straight, so I twisted the whole sensor off…

So I ordered another camera to put on my Champ. It arrived on the 5th of January, and I managed to put it into the air on January 7th. My experience probably isn’t fair because the camera that I put on the plane had a problem: everything was dark. I had to dive to see where I was in relation to the ground.

However, there was a difference even when I ignored the camera issue. The plane moved all the time, and it seemed quite fast. It seemed faster when I was looking through the camera and taking off and about to run into a mailbox than from a third person view.

I also got a bird’s eye view from way up in the sky surveying the neighborhood and diving down to try to see things… It was relaxing once I got up to altitude… sort of. Remember, I still couldn’t see well do to camera problems and the range on the Champ, which doesn’t use a full range receiver, is something that I didn’t want to test as I flew higher than I’ve ever flown around the neighborhood. A combination of these two things kept me diving, going back up, turning, diving, going back up, you get the idea.

Conclusion:

Thanks for reading part 1. Stay tuned for part two next Sunday. Maybe I’ll even get it out at 5:00 AM! Just dreaming… (Really, I’m usually dreaming at 5 AM!)

Thanks for reading, enjoy, and please subscribe to umFlight if you liked this post!

RO 5: Do you use AS3X on your UM Planes?

Reader’s Opinion is back this month! And this Reader’s Opinion is…

Do you use AS3X on your UM planes?

Me? I haven’t modded anything yet, so my fleet is mostly non-AS3X because the fleet is completely stock.

Now it’s your turn! Vote in the poll, leave a comment, or both!

Thanks for reading! As always, new post next Sunday at 5:00 AM!

Basic FPV Safety

FPV might be the most fun part of the RC hobby, but the FAA is trying to regulate it because of a few experienced pilots and the people who have “the cool new flying camera gadget” flying their quadcopters (mostly DJI Phantoms, which DJI has advertised as flying gadgets) dangerously (over people, over restricted airspace, etc.). These aircraft are NOT gadgets! They have spinning rotors that can cause a lot of damage!

So, I decided to write a list of things to do when flying FPV to keep people safe (and the FAA happy!).

1. Don’t Fly over People: Common sense!!! Yet, many seem to do it. What if, for example, you had some kind of in-flight failure as you flew over people (and innocent puppies!) and your quad copter fell and crashed onto those people’s heads? It could severely hurt them, not to mention the legal nightmare.

2. Try Not To Fly Over Houses and Cars: Your FPV aircraft could damage a house or car if it crashes into it. Even though it’s not likely that a MICRO aircraft, like the ones discussed on umFlight, could damage the house, let alone hurt someone inside, but it could. I guess that you COULD fly over your own house as the house is yours… If you do end up flying over a house, stay calm: it’s not likely that anything will happen. However, get it away from the house or car in a timely manner.

3. Don’t Spy on People: First of all, you don’t spy on people. Secondly, one of the reasons why people are afraid of “drones” is because of the cameras as they are afraid that they’ll used for spying. Just don’t do it, please.

4. Don’t Fly (Too) High: This isn’t much of an issue with ultra micros because of their usually-limited range, but don’t fly over 400 feet within 5-10 miles of an airport. The FAA also doesn’t want you to fly over 400 feet above ground level anywhere else. Flying this high, mostly around airports, can put your RC plane/quadcopter in the path of a larger full-scale plane.

5. Don’t Fly Over Restricted Airspace: It is currently illegal to fly over many areas such as the White House. It’s ILLEGAL, so don’t do it!

Conclusion:

Well, that is all I can think of today. I just want to note that, from now on, I’m not guaranteeing new posts at a specific time on Sundays anymore, but they’ll still be published on Sundays as usual.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a comment if you have any other things to add. Enjoy, comment, and please subscribe to umFlight below this post if you enjoyed this post!