Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quadcopter Drone - Maiden Flight and Crash

The first real flight with the newly constructed drone didn't go as well as I had hoped it would.

Things started off pretty well, and I was getting some great shots of my parent's house and surrounding areas.  But the drone started to climb too high, and it became very difficult to tell which direction it was flying.  I tried to bring it back home, but it seemed to just keep drifting farther away.  Then it seems the distance was just too much.  I lost connection and saw the drone spiral down to the earth.  

I felt like I had been punched in the gut, dwelling the on the possibililty of losing both my drone and GoPro camera in one blow, in rual Franktown, CO.

Here is a video of the entire event.  There is good news and more pictures after the video.

I have been practicing on a PC Simulator at home. It is helpful for general flying,  but doesn't really portray an accurate simulation when the drone hits really high altitudes.  I should have kept things nice an low during my first few flights,  but I took the quick route to finding out what NOT NOT to do in the future. 

The area where the drone went down is pretty heavy with trees and shrubs, and my first thought was "Its gone." Then I remembered that my GoPro was still transmitting transmitting WiFi signal from using the App on my Phone and Tablet to control various camera functions.  We drove around the area looking for a "ping"  from the GoPro's WiFi.   We finally go a hit,  and jumped out on foot to continue the search.  I had my tablet, and my brother with my phone,  we used the WiFi Analyzer app for Android that allowed us to use the WiFi signal similar to a radar ping. Here is a Screenshot of what it looks like. 

After about 10 minutes of searching, we finally recovered the Drone. Luckily we have had heavy rain over the last few days, and the ground is pretty soft.   The landing struts were buried about 2 inches into the ground,  and there was minimal damage to the Drone overall.  Only thing that was broken was one of the booms.  Very easy and inexpensive to replace,  coming in at $6 to fix. 

Overall it was still a fun experience,  and a good story to tell.  I have also learned the limits of my drone,  and will NOT be flying anywhere near that altitude in the foreseeable future. Need to do the repair and it will be back in the air in no time at all. 

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