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View Full Version : Dedicated AP Bird " The Shot " Getter


Ira
04-15-2006, 06:36 AM
Hey everyone, I've just finished building a new AP platform of my own creation. The goal is a pro quality AP platform that is a true suitcase bird that is smooth, easy and predictable to fly and has a clean and "expensive" look. Not to knock the Slow Sticks but they tend to look a bit improvised with all the gear dangeling off of them. I own and fly a Magpie and love it but it looks a bit toy like. While looks have 0 impact on the great shots folks get with these planes I wanted something a bit more "pro" looking. Anyhow after a couple prototypes and taking a lot of good advice here are some pic's of what I've come up with. Unfortunatly the weather has been lousey and I've only gotten one short test flight that was cut short by a broken off tail skid that has been replaced with a wheel. Weather guess'ers say it may be sutable to fly on the 18th and if so I'll test further and post a report.

Randy Due
04-15-2006, 07:10 AM
Hey, I like it! I love pushers. Any specs....weight, size, etc?

Randy

Randy Due
04-15-2006, 05:07 PM
Is that a VW Bus in the last pic?

Ira
04-15-2006, 05:16 PM
Hey Randy, Overall length is 37 in. Span 60 in. very similar to the Magpie but a bit higher AR. Weight sans payload is 36 oz. with full payload,( vid link and Nikon 7600 ) 47 oz. Power AXI 2808/24, Jetti 30 amp controler, 2100mah lipo. Here is a pic of the wing ( black ) next to the Magpie wing ( white ) for compairson. Tail is easly removed with one screw and when tests determine the best wing a two piece will be built to make this a true suitcase birdie. Am currently building a lower AR wing of the same span to test for light wind/heavy loads. The weather here has ruled out any more tests and look too stay the same for a few more days:(. When testing is compleat I'll get the camera on there and shoot some pic's to post.

Ira
04-15-2006, 05:19 PM
Oh ya that's our rolling hanger. ( 73 transporter ). Can haul a lot of airplane, ( or anything else for that matter ).

Ira
04-21-2006, 06:18 AM
Had a boo boo testing the Getter the other day. After a good test flight I got "dumb thumbs" on aproach to final. Damage was minimal but I'm rebulding the airframe with some changes to add strength and loose an oz or two. Will post the changes in a day or two. Here is a pic of the damage.

Randy Due
04-21-2006, 10:40 PM
Had a boo boo testing the Getter the other day. After a good test flight I got "dumb thumbs" on aproach to final. Damage was minimal but I'm rebulding the airframe with some changes to add strength and loose an oz or two. Will post the changes in a day or two. Here is a pic of the damage.

I know how you feel. I didn't see a limb while landing around dusk one evening right after I got my newest AP bird built. I only had a couple of flights on it when it came tumbling down!:eek: I got it back together in a couple of days, though. It had been nearly a year since I had that happen to my last plane.....right after I built IT!:D Seems like it always happens to the new ones.:rolleyes: Anyway, good luck getting it back together.

Randy

Ira
04-25-2006, 04:21 AM
Tested the improved Getter today and all the development was well worth it! T.O. about 10 ft. and I held it down for half that to be safe. click left click down and she climbed at a shallow angle at 1/3 power. Test weight was 35.1 oz. and could'nt have gone better. Full load will be 43 oz. and next test will be at that weight. If it goes half as well as this one the camera is going on! Here is a pic of the improvments which include a lot more carbon and a lot less ply and a two piece 615 sq. in. wing.

Ira
04-27-2006, 07:18 AM
Last test went so well I stuck the camera on and shot a few frames today. AUW was 43 oz's and a bit more power was needed to climb out as expected but the Getter flew very nice. Slow , steady and boring just what I was trying for. Shot 6 frames of which 3 were keepers. Here they are...... 1. Pic of myself and the rolling hanger. 2. Standard farm building. 3. Bored farmer or ailens from outer space.....you decide???

Ira
04-30-2006, 08:39 PM
One I took the other day while doing camera tests. Testing is done. This plane flys just as intended!!!

aviatordave
05-01-2006, 02:42 AM
One I took the other day while doing camera tests. Testing is done. This plane flys just as intended!!!

Cool, so kits are selling for $ ??.??, and will be in production by DD/MM/YYYY. (he he :D )

glad to see it all worked well for ya, I was following this closely

Dave

Ira
05-01-2006, 03:20 AM
Hey Dave, While this bird is the end of a LOOOOOONG development quest for the ideal pro level A.P. platform and finaly seems to be just right, there are two downsides that will most likley keep me from producing a kit, (although I considered it). This is not a quick build or easy build and the only market would be experienced builders with well equiped shops. It is far from a cheap build which also would limit the market. May make plans with instructions available sometime soon to those willing to tackle this kind of build though. Hey so long as I'm here, here's another pic from the same sorty of new construction in Oak Harbor Wa. Whidbey Island.

Ira
05-04-2006, 04:36 AM
The " Getter " is honed to a tee. Had to scrambel to sneek away for a quick flight today. 5 min. flt,12 shoots 9 keepers. Here is one of the town of Coupeville, Wa on Whidbey Island. I live a few miles south. Doing another build and taking lots of pic's. will post some as soon as I'm done.

Randy Due
05-04-2006, 05:42 AM
The " Getter " is honed to a tee. Had to scrambel to sneek away for a quick flight today. 5 min. flt,12 shoots 9 keepers. Here is one of the town of Coupeville, Wa on Whidbey Island. I live a few miles south. Doing another build and taking lots of pic's. will post some as soon as I'm done.

You gotta be happy with that one! Great shot and scenery.

Ira
05-04-2006, 06:27 AM
Thanks Randy, Actualy I was annoyed a bit. Just off frame to the left/west is Mt. Baker one of my favorite subjects. Tomrrow is going to be even nicer and I'm going to have another go at " The Shot". If I get the one I see in my head I'll post it, if not I'll just sulk untill another chance comes along weather wise.

Ira
05-05-2006, 02:39 AM
Here's the one I was gunning for yesterday. If we ever get a day without overcast I may try a reshoot.

aviatordave
05-05-2006, 03:51 AM
very nice, like the view!

Dave

Ira
05-05-2006, 03:56 PM
Thanks Dave and in A.P. 2 out of 3 is pretty darn good!

aviatordave
05-05-2006, 06:20 PM
I like to see the western side of WA...my old stompin grounds! Seeing the 'Sound' always brings back some good memories, I scuba dived there in the military and really liked it - looks like that was a little south of ya (the most sunken boats in one area, thats for sure). So keep the pics coming, when the weather lets ya

rahtware
05-07-2006, 02:25 PM
Ira

Interesting build. Is the reason for the cutout on the bottom so the camera can rotate? If so, how do you control the position?

Thanks for the thread, I'm just starting out in AP and your design has inspired me to spend the time to work on a design that I have been thinking about.

Ira
05-07-2006, 05:36 PM
Hey Rahtware, The "cut out " I think you refer to is intended to alow for a wide varity of camera, mounting and positioning options. Personaly I prefer a fixed mount that can be set up quickly to ether side and pointed down to the chosen angle ( usualy 15-25 degrees ). With a small camera there is room to set up a tilt and pan but for the still shots I specialize in the fixed mount option works better. Good luck with your build and pro illigitimi carbarandum est. Here are 2 pic's. 1 is the upper bracket bedded in pipewrap type foam to isolate vibrations while power is on. The other is the lower bracket the camera on. There is no direct contact between the bracket and camera except through foam.

rahtware
05-08-2006, 03:11 AM
Ira

I can tell by the pics that you have put a lot of thought and work into this project. Thanks for the info.

The only way that I could figure out a rotating mount that would allow me to have an idea of which way the camera is pointing is to use a proportional channel (rudder, aileron, or maybe flaps which would only give two settings).

I think that my first attempt at an AP platform is going to use a set of Electra (glider) wings that I already have. I have picked up one of the disposable digital cameras for the R&D stage. I am planning on a fixed mount for the first plane to simplify the design. I was going to mount the camera pointing straight out the side, but after reading your post will build about 15 degrees into the plane.

I don't know if it will work, but my plan is to build the fuselage with foam/ply sandwich construction. I was going to extend this all the way to the tail, but after seeing your design I think I will also go with a Carbon Fiber boom. That should save a couple of ounces.

Ira
05-08-2006, 04:33 AM
Hey Larry, Not familiar with that wing. Just to give you a refrence " The Shot Getter " normal AUW full load is about 44 oz.s and wing area is 615 sq in. From all the expermantation during development some of the sailplane type wings worked ok but loaded up tend to land faster which can be hard on cameras and stuff. I decided on the rectangular planiform due to the great lift at very low speed, low stall speed, low landing speed and less sensitivity to minor changes in C.G. such as turning the camera around to point out the other side, ( most cameras have the batterys offset to one side a bit ). The sailplane type wing I tested flew well but too fast for most AP work, may still use it if I must fly in high wind , (and can't avoid it). Ironing out the bugs is a bit more fiddely but I'm very glad to have gone with a pusher. No grass and schmutz flung on to the plane and camera, no dinged and out of balance props, ( balance is critical for AP ) and much safer if anyone or thing should be,( God forbid ) struck by the aircraft. If I can help in any way just let me know. Ira

rahtware
05-08-2006, 05:59 AM
Ira

The Electra is an old C-Goldberg design with a flat-bottomed wing. This is an old style drifter/low sink rate glider, definitaly not a high speed plane. It's 78.3" WS and 663sq in WA should be a good size for the plane I have in mind. Also, as it was stressed to carry a 7 cell RC car pack, full size (2+ oz) servos and a 4oz "micro" receiver (plus battery) it should be able to handle a camera and gear.

Thanks for the offer of help, I already have changed the basic design twice due to your input... First the tail, and now pusher instead of tractor. I was set on going with a 'puller' until your last post. You have convinced me that tractor is the way to go. Trouble is, my design is starting to look a lot like yours...

Now I just need to finish up a couple of projects so I can clean off the building table. And, try once again to get my 'cheap' CAD program to work so I can draft up the plans.

Thanks again,

Larry

Ira
06-01-2006, 06:05 AM
Hey All, Finished developing a foam sandwich version of The Shot Getter to simplify construction and reduce cost. This bird actualy flys better, especialy in high winds. Only beef is now only two layers of isolation from vibs. Not a big problem realy. Here are some pic's of the bird. If the weather ever clears I'll post some FROM the bird :eyeroll:

Cowboy
06-01-2006, 08:09 AM
Ira,
Were you able to keep your AUW the same with this sandwiched foam design compared to the first one? If that is true, then how is it that you feel it does better in high winds? Did you change your airfoil? Looks like you did a good job and I'm interested in how the pics turn out. This June might be a windy one, good luck.:)

rahtware
06-01-2006, 02:06 PM
Good work!

How does the foam one compare to the first one? It must have been much easier to build, and I bet it is a much stronger platform. I think I can see that the arrow shaft goes the full length of the bird. Was that needed to stiffen the body? This is very close to what I had come up with, but I was thinking of an outer skin of 1/64" ply, or a coat of thin glass.

Haven't gotten to mine yet as I have been bouncing around between three locations about 12 hours apart... I thought an early retirement would let me relax, but I think I'm working harder now then I was in my career!:D

Ira
06-01-2006, 04:09 PM
Hey Guys, Airfoil is the same and only 1 oz gained. The improvment in windy conditions is most likley due to an overall cleaner bird. Aft of the line from the frt of the L.G. to the wing L.E. is foam sandwiched in 1/16 4 ply birch. Forward of this is glassed inside and out. Very stiff and strong. AUW w camera is 44 oz. and she will land at walking speed, T.O. run is about 6 ft. and climbout is 75 degrees with power managment flt. times are 20-30 min. When power off and trimmed to float she looks like she should have a kite string attached ie. she just kind of sits there but push the nose down and she speeds up quite nicley. This is important here as I've taken off in calm winds and had to land in 20 mph gusts!

Ira
06-06-2006, 05:27 AM
Got this pic today during a quick sorty. Wind was about 15 mph but not too much of a problem. Taken 350 AGL, Ebey's Landing, Whidbey Island Washington.

Ira
06-11-2006, 05:49 PM
Been playing with different wings on the Getter and some of the bigger ones seem to cause a bit of horizontal instability so I've increased to tail area. The new tail is made of Depron and CF and is actualy much lighter(and just nicer) and the plane is now so stable it is almost silly. While test flying it I actualy put down the TX a few times while eating my lunch :D Here is a pic of the new tail.

Ira
06-12-2006, 03:39 PM
Took this from "The Shot Getter". Two of my kids went through school here and they are tearing it down soon and building a new school in the area you can see ground being broken left side of frame. Combo high and middle school, aprox. 230 students and every teacher knows all of their names. A parent's dream, a teenager's nightmare :D

rahtware
06-13-2006, 07:26 AM
Nice shots, keep them coming... I actually had a Nikon L4 in my hands today, but put it back. The excuse I told myself is that I don't want to mess with the weird Nikon movie format... It worked this time.......

Ira
06-13-2006, 05:36 PM
Took this one yesterday. Lousey day for AP. Wind 1-15 MPH, overcast and started pouring rain right after landing.

Ira
06-14-2006, 05:56 AM
Hey Larry, Been useing the Nikon 7600 and am more or less pleased, but do ever so wish I had gone for the 7900 to get the better lens. You won't regret dropping a few bucks on a decent camera. Just don't " Drop" the camera!

rahtware
06-14-2006, 10:30 AM
Hey Larry, Been useing the Nikon 7600 and am more or less pleased, but do ever so wish I had gone for the 7900 to get the better lens. You won't regret dropping a few bucks on a decent camera. Just don't " Drop" the camera!

I tried a 'returnable' digital cam with miserable results. Was in Staples today and they were closing out the HP DCs. I picked up a little (3.8oz) 4.0MP cam for $60. I also got a 256 SD card for $19 with a $20 rebate! (but don't hold your breath...)

Anyway, as I am retired and currently without part-time work to pay for more expensive toys, this cam will have to do for a while. The pics are OK, but the video sucks big time... I am testing out the whole setup on my Slow Stick, but in about a week or two I will finally have time to work on a dedicated AP plane.

Hope to post pics tomorrow...

Ira
06-17-2006, 06:46 AM
Been cranking out a trio of Shot Getters. One is for a back up bird, another for the 2nd oldest son for his birthday and the last for a friend. A pic of the assembly line....

Steve
06-20-2006, 03:08 AM
ok...how much to build one for me?:o

Steve

Ira
06-20-2006, 04:02 AM
Should be starting another batch soon. PM and we'll talk :D

Ira
06-20-2006, 05:45 AM
Got " The Shot " today. Subject is the white building with the green roof next to the field on the right. wind 15-20 mph so composition was a challenge. Fun flyin though :D

Ira
06-21-2006, 02:29 AM
Got the tail stuff done today. Just cook'in right along.

Ira
06-22-2006, 07:07 AM
Finaly got a shot of our place, the one with the red roof left of center. The liar is the shop building to it's left. This was a VERY trickey shot taken from at least 399 ft. alt and about 1500 yds away flying down wind while blowing 15-20 mph. The boss wanted a shot of the house, what was I supposed to do??

aviatordave
06-22-2006, 03:45 PM
Geez.....you live in the sticks!

cool shot, way to hit that 399 ft mark too!

Dave

Ira
06-22-2006, 04:08 PM
Hi Dave, Ya lots of big sticks, some well over 100 ft tall. It's hard to see in the pic but the huge tree behind the house has a bald eagle's nest in it. They come back every year and raise a couple chicks. Watching them grow up and fly off is a kick in the pants but man are they loud in the morning when they want to be fed,(guess all kids are sort of the same). Private trail to the beach, sometimes don't even see another car on the road on the way to work, MAN DO I LOVE WHERE WE LIVE!! :D

Ira
06-24-2006, 06:43 AM
Cut the foam for the Getter Trio's wings today. All around the edges are slathered with polycrylic, left for 5 min. and the excess wiped off. When cured this adds a lot of ding resistance but almost no weight. Will get the spars in tomrrow. Here is a pic of a bunch of wings.

Ira
06-26-2006, 09:37 PM
Spars are in and the wings are ready to wrap. The weather has been AWSOME and that has slowed things down a bit. This is fly'in weather and around here it is not to be wasted! Took this shot of the drive in/go cart track called "Brat Land" not far from here this AM. Got to get back out there!!!

Ira
06-27-2006, 03:50 AM
Took this one late this afternoon of our church with Mt. Baker in the background. The folks send me in on sunday morning, if the floor does'nt open up and swallow me they figure there all safe to go in. :D

Ira
06-29-2006, 04:36 PM
Got this one of the 4th of july carnival being set up at City Beach in Oak Harbor,Wa. Great day for AP. Will try to get back to Shot Getter stuff but the weather is just too good for that right now!!!!

aviatordave
06-29-2006, 05:45 PM
looks good, tide is out and everything! Its exceptionally nice here too, but I am stuck at work....

gotta pay the bills

Dave

Ira
06-29-2006, 06:23 PM
Stupid bills :mad:

Ira
07-07-2006, 05:30 AM
Finished the Trio today! Here's a pic along with the one I've been using. Two are going to get sent off.....that will be hard to do.

Kosh
07-07-2006, 06:10 AM
Count me in as more than a little jealous, You have spent the time and effort to come up with one of the premiere fliers from the North West and deserve major kudos for this effort (Have to admit it was fun on your part also as your a builder like me) While I may not chime in all the time yours ideas opened my eyes long ago and always look forward to your updates. What more more can I say? You rule ... lol :)

Ira
07-07-2006, 05:02 PM
Gee Thanks Kosh, :) Will admit building is as much fun to me as flying (well almost). Having put a lot of time and thought into this design it is most gratifying to get so much positive feedback and so far basicly no backwash. One thing you need not be jealous abut is my having to ship two of these birds off. Kind of like sending my daughters on there first date :eek:

Ira
07-10-2006, 05:07 AM
Here is a real estate shot I've been waiting for the right conditions (near 0 wind) to get. It was a real squeaker of a landing zone and had to do the corkscrew down and pull out at the last second thing. From the ground the water and mountian are not visable due to the trees and angle of the slope behind the house. This pic will be used during sales presentations to highlite how AP can flatter a property's location. After all they say the three most important things in real estate are.... #1 location #2 location #3 location :D

aviatordave
07-10-2006, 05:55 AM
yep....Gods country

Ira
08-14-2006, 04:16 AM
Just wanted to pop in with an update on the Getter. The wing has been replaced. Same except thicker airfoil and it has made a noticeable improvment in handeling at low speeds. I've been working my two Getters very hard and they have preformed far beyond my expectations. Here is a shot of the runway I used today to shot a high bank waterfront property. This required a 3 mile walk down the beach racing the tide but what a day for a walk on the beach! Kind of got my feet wet on the way back but conditions were not likley to be this good again soon so I went for it. The other pic is my "supervisor", an old bald eagle. The runway was littered with the remains of his previous feasts and stank to high heaven. Even as I post this I can smell the wheels of the plane across the room! Old baldie did not seem to impressed with my flying skills and compleatly ignored me durring the flt. Ira

Grasshopper
08-14-2006, 04:20 AM
Wow! Very impressive Ira! That makes me nervous just looking at the pictures. I guess the recovery of a dead stick landing might be a little difficult there huh? What a shot of the Eagle. It's not often you get a shot with a camera standing on the ground let alone be able to frame it from the air.

Nice Job!

Ira
08-14-2006, 04:33 AM
The eagle pic was taken after the flt. I was kind of suprised he was still there. they are actualy kind of timid and I expected him to have flowen off. There is just enough room under the servo arm for my fat finger and I aimed the whole plane and took the shot while walking (quickly to beat the tide) back to the car. The house pic is not so great. I'll post the good one after "the deal is done" ;)

loker
08-14-2006, 05:42 PM
Ira, I've been trying to get pictures of really expensive houses, but they're really secluded and it's hard. can you get closer to that big house? I got this picture by flying across a river, over 500 feet wide where this house is, so I could barely see my slowstick. you can see this is a huge house, with a boathouse that goes to the river. there's a much bigger house that I want a picture of, but I can't get close enough to it. anyway good luck on your next shot.

Ira
08-14-2006, 06:21 PM
Hey Loker, That looks pretty good to me. Only $00.2 I would give it to get the horizon line straight. That seems to be what clients want. If for some reason that won't work, the pic in not shap and clear ect...the client should never see it. The #1 demand in this area is high end homes with high bank waterfront ie...the house is on a cliff overlooking the water. Becouse I am usualy assigned by the owners reaitor they don't mind if I fly from the yard but due to all the trees this is usualy not practical and I hike down the beach at low tide and fly from there if possable. I'll dig around for some examples.

Ira
08-14-2006, 06:30 PM
OK found one. This home was designed by Wendall Lovett and is somewhat famous. As you can see it is impossable to photograph from ground level due to the trees. This one was a squeaker due to the rising tide. When I took off my "runway" was 10 ft wide and by the end of the flt it was down to 5. Getting on site involved a 1 mile walk down the beach and I had to wade a bit going back. Hey I actualy got paid to spend a great afternoon on the beach so I not complaining!! Ira

rahtware
08-15-2006, 02:53 AM
Just wanted to pop in with an update on the Getter. The wing has been replaced. Same except thicker airfoil and it has made a noticeable improvment in handeling at low speeds... Ira

Ira

Nice job, both on plane and pictures!

Whould you be willing to share your airfoil? I'm in the middle of build #2 and am trying to decide which airfoil to use. I tend to stick with the Clark Y, as that is the one the Goldburg used on a lot of his slow, high lift planes (besides, I love the story about Mr Clark using the edge of his shoe to draw the airfoil.)

Ira
08-15-2006, 03:46 AM
Hey Larry, Just so happens that is the one. It seems to work better than others I've tested but I have'nt tried it in high winds yet. This plane gets used hard and the thick flat bottom is tough and easy to cut from foam and repair. I too love the size 12 shoe story!

Ira
08-15-2006, 05:44 AM
The deal is done so here are a couple nicer views from yesterdays sorty. The client was happy but seemed worried the cliff could make buyers nervous. Heck it made me nervous standing under it! The view of the San Juan Islands from up there is amazing though.

loker
08-17-2006, 01:24 PM
Ira, you mentioned how clients liked the straight horizon line, is there any trick you know to make that easier?

aviatordave
08-17-2006, 02:53 PM
Loker,

Take a look at your picture now. I straightened it and added a little color as well as some sharpness. You can do this if you have photoshop, paintshop pro.....to name a few. I dont have either of those on this particular computer, but I downloaded and used Picasa from Google (its free and very easy to use) hope that helps.

Dave

With photoshop you can select certain items, like the front porch for example and tone down the brightness. I'm not at home right now so I dont have access to that - maybe Ira does...or can....

rahtware
08-17-2006, 03:35 PM
You got me thinking...
15491
Same house with the color and highlights played with via Photoshop Elements3. It came free with my Wacom tablet ($79 on sale). Elements4 is $79 at the local Staples Office Supply store. Great program, a little more user friendly then Photoshop (have both).

I shrunk the pic because I have had trouble uploading anything over 60kb.

Ira
08-17-2006, 04:58 PM
Hey Loker, What those guys said. Of course you want to try to shoot when the plane is straight and level as much as you can becouse you loose some of the pic around the edges when you straighten it. The more you have to straighten it the more you loose. A couple of times I've had what would be an awsome photo but by the time it was straightened it was a junk. Oh well. There are lots of good photoediting programs out there but industry standard is Adobe Photoshop. I'm actualy still using Microsoft Picture It 9 which works well for me but sooner of later I'll end up with Adobe.

Ira
08-17-2006, 05:12 PM
Here are a couple examples of the same photo before and after editing. Aircraft : The Shot Getter Camera : Nikon 7600, sports mode Subject : The Old Greenbank Loganberry Farm, Whidbey Island, Wa. Date : 08/16/06 Straightened, pulled down the blue, bumped up 3 clicks of contrast, down 8 clicks of brightness. Composition was difficult due to a stiff cross wind but the Getter came through. :)

loker
08-18-2006, 12:55 PM
thanx guys, I have adobe, have to learn how to use it. awesome though!

Ira
08-18-2006, 05:12 PM
Hey Loker, Just select a few pic's and spend a day playing with them. This should get you at least half way there.

lshadow2005
12-07-2006, 03:03 AM
That looks a lot like a modified T-Hawk airframe?
Any relation-T-Hawk was my first plane and I still have it
good build you have going on there
Bob

Flyer 1
12-07-2006, 04:32 AM
Ira, I've just recently had time to peruse this forum well and congratulate you on one FINE AP bird.
I thought I'd toss in a pic of my own "adapted" AP model, a (insanely modified) Megatech Merlin. I know, I know, it's similar to a SlowStick and Megatechs are frequently known more appropriately as "MegaCrap" but the Merlin has always been known as the exception to the rule. Also, after taking a close look at a friend's model (before getting my own), I found out several things:
The Merlin's landing gear/strut arrangement is VERY strong when epoxied/CAd together, and has a TON of room for camera mounting. This, coupled with the very strong CF boom, makes for a promising starter project.
The radio system included with the RTF Merlin seems to have been sent through a time machine from the mid-seventies. Each servo is absolutely HUGE and weighs nearly 2 ounces (and the motor is actually exposed, to boot). The receiver is about the size of a playing card and weighs as much as my smaller digital camcorder. The speed control is the only near-modern part of the system. Anyhow, the electronics all up weight FAR more than the battery pack and airframe combined! Absolutely ridiculous - BUT, since the Merlin was engineered to FLY INDOORS well with this weight, and succeeds well, imagine it's performance with micro equipment!
So, on with the races. Into the plane went CF rod re-inforcements on all surfaces (with the exception of the wing; it already has CF leading and trailing edges, full-length). Some carbon-fiber tape served well enough for that purposes.
Well, a bunch of strength-improving measures were used, I won't bother listing them - they're commonplace. I used a Hi-Tec Electron 6 dual-conversion receiver, two digital Futaba mini-servos at just over 1/4 ounce each, and a Silver Series Electrifly speed control to power the tiny brushless CD rom outrunner, which I hand-rewound to increase torque-reduce speed. It's swinging a 12 X 4.7 Electrifly prop.
Here's a pic of the plane minus wing. You'll see the abundant space available for the camera equipment: The small videocamera velcroed on place on the "seat" takes good video, and I'm making the seat's replacement now from CF rods. It'll have a rotating, gimble-equipped camera mount controlled by the retract and spoiler channels for full "pointability". At that point my serious Sony camera will start going aloft.
I suffer from a serious lack of flying space, specifically takeoff space. The Merlin, as powered now, will lift after ten inches of roll and climb nearly vertically. Given a 5 mph. wind, it's fully capable of the fabled "hover-flight", i.e. motionless in the air. This has proven to be very controllable, and it punches right through into a quick getaway (I'd estimate top speed approaching 40 mph). In short, in the wind it can perform like a SlowStick and crawl along, but then transition into the equivalent of a .40 trainer and go right along.
This is really proving to be a winning combination, as it allows me to haul a really serious camera aloft in front of my house from my street. The climb abilities get the whole shebang above tree level (around here an average of 75 feet) within about fifty feet of forward motion. At that point it's safe to level off and either climb normally and either snap photos or head to your more-distant object to be shot. I'm fairly lucky in that, in using a massive 2500 mah. LiPo (massive for the plane's intended use, that is), I can literally walk along the sidewalks flying above myself in circles for a mile or so, take videos/photos, walk back home, turn into the wind and slow to a crawl, and almost touch down like a heli on the street!
I'm ALSO lucky in that my neighbors, police, and village LIKE my plane. Hence, no complaints.
I'm mainly posting this because, although I'm a very experienced RCer, I'm new to the AP world and I'm SURE there's something lurking that's going to "bite" me in this arrangement. You're a pro and likely could give me a few pointers.
I already had 1 aircraft hauled out of the sky and butchered at 500 feet by a Bald Eagle (Sig Rascal), and a Great Planes YardStick that either a spirit possessed and flew away or was disabled by a newly-constructed cell tower and went to full throttle and climb. It headed east to never be seen again. Hence, my conversion to "Dual" conversion only!
So, I've already been attacked in mid-air and shot down/had my plane hijacked.
Anything else I should look out for, here?
Flyer

Ira
12-07-2006, 05:21 AM
Hey Flyer, First, thanks for the complments on the Shot Getter. Sounds like you have a very workable platform. My best advice for avoiding problems is to always leave your self some slack. Doing AP out in the real world is a far cry from flying at an AMA field and NOTHING is more important than being safe. Don't load your plane to the max. Fly the plane as if you are in it. If there is a chance of people wandering up to you or on to your runway use a spotter. If you find yourself saying,"I wonder if it is OK/safe/smart to fly here today the answer is probably no. If you have any more specific questions I will be glad to try to answer them as I am sure the other great APers here at the forum will also. Good luck and God speed!! Ira

Flyer 1
12-07-2006, 06:36 AM
Ira, thanks for the advice - very sound indeed. I'm lucky in that I have a full-time spotter available (my son) that goes with me nearly every flight. He wasn't there the day the EAGLE "landed"; I wish he had been and seen it beforehand! I'd have had that Rascal in a nose-dive in a nanosecond. Instead, I was forced to simply surrender and kill the motor (can't even RISK the chance of harming a Bald eagle!). If you haven't seen the video of that ridiculous event, it's here. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJN4Nm5uiws)
I'm lucky in a weird way, where I live. In Yellow Springs, we place a premium on keeping our trees and natural habitat healthy, and as a result there are MANY more trees per person here than anyplace short, I'd guess, of Colorado someplace! One look at the vid will show that.
That same abundance of trees, while bad from an RC flying point of view, is GOOD in that it nearly ensures that, if I have a horrible glitch and my plane's coming down, it's NOT going to hit someone on the head or punch a hole in a house - it's going to land in a tree, or bounce off a tree and land in someone's backyard (like in the eagle video). In fact, when making my "walking and flying to location" vids, I can always keep the plane at around 400 feet and fly it straight above a large, open area of trees, arrive there, then quickly send it ahead a quarter-mile or so to fly above another clump. Kinda like stepping from stone to stone to cross a brook. This keeps damage from potential accidents down to virtually zero.
I'm also very fortunate in that, beginning next year, I've got a neat job of photographing (both stills and video) our bi-annual "Street Fair". We're a village of just over 4000, but we're one of the busiest tourist towns in the state and many thousands come each year to attend this event, which closes the entire downtown to traffic and in which street vendors sell crafts, food, live bands, and what-nots, and the stores have bargains for tourists. There are easily 15,000 people crowding that little, one-street strip of asphalt each time. I get to fly above the crowd (orders are to stay above 400 feet, but that's fine as it's my preferred height anyhow) and record the day's activities for broadcast on our local village cable channel.
For THIS purpose I'm setting up an exclusive 'bird, a Sig Rascal 110. I'll have financial help with the video equipment but the plane itself I have to fund. Converting it to electric is going to be fairly easy (I think) as I've always flown it with a gasoline engine. Fortunately I have access to a large, usually off-limits utility road that's nicely paved for takeoffs/landings.
Flyer

Ira
12-07-2006, 05:27 PM
I too have had a couple of close encounters with birds of prey. One thing thay can not do is pull a loop. I put the nose down to get some airspeed (no chance of outruning them though) and when they get close pull a loop. This freaks them out and they back off. Most of these have been bluff charges by red tails which I suspect are just being good mommeys guarding a nest somewhere nearby. As for public events I would strongly recomend not flying directly over any gatherings of people!! I have had requests from clients to do this and turn them down cold. It is just not worth the risk. (in my opinion) At least consider photographing 45 degree obliques from a very safe distance. The FAA is looking long and hard at regulating AP and one unspeakable incident/accident and we could all have to take up golf instead. (and I suck at golf) :D $00.2 Ira

Flyer 1
12-07-2006, 11:16 PM
Oh yeah, I won't be flying directly over the mob - it'll be skirting the street on either side above the alleywise behind the buildings.
Flyer