The mood is tense in the control tower of the World's Smallest Hangar. The crew are in high spirits, but the Mission Commander has butterflies and colf feet - and a yellow stripe all the way down his back!
Crapcopter II is refuelling and preparing for its first passenger...
When the RC wieners fly their planes as you typically see them do - they are flying in what we call 'line of sight mode'. They have trained themselves to fly the plane from their own position on the ground. With the advent of modern technology and micro-electronics - we can now fly in FPV mode, or First Person View. I am going to try my first flight in this mode in about thirty minutes using those VR goggles. I will be riding in that orange camera just to the left of the minions in the picture. The green camera underneath is a video record only unit, while the orange one will be my 'eyes' for the duration of the flight.
Line of sighters require different reflexes than FPVers. The Line Of Sighter can see his aircraft at all times, and his left and right will "flip" depending on whether the airplane is coming toward him or going away. Those are the reflexes I currently have. Now I will not be able to see the Crapcopter, but will be sitting right behind the Minion as a pilot. This may or may not be a big deal.
I lost my last Crapcopter to ill winds and overconfidence before I could try this. There is a metric tonne of new technology here and I am not a telemetry or AV guy - so I've been learning new skills like mad. I am fortunate in that my new flight computer is light years more capable of the one I was using a mere half year ago. It won't save me if I panic but it will give me tighter control and faster response - which is not necessarily a good thing when your skills are rusty and you're playing with new tech. A fatal crash is a high possibility.
If I chit the bed and lose my cool - I am virtually going down with the Minions, HAR HAR HAR! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, right? Wish us luck, folks. Tell my wife I love her! If I don't survive I don't want WL or PP to get anything in my liquor cabinet - just pour the contents into my coffin and I will take it with me!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go put on my leather helmet, flight suit and bum-parachute. We will see if I am made from the Right Stuff.
MISSION UPDATE: Wellllll....I and my crew seem to be made of Average Stuff. We had a few hard landings but we had some high winds too. I could fly it line-of-sight, but to do FPV in this wind was a bit of a pant-filler. I have to learn how to fly through a fish-eye lens, and because of the inherent latency of telemetry, I need to train my mind and reflexes to work differently too. By the time the optical image of the drone landing is in my goggles - it has already landed. Focus and such wasn't bad but our last landing was REALLY hard and I broke a motor mount. No biggie, repairs mad and the bird is flying again already... but I am going to wait for a nice calm day to try FPV again. For now the mission was a wash. The technology is good - I just need to learn to fly all over again.