Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Multicopter, streaming video (Part 6)

The next goal for my Multicopter project is to add a video transmitter. I'll then be able to operate it in FPV mode, (First Person View). This, BTW, is a literary metaphor. Flying a model plane from a viewpoint on the ground, old school, would be Third Person View. Using am onboard camera and transmitting a live stream to the operator, or pilot, is First Person View.

The picture above is the video monitor I bought attached to my radio control transmitter using a bracket fabricated on the 3D printer.

FPV should be easier. Anyone who has tried a bit of old school radio control knows that as long as the plane is flying away from you left stick means a left turn and right stick means a right turn. And when the plane is flying towards you it still does but now it looks wrong. If you give right stick to a plane coming straight towards you it departs to the left. It's is still turning to the right of course but it looks as though it's going in the exact opposite direction. Take it from me, this takes a lot of getting used to.

But if you are seeing the world from the model's prospective, as via an onboard camera, a right turn looks just like a right turn as you would experience it if onboard. I have a pilots licence and I fly professional quality flight simulators almost every day so I'm accustomed to an airborne viewpoint. So what will FPV be like? We'll have to wait and see. Of course, an onboard camera should give a good view of the ground, albeit via a wide angle lens but that shouldn't be too tricky. But there will, initially at least, be no instruments.  So I'll have to switch to the traditional form of model flying for takeoff and landing and then turn to the monitor to see the airborne view.  

The advantages of FPV are that one can fly further and still remain in control. When flying the old fashioned  way, once the plane gets too far away one ceases to be able see see how it is oriented. With FPV much longer ranges are possible. In fact some FPV models have been carried aloft almost 80 miles, under hydrogen balloons and then released and flown, under control to the ground. This, of course, is the kind of thing that rather scares authorities such as the FAA and CAA. Amateur build model planes being flown in the upper atmosphere is just a little too much. Back in the days before FPV model aircraft rarely ventured more than about 400 feet above the ground. (Because of the orientation issue.) So this is why the aviation authorities are muttering about restricting amateur UAV, or drone, operations.

More soon when I get the FPV video hooked up.

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