I recently bought an Ar Drone 2 from Parrot to play a bit and found it great so that I looked around the web for some more serious stuff.
I discovered this and other sites about Arducopter and was amazed how things developed from the time I was programing PIC controllers and HC16 Motorola chips.
As a result, I thought it would be good to get a fully assembled Hexacopter to have fun and make some trialing’s, and experimentation.
The point is that I am totally useless when it comes to fly RC models. I tried hard since the age of 16, starting with nitro powered planes (Trainer 40), electrical powered models, helicopters, etc.; and even now that I am 50; I just can make it (crashed a brand new electro glider last week after 30 seconds of flight).
So, considering that the full kit I’m looking forward to purchase from Jdrones will cost me something like USD 2’000, I wanted to ask you whether it will be as easy to fly as the AR Drone which I managed to fly now for more than 3 hours without crashing…
It’s quite an investment, and I don’t want my wife to once again laugh about me (and then be angry) when destroying a new toy after only 5 minutes of use.
Thank you very much in advance for your advice.
You need to get on a pheonix simulator and practice...practise...practice...nose in flying is the most important
I can really relate, since I too crashed most everything I flew back when I was a kid. I also started with AR Drone and found them very easy and loads of fun. But I also crashed my AR Drone many times and ended up buying 3 of them, two version 1 and one version 2. I stared with a quad and I have now moved into full hex kit from uDrones. The learning curve was very steep, just figuring out power, prop balance, RC hookup and a host of other things. But it has been some of the most fun I've had in years. Getting the pheonix simulator could help, I used one, but it really is not the same as flying the real RC. If you buy a copter, make sure your get a transmitter that is made for helicopters. I tried to use the one that came with the pheonic simulator, but it was made for planes. The difference is, plane transmitters have a ratcheted throttle stick, where as a helicopter throttle has a smooth motion. This makes a big difference when you try to hover or hold altitude.
What I found that helped me to learn to controller my copter, was to started flying very low to the ground. Like 1 or 2 feet. This way if something happens, the worst is prop lost or damage. Just this past week on my second flight of my new hex at about 2 feet, it threw off one of the props and nosed into the ground. That was pretty scary, but I retrieved the prop, cleaned the dirt off my hex and reattached my prop and then retighted all my props ;-) and back into the air I went.
Another helpful tip is to find a large field with no people. Make sure you start over grass and keep it over grass till you feel more comfortable with flying. Stay away from water (killed one AR Drone) and hard surfaces (killed one Quad).
It can be very hard to figure out which direction is forward, especially when flying high. So try to fly in simple mode most of time, if not all the time. Simple mode is 1 of many flight modes you have. Think of simple mode as apsolute control mode that the AR Drone 2 has. Keep in mind that with the ArduCopter simple flight mode works differently then the AR Drone. The simple flight uses it's take off point as it's point of reference. So fly north of your take off point everything works great, but fly over your head and go south and everything is now backwards.
Speaking of flight modes, start in stabilize mode and learn to control your flight. Remember to stay low. Once you feel more comfortable increase your altitude to about 10 feet. Then try 20 feet and then 50 feet. Once you get the hang of it, you will realize that copter does not maintain altitude very well. There is nothing wrong, it's just the nature of flight. To really hold altitude you need to use the "Alt Hold" flight mode. Remember your little copter has a computer on board and it can do a bunch of neat stuff. Some of these things it can do is keep you copter level and hold altitude. The altitude hold is not prefect like the AR Drone, but it will hold within 1 meter. If you purchase sonar, then at low level flights the altitude hold will be even better.
My wife has also given me grief over this hobby. But I keep reminding her it's a lot cheaper then me getting into a Harley Davidson motorcycle. LOL
P.S. DIY Drone committee is the best! There are so many great people, who are making this whole thing work and help all us novices. I really appreciate all that they do!
I'm so sorry because realise today that my earlier reply was apparently never posted.
Thank you for all the very good advices.
I have not started yet because was very busy at work, but next year will probably be better.
Wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year
Well, Daniel - I started with the AR.Drone modified for R/C control (MacGyver). And I crashed a lot.
And I built a 3DR hex and, I crashed a lot while learning to fly it. I have a box of souvenir parts. (In fact it is on the bench waiting to be rebuilt after a crash a few days ago, but it wasn't entirely my fault - a prop failed at 100-ft.)
Learning to fly a multi-copter takes patience, and a lot of replacement props. I put whiffle balls on my landing gear - two painted black and one a neon yellow - so that I can see the orientation at a glance. I am still uncomfortable flying in any orientation except with the tail end pointed at me (so left is left, etc). Maybe I should try the simple mode, but that is another discussion.
If you are flying the AR.Drone using a iPad or smartphone, then I'm afraid that you haven't learned much. Go to eBay and search for the MacGyver R/C mod for the AR.Drone. It's about $100 and very easy to install. This will make a decent training aircraft since you will be using the same R/C functions (throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron) as you will with the hex.
Many thanks for your advice.
In fact I purchased the MacGyver kit 2 month ago, but its at the moment in a container because I'm being relocated to another country for my work.
Looking forward to install it and learn to fly with an RC as recommended.
Many thanks for your valuable input.
Kind regards and Season Greetings