A fundamental characteristic of multicopters is that they change flight direction and speed, and also hold position against a wind, by tilting the entire aircraft. If the multicopter is being used as a camera platform, the camera mount must compensate for this on the fly with all the attendant mechanical and electronic complication of that, even if the flight stabilization system is ultra-smooth and quick. I've been kicking this problem around for a while with my friend Gary McRay (a very active contributor here on DIYD). One idea that arose was to provide separate horizontal propulsion for the multicopter in the form of one or more propellers acting on the horizontal axis, as in a conventional aircraft. Thus the regular rotors would do nothing but provide lift and basic stabilization while the horizontal prop(s) handle travel, leaving the platform level in the process.
To give this concept a very preliminary and crude test, I've plundered the stick-fuselage, motor, prop, esc and battery from a Slo-Stik airplane and mounted them on my APM2 controlled Flame wheel F550 hexacopter (named the Witch - "Hexe" being German for witch...). See attached really bad cellphone photo, proper ones will follow in an update. So, the Witch has a broom to ride around!
Mounting is via zip ties through existing holes and some double-sided foam tape to keep the stick from sliding around on the Witch's upper deck.
Throttle control of the new prop is achieved by assigning a rotary knob on my Tx (a JR 12X) to an unused channel (Aux 5 in this case).
Now we're waiting for a break in the weather here on the Northern California coast. A flight report will follow.
Conventional props pushing or pulling rotorcraft are nothing new of course, beginning perhaps with autogyros in the 1930s. Currently Sikorsky and maybe others have prototype hybrids in the air. We don't know if anyone else has played with this concept in our sandbox here, but we're having fun!