9 Reasons why you should start with a cheap foamie....

Its now been a whole year since I got addicted to the crazy hobby of Autopilots.

What a wild ride!!!

There has been some fantastic moments and some of total frustration, but it has been an exciting and rewarding journey.
There are a lot of people who ask about getting into the hobby and have somewhat ambitious ideas about building a drone to do X and Y before they have even completed their first flight.
This is a short video compiled from some of my mishaps over the last year that hopefully helps show those considering getting into the hobby why it is an extremely good idea to start small and cheap and gradually work your way up to more ambitious goals.

When I started, I was a relatively competent RC pilot. All of the crashes and incidents in this footage have arisen from me making stupid mistakes on the Autopilot side.

By setting the wrong waypoints and RTL'ing straight into a tree, by setting my altitude wrong, by trying to do PID tuning while in the Air, by putting too much weight on a plane and it not getting off the ground and hitting a tree etc etc.

All in all, the crashes when compared to the number of great flights have been relatively few, looking back at the log I've kept, I've flown 165 individual flights in the last year, with a combined total of 95 hours in the air.

These have primarily been logged on one of the 3 SkyFuns I have built and destroyed in that time.

The first one only lasted 5 flights, the next one I got 36 flights out of and the last one is still going strong.

I've now progressed onto a composite FPV168 and also a Hugin (which you can see being destroyed in the last clip with too much weight to get off the ground).

Over the next year, I'm planning to get the new Skywalker X8 and perfect Telemetry and video over a cellular link which I have been experimenting with more recently.

Best of luck to you all, and hopefully this video serves as a lesson in what to avoid doing and saves you the time / expense yourself.


Views: 3232

Comment by kolin on January 12, 2012 at 3:30pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. Did you have FP"V on those planes? I am in process of building my great first APMed flying wing. Many hours of work and lot of money in it (as you warned). From my point of view, testing of first flights would be much safer through video glasses as I can stil override autopilot and save the plane. I fly FPV on quad pretty well, but in LOS I'm totally incompetent. Same with planes.

Comment by Toby Mills on January 12, 2012 at 3:31pm

no FPV, just a gopro mounted on the front to record the carnage.

Comment by Michael Oborne on January 12, 2012 at 4:15pm

nice vid Toby.

Comment by Red Goldman on January 12, 2012 at 5:13pm

Hope you don't mind me laughing at your misfortune, but I couldn't help myself!  I know I'll be having many similar things happen to me.  Look on the bright side: my aircraft/ground meetings will end up much worse than yours as there is almost no grass for me to land on, only rocky desert soil!  I expect many clouds of dust and chunks of foam as I learn!  LOL

Comment by Toby Mills on January 12, 2012 at 5:34pm

Red, I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't want people to have a little laugh.

In hindsight, some of them are very funny, though not so funny at the time :)

Comment by Martin Poller on January 12, 2012 at 5:47pm

Thanks for the inspiration, you've really captured the true carnage of it all. I've pretty much destroyed my first Hawksky in 5 flights too, and some of these flights were only a few seconds long.

I'm on to my second one now which I haven't had the courage to fly yet, been taking flying lessons with my local flying club, but it's an uphill struggle, you've given me a target of 36 flights to aim for thanks!  LOL

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 12, 2012 at 10:45pm

Well done Toby I think impatience is the biggest newbie mistake. People should learn to fly first. Then you know when an airframe is too heavy or flying incorrectly from the hand. 

Comment by Thomas Finan on January 12, 2012 at 11:07pm

So, given all that...what would your cheap foamie of choice be?

Comment by Hans on January 13, 2012 at 6:09am

my bixler has crashed over 50 hard times with camera equip, huge batteries, lights ...........all kinds of stuff attached,, but with foam safe ca glue and accelerator it hasnt been down for more then a few seconds.  foam is the way to go

Comment by Ellison Chan on January 13, 2012 at 8:05am

Thanks for sharing. Toby.  In life, as in RC, t's always best to learn vicariously from someone else's mistakes.  With all the crashes, I think more explosive fast passed music would go with this vid.  Now, I feel too mello.


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