Four ArduCopter flights in a row before crashing!

After a rough start last month, my ArduCopter CindiLou showed what she could do today. See the attached video for four flights. In the first three the camera is pointing at the Cindi, and in the fourth I have mounted the camera on the forward landing gear so you get to see a rather dramatic crash from the quadcopter's POV. The wind was blowing quite strongly to the south the whole time.

I re-read the section on GPS / altitude hold and realized that I had misunderstood how altitude hold works; that was probably the cause of the crash. I'm looking forward to being competent enough to this thing reliably and am going to repair the quad and get back to flying it as soon as possible. I'm quite happy with the way I mounted my Countour HD camera on the front the landing gear. There's no stabilization and yet the quad video is steadier than the human-captured video!




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    I've found that when the copter is far away I just push the stick forward and steer it like a car. That works really well. You just keep turning until you see it move in the right direction. I've flown from 200m successfully that way. It's just a dot to me at that point.
  • It's all good now, I got my quad back in the air last night. The front motor mount is CA'd back together and the top dome is practically made from the stuff now. A few flips and crashing it into the bushes but so far all the pieces are still together. I'm convinced that CA is the way to go on the acrylic. :-)

  • And sorry to hear about your crash! Wish I could find some long grass but the closest thing out here is creosote bushes!
  • John D, thanks for the CA glue advice. I glued a motor mount back together with two-component "Plastic repair epoxy" from Ace hardware and put it in a vise overnight. I can't remember if the crack re-opened before or after I gently crashed it, but I was not impressed with the epoxy and would say CA glue may be a better bet because you can weep it in there like you say. I'll try some on my motor mounts as a quick fix.
  • John C, that's pretty cool! I want to do the motor mounts, though. I just finished the machine shop class here. I'm tempted to try and machine some motor mounts out of aluminum. The transparent ones are nice for LED mounting though...
  • No worries about the flying Aaron, you'll get the hang of it. This is my first rotor craft of any kind as well and man it's been a handful. For most of my flights I've been taking it over fields with tall grass...that cushion really helps with the hard (upside-down) landings! Just keep at it and keep it low if possible. And like Ground Loop said, watch that wind...wind really messes me up when I'm trying to trim it so that it'll hover in front of me.

    I didn't post on here but I crashed the be-jebus out of my quad about 10 days ago. Two crashes actually. First was upside down on concrete, but only from about 4 feet up and that only broke the top dome disk. Second was much worse. Around 30 feet up and a prop came off, probably my own fault for not checking them all after the concrete crash. That one took out a motor mount, prop and both dome disks.

    For the acrylic pieces I've just been gluing them back together with massive amounts of thin CA glue. Put a couple drops on the broken faces, stick them together, place on wax paper and then weep more CA into the crack from the outside. If the mounting holes get filled with CA just carve them back out with an xacto knife. I used CA on the top dome disk after the first crash and the second crash broke the same disk but in different places!

    My quad sure ain't pretty anymore!


  • Here's a cool way to get the top disks.



  • Since we're on the subject --- has anyone considered adding a fixed rod and flat "tail" to the rear of a Quadcopter? In fast flight, it would really help swing the nose around to fly like a helicopter. Hmm...
  • The GPS Hold doesn't work *at all* without the magnetometer. Really, the code should block it out if Magnetometer is not on-line. I know the Wiki is clear about the requirement, but I admit that I also missed it and attempted to fly without it. It's not optional, and it's not something you can manage yourself with Yaw control.

    If you have no flying experience at all, you should probably get a computer flight simulator to hone your skills, especially before getting into forward flight. Since the Arducopter doesn't have a tail, it won't "weathervane" and naturally orient itself in fast forward flight. I find this really difficult to manage without practice. Easy in a hover, but in fast forward flight, a 90-degree yaw rotation can really mix up your inputs if you're not on top of it.

    If I were you, I'd get a computer simulator and a really unnaturally stable helicopter loaded up. Work on that until the controls are instinctive.

    Meanwhile, you should be able to safely fly your Arducopter if you stick to Stable mode, fly in STILL air, and keep a careful eye on the Yaw to hold it stable facing "away" from you. This keeps the controls oriented in the most simple way. Many of the same tips for learning Heli apply as well. Get a buddy/trainer if you want to repair less. The Arducopter has one huge advantage over Heli in that it is "self-righting" in a hover. Sweet. In fact, it probably makes a great Heli trainer.
  • John, had a look at your video, looks like your quad's doing great! Why did you need a crash kit? Preemptive?

    I'm trying to decide what to do about the broken plastic disks at the top of my dome. I don't want to buy another frame kit so I think I'll try epoxy...

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