Monday, June 12, 2017

Return to the Skies

I mentioned last week that the first week in June is the Birthday Week at Rancho Juvat and that it was especially special as Little Juvat had returned from his big adventure arriving home a week ago Saturday.  However, since we had planned a little surprise for his bride, that wasn't going to work to celebrate the combined birthdays.

That was rectified this past Saturday..

It was decreed that a large feast would be provided and frivolity and bonhomie would abound,  So sayeth Mrs Juvat.  So it was written, so it was done.

As, Mrs Juvat is the chief of Lawn Maintenance and I am the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, it was incumbent on yours truly to provide the feast.  Ingredients for that feast included Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Green Chili Mac and Cheese (which I spiced up properly this time) and Claimjumpers Corned Beef, which I actually got from a Cookbook my Mom gave me for Christmas long ago (I was surprised to find the recipe online and uncredited).  The Sauce makes the dish.  Of course It's half Bourbon, half Applejuice with brown sugar and yellow mustard mixed in, I mean, how bad could it be? you can see from the recipes, each dish involves a bit of prep work.  So, I was kneading and stirring and boiling and mixing all day Saturday getting ready for the celebration.  

The oven dinged on the Mac and Cheese just as everybody started arriving.  Fortunately, the first guests were our tour buddies, the winemakers.  They brought me a gift.

BTW,  I hate using "gift" as a verb, it just sounds so wrong!

Stay on Target, juvat!  

On Target, Aye Sarge!  

So a bottle of wine (or several) was opened and consumed.  

It became time for the main event.  Opening the tribute.

In addition to the wine, my Sister gave me a copy of Winston Groom's (of Forrest Gump fame) "The Generals" the history of the history of General's Patton, MacArthur and Marshal and the effect their relationship had on WWII.

I've been wanting to read that for a while. reading list is expanding much faster than my read list is.

I got some workout clothes from my wife. 

She's VERY subtle.

The Cat's got me a Sous Vide machine.  They ARE subtle.

And then....

I opened this.

And there went the rest of the weekend....

It even included a dash-1, although it was written by someone whose first language was not English.

So immediately after Church yesterday, I decided to try it  out.  

Read the instructions? Puh-Leeze! I'm a trained fighter pilot!

I'll explain the white specs on the table in a little bit.
I meticulously assembled it (OK, I attached the blade guards and put batteries in the control pad.) , and decided to take it for a spin.

Flight #1 Attempted Split S

Well, not so great, about 3 seconds from liftoff to impact, with the ceiling, hence the specks on the table, but I'm laughing my butt off.

Recover it, inspect for damage (The drone, not the ceiling, who cares about a ceiling, it's my AIRPLANE!)

Let's try it again!

Flight #2 It's attached itself to the wall to try and get away!
OK, Back to the Dash-1.

Now....Can anyone tell me what the following means?

Me either.

So, I'm off to the Tube of You to find an Instructor that speaks English.

That MAY be English he's speaking.

This guy at least has English Sub-Titles, so helpful.  Right stick is the Stick, Left stick is the throttles (and the Rudder).

Got it!

Another Test Flight.

Outside as it goes a little fast and (as usual) I'm behind the aircraft.

Get it airborne, and am doing ok, take it a little higher and a little more than that. Maybe I'm getting the hang of it.

Nope, a gust of wind comes and blows it over the top of the roof, where I lose control and it crashes.  

Get a ladder, recover it, check it out, refasten the doors, landing gear, prop shields and camera and am ready to give it another go. 

Nope, the battery is dead.  It's rated at 7 minutes of flying (less if you use the camera) for 75 minutes of recharge.  In the house, plug it in,  Dial up Amazon and order a package of 6 more batteries and a charger.

This is going to be Fun!


  1. I bought the exact quadrotor about a year and a half ago. Like you I went to the flight school of YouTube.

    For outside flying, if it is more than a breeze, then no outside flying. And I found that if the machine is a little distance away then I lose the orientation of which way it is heading.

    Ebay provided a couple of extra batteries and a better charger. I use a digital kitchen timer and I set it for five minutes, I push start on the timer then take off, and when the timer chirps I RTB post haste.

    A caution. If your wife advises you not to fly the quadrotor over your swiming pool, and you chose to fly the quadrotor over the pool well..... it went like this.
    My thoughts. "What could possible go wrong?" (and maybe more than a little bit of don't tell me what to do)
    The NQASB (National Quadrotor Accident Safety Board) would have reported it this way.
    While conducting an overwater flight, for which the pilot lacked the appropriate training and qualifications, the pilot ignored the directions of the ground controller and this resulted in the aircraft making a water landing. As the aircraft was neither designed for, nor capable of, a water landing this required the immediate salvage of the aircraft. After salvaging the aircraft, it was dewatered, disassembled, and all the electronics were washed and cleaned. When dry the aircraft was test flown and returned to service. The final conclusion of this Board is that the pilot showed a marked lack of judgement. The pilot did state for the record that just before the crash he exclaimed loudly, "Mayday! We are going in." The only witness to the crash stated, "Just before the crash I heard what sounded like the high pitched voice of a little girl say something about May."

    That little machine was a ton of fun and I got more than my money's worth out of it. The same company makes a larger version but I haven't yet made up my mind.

    1. Thanks,
      Yeah, the lack of discernible front and back has made my initial foray a bit more difficult. Any suggestions? I was thinking of painting one side or the other.

      After running it into the ceiling then crashing it to the floor, I was afraid I'd class 26'd it in the first 30 seconds, but it seems to be pretty resilient. So, the remaining flights I was giggling through most of them with an occasional "Oh S**T!" thrown in.

    2. I found the most success flying it when overcast or when twilight'ish. That way I could orient off of the lights.
      I also switched the stick settings from the default because the default didn't seem very ergo.
      Use the trim controls to get it as close to hands off as you can, but it does seem to drift no matter what. I also spent a fair amount of time practicing in the enclosed back porch with the high ceiling. And when you get close to the ceiling you get a kind of reverse ground effect and it sticks to the ceiling like glue.
      The newer machines have what is called a headless setting. The machine will always fly in the direction you move the sticks regardless of the rotation of the machine.
      Give the still and movie camera a test. They both are of OK quality, and seeing one's house from 50 feet in the air is pretty cool.
      My take away is that the usable range is short because of the orientation problem we spoke of, and it is mostly a very fun way to decide if you want to go larger.
      This version of your machine on Amazon states that it has a headless mode, and can do a first person view to a smart phone.

      This is the larger machine, also headless and FPV.

      The quadrotor registration requirement seems to have been struck down.

      And yes, the instructions are written in Engrish.

      And as stated, a huge amount of fun but any wind makes flying outdoors difficult to impossible.

    3. Thanks, the inexpensive part was intended for exactly that reason. Didn't want to spend a couple hundred to find out it wasn't any fun or worse I crashed and burned it on the first flight.

    4. When I researched for the follow up comment I was surprised to find that the couple of hundred dollars price of a couple of years ago is more like under a hundred price today.

      I guess the real trick is to buy when the tech is mature and the market has a glut, but I usually don't get that right.

      My attempts at drone herding the deer off of our property produced some interesting video, but was otherwise not very successful.

    5. Yeah, the Cats told me that they saw it on the Hourly Special on Amazon for $39.99 and snatched it up right away, them being smart kitties that they are, knew that I'd want it.

  2. I'm referring to your rather plaintive request for help with reading that crap.

    I'm your huckleberry.
    Try reading it through beer goggles or with another bottle of wine. As I recall, they work wonders on erudition and stuff. :)

    1. I may have to give that a try. The problem then will be 1) remembering my translation or 2) translating my translation. The process enhancement however is probably worth the effort.

  3. Those things must be fun, but this has renewed my concern about any idiot playing with them. If a fighter pilot has a learning curve, what about the average and possibly inebriated fool trying it and flying into stuff that should not be flown into.

    Hell, they outlawed lawn darts, I think a license should be required to play with these things. Jet fighter pilots may be exepmt.

    1. There is that. And there have been instances of stupidity being displayed, I'll grant you.

  4. Seven minutes of flight time with one battery?!?! Thing has shorter legs than a Hornet.

    I do see great things ahead for the Juvatcopter. It has a camera? So there's something else for the blog.

    And if the progeny are reading this, yes, I need a drone. For artistic purposes of course...

    1. Yeah, short legs, but 6 batteries plus a charger was $20 on Amazon, so not too bad an investment. I had a blast playing with it yesterday (which you might have noticed I didn't begin my post until later than usual mea culpa.

      As to the movies, I'm not sure I've got enough flight time yet to hit the record button before hitting the dirt. More to come.

  5. I got those things out of my system years ago. But now, it seems that I need to reinvestigate. When the insurance investigator dropped by after hurricane Matthew (forever may it be accursed), he used a drone thing to take pictures of the lack of roof and surrounding area. I suspect that his machine was somewhat high-end.
    Also, not to change the subject, but I will - you will like sous vide. Since we have "smoke from searing steak" problems in the condo (poor circulation, open floorplan) I bought a plumber's torch and finish stuff off with that. Best filets I have EVER had.

    1. Yep, tried it last night, but got behind the power curve. The instructions said minimum 1.5 hours for medium rare steak, recommended 2. I didn't put them in until a little bit more than an hour til dinner time. Pulled them off at 1+15 and gave them a quick sear on the cast iron pan and they were perfect. I've got the same issue with smoke that you do, so this is my proposed solution. I'm looking forward to using this often.

  6. "Mom, Juvat got a cool new toy. Can I go over to his house to play?" Hmm, father's day is coming up...

  7. It's a bit of a hike, but c'mon down! I had about 2 hours of ground school today, but unfortunately I'm looking at about 15 Knots of wind, so it looks like I'm in the Aaron school of flight training right now.

  8. At least with this flying machine you will not need to wear a parachute or an O2 mask. A helmet might be in order though. Have fun and be safe. Oops, sorry mutually exclusive things.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Well, not always, but sometimes. Thanks though.

  9. Replies
    1. A bit brutally honest, as most good debriefs are. Son, you were way behind the Aircraft on liftoft. Your power and control inputs were late and too large thereby inducing Pilot Induced Ocillation resulting in loss of control and subsequent crash. Your Widow and Orphans will be receiving your SGLI shortly. Fortunately, they'll save a fortune in burial costs as there isn't much of your sorry butt left to bury.
      (I actually heard that at a debrief from one of my sim rides in UPT. Never forgot it, and now I have a use for it.)

  10. Hehehe, boys and their toys... :-D So... How much bail money do we need to collect???

    1. Well, as I'm about half a mile from my nearest neighbor and the range of this aircraft is supposedly 100m, I'm not likely to get into too much trouble. The only peeping Tom action I'm likely to do is with my wife and she's good enough with a pistol to take out the drone and therefore more than good enough to take out me.

  11. Fun post! Unfortunately, it's started a few gears turning in danger country up there above my brainstem.

    I'm SURE one of those things would come in handy to check cowz...

    And I'm thinkin' I need to try that Vida Souse thingy too...

    Well, you only get one stab at the ol' life thingy.

    1. I'm not sure how cows would react to a buzzing thing flying around (bigger than flies anyhow), but the Cats and Dogs were outta the room in about a nanosecond when I fired it up in the house. In hind sight, that was probably good judgement on their part.


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