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Kwad Camp

French

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#2
I have not attended any, nor am I going to Detroit. But it seems like a great time. I'm sure a lot of us are interested to hear about your experience.

I'd love to meet Drew (le Drib) and Kevin (Stingy) and it sounds like Matty Stuntz may make it down there too.
 
#3
Okay. I'll report back.

I have very little experience and am completely self-taught (through forums and videos), so I am sure I will learn a lot. I am also an ATP rated pilot so I'll have something in common with Kevin anyway.

They haven't been super clear about what to bring and what to expect. I am taking everything I have. Tools. Parts. Partially built quads. Supplies. Computer.

We'll see how it goes...
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#5
I'd like to go to one but I don't see puttin up that cash in my situation to go meet them. I would love to get the chance to hang out and talk quads and such and maybe fly with them even though I am no where near their caliber of pilot. Sadly around here there is not much within my range to fly that isn't cornfield ,swamp, or cow paddie filled pastures. The few places with trees near by have 3 - 6 feet of scrub brush underneath. Scraggle ^3.
 
#7
The short answer is, it was fun.

I'll try to do a thorough review. First, I don't have a lot of experience with quads. I started last Fall and it took me a bit to get my first one built. Then I endured a tough Indiana winter. So keep my novice experience level in mind.


The good-

The camp was very laid back and fun. Everyone was helpful and willing to do almost anything. Everyone was welcoming, both attendees and experts. I think I actually learned more from just talking to other people attending than I did from the Rotor Riot folks. The location couldn't have been better. Excel Drones hosted and they had a big room where everyone had space to work and electrical power. They also stock almost everything you could think of. I didn't know such a place even existed. They had some great flying locations too. The first day I went with a small group to "the cubes" (I think I was supposed to know what this was). The next day I went to a park and we had lots of space with spread out trees and some soft grass to crash in rather than the concrete of the day before.

One of my favorite parts was when Drew did some tuning while we could all watch. He actually took a kid's quad that he just built and fully tuned it from nothing. It was REALLY interesting. I just tried to absorb as much as I could. He then sat down with a projector and showed a bunch of stuff on Betaflight. He went through how the filters work, rates, expo, etc. Lots of things that I knew about but it was nice to hear someone explain it in person.

Probably the best part about the camp is that you could make it into whatever you want. Some people did entire new builds. Some people did troubleshooting. Some came with a list of questions. There was plenty of time for everything.

I also really liked the diversity of people attending. People were young, old, male, female, black, white, brown, rich, not-so-rich, skinny, big, etc. I found that to be refreshing. Most of the RC stuff I have been around (remember I live near the home of the AMA) is upper middle class white men.

They provided a great breakfast and lunch both days.


The not as good-

It was not very well organized. I never got anything from them except a receipt after I paid. The website said where it was and that it started at 8. That was it. I think some instructions as to what to bring and what to expect would be nice. It would also be nice to have some safety and vtx pointers ahead of time as well. They didn't even do registration or anything. You could have gone for free. There was also not much organization at the flying fields. It was supposed to be race band 1,3,5,7, but there was not much organization on who was on what and getting them to all fly at the same time. I lost count of how many quads I saw get blasted out of the air due to interference (i know it is part of the deal but I think more could be done to help).

The biggest issue for me, that I never saw coming, was that a lot of the attendees were there to rub elbows with "famous" Youtubers. That made it weird at times. I really don't know what else to say about that. I didn't even know I was supposed to have an "fpv name". It seemed like a lot of people in the room were trying to get some personal brand started, get sponsorship, be Insta-famous, etc.

There were 40-50 attendees. That was more than I expected and made it possible to get lost in the crowd.


Suggestions if you plan to attend-

Be prepared to make it what you want. I would suggest bringing a project. There is lots of time to work and lots of help. I tuned everything up before I went so I didn't do much work. I did have fun visiting with other folks and seeing their projects.

Take it easy on the flying. There were a huge number of destroyed quads. I think people felt the need to show off in front of everyone. When we went to the abandoned building I think every person there but me smashed their quad (I'm not good, just cautious).


One last thing-

There was a topic that came up when a bunch of us were talking that I liked. I think it has particular relevance on the Flitetest forum. It was the cost of getting into quads and fpv flying. It seems like there is a large section of this hobby that apologizes for the cost and tries to find the cheapest solution to get people started. One guy there said we need to take a different approach. What other hobby is there where you can buy 3 of the best of everything and put out well under $5,000? Everything from bass fishing to golf to owning a motorcycle is MUCH more expensive. We also might be doing a disservice to people by telling them the minimum and they are quickly going to find out that stuff gets damaged soldering, you puff a battery, break props, etc. Then they are out of the game. It's just food for thought and a perspective that I liked.
 
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#8
There was a topic that came up when a bunch of us were talking that I liked. I think it has particular relevance on the Flitetest forum. It was the cost of getting into quads and fpv flying. It seems like there is a large section of this hobby that apologizes for the cost and tries to find the cheapest solution to get people started. One guy there said we need to take a different approach. What other hobby is there where you can buy 3 of the best of everything and put out well under $5,000? Everything from bass fishing to golf to owning a motorcycle is MUCH more expensive. We also might be doing a disservice to people by telling them the minimum and they are quickly going to find out that stuff gets damaged soldering, you puff a battery, break props, etc. Then they are out of the game. It's just food for thought and a perspective that I liked.
I'll agree that the cost is what scares SO many people off. At our last club meeting, the club president brought up that we're starting a brand new, "New Member/First Timer's Program" to bring in new blood. Several of the older members felt it was a slight against them, and that, "If you can afford to buy an RC plane, or drone, or whatever, you can afford the membership fees." I'm sorry, but no, you can't, not if you're 15-16 and just getting into it. You've blown $700-$800 for batteries, a charger, a decent transmitter, and a plane, and now, you have to shell out $75 for the AMA membership PLUS the club membership (which, for anyone over 18, is $200/year). That's rough for a kid to come up with $1000-$1100 to jump into this hobby, and why I see it being primarily the middle/upper middle class folks, or retired that have money to spare.

I think we DO need to prep people for everything involved. Batteries aren't cheap. Crashes WILL happen, and things WILL get broke. But it's also a fun hobby that can be enjoyed even WITH those crashes and damages.
 
#9
Yeah. It's just something to think about. My personal opinion is that kids are different. I think clubs should do everything in their power to help kids. The kids at Kwad Camp got an inordinate amount of attention. Any adults who were jealous of that are bad people, imho. On the other hand, if you are 20-something and it is too expensive... it's time to buckle down and either give up something or get your life to a place where hobbies make sense.
 
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French

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#10
I’m glad you had a good experience. I was watching a recent Botgrinder vlog from the weekend, and it looked a bit obnoxious at times. I think Kapper is in China with Bardwell, so I was wondering if the “kids” were goofing around while “dad” was away.

I’m also glad to hear it was cool hanging out with / watching Drew tune. I assume Kevin would be fun to hang around with too.

No surprise that many people went home with busted quads from the bando. There seem to be plenty of guys in this hobby that have large egos.

Thanks for the synopsis.
 

French

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#11
New botgrinder video shows a little bit more about some of the good parts (building, tuning, flying). Still plenty of botgrinder BS though. #ruiningthehobby

*** The language is NOT family or work friendly ***
www.youtube.com / watch?v=zASSmNvEjOY&t=319s
(remove spaces)
 
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