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New to this (some questions)

#1
Hi guys. I always dreamed of piloting a plane. As a kid I was flying in sims (mostly space sims cause cause I am a big fan too). The idea of flying a RC Plane wasn't in my mind anyhow cause it isn't a "simulation" as I want it. The last 4-5 months (now I'm 39) I've been watching some videos and saw that the technology have evolved quite good. We have Autopilots now, FPV, and so many things to add to this. I knew some things about that hobby but for most of it I'm in the dark... So to the point. I'm starting getting interested in this area as I can fly as a "sim" due to the FPV and telemetry gear that we have now. I want to make, like a 1-2 year project collecting info, gear, and assembling an FPV Plane with a ground station, antenna tracker etc... I wanna do it for the work that I'll have to do (glueing, soldering, cutting, fixing, patenting). And then I want to have a plane that I can fly around and do some arial video/photography aside of piloting (maybe I can have a copilot working the 2nd camera so it could be more fun. The thing is I don't like these big chunk RCs remotes and I don't wanna bother learn flying on them. It's too complicated for me, and it won't give me the experience I want (no offence to the old school guys :) ) So the question is, can I use only a laptop with a autopilot and a HOTAS controller and use it to fly without having to buy a RC? Also I want to have the most of the channels I can get cause I want to have 2nd camera, flaps, maybe retracting landing gear, parachute (lol) just for the fun. As I have read so far it can be done with Mission Planner, but it needs to be connected to a RC and the RC have to have a extension brick behind and would connect to the laptop so I can get long range for the remote. Is it possible to have long range with telemetry, bypassing the need of this but only with laptop and game controller (beside what I will need for the video link..)? I'm asking cause I don't wanna start spending money on that hobby and finding out that I can't do what I have in my mind.
 
#2
First of, Cool idea!! IDK much about ground stations but what i would say is spend the money to get a simple scout. It will teach you soo much about RC that when the time comes to do this huge project you will have a 50% higher chance of success. Good Luck and Happy Flying!
 
#3
First of, thanks for the quick reply :) What is a scout? :p As I said I'm new to this and also I'm Greek, so be gentle with any terms you use (lol). Second, I don't wanna bother learn using a RC as I said cause it's too complicated for me. I'm dyslectic and I confuse much often left with right in my ming etc, so imagine flying a craft in the air and having it flyin towards me... I have some skills at building thing as I have been an elevator engineer/techician (had family business until 2012). Also I have a lot of experience of computers cause the first one that I used was back in 1985... That's all. I only want to do this mostly for the build-up and then the experience of flying "inside" the plane. And I choose the plane cause of the better time of flight that I can get, otherwise I would go for Quad/Multi copter cause I could take off from my rooftop and not having to drive like 40Km to do what I like.. The problem is that I DONT'T want to learn on these remote controls. I just want to fly this thing as I imagine it (and again no offence to anyone. I don't wanna start a debate about learning the "right" way first)
 
#4
Oh ok i understand. A scout is one of the trainer planes that flitetest makes and in my opinion it is the best. If you are dyslectic than FPV is a GREAT idea because you can still enjoy the journey of flight. As far as building goes it is a blast and you will do a great job!

Good luck and Happy Flying
 

Headbang

Well-known member
#5
First of all. What you want to do can be done! Not saying off the top of my head I have any answers, but being a computer, plc, network, and electronics designer for the last 25yrs, the project sounds possible. I doubt there is much if any off the shelf gear. Chances are there will be some electronics designing along the way. Definatly programming, I am thing you might have to design the software from the ground up. Not a big deal given the time frame.

Now that being said. Get rid of the computer and game controller, and now you have a project that still needs a lot of work, but can be done with minimal electronics engineering, and no software development. I have seen others do the same. But they did use a rc transmitter. Long range fpv on a plane.

It all comes down to your current skill with electronics and programming, or how far you are willing to go to learn what you need to know. I don't mean to discourage you, just being honest about what is involved. Of course others might chime in here and tell me I am full of crap and point to the off the shelf products I have never heard of lol
 
#6
Oh I see... Programming : No skills at all but with some help I think I could do it. I know the basics of electronics and also I know that my hands can craft things and patend as I have been doing in the past with elevators. I saw that windbox thing but it seems that it has only 8 channels; Can I do the same with 16 channels? And does it have telemetry to talk to the PC/Laptop? Or can it be done without it? Also I saw that within the Mission Planner I can bypass the RC and use only the game controller utilising the 433MHz link connection. How far can I extend that USB dongle transmition? It has only a 10cm Antenna that as I have read it can go as far as line of sight.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#7
If you are in the EU it is highly likely that any flight beyond visual line of sight or 500m, whichever is soonest, or above and altitude of 400ft is illegal, so bear that in mind before designing anything.
If you want to get into iNav and autonomous control within the limits of current EU laws, look at Painless360 on YouTube, he has lots of great builds for the sort of plane that might meet your needs, plus all of his parts used are available and legal in the EU.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#8
As stated, a lot of what you want to do is not within the guidlines and laws of the hobby.

That said, the hobby does not move forward if new things are not tried and learned.

My suggestion is you step back. Look in to laws and guidelines and understand what you may do could have serious consequences.

Then if you decide to go forward first and foremost. Learn how to fly properly. No matter who we are or what gear we use things break or fail and go sideways really fast.

If your fancy handy dandy computer controlled system fails you really really no REALLY need to know how to get your gear back on the ground or at the very least be able to mitgate damages ir harm that could happen.

Projects like this are cool but to be honest they are also what has caused much of the regulation we now face from poor implementation or methods or general lack of knowlege.

These days the DJI lie is true. ANYONE can put a drone in the air. Not all can fly them safely or properly to keep themselves and others safe.
 
#9
I understand what you say and I know the risks. As I mentioned I was an elevator technician. I was responsible for human lives for 20 years. An elevator caries more people and does more Km of ride than a bus does in a day if it is in a Mall or a big building etc. It just never stops working till the building closes. Imagine an elevator in a hospital that never stops..... And the worst is that the elevator is operated by the passengers themselves. The bus has a driver to take care of it. And boy I've seen bad use of it!! lol I won't fly in residential areas to do any damage, only in a rocky country side I have close to me (limiting the danger of fire by crashed LiPos), so the only thing that could happen is to destroy my gear. I don't want autonomous flight. I want to fly by myself but I sure need the stabilisation help that the autopilot offers. And again I just wanna do it for the fun, not to go Pro flying low near people, filming events.
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#10
First off welcome to the forum!
Second, yes. What you want to do is possible, BUT.

Now I read what you said, but you came here asking for help, so... ;)
I second the notion that you REALLY need to become a pilot BEFORE you become an autonomous/remote pilot.

While the tech has come a LONG way (even in just the few short years I've been in the hobby) you should know that "Stuff" happens...
If you can't fly that plane in the most fundamental way, all those fancy gizmos are just a crutch that to be honest, you won't even be able to setup/tune correctly until you understand the basics (I am still fighting with my F405...)

I second @IcedStorm777 comment about the Simple scout (not the mini). https://www.flitetest.com/articles/ft-simple-scout-build
It's a great starter plane, as is the Tiny Trainer. The tiny trainer might be even better, but with the scout you can easily add FPV.
I started with a FlySky i6x which is a great (cheap) starter radio ($65) what's great about that is you can hack it apart later to build your flight station.

So, in short; We really want you to succeed... But there is a path that leads to success and there aren't any shortcuts...

P.S. I'm also dyslexic, and sometimes it is a challenge but you can get there, trust me.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#11
Just be sure to check your countries laws on what is allowed so that you can legally fly what you build.
It sounds like a simple INav controlled wing or plane will be well within your skill level to build and allow you to achieve what you want from the hobby. The foam UAV airframes are quite easy to learn to fly, maybe not as your first plane but certainly as a second one.
Go and look at what other people are building from kits and easy to get parts then narrow your search down to the builds that make you most excited. The actual complexity of GPS control is now much lower thanks to the excellent products and parts available.
I would also add that the ability to fly line of sight, without too much automated control, is essential for safe flights.
 

Kananga

Active member
#12
Edit, seems to me you need a dji magic pro v2. Flys itself, smaller controller, readily available parts and knowledge. Draw a line on the screen where you want it to fly, choose another setting to fly a set path, another to circle an object, takes off and lands on its own etc etc. One of the best cameras around, all the safety features compact and for what you're getting not too bad on price.
Best place your going to start but will need you to learn to fly it like anything else you're going to get.
 
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#13
Thanks for the help guys :) You're very right about knowing to fly by myself cause the rest would be much easier and safer if something happens. I'll do some more search about it tho cause I need to collect as much info as I can before I start spending money on this. The thing is the limited time I got to go and find and learn with an instructor. As I've learned so far in my life the best way to succeed in something is trial and error. So I'll go little steps at a time. Thanks again!!! :))
 

evranch

Active member
#14
It's a cool idea, and I always thought an FPV sim cockpit with HOTAS stick would be really neat. I think Arduplane could do this with a telemetry link alone and no RC controller, BUT it's a bad idea to do that. Most telemetry radios do not have high enough data rates to have good control of an aircraft, especially during takeoff and landing. Mission Planner also is not reliable enough to trust as the primary link to your plane.

A couple other issues I can think of:
- deploying this setup in the field. You will have a lot of stuff and need a level surface for computer/flightstick etc. and probably a chair. Before you know it you have a whole truck full of equipment and an hour of setup time.
- due to scale factors, landing FPV is quite a bit harder than sim or LOS. Even a slow flyer feels like a carrier landing. Stall speeds and flare heights are misleading as well, and you will probably smash up a lot more planes than you would learning LOS.

You can learn to fly traditional RC LOS pretty cheaply and without an instructor. If you want to find out if it's worth the effort you can probably get something in the air under $100, that you can fly in the park alone any time you have a couple free minutes.

Check out Banggood. A 6 channel FlySky TX/RX pair is around $50, a set of 5 gram servos, a quadcopter motor and ESC and a battery will run you another $30-40. Go to Dollar Tree and buy some foamboard and you have a Flite Test Tiny Trainer that you can crash and re-crash, and rebuild for a dollar if ruined.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#15
Also, the more tech you put in, the more remote from flying it you are. There’s a point where you might as well have built a really good flight simulator. In there you could fly a virtual craft anywhere you can imagine with as much simulated realism as you like without getting slapped with legislation, registration and if you crash in the sim, all your hardware survives.
If you want to save trouble and money, find a local RC club and learn to fly with their help. Every country has some, with varying amounts of driving time required to reach them.