The Popularity of Drones
So, this is a Blade, that drone right there is made by a company called Blade, or Yuneec and Blade. These two companies kind of collaborated on this particular one, it's called a Chroma. And that's what I took with me to Iceland. That's what those previous shots were from and that is actually flying over the continental rift in Iceland and that's where the Eurasian plate is separating from the North American tectonic plates. So, literally that is a hot, steaming, piping hot drone right there. That was super fun. So yeah, we were able to go out there and kind of film out there. It was really, really a lot of fun. But what I want to get at in this section is just, why are drones such a big deal? I mean, I've been flying RC for over 30 years and for most of that time if I share that knowledge with somebody, their eyes would kind of glaze over they're like, what you're some sort of nerd that flies toy airplanes, who cares? Maybe I'm reading too much into that but that's kind of how I felt ...
it's like, okay well whatever. So, but now it seems like everybody's got a drone. I mean, Jim over here at his desk, he's got his little tiny drone that he says he broke, which I'm kind of bummed because I'd love to fly it in here right now but it seems like everybody has drones and on one hand that's kind of scary but on the other hand it's super cool. It's super cool that there's now this world of people that get to kind of share into something that I've always enjoyed and maybe drones can sort of be a gateway aircraft into the other types of aircraft that we like to fly like helicopters, like airplanes. Drones are great for filming and there's even drone racing, and so there are more high performance ones but a lot of the fun of aviation is in other types of aircrafts. So, I think as far as why are drones so hot right now? I think it's two things, there's probably more that I'm missing but I think the two key things is that technology both with cameras and technology with aircraft have come together in a way that people use to see me flying and be like, man how do you do that? But now with these self-stabilized aircraft drones we call them, they're much easier to fly and then also the camera technology has gotten so small, I mean we're able to capture 4K video images in these little tiny drones and now with the release of the Karma here, and the Mavic, I mean the Phantom 4, all these small, I mean, if you're watching HGTV, whenever I'm watching TV, I'm always like drone shot, drone shot, drone shot, and they might use something like the Inspire but that's probably max of what they're gonna use because they need something that's easy to get out of the van, get it up in the air, and film. And nine times out of 10, I bet you it's something closer to the Phantom, or the Mavic, or now the Karma, 'cause they're just quick to deploy. I mean you just get it out, turn it on, and go up there and some of these things you don't even need to worry about focusing. So, I think that's part of it but the flying aspect of it too, they're so much easier to fly. Now granted, you can still run into things and like with the Phantom 4, and the Mavic, they have obstacle avoidance which is pretty great for folks just starting out. So, what I want to do in this next section here is have a couple of you guys come up and try flying maybe say a remote controlled helicopter and then we'll fly a drone, and then maybe a remote controlled airplane, and then we'll fly a drone, just to see the difference there is. So, David, yeah come on up, David. So, I've got this, hey how's it going man?
So, I know David from, he and I both play Irish music together and he's down in Colorado Springs and he decided to take a few days off and come out here so.
Really glad to have you, yeah and--
I know nothing about this, so.
Yeah, so we have a set up of flight simulator it's called Aerofly and maybe I should say something real quickly about that. Aerofly if you Google it or whatever, it is a flight simulator that has drones, and airplanes, and helicopters. And also, those of you that already have DJI products, I know there's a flight simulator built into that. So, if you're wanting to watch at home and practice some of these things while we're doing it, feel free to do that. So, let's get this going. So, maybe first thing what we should do, and who's coming up next? Is it Hannah?
Yeah, Hannah. And Hannah's gonna come up next, I wanted to show you just once here, the way that things go on, this is called a transmitter. So, on the right stick controls your roll of the aircraft, like this, so right and left. And then, to go forward and back, you just push forward and back. Like, in an airplane when you pull back, I don't know if Hannah, or if you've ever flown in a full scale aircraft but you pull back for it to go up. Sometimes folks just getting into it they think, I wanna go up so I'm gonna push it up but that actually pushes and then goes down, which you'll quickly find. So, yeah. That's pushing forward or going down depending, not so much with a drone, but pushing forward going back, left and right roll. And then this stick over here on the left, controls the yaw, or the twisting motion of the aircraft. So, left yaw, right yaw. And then, in the case of a helicopter, or in the case of a drone, this right here makes you go up and down. In the case of a drone, you have a fixed pitch, most of them anyways, you have a fixed pitch blade, and so right around the center is where it's gonna hover and then going up is like that, and then going down is like that. It's kind of like balancing all four controls to kind of do what you want to do. So, we're gonna get started on this and let's see, I'm gonna get you started on, helicopter I think, yeah. We're gonna try you on a heli. So, alright. And maybe what I'll do, is I'll get it up in the air first and I'm gonna switch over to a helicopter. Yeah, let's try the Goblin 770. This is Aerofly by the way guys and load. Let me make sure I can get this thing going for ya. (helicopter whirs) What's going on? (helicopter whirs) Sometimes when you first load up your flight simulator you've gotta trim things out. So, first of all lets get this trimmed out and then I'll hand it over to you. So, you can already see it's pretty twitchy. And then in the begin you're just gonna wanna try to hover it. Oh, I see, I need to adjust the right stick here. Alright. It's kind of set up sensitively 'cause it's an aerobatic helicopter. Alright, so here we go. And I'm just gonna get it up maybe a little higher. And just try to keep it in place. See if you can just kind of hover it in place. (laughs) Normally it just crashes but let's try it again from take off. You're gonna lift up on the left.
On the left, there we go.
Yeah, so that's your typical helicopter experience and honestly, that's something that-- (laughs)
While he's teaching the class.
Yeah right, so that's your typical, and honestly, the flight simulator is such a big deal because when I was first learning how to fly helicopters I crashed all the time, all the time. I mean hundreds of times a session. So, flight simulators are huge for getting your flying skills up, right? And it's actually been a little while since I've flown heli, so it might look like I'm flying a little bit under the influence. But yeah. So, let's go ahead and crash this and my son calls this aero crash. (laughs) Alright. So, now we're gonna pull up like a Phantom here. Alright. Go over to quadcopter. This is Aerofly Ultimate and Ultimate includes like, the Phantom, as well as a few other copters here. So, let's load the Phantom 'cause that's kind of. Alright, here you go. Let's go ahead and fly that.
And whatever you'd like to do. If you want to kind of move around the sky. Already we're having more success, right? And this is of course because it has components in it that can sense what's level. We'll look at these in the next section, the different components of a drone. One of these things that keeps, now may be a little bit hard to see but it's out there. And I think one of the tricky things is, with some of these drones is that they're easy to fly but sometimes they're hard to see. So, in the case right now it's like, where is it, right? And so there's some components that make drones these days really handy, like return home feature, GPS functionality, that sort of thing. Cool so now, ET phone home, right? No, ET drone home. So, okay. Great thing about this is you can hit the space bar and I wish we had a space bar for life. Just no, that didn't work out, I said the wrong thing. I said the wrong thing on CreativeLive, alright hit space bar. (laughs) Alright. Yeah and you can just let go of the sticks right? And then, hey look at that. Look at that, that's a landing you can walk away from. Awesome, thank you. Awesome. So, I think now Hannah we're gonna try you with an airplane here. Awesome, thanks for agreeing to fly with us. Okay. So, we'll load. Now, I didn't want to sell, I didn't want to discourage you from flying helicopters, or airplanes, because honestly they're super fun. In terms of flying performance, the helicopters have a lot more capabilities, are a lot in my opinion, a lot more interesting to fly. That's my own personal opinion, now there are racing quads that are pretty high performance and you can do tricks with them. But let's try kind of a trainer of sorts airplane here. And so, the way that this works is this right here will power our motor on. Here I'll go ahead, and so you'll get the power going, and then you'll just fly around. Now, in some ways these are easier to fly than helicopters, actually in a lot of ways. 'Cause they're just moving forward, you don't have to worry about, and then you can kind of cut power to the middle stick. And already you can see it's kind of a spec, but after a while you start getting a sense for the attitude of the airplane. And just to make things easier, once we get up in the air, you can just fly with the right stick. Now I'll give you more power. And actually we'll start over. We'll see what happens when we crash this one. Call the FAA. (laughs) Alright. Alright, so there it is at this lovely seaside flight strip here, landing strip. And yeah, you'll just power up and then to get off the ground, after it gets speed, you'll pull back on the stick. So give it full power. Alright, you're doing a wheelie. Awesome, cool. Nice! You're actually doing great. Cool, nice. That was spectacular. (laughs) So, let's try it again. Give it another go and so this time let's just try to keep it level. So, just pull back on the sticks yeah, that's much better, maybe take a left turn. Yup, and pull back on the stick. So, I mean that's, and we'll load up a drone here in a sec, but I mean, that's the challenge, right? I mean, wherever you point it, it's gonna go when you put it into a bank turn it's gonna nose down unless you pull back on the stick. You'll have to roll it back to get it level. So, again we're talking about the dilemma maybe still. And, at least if you were inside the aircraft you'd have the sense of control. Whether or not you'd be any safer, is another question. But yeah. Yeah, so anyways, let's try to land this thing. Cut the power. Don't hit any trees. Coming in a little hot. Yup. Passengers would be complaining. Alright, so cool. Now let's load up a drone, or a quadcopter, as I like to call it. And let's load back up that Phantom. Alright. Cool. Now, I'll just let you kind of find your way there. I think it'll be, once you gas it just give it a good like, on the power, yeah there you go. Nice. Now, this, sorry if you let go of the stick, it'll just stay in place, it should anyways. I'm gonna restart it, we'll try it again. And just leave it in front of you and we'll keep the power about right there, and if you let go of the stick it pretty much stays where it's gonna stay. Now, this is as if it didn't have GPS lock. So, it's not, the simulator right now is set up so that there's no GPS lock. If you set the wind in the simulator to blow, you can practice actually working in what's called an attitude mode. Like DJI calls this mode, attitude mode, where you're not GPS locked. And so, yeah. I mean you can bring it down maybe try the left stick, just kind of bring it down. And then maybe you can go left kind of towards, left would be towards us I think right now. Yeah. So you can already see the potential for it being much simpler to operate. And the GPS mode is, look at you. Watch she's gonna start doing flips and tricks. (laughs) Whoa! Hey, wait a minute. No, that's perfect. So, yeah, to me that's the cool thing about these quadcopters. Yeah, that's great.
Thank you, thanks, Hannah. So, I mean that's the cool thing about these quadcopters, these drones, is how easy they are to fly. So, that's maybe why drones are so hot right now, right? Is that, hey we can all fly them. And as a matter of fact, the skills that you'll learn from flying a drone, quadcopter, I'll try to stop doing that the rest of the course but, it's just something us RC guys have to get used to calling them drones so. The skills that you learn in flying drones are gonna be the same skills that you'll need when flying these remote controlled fixed-wing aircraft, or helicopters. You still have to have the basic same skills left is left, right is, and controlling all that. And then of course when it's nose in at you, this is one thing we're gonna look at in the upcoming sections, is how to fly in what I'd call a standard mode. And so, where you have to think, okay if I want the copter to go to my left and if it's nose in, you're gonna go right stick. And I don't think about that anymore, but I remember when I was first learning, I'd do stuff like this where I'd be like, okay it's, yeah, so do this sort of thing to kind of get your mind wrapped around it. But after a while, those skills as you fly drones, you'll be able to fly whatever you like. And go out to the park and have fun with your friends and I mean, it's a great thing to do.