Saturday, 5 January 2013

Quadcopter first flight

With expectations of at least breaking a prop and probably bending an arm, I took to the skies today with my X600 quadcopter...

The first flight was in a steady breeze on a local football pitch (soft muddy grass to cushion landings!) I fitted the props and tightened the bolts on the folding arms, plugged in the battery and took a deep breath as I armed the quadcopter from the transmitter.

From flying IR indoor helicopters I knew that a half-hearted throttle input would tip the machine, so I ran up the motors to idle, checked everything looked OK, then gave it some beans. The quad sprang up and almost hovered. I tried to correct for the wind drift and brought it down again in a controlled flop. Success! Nothing broken!

The next 30 minutes I got to grips with the controls. First impressions are that these machines need you to fly all four axis simultaneously. My experience with fixed wing aircraft wasn't much use as the quad could go in any direction equally fast. The immediate problem I had was I couldn't always tell which way was forward... pulling back on the stick to slow down may result in the quad going faster or sideslipping.

Next step will be to put something (lights? ball-and-string?) to show which way is 'forward' on the quad. Ultimately I'd like to implement and accelerometer based system to stabilise the quad and possibly do some control mixing to make it fly more like an aeroplane.

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