Caddx Dolphin Action Camera Test

After seeing my videos and the videos from Trevor's flights some of the guys I fly with have been intrested in putting a camera on their plane to capture flight footage. I love watching the videos of my flights. Even though it's the same location most of the time I'm just thrilled with the idea of flight!

One of the cameras I found recently is the Caddx Dolphin action camera. It's only about $40 so it was kind of an impulse purchase.

I have a propper mount on the way, but I wanted to get some basic footage to see if it's even worth messing with.

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I used some 10lb rated velcro and just stuck it on the battery cover on the nose of the plane.

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This velcro is very strong. I was able to lift the whole plane by holding it by the Caddx Dolphin.

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I was hoping that the prop would spin fast enough that I wouldn’t really see the prop, but instead the prop covers the whole video.

TurboWing CYCLOPSE3 V3 720P

Here’s the usual camera that I have mounted on the Maule all the time.

Caddx Dolphin Mini Camera Starlight 1080P DVR HD

Here is the footage from the new Caddx. The prop covers a lot of the view but you can still see the resolution and the colors.

I was about to publish this, and was just not happy with this test footage so I moved the Caddx Dolphin Mini Camera to the wing and flew gain.

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Caddx Dolphin Test 2

Turbowing Cyclops3 V3 Test 2 baseline footage

I like the Turbowing because it has full fpv + DVR for around $24! You sacrifice some color, and the resolution is 720p rather than 1080p. But at that price I can have dvr on all my planes.

The Caddx Dolphin dropped audio. It was clipped at the beginning, and by the end it dropped audio. That’s not a huge deal for a plane because the audio is offensive wind noise, but as a general action camera this would be a big deal breaker.

If I didn’t care about FPV feed to my video transmitter and just wanted nice footage from my flights I think the Caddx is a good cheap option. It claims to be water proof, and at $40 it won’t kill me if it were to be damaged.

What do you think?

Labor Day 2019 Flights!

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Labor Day 2019 we decided to fly for a few hours in the morning. We met at 9am. Here’s the weather recap on site.

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As you can see there were lots of wind gusts. We had a cross wind that made landing somewhat difficult.

As you can see there were lots of wind gusts. We had a cross wind that made landing somewhat difficult.

I flew the E-Flite Maule M-7 three times. I flew completely FPV. I’m really happy with my current fpv setup, and haven’t changed anything since my last post. The cross wind made landing pretty tough for me. It pushed me around a good bit.

Flight Number 1

Flight Number 2

My second flight I had even more difficulty setting up a landing. I tried a couple different angles of approach, and finally had to just force it down because my battery was really low.

Flight Number 3

For the third flight, I put Trevor’s flight data recorder inside the Maule to see what was going on.

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  • Max Speed 56 MPH

  • Total Distance 2.618 Miles

  • Max Altitude 1761’ above sea level

I think my third flight was the best I felt more comfortable with the flight time, and I Have a better feel for where I need to be to drop altitude and approach the landing strip.

Trevor, Eric, Matt, and Mitch all flew a verity of planes. Here’s my video’s of their flights.

Trevor & the E-Flite V-900

Trevor has had a rough start with the V-900. He bought it used for a great deal. It’s very fast, and he’s flying in a place that isn’t really great for faster planes. His first time out didn’t launch hard enough and broke a prop. This is his second day out and I was really happy to see a successful launch!

As you saw the landing wasn’t the greatest. The difficulty is that the prop is hitting the ground on the belly landing, and snapping off! I’m sure Trevor will figure it out. Here’s a post flight report.

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All in all I think this is just the beginning of Trevor's adventure with the V-900. He's going to get used to it, and might just get addicted to the speed!

E-Flite F-15 Eagle Trevor Flight

Red Bull Edge 540 Trevor Flight

If you’ve never watched the 360 video we shot of Trevor’s maiden flight with the Red Bull Edge 540 you should watch that right now. Remember the video can rotate around using your mouse.

After watching the maiden you’ll realize the great skill Trevor has. He’s flown the Red Bull Edge 540 a bunch since that first flight, and it helps a lot that after the maiden he looked up the proper trim settings!

Bonus: Trevor Chasing Birds with the Radian. He had a camera onboard so I’m looking forward to seeing that footage!

Matt & E-Flite Turbo Timber

Matt is pretty new to flying. He organizes a lot of the local RC Road Vehicle races. You can find out about the local events at the FCRC-Fayette County Radio Control group on Facebook. I’m really glad to see Matt get into flying. He just got the E-Flite Turbo Timber and he’s flying it great already!

Eric Flew the Extra 300, and the Pitts, but I was flying while he was and missed those flights. All in all it was a fantastic day to fly. I always love flying with the local guys. I just wish Dave T, and Joe could have made it out with us!

PS. My Foam Glider Challenge plane is almost ready to fly. I believed I have sorted out the problems and should be ready to fly next Friday!

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Windy Flight and FPV Power Tests

This was a pretty tense flight. The wind was really kicking, and I shouldn’t have gone up! It was difficult to bring it down, and I was worried I’d lose power and not be able to fight my way back to the runway.

There’s a reason we fly early mornings and evenings! 5PM is still too early!

There’s a reason we fly early mornings and evenings! 5PM is still too early!

My last fpv flight with the E-Flite Maule M-7 I flew 5 min and completely depleted my 3S 2200mah battery. I thought perhaps my fpv system was drawing too much power. So I added a second 800mah 3s dedicated to the fpv system. I ran it for at least 10 min inside and still had 4.1v. I flew it for 5 min and still had 4.1V. I have another 2S 2000mah I'm testing and after 18 minutes it's at 3.98v. I'll probably use the 2s if it's lighter.

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The flight battery however was at 3.75 a cell after about 5 min of flight! I clearly need a bigger battery. E-Flite recommends 2200 - 3200 3S or 4S. 2200 is definitely on the low side. I’m curious how much I can push it to get more flight time. An E-Flite 4S 3200mah is 13oz, while a Floureon 3S 4500 is 12.17oz. I wonder which would give a longer flight. . . Might have to get both. . . for science!

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2S 2000mah from taranis radio. 31 min of video transmission.

2S 2000mah from taranis radio. 31 min of video transmission.

I’m confident I could use a much smaller 2S to run my video feed. I could run it off the flight battery since it uses so little power, but I do like the separate systems.

River Flying in Carmichaels

The Squad! Timber-Trevor, Maule-Eric, Icon-Ron, UMX Timber-Matt, UMX Timber 2-Joe

The Squad! Timber-Trevor, Maule-Eric, Icon-Ron, UMX Timber-Matt, UMX Timber 2-Joe

I met up with the guys from Get A Hobby, and we went flying off the river in Carmichaels PA! Joe has a boat so he invited us down to fly. We had a really great time. The water was smooth and calm, and everybody had successful flights!

Eric’s First water flight with the E-Flite Maule M-7 Just like mine!

Trevor’s water flight with the E-Flight Timber Basic

Trevor & Eric attempting formations. Part 1

Trevor & Eric attempting formations. Part 2

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And now for my flights. . . My first flight was really great. Takeoff and landing were fine. The Icon is not a fun plane to fly. It has been nothing but heartache for me. The pusher configuration makes it feel like I’m fighting for every inch to stay in the air. I was flying without any stabilization. I’ve removed the AS3X since it was destroyed in one of several crashes. Here’s the good flight and landing.

After my first successful flight I felt pretty good. I’m not happy with how it feels in the air, but it’s fun to fly off the water, and the big motor sound is fun. I put in a fresh battery, taped up the cowl, and thought I’d fly with Eric.

Take off is at the end of the clip

As you can see from my takeoff, I was in a playful mood. Anytime I relax and do things “Real Quick” and with a nonshelaunt attitude when it comes to RC flight it turns out bad. This is no exception. Eric and I were making low passes and nearly hit the tree in front of us. Then Eric nearly hit the tree behind us. I took my eyes off of my plane to watch Eric’s Maule M-7. Then I realized I was flying without safe! When I turned back to the Icon my brain seized up and couldn’t calculate my orientation. Usually we deal with this by making small adjustments with the transmitter, and watching the plane move. The brain translates these movements, and I regain orientation. The problem was I didn’t have time to regain orientation. I was heading straight for the trees! So I just pulled back! I missed the trees, but now I’m upside down and still didn’t have orientation in my brain. So I froze and just held it while I watched it do another loop, and hammer right into the water. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s another reminder to slow down, and even though we’re having fun to take it seriously.

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I’m not too bummed about the Icon Crashing. As you know I’ve wrecked this thing plenty of times. It’s par for the course. I can glue the nose back on and it will live to crash another day! Let’s finish up with some great video Trevor got from his E-Flite Timber Basic. I didn’t have the right adapter to hook up my fpv gear in my bag, but Trevor got some great video!

E-Flite Maule M-7 FPV Setup

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I have been having an absolute blast with the E-Flite Maule M-7! This plane is so much fun! I've been flying it line of sight so I haven't had any pictures or video to post. That all changes now!

I finally decided to setup fpv on the Maule.

Here's the parts list:

This isn't my current version of mounting. I'm happy with the position of the camera.

Camera view is great. It will let me see horizon, and the ground as I’m flying.

Camera view is great. It will let me see horizon, and the ground as I’m flying.

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This is my second flight with the camera. The first flight I unplugged the battery before pressing stop on the camera, and lost the entire flight video. I have to remember to press stop or it won’t save the video.

The test was to see how the DVR video looks, and if the angle will be good for flying fpv. I also wanted to test if fpv feed will cut out or have a lot of interference.

So I recorded both DVR on the camera, and DVR on the googles. Here is the DVR from the camera on the plane.

The camera DVR is great! It’s not as good as my runcam split, or a GoPro. However for ~$23 it records great 720p video. At that price I can permanently leave the camera on the plane, and not have to worry about putting it on and off. It responds to light changes fairly well. There is a bit of jello in the video, but hopefully that can be fixed by checking prop balance. Alternatively I may be able to add some soft mounts to absorb the vibrations.

Below is the DVR of the 5.8ghz feed from the AKK transmitter.

There are a couple points where the video feed cuts out more than I’m comfortable with especially at this distance. The cutout seems to happen when the plane is turning sharply away from me. In that position the battery would be between the antenna and my fpv receiver.

My plan is to move the fpv antenna to the top of the plane about halfway back. I’ll have to cut a hole in the top, but it will be worth it. I’m really excited to finally get to fly this thing in the goggles!

New Plane! & A couple Wing Flights

My friend Keith totally surprises me with the E-flite Maule M-7! I’ve had my eye on it for quite a while. He asked me to stop by for a minute and he gave me a Maule!! I had to hug him twice. It’s too kind and reminded me how much God loves us and has gifted us with his presence. Thank you Keith! I haven’t got to put it together yet, but I had to open it! I’ll be posting all of my future Maule adventures right here!

I’m getting more confident with the SonicModell AR600mm wing.

I’m flying with full throws now, and it feels great. I’m also pushing it by flying in higher winds! It was probably around 3-6 mph on the last video, and I landed a bit hard because I got nervous how much I was being pushed around. I had full control the whole time though, and I think it handled really well in the wind.

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I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the world that I can step out of my office for a 5 min flight between meetings and study!

New Props for the SonicModell Ar600mm Wing!

It seems the nose is a bit fragile. These magnets keep wanting to come lose. So I’m just going to tape it.

Watch out for that Tree!!

I Hit a tree but the damage was minimal!

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Just the wing tip came off. A little hot glue and it’s good to go!

I just need to practice my launches.

Two More flights after a movie with the family!

Icon A5 fresh build and flight

After wrecking the Icon last time I decided it was time for a new fuselage. So I rebuilt it. It’s basically a new plane.

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When I first went to fly it I noticed some nasty servo grinding on the rudder servo. So I had to bring it home and did the throws on the front wheel. It was binding against the control rod and causing the servo to grind.

With the front wheel fixed good enough I was ready to fly!

It took a while to setup my radio.

These are my rates.

  • 50% - EXPO 20

  • 70% - EXPO 70

  • 80% - EXPO 80

Sometimes the throws change when moving from spectrum to frsky. And the stuff I read said to set them at 80%. That might be another reason my rudder was grinding. I had it at 100% when I first put the L9r receiver in.

Turn off sound!

The flight was fine. I took off line of sight. I flew a bit to watch and see what trims need adjusted. It was definitely nose heavy. But that’s normal for this plane. It has always felt a bit like it is pulling a parachute. It would probably be better on 4s.

Video Transmitter

The video feed cut out a couple times which is not normal. I was using a new antenna and a new power harnes so I could power everything from a single battery. I installed a capacitor, but I still don’t quite trust this setup. I think I’ll go back to a second battery . Removing the second battery probably threw off the CG.

Landing

The landing felt right. I could have flared more, and it was coming in pretty fast, but It didn’t feel hard enough to completely sheer the front wheel off!

I don’t know what to do. Maybe I just leave this as a water plane and try it at the lake again? I’m not sure I want to buy my third set of landing gear!

Second opinions

I write these basically the moment I land. I want to capture what’s going through my head in that moment so I don’t forget.

After watching the video you can see jello in the feed. That means the plane was vibrating. I usually don’t have this much jello. Last crash I nicked the prop a little and I think it’s worse than I thought. So I probably need a new prop too.

I think I need a proper LC filter to ensure solid video. I’ll probably have to add that to my builds moving forward.

SonicModell Mini AR Wing 600mm Flight!

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Thursday morning I get my kids up and on the bus. Today we were ready early so I brought them to try to fly the SonicModell Mini AR Wing 600mm wing again. When we got to Church the wind was 6mph+ so I scratched the flight. Instead we flew the chuck glider we got from Walmart.

It flew pretty good! We tried throwing it different ways into the wind, with tail wind, hard, soft, downward thrust, and upward thrust. I have challenged my good friend Dave to make one of these RC! So stay tuned for pictures and video of my build and our maiden challenge!

After I took the kids to school I got back to the office and noticed the wind had died down. I’m so excited to fly the SonicModell Mini AR Wing 600mm that I decided to send it!

Trevor from Get-a-Hobby gave me some advice on the throws.

  • Low Rate 40% + Expo 20

  • Mid Rate 70% + Expo 20

  • High Rate 100% + Expo 20

They turned out to be perfect! Trevor also advised that I take off line of sight, and then get it high enough in the air and switch to goggles. So that’s what I did.

My first launch I forgot to start the recording. I also launched with the goggles on, and it basically did exactly what it did the first time and nosed right into the ground breaking the nose piece in the same spot. This time I just taped it back up because I knew I was close to the right CG. Second toss I remembered to start the camera, took Trevors advice to launch line of sight, and intentionally threw it very soft because I wanted to see if it was nose heavy or tail heavy. It seemed a bit nose heavy so I moved the battery back. I gave it a third very gentle toss and it still wanted to nose right in. So I moved the battery back a little bit more.

Third time is the charm! Just as Trevor said by launching line of sight I was able to level it out after the toss and get it up in the air. I was really anxious when I took my hand off the radio to put my goggles on, but I knew I’d crash if I tried to fly line of sight and it was moving out of sight fast!

As you can see it flew great on low rates! That spin at 2:10 was on low rates. It wasn’t as fast as my quad, and I think I can handle more! I didn’t want to push it till I was sure my battery wouldn’t slide or anything else come loose.

I noticed right away it just wanted to gain altitude. I had to push elevator down to get it to fly straight! I thought maybe I moved the battery back too far, but then realized I was at 80%+ throttle! Lowering the throttle leveled it out. I love how responsive it is on 3s to be able to climb with a little throttle adjustment.

I’m still very nervous about flying. Maybe it’s because of all the soul crushing failures. Maybe it’s because I have wrecked so many times and spent so much money building things that were destroyed in meer seconds . . . Ya that’s probably it. Because of the utter panic and nervousness I get when I finally get in the air I almost immediately want to land! The second I get in the air I think “IT’S FLYING!!! WOOHOO!” and then immediately “OK GET IT DOWN WITHOUT CRASHING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!” haha. I push through those worries, but they are definitely there! That’s why my flights are so short 😂.


I started to work out some landing approaches like Dave showed me. The goal was to set up some approaches. My first attempt to land I realized I had to push it down. You can’t just cut throttle and glide down. This thing just wants to stay in the air for ever even with zero throttle! I had to fly it to the ground.

You’ll notice in the first video that the fpv feed is really noisy. I even lost video a couple times. I just didn’t panic and the feed came back. I think it’s because of where I was standing with the buildings so close on that back field. On the second flight I bumped the VTX power one notch and it was much better. I had some noise but that was my diversity receiver’s switching between antennas. As I get more confident with launching I can stand in a better place with less interference further from the buildings.

This is the face of someone who finally succeeded after so much difficulty!! Such a great feeling!

After my meeting I got back to the office and the wind was still 1mph! So I decided to fly it again! Fresh batteries in the wing and the radio! The video was cleaner this time. Though the dvr recording isn’t near as good as what I actually see in my goggles. The fpv in the goggles is quite clear and not compressed at all like the dvr. It’s even worse once I upload to youtube. Still you can see the FPV noise is mostly cleared up!

I’m still a bit timid on the launch so the first one wasn’t hard enough and nosed in. But it wasn’t bad. Second launch I was up! That first turn over the church is right after I put my goggles on. This flight I turned the battery 90 degrees to see if it was better. I think the wind was starting to blow again because I was getting pushed around up there. Even though it was jittery I still had authority on the sticks. I did notice it was climbing with less throttle and I could barely get the nose down even at half throttle! I thought for sure I was tail heavy. But I just cut the throttle to 25% and it leveled out perfect! So this may be the better battery placement. I feel like I could cruse a long time just sipping off the 850mah 3s!

I tried the different rates and Mid rate was more responsive. I like that. High rates wasn’t insane, but it was just a bit too much so I think Mid rates will be great for cruising.

I knew I’d have to fly it down to land. So I did. Unfortunately I left the throttle on a bit while landing! And broke my only prop!

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Hopefully Get-a-hobby has a 5x4.5 prop that works. Otherwise I’ll have to order some! I should have ordered last week! Still I’m very happy with my flights and I’m excited to fly this wing more!

AR 600mm Wing Maiden

I got the AR 600mm wing put together!

Here’s the maiden!!

It held together pretty good! I think when I threw it I turned it to the left and then in the goggles I didn’t realize I was upside down and tried to level it by hard left and back which sent it straight in the ground!

The wing popped off right where it was glued. That’s an easy fix. The front piece where the camera connects broke but it is one piece and can be easily glued. The worst of the damage is the back of the wing that got buggered up a bit. But some packing tape should smooth it out again.

I’ll glue it up and try again! What else am I missing? Is there another way to launch these?

Servo Problems & Yet another crash

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The Sonic AR 600mm wing finally came in! I’m excited to get my fpv gear integrated and try it!

After parent teacher conferences I thought I’d finally get to fly my rebuilt Icon. The new fuselage looks great. I made some improvements on my fpv rig. I have the new micro fpv antenna. And I cut out a section of the nose so the runcam split mounts level. Unfortunately when I was doing pre-flight check I noticed my rudder servo was grinding really bad. So I’ll Have to replace it before I fly the Icon.

Since I couldn’t fly the Icon and was really wanting to fly I decided to give the reglued foamvoard wing another try. At first my motor was api Ning in reverse so I had to swap the motor wires. Then the cg was nose heavy. So I moved the battery back as I could. It was still a bit nose heavy but I decided to send it anyway.

I launched at about half throttle. I think it should have been full throttle because it went up and then nosed right in the ground. . . RIP foam board wing. I hardly knew ye!

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Pinewood Derby EDF + FPV

Today was our Pinewood Derby race! It was a lot of fun. We had some technical difficulties with the new timing system, but we were able to work it out. Eventually we resorted to using an iPhone shooting video at 1080p 240fps. We were able to deturmine winners very accurately from the instant replay.

My entry was an outlaw class for the second year in a row. It was only for exhibition, because nobody else would challenge me. I'd love to have some competition!

Here's some pictures of the build.

Here’s a video of an exhibition run.

Here’s the same run from FPV!

I’d love to have some challengers! This is the same build from last year. I just cleaned up the wiring a good bit. My wheels are terrible, and I have no idea if the CG is right. It’s just pure power.

Icon A5 6:18min flight & Crash!

I got the kids on the bus this morning, then met Leigh for a budget meeting. Luckily I haven't spent as much as I thought I had on RC stuff! 😂

I know the wind is great before 9am. So I thought I'd get a quick flight in before starting on church stuff. Yesterday was a 14hour day with the funeral in the morning and evening youth group sandwiching a full day. I'm a bit tired, but the brisk 46degrees is waking me up!

I know I still have some issues with the Icon because I keep losing throttle control. It did it again several times today. It doesn't have anything to do with range because I did it close and far away.

My radio is also telling me when RSSI is low so I know range is reading correctly.

The other issue is tip-stalls. I had a lot more stalls today. It seemed even with some throttle on it easily stalled. I don't know if that's a function of the terrain/wind I'm flying around or if that's just an issue inherient to the Icon. Either way combining stall with loss of throttle is a recepie for disaster!

And that's what was on the menu this morning. . .

Here’s the RunCam Split footage:

Here’s the final seconds DVR from the goggles:

Here’s the autopsy report footage:

Here’s the autopsy report images:

I really should have figured out the throttle issue before I flew. I’m using the iRangex 4 in 1 module on my Taranis QX7 with the Spektrum AR636A that came with the Icon A5.

Possible issues:

  • iRangex + Spektrum AR636A + Failsafe on telemetry lost

    • The Radio says “Telemetry lost” when the throttle cuts. But I can tell in the goggles that I still have control of the control surfaces even when throttle cuts out. It could be that my model setup is expecting telemetry, and triggers failsafe when it loses it. There is no failsafe option on the multi module setup on the transmitter for this model. Maybe I need to set that up with the Spektrum receiver. At this point I really don’t trust that receiver with my radio.

  • Battery C rating?

    • It’s only 25C. I did a stress test running full throttle for some time and it didn’t brown out or have other issues. So I’m inclined to rule that out.

  • ESC Bec

    • The esc BEC is powering the receiver. Perhaps it browns out and resets the receiver. But then why would I have control of other surfaces?

  • Your thoughts? What am I missing?

Icon A5 8:02 Flight

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Today I had a funeral in the morning that took most of the day. I got back to the office and had a conference call. My brain is mush and youth group is tonight. I just got some new floureon 3s 2200mah batteries for the Icon and I got the new prop yesterday.

The wind was between 5mph - 12mph. I felt it as the plane was shaking when I first took off. I flew without the plastic canopy and I think that introduced a good bit of drag.

The Runcam Split is on the nose now. As you can see it's pointing down which made for nice ground video, but disoriented fpv.

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Take off was fine. I was really surprised how far I flew in a short amount of time. I’m thankful for the 200mw VTX. I only had a couple blips in my fpv feed, and that was only a line or two for about a second. I had trouble getting it low and slow enough to land. At one point I tip-stalled because I was turning too sharp at low throttle. Thankfully I was able to recover easily since I was flying FPV.

After the 8:02min flight I still had enough battery to keep flying. I can probably fly for 12 or even 15 min. I’ll have to track it here and find out on a calmer day.

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landing was good the new landing gear is holding up fine. Steering was fine. I’m really happy to have this plane flying again!

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One more quick flight waiting on the van with the teens. My radio said “Telemetry Lost” and the throttle cut. So I need to figure out fail safe and stop it from doing that! Off to a tea party with our Church Kids!