First day of drone class…

Today was the first day of my drone class. We’re building the DJI F450 quadcopter first, then a fixed wing. We’re working in teams of 3, and each team also has a mentor. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get along with our team mentor. I won’t get into that though. It also turns out I didn’t need to buy my own kit because the school has kits for us to build.

Don’t tell my wife!!!

We don’t get to keep the school’s kit, so maybe I really did need to buy my own. The school’s F450 is a little different than mine. My kit came with 4 identical motors with normal threads on the prop shaft, with a nut to hold the prop. The school’s kits have 2 motors labelled CW (for clockwise) and 2 labelled CCW (no, not concealed carry CCW, counter-clockwise). The only difference is the CW have left hand threads on the prop shafts, and the props are threaded (no separate nut). School version is more idiot-proof, but mine is more flexible – especially if I decide to use the parts in other projects.

Radio – and more radio…

The school has Futaba 8 channel radios for us to use. I’m a big fan of Futaba, but for my radio I chose the Taranis X9D. I also ordered an L9R receiver for my fixed wing drone. Then I got to thinking about really long range and decided to get an EzUHF Tx module and matching Rx. Now I wish I could afford a second Taranis Tx to make a dedicated 433 MHz system. School avionics is all DJI but I chose the PixHawk for mine.

One thing at a time? No Way!!!

Now that I’ve barely started work on the F450 I’m already thinking fixed wing. At first I wanted a Great Planes J3 Cub, but after a lot of – ahem – research I’ve decided to go with a CrashTestHobby Storm Chaser. It’s big, flies easy, and the epp foam is bomb crash proof. It’s ugly, but easy to fly is more important right now. I can always build a better looking fuselage later. Those are easy, it’s wings that are hard. Of course I’ll need to get a second PixHawk for it…

Back to reality…

There is so much cool stuff for drones/RC planes that it’s easy to get carried away. Since I can’t really afford another Tx and PixHawk, I’ll really just be moving the radio and avionics to the Storm Chaser when the time comes. But I do have a second radio…

While I was cleaning out the garage this weekend, I managed to find all the pieces of my old JR 631 system. It’s FM, which means potential interference and a long string Rx antenna, but heck, it’s a working radio system. I won’t put it in anything expensive, but I have an almost finished Airtronics Q-Tee and a huge box of balsa. Now if I could just get my son interested in this stuff…

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