Tag Archives: personal drones

Blackout mini H quad for FPV: a small but powerful personal drone

Blackout's Mini H QuadBlackout’s Mini H Quad – source

Multirotors and quadcopters come in all sorts of sizes and shapes that will reflect their main purpose and usage. In order to lift heavy reflex cameras or cinematography equipment, tipycally huge multirotors (>650mm) are used, while for indoors flying fun, some quadcopters are reaching ridiculously small sizes these days:

The Proto-X-Nano quadcopter – source
Proto X nano quad - source
Proto X nano quad – source

Flying FPV, First Person View, can be performed from all sorts of aircrafts (or other RC  controlled moving devices). For quadcopters, unless you are very skilled in DIY related to video equipment (see the nice blog from FPVGuy), a decently sized frame (330-450 mm minimum) is usually required as the quad has to have a decent payload in order to carry with ease all the equipment required for FPV, such as video transmitter, wide angle camera, possibly onboard DVR to record video.

See for example a DJI F450 equipped with camera and transmitter for FPV:

DJI Flamewheel F450 NAZA V2 equipped for FPV with FoxTech Horizon HD camera and video transmitter TS832, 5.8 GHz, 600Mw
DJI Flamewheel F450 NAZA V2 equipped for FPV with FoxTech Horizon HD camera and video transmitter TS832, 5.8 GHz, 600Mw

A while ago a guy called “Blackout”, from Australia, started posting some amazing videos with very aggressive, sporty style FPV flights on his youtube channel, and reporting and writing about his newly designed frame called the Mini H Quad.

This is a very contained size frame (220 mm), very robust and yet extremely lightweight, designed to be able to carry full size FPV equipment usually mounted on larger multirotor frames.

Here are a few pictures from Blackout’s post on the openpilot forums

Blackout's Mini H Quad
Blackout’s Mini H Quad
Blackout's Mini H Quad with 2 cameras - detail
Blackout’s Mini H Quad with 2 onboard cameras – detail

In our quest toward the perfect personal drone we could not skip this one. The box arrived a few days ago and the quad is currently under assembly. I’ll be posting a build report soon.

Beyond the gear it is interesting to see Blackout’s approach to flight. He has a number of videos labeled “proximity” in which he explores very busy paths, such as trees dense in branches, and flies sometimes very close to ground level, with some breathtaking “spikes” in altitude at times. Many of his videos look like a style exercise, precisely executed. The small size of the quad also seems to allow to pass through narrow paths that would be otherwise unaccessible.

See for example this video:

or this one:

Find all blackout videos here

And get your own mini h quad here

Deer Trail is currently issuing unofficial licenses to shoot drones (25$ each)

Deer Trail, a small city in Colorado, has been releasing licenses to shoot surveillance drones, at 25$ each. The vote on releasing the licenses was actually delayed, maybe also because the FAA warned that shooting UAVs is a crime.
The licenses release looks more as a political/promotional move at the moment, as it appears that as of today no drone was seen flying over Deer Trail.

Here is a video that features the story:

Here are a couple of related files:


Source: http://www.deertrailcolorado.com/


Deer Trail drone shooting license
Deer Trail drone shooting license

Source: http://www.droneshooters.com/

Personal Drones crashing on populated areas, a case in NYC

Here’s another pilot that brings a bad reputation to quadcopters and personal drones. This guy thought he could land his DJI Phantom from his little balcony and very fly over Manhattan NYC at high altitude, what a great idea. Amazing and unique footage, however it’s just for chance that nobody got seriously injured. The FAA says it does not allow the flight of UAV over densely populated areas.

Interesting to note that the phantom looks very resistant to the impact on buildings, seems to hit several times and still fly afterwords. Also, it looks like the pilot is somehow controlling the flight, however he was not wearing goggles, so was this a line of sight flight?

The story:

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Here’s the full video, however it looks like the crash moment is missing.

Helipal Storm Drone 4 first test flight

A short test flight with Helipal Storm Drone 4.

This radio controlled quadcopter comes ready to fly. It is a reasonably priced multirotor, very stable and able to lift a GoPro hero camera.

Check it out at Helipal

I choose it as a first quad to learn to fly manually, very happy so far.

For the photos, the GoPro was mounted to the extreme front “nose” of the quad upper platform, balanced by the battery on the other side (back) of the upper platform. You can see the placement of the gopro adaptor in the video if you look carefully. This is different from the placements suggested by Helipal, however I found that this works nicely and allows to minimize the amount of propellers and motors included in the photos/videos. The balancing with the battery should be done carefully though.

I am new to drones and as a photographer I find it invaluable to be be able to freely select my shooting point. This is a revolution in a way. Stay tuned for more vids

– Credits –
Camerawoman: Laura
Camera: iPhone5
On board photos: GoPro Hero3 Black
Editing: iMovie
Quad addict/pilot: Personal Drones (PD)
Soundtrack: Revolution Void – “Biomythos”

Thanks for watching!