Plane of the Week May 5, 2016
350 QX3 BNF with SAFEŽ Technology - Bind-N-Fly - Part 3
My Blade 350 made it's maiden flight. I had set the quad up at home but the binding wasn't working, so I attempted to rebind the darn thing. I was having a difficult time and Bill Harden, the only other flyer at the time, came over to offer assistance. As soon as he stepped up to the quad, the binding worked. Must have been some kind of magic aura about him...........
First flight was without the camera and only lasted 3 minutes. Had a printed copy of the manual (downloaded a PDF) and referred to it several times. I hovered, turned in a circle and tested the 'Back Home' feature.
At the LARKS West field, the heli area is an extremely small launching pad. Even though the return home feature worked, it landed in the grass to the right of the pad every time.
March 22, 2016
Next, I attached the Hero video camera at a slight downward pitch.
See the video.
The Blade was a little slower to respond, but still remained easy to fly. I rotated it to try and catch a view of the pilot (me) and the field. Just then Bill took his large ExtremeFlight Xtra-300 up. I tried to get a shot of some of his fly-bys, but as you can see in the video, I was too far away. All in all, I got in 5 flights.
April 17, 2016
As noted in the photos from LARKS West that day, the wind was rather stiff, 12+ MPH and gusts that made flying adventurous. I decided the small heli pad could use some improvement. I had a plastic floor pad for a desk that I was no longer using. Set it down on the grass and found it to be far superior to the heli pad. After three flights using the Return Home function, I got a little cocky. After all, this was the easiest thing to fly I had ever owned. This lead to my first mishap. I was practicing touch and goes ( if you can call it that with these things) without use of the automatic functions. My first attempt was successful; the second, not so much. I bounced off the pad and a gust of wind flipped it over and I broke the GPS Mast. I duct taped it (lever leave home without it) and continued for two more flights.
April 19, 2016
The wind was much more favorable (5-7 MPH) and I took more videos and got in 4 flights (need another battery, takes about 20 min to recharge each time). Went home that night and ordered two new GPS masts from Horizon Hobby. Received in 2 days and went to work with the repair.
Found this YouTube video that was pretty helpful. Took about an hour to unscrew the body apart, because the mast is attached from under the top of the quad's body. Looked good as new!
April 26, 2016
Three flights up and down with no problems in 5 MPH winds, occasionally calm. No one was at the field, so I used the main runway. I took it up the first time without the Hero video camera and practiced flying up and down the field. Before the first landing, I took it up about 300 feet and used the Return Home function. Worked perfectly. Next, I attached the Hero, and used my iPhone to record from my perspective. I was able to hover, hands-off the radio and record at slightly above eye level.
Overall, this is my favorite of all my flying machines, especially in windy conditions. I highly recommend it, and I can't wait to get a setup that will control the video and send it to my iPhone or iPad.
YouTube Videos for rebuilding after a crash
I purchased a Mobius video camera (a very light compact video camera that will take video in 1080p) from Motion RC. I had the bright idea to attach it the back of the Blade. Didn't have Velcro, so I used the next best thing, rubber bands. Three minutes into the 4th flight, the Mobius vibrated off the Blade and broke a prop in flight. Dumb move, but the video should be interesting. In case you are wondering, a new plastic body from Horizon Hobbies costs ~32.00. Gonna look for a fiberglass frame next time.............(and Velcro the Mobius under the body, away from the props, or better yet, leave it off completely). At least the GPS mast was undamaged.
I used the videos below to replace the body. They were not for the QX3, but gave me a great starting point. Very useful. He actually painted the body on the bottom and applied a 'skin' to the top side. Might try the paint routine the next time I have to replace the body. (If I don't change over to the fiberglass frame.
Took approximately 3 hours to rebuild. Looks like it new. I did replace all four props, though only one was broken. The props were hard to find. Tried Horizon Hobbies, but they were out. Found them on Amazon. First mini-test flight in the backyard (never got above 3 feet) was successful. Next, on to LARKS west......
May 2, 2016