Saturday’s NEFAR launch was plagued with high winds most of the day. I didn’t have any rockets ready to fly, but looked forward to capturing still photos and videos of the launches using my Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Unfortunately, the day began with high winds, gusting to 25 mph. Together with the overcast skies, this limited the number of people who showed up for the launch and the number of rockets they flew.
The high winds made me nervous about flying the helicopter, so I started off slow. I powered up the ‘copter and flew it up to about 25 feet in altitude. I let it hover in place as was amazed at how well it help position in spite of the strong and variable wind.
Having built up some confidence, I flew the helicopter out into the range. Because of the wind, I decided not to fly too low or too high. and I didn’t try to maneuver too much. For the most part, I just put the helicopter in a position to record a launch and let it keep itself in place.
Between each rack of rockets launched, I landed and either let the helicopter idle to preserve battery life or I replaced the battery with one I had been charging. The wind made landings challenging. I tipped the Phantom on pretty much every landing and even flipped it completely over once. There was no damage to the Phantom, though.
After tipping the Phantom over on landing for about the twelfth time, I decided to practice landings for a few minutes. I realized that I was using “CSC” (moving the two control sticks simultaneously down and to the center) to force the motors to shut off immediately as I landed. But, the Phantom was skewing a bit as the control sticks moved which was causing many of the tip-overs. When I shut the motors down by just holding the throttle down for a few seconds, the landings were more successful.
The stills and video I captured on Saturday aren’t as impressive as I had hoped. The wind made the Phantom bounce around too much and few larger rockets were launched. But, I managed to produce what I think is a pretty good video of the day’s fun.