Month: October 2018

Miniquad guy flies FPV Wings

Miniquad guy flies FPV Wings

I thought about this article for a long time now. My idea was to tell the story, explain the reasons for choosing to fly FPV Wings and to describe the process of switching. Hopefully my journey will shed some light for those who want to start flying FPV on an aircraft that has (usually) just one motor 🙂

Why on earth one would want to fly wings?

My reason for wings was simple – I was never into flying quad between flags and gates. Partially because of lack of time for constant practice sessions, also it become very boring to me over time. I even stopped watching racing clips on social media etc. Boring boring boring.

What I wanted to do was to fly in its purest form which is – straight forward 🙂 Flying mini quads is kind of pushing the pilot to change flight direction all the time, to do lots of YAW movement, to flip, to roll, to go through gaps, to the point where it becomes more of a „jumping in the air” contest or „trick show”.

Flying just for sake of flying is actually very enjoyable and relaxing. It’s pure chill, also I could fly for longer distance and just enjoy the views.

Before I decided I wanted flying wing I looked at the last strong argument – drones are not always positively recognised in places where we normally fly. Fixed wing aircrafts on the other hand make people more curious and less angry. Old school RC flying was all about planes and not multi rotors, drones, whatever you call it.

I decided to go for it and I built my first wing.

My First wing choice

There is many wings to choose from. I wanted to utilise mini quad parts I already had and was looking for something to buy in UK shop upfront. I’ve chosen AR Wing sold by HobbyRC. Aircraft cost was around £50 with postage. Plan was to use the following parts:

  • ZMX 2207 2140kv motor with 6×4 prop
  • Aikon 30A BlheliS ESC
  • Matek F405 FC
  • TBS Unify HV
  • TBS Crossfire
  • GPS
  • RunCam Swift V2
  • 2 x MetalGear 9g Servos
  • 1300/1500mah 4S lipos used in mini quads

AR Wing has lots of space inside for electronics. Also I was able to push ESC, 5V Servo BEC inside bay in front of the motor. It didn’t look pretty (see photos) but worked. I was able to fit 2 x 1300mah 4S lipos in parallel too.

First attempts

It was almost year ago in November 2017 and we were heading with kids to Scottish highlands for the weekend. My wing was ready and I decided to take it with me for a maiden in epic location.

During my first launch what the wing did was just going own hitting the ground with the nose. Each throw was unsuccessful. The more I was throwing the more damaged it caused to the front section. Decided to put the wing down and fly quads instead. Later on I checked that prop was put incorrectly on the motor.

As a result there was no push and wing didnt fly because it couldn’t fly without any thrust 🙂 Lesson learned the hard way. Back to the bench for repairs.

Next try was month later after our local FPV race. My each throw was cracking the aircraft frame, also I nearly lost both wingless as a result of that. This time I’ve asked someone to throw the wing for me because I still couldn’t do it.

Wing launched and I flew! It flew for about 20-30 seconds before someone turned on his quad and instead of being my wing I saw his FPV feed in my goggles 🙂

Maiden footage:

My next try was during quick lunch session. I launched it myself. I was in LOS for a moment when my phone rang and I got distracted. Lost control and went straight into ground. Wing cracked almost in half and I destroyed the front HD camera attachment.

Back in business

After that unfortunate flight I have glued the wing back and left it for months only to come back to action during summer 2018 during my holidays in Poland.

I gave it a try again. There are some nice open fields 50km east of Kraków where we’ve got a house.  Weather was nice and I tried to launch it again and again till I got it right. What was crucial was COG (Centre Of Gravity). I have set it correctly by putting the small stones to the front of the wing 🙂 It worked!

Footage:

 

Wing flew very smooth. I tried ANGLE mode first but then ACRO (with gyro) and that’s how I fly it now.

Few days later my mate managed to record our 6am chase video with his quad: Wing chase

During visit to my parents house I flew my wing there too. Even got it stack on the tree 🙂

Those successful summer flights got me thinking that wing was a good choice. It suits my flying style, it gives me a lot of fun and satisfaction from flight.

I’ve made a small cut at the bottom of my AR to allow for better grip when launching. I still don’t know how to launch a wing by holding the actual wing as weird it may seems. I only toss it by holding the bottom of fuselage.

 

I watched a lot of YouTube footage from folks flying bigger wings. What appealed to me was that bigger wing meant more stable flight, even in windy conditions.

My AR was perfect on a calm day:

With the strong wind my flight was like this one:

 

That was enough reason to build another one 🙂

Second wing

One would say: „With bigger wing comes bigger responsibility” and that’s the truth 🙂 Those are a different pair of shoes. Also I couldn’t use my mini quad parts there any more which brought some challenges because of my lack of knowledge of parts that were not in mini quad world 🙂

After speaking to Greg on FPV Scotland he suggested checking new wing from E-Wings (local Scottish manufacturer) called Vortigaunt. At first I couldn’t even spell it’s name and quickly started referring to this wing as Vorti.

I’ve ordered a kit incuding everything required to build it and also got the laminate to make it nice. Ewan – Ewings owner is a very helpful and nice chap. Him and Greg talked me over the parts needed for this project and the final part list looked like that:

  • Vorti wing
  • Turnigy SK3 3536 1450kv motor
  • Graupner 8×5 prop
  • YEP 60A ESC
  • Matek F450 wing FC
  • Turnigy MG 12g servos
  • RunCam Eagle 2
  • TBS Crossfire
  • 1.3Ghz for video (Partom from BG)
  • Multistar 5200mah 4S battery

I entered totally unknown territory when it comes to parts, also this wing required assembling which was totally new to me. AR wing didnt required that much of work.

Also I used 1.3Ghz for video here so needed to make a ground station with 5.8Ghz repeater to my goggles:

 

It took my over a week, working on Vorti in the evenings when kids were in beds 🙂 I watched Gregs video about assembling Vorti. He has made the whole series: E-Wings UK Vortigaunt FPV Build Series | Part 1 | Fuselage & Wings

Vorti was laminated, glued, and made nice. I’ve gotten few 3D prints with the lipo tray and camera „nose”. It was a long process required a lot of DIY.

What I liked about this wing was the separate bays for FC/ESC etc and the lipo bay. Vorti offers tons of space for building – another advantage of bigger wings.

TOP TIP: for laminating you can just use your house iron set to lower temperature.

First big wing flight

Maiden day came through. Conditions were nice, all systems working in place, servos passed „high five” and I was mentally ready to launch that thing of beauty into the sky.

And I did. At least I tried, because what happened was this:

The core of the failure was that I set throws too much .They were wayyy too much and even my slightest stick movement was causing wing to be very unstable – impossible to fly properly. Vorti was smashed during landing upside down and one wing was slightly detached.

I’ve done necessary repairs and was ready for second try a week after. This time I have adjusted servo throws, added expo and reduced servo rates. All seemed to work on the bench. During second flight it launched properly but I have had an impression that motor wasn’t producing enough trust at all (compared to my AR Wing). I launched it regardless and after 20-30 meters it didnt have power for more lift and smashed the ground hard.

Damaged was eyesore:

After conversation with Ewan (Vorti designer) we came to conclusion that lack fo trust was the biggest failure here and that was caused by the ESC default setting which is „HELI” setting allowing for different throttle curve, called „slow start”. At the moment I am in the process of repairing Vorti and once thats done will have third take and I am expecting nothing but good from that wing 🙂

THIS ARTILE WILL BE UPDATED AS THE STORY CONTINUES 🙂