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20150901_232541~2Red20RC is now known the world over as a manufacturer of high quality mini quads (and other CNC cut goodness). The whole thing started with the R220 (my very own Blackout style mini H quad) but was really put on the map by the SWH250 and then the SWH170 “Kermit”.

Now with drone racing becoming a global phenomenon and the release of several new racing frames this month, the ability to showcase new products and compete at the highest level has become something of a necessity rather than a desire…

Part 1 – The Introduction

photodune-10982108-shame-xsI come before you tonight a man with a secret. A secret I have kept since the very start of Red20RC. A secret that could shake the multirotor community to its very core…

I’m bloody useless at flying a mini quad

Don’t get me wrong, I can fly a mini quad. I can take it down to the club field, get it in the air and tear around a bit with the goggles on. I can do flips and rolls at altitude and I’ve even been known to switch to rate mode occasionally. I just can’t really fly a mini quad.

Put some trees in my way and my thumbs start shaking. Put a few airgates up and I bottle it every time. My palms start sweating and my heart starts pounding. The goggles fog up and it’s all over.

“Why?” I ask myself. I have over 20 years of experience in the RC hobby. Yes all of that was on fixed wing until a year or two ago but I still understand the technicalities of flight and it’s not like I’m new to holding a transmitter. I’m great at the building, manufacturing, inventing and technology side of things so why the nerves?

Basically it all comes down to practice

Lilly, Mike and GeorgeBetween the store, my day job, the kids and the dog I don’t really get to go flying that much. Maybe once a week for an hour if I’m lucky and the weather plays nicely.

That just isn’t enough to maintain the skills necessary to fly well. I once read an interview with a top 3D aerobatics pilot where he was asked just how he pulled off a fast rolling loop at low level. His answer was that he quite simply didn’t! His eyes were 2 or 3 rolls behind the plane. It was his thumbs that did all the work without him really thinking about it.

Flying mini quads, be it proximity freestyle or racing, is a matter of confidence and muscle memory – both come from practice, practice, practice!

Project Goals

11202452_1653958378214769_212718679_nWe are just coming into the warmer months here in Australia and I want to be able to attend some of the many races and events with my head – and my frames – held high. To keep me on track then I’m going to document my progress so that anyone following in my footsteps may learn from some of the (many) mistakes I will make along the way.

I’ve broken the stages of the project up into some different areas/articles that I’ll cover off:

  1. Flying style – what do I actually want to achieve and why?
  2. Frame selection – what frames and setups should I be flying with?
  3. Tuning – I can’t tune for toffee. I need to learn how!
  4. FPV – mastering the tilted camera
  5. Low level fast-forward flight – holding your nerve on the edge
  6. Freestyle – acro, gaps and gates
  7. Racing – putting it all together with other pilots

That’s quite a bit so I’m guessing I won’t have it all done by next week! This will also probably be the only article in the series that is text heavy as I am planning on making this a video driven series.

If you think of anything else you think I should be covering or you yourself want to learn at my expense, add it to the comments below and I’ll try to work it in.

Wish me luck…!



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