Testing Ardupilot Mega 2.0 firmware version 2.9.1 on DJI 450 Quad frame

This past weekend I updated the Ardupilot firmware to version 2.9.1 on my small quad. It is a DJI 450 frame with the APM 2.0 board and went out to a local park to give it a spin. Wow! My first reaction is that it flew remarkably well! I haven’t been flying the Ardupilot much lately because my other NAZA equipped copters are such a joy to fly. Maybe it’s time to have a second look at the APM.

I didn’t shoot any video of the flights… But here is a quick cellphone photo of the setup.



2013 San Jose Municipal Rose Garden Pruning Event

On January 12th 2013, 375 volunteers participated in the 5th annual Pruning of the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. The Friends of the Rose Garden asked us to come fly the Hexacopter over the event and provide them with a never before seen view of the event.

The aerial shots in this video were taken with a customized DJI F550 Hexacopter, NAZA GPS flight controller and X468 Gimbal flying a Sony NEX-5N camera. The ground shots were taken by my 14 year old daughter with a Canon T3 DSLR.

The Music was licensed from Kevin MacLeod www.incompetech.com

The Friends of the Rose Garden had seen one of my early test flight videos over the Rose Garden. Looking back at this video my aerial photography has improved quite a bit!

TRAXXAS QR-1 micro quadcopter

The TRAXXAS QR-1 micro quadrotor comes in the box with everything you need to fly it has six axis stabilization, it’ll do flips and rolls, comes in four colors and it’s very, very small. I’m really excited about this, the weather is too bad for flying outside and I don’t really have anything small enough to fly inside. The QR-1 is even smaller than I thought it would be, it’s tiny!

The QR-1 comes with two batteries, one is loose in the packaging and one ships mounted in the copter. It comes with four extra propellers. A 2.4 Ghz radio and four triple A batteries.

This little copter would make a great trainer before you jump into a bigger much more expensive multirotor. Wow this thing is a lot of fun… if your in the market for the simplest, lowest cost quadcopter out there… you can’t go wrong with the Traxxas QR-1 it flies really well.

Buy a Traxxas QR-1 Quad-Rotor Ready-To-Fly Helicopter on Amazon

You will want to buy extra propellers too!

Fall Colors Flight

Just a quick tune up test flight of my DJI F550 Hexacopter. I’m posting this video because I liked the fall colors on the trees in my local urban park. There’s no spectacular flying here, just a short test flight as I continue to chase down some vibration issues.

One item of note is that this flight was done with mismatched propellers….. the front and back X props are Graupner E-Props and the port and starboard props are Century Helicopter Glass Fiber. NOT optimal but keeping me in the air while I wait for a propeller order.

The ground camera footage was shot with an iPhone5

DJI F550 Hexa Flight over Calabazas BMX Park

We went to Calabazas Park in Cupertino, CA, just for a quick fun fly in an open space…. but we found a really cool BMX park with lots of kids hitting the jumps. Couldn’t resist flying over such a great subject for aerial shots… wish I was flying a camera with a little longer focal length.

The Hexacopter sure got a lot of interest from the kids.

My daughter was operating a Lumix ZS20 point and shoot as a ground camera.


DJI NAZA Return to Home Function

This is the 32nd flight of my DJI F550 Hexacopter with NAZA GPS.

This is another super windy flight but the GPS position lock of the NAZA keeps the Hexacopter from being pushed around. The “Return to Home” flight mode worked perfectly bringing the F550 safely right back to where it took off from.

Hexacopter with gimbal in grass


Wiffle Ball Quadcopter Landing Gear

When I’ve flown the DJI F450 Arducopter with a GoPro camera mounted on the front ledge I’ve been unhappy that the front arms and props are in the picture.

It would be easy to fix this by mounting the GoPro upside down off of the bottom of the quadcopter. Unfortunately the stock legs don’t leave enough clearence for the camera. Wiffle balls are a simple solution to extend the legs.

Quadcopter with Wiffle Ball legs

Quadcopter with Wiffle Ball legs

Continue reading