The Salinas Project

Filmmaker Carolyn Brown has released a trailer for her upcoming documentary The Salinas Project. I am thrilled that she asked me to contribute aerial videography to the film.

About one hour South of the wealthy Silicon Valley, sits the agricultural, immigrant town of Salinas. On the east side of Salinas, in a neighborhood known as Alisal, deplorable housing conditions and gang violence are part of daily life. But there are big changes happening in the community and a sense of renewal.

Find out more about this film at

Skate Park Aerial

As I was setting up to fly over the Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park for The Monster Recon BMX event, a lone skateboarder was bowl riding. I grabbed this shot as I was doing a test flight to size up how high I had to fly to shoot directly down and get the whole bowl into the shot.

I was flying a DJI F550 Hexacopter and shot this with a GoPro Hero2 on the X468 gimbal

Propeller Balancing for Multirotors

One of the most important things you can do to make your multirotor fly better and to get smooth jello free video footage is to balance the propellers. Multirotor prop balancing is a little more involved than just balancing the blades… you must also balance the propeller’s hub.

Buy the Du-Bro Tru-Spin Prop Balancer

I also used Extra Thick CA glue and CA accelerator in this video.


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.



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!

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.


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

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