Sunday, January 8, 2017

When One Door Closes

B2, After The Fall

I'll start with the good news: Birdie (B1) is back from the dead.

A few days after inhaling too much smoke at the Alpine Commons fire back in early June her electronics starting acting up and she refused to connect with satellites for GPS lock so none of the motors would fire up.

Alpine Commons June 4th

Now she connects to satellites quicker than ever allowing smooth firing off all four motors. Although she still does not like freezing weather, so her missions will be short in duration and short in range.

The bad news? It pains me greatly to report, B2 had a catastrophic incident on her last mission only about 10 seconds from safely landing next to me.

15 minutes into a flight I lost sight of her and hit the return home button which brings her back to initial launch site at an altitude of 70 feet. I set that height because it's just high enough to clear any buildings or trees in town center.

I actually had her in sight (and sound) and was just about to take over manual control when she listed 45 degrees and plummeted to earth. Solid earth, as in concrete.

But ever the trooper, her final photos came out fine, and even though three of four engines were destroyed on impact the remaining one still fired up after I reinserted the battery.

B2 briefly put a flag back up on Hampshire College main flagpole

B17's were famous for returning to base with two or sometimes even three engines out. And of course the "Miracle On The Hudson" demonstrated how a big old commercial jet can still glide after 100% engine failure.

But a quadcopter relies on all four engines for a balanced lift. Should one fail, it's an instant death spiral. Even a passive fall from 70 feet up would be fatal.

 Birdie, back from the dead

Perhaps that's why the original Birdie suddenly returned to life. Imbued with the warrior spirit of B2.


Anonymous said...

Didn't the phantom 4 have obstacle avoidance?
Well, that rots regardless.

Anonymous said...

One flew over the cuckoo's nest !!!?