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HelicopterAerial Photography and Video › Probably a stupid question but here goes.....
12-15-2011 07:30 PM  5 years agoPost 1
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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I've been out of helis for some time but looking to get back into them again. I am specifically interested in doing some AP primarily for fun but may consider some actual work eventually.

Back when I flew, there weren't flybarless controllers or multi-rotor helis to much of a degree.

My question is this: What is the big advantage of a multi-rotor heli as opposed to a standard heli with say, a flybarless system?

Easier to fly? More/less affordable? Smoother?

I see some disadvantages such as not being able to autorotate if battery goes dead or potential disaster during a motor failure.

How does orientation go? easier? more difficult?

If anyone would be so kind as to share I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

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12-16-2011 01:17 AM  5 years agoPost 2
500Driver

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Burlington, IA

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I think the jury is still out on all the pros and cons.

From the hobby aspect, multri-rotors have become quite the 'in thing' right now.

If you're getting back into it...there are a number of relatively inexpensive options available off the shelf that will give you the chance to get your feet wet and give them a try.

I would say that if you can fly a 'conventional' helicopter...you'll find the multi relatively easy to set up and fly around.

Orientation is different...not harder or easier...but definitely different.

Fixed pitch still gives me some grief...plenty of guys have tried but to date there hasn't been a very successful variable pitch multi...yet. I'm sure it will happen though. But just like the early fixed pitch helicopters, multi's are quite responsive to throttle changes.

Check out the DJI Naza...that's the newest kid on the block but already is seeing pretty good reviews. I have the bigger brother...the Wookong M...and it is an amazing piece of technology. And about as close to 'plug and play' as I've ever seen with anything RC.

I think multi's survive crashes better. Busted props are cheap and easy to install...no more bent main rotor shafts, stripped servos, bearings, tail booms, etc. which tend to get replaced on helis for even 'minor' crashes.

Anyway, yeah, all just subjective. I think both have a solid place and if you can have both go for it. Regardless, it's all fun.

When in doubt...auto out

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12-16-2011 02:52 AM  5 years agoPost 3
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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Thanks for the input

I am hoping for more.

I just bought a used Gaui 550 and plan to do some experimenting with it.

Any opinion on the Gaui 330?

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12-16-2011 03:10 AM  5 years agoPost 4
500Driver

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Burlington, IA

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I personally did not have a fantastic experience with the 330.

The GU344 flight controller is "ok" but there are better boards out there.

For sport flying and learning it's not a bad choice. It is quite small.

I have seen some pretty amazing video from a gopro and 330 combo. Lots and lots of fine tuning and smooth flying though.

When in doubt...auto out

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12-16-2011 03:47 AM  5 years agoPost 5
CameraWings

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Austin, TX

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In my opinion the primary reason to use a multi today is safety. With hexa and octo's you can loose one or more ESC's or motors and maintain flight. With a number of small blades should impact with a person occur, injury would be lessened as compared with a heli.

It is clearly easier to fly most multi's and this may be a consideration to recreational AP. But with the skill that most pros have flying both multi and heli, and with their willingness to invest in very high end equipment and advance control systems, I believe pros are primarily looking at the safety issue. It is also clear to many of their customers that multi's offer a safety advantage and they are asking for multi's. I wouldn't want to be hit by either, but god forbid there is a catastrophic failure, it is a consideration.

With current technology, heli's have an advantage over multi's of load capacity, stability and ability to operate in less than optimal weather conditions.

With advances in technology, this is becoming less true. Many of the top pro's are using both now. The top pros that I personally know are giving octo's a try, primarily when they are asked to film within closer proximity to people.

Robert

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12-16-2011 04:43 AM  5 years agoPost 6
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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I definitely understand the safety issues. I've seem MCPXs take out blinds and those are tiny.

I guess there are different levels of safety for different helis. I just didn't know if multis were inherently smoother for shooting photos and video or if they were just more of a "what's happening today" type of thing.

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12-16-2011 07:27 AM  5 years agoPost 7
bigwolf1

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USA

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I'm going multi, to start with a hexa first. have a few idea's to improve failures.. have to test them to see if they are giong to work. maybe make it bit more safer to operate around people..If need be.

MAH blade Rep
Trex700LE
Magnum fuels

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12-16-2011 03:52 PM  5 years agoPost 8
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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I think it has a lot to do with payload as well.

5 lbs of camera equipment falling from 100 feet up is still 5 lbs of camera equipment falling from 100 feet up regardless of the size of the blades swinging. I do see some benefit to being able to autorotate AWAY from people during a power failure as opposed to having almost no directional control during a failure (depending on how many motors, etc.)

I think safety is a big issue regardless of what is being flown. Obviously a Gaui 330 with a GoPro is going to do less damage than a gasser with a full payload, provided they were to lawn-dart in the same way.

I guess I just still see bailouts as much easier with a standard heli as opposed to a multi but it could also be due to me not having experience with multis myself.

Hmm... much to think about.

I saw a video of a small multi shooting new solar roof panels with a GoPro and it looked like pretty decent footage for a GoPro. Definitely not usable for some clients but obviously usable for this one as the pilot/cameraman was paid for the gig. All I could do when watching it though was to think what would happen if it failed and piled-into those nice new solar panels. $$$$

I guess any footage I have seen of a failure with a multi has resulted in a very irratic, sideways, rapid descent back to earth as opposed to at least a semi-controlled autorotation with camera equipment and heli often being directed away from others.

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12-16-2011 05:22 PM  5 years agoPost 9
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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By the way, I didn't want people to think this is going to be about what is safer specifically. I just wanted to get a bit more insight into multis and comparisons on smoothness, ease of use, etc.

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12-16-2011 05:31 PM  5 years agoPost 10
Stephen Born

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USA

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Safety is first and foremost when it comes to AP. When I shoot, I have spotters, orange cones, etc.. I try to foresee any potential dangers before I get off the ground. If an esc, servo goes out, where can I auto? Pedestrians? Gawkers? CHILDREN!!?? First is safety, second is shoot.

I am not saying I am right, however; this is MY personal preference and to each his own.

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12-16-2011 07:18 PM  5 years agoPost 11
R Hudson

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Denver, CO

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Safety is first and foremost when it comes to AP. When I shoot, I have spotters, orange cones, etc.. I try to foresee any potential dangers before I get off the ground. If an esc, servo goes out, where can I auto? Pedestrians? Gawkers? CHILDREN!!?? First is safety, second is shoot.
I am not saying I am right, however; this is MY personal preference and to each his own.
I agree about safety 100%.

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12-16-2011 08:30 PM  5 years agoPost 12
GyroFreakrrProfessor - Orlando Florida ...28N 81W - My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

I think multi's survive crashes better. Busted props are cheap and easy to install...no more bent main rotor shafts, stripped servos, bearings, tail booms, etc. which tend to get replaced on helis for even 'minor' crashes.
I can attest to that. Very true having flown 700 size helicopter and now a quad. Quads have a lot less vibration issues. Any vibrations is very high frequency and much easier to damp out. As for orientation, mine have extra bright LEDs on the the arms and in the rear for daylight orientation and for night flying.
This is my smaller quad MA X404.

I think about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something, then wonder what I'm here after ?

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12-17-2011 04:07 AM  5 years agoPost 13
Stephen Born

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USA

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Very nice photo Paul.

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12-17-2011 06:23 PM  5 years agoPost 14
airsoft1779

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Greenville,SC-USA

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I heard a con to the multi's is they don't do well in wind. Is this true?

6s Trex 450 PRO and Vision 50 Comp.

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12-17-2011 06:47 PM  5 years agoPost 15
Stephen Born

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USA

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I do not fly them as I have heard if one motor goes out, it will drop to one side and fall out of the sky. With a single rotor heli, you can auto if motor goes Kaputt.

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12-17-2011 09:49 PM  5 years agoPost 16
AirFoil Aerial Systems

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IL.

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Here's the Quad we fly for the KHQA in 20+mph winds with Gusts over 30mph. Shot with a Canon T2I DSLR camera with a Tamron 17mm lens.

Watch at YouTube

Once you fly one setup right you will fly higher and further away with more confidence then you have every had. (GPS hold) is used on the flag and the wind mill. I'm running the pan and tilt from the same transmitter I'm flying the unit with. (JR 9503). Solo setup to cover breaking news using glasses for a monitor.

John

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12-17-2011 10:37 PM  5 years agoPost 17
GyroFreak

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Orlando Florida ...28N 81W

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Very nice John. I was surprised how steady yours is in that strong wind.
Thanks for posting.
Paul

I think about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something, then wonder what I'm here after ?

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12-18-2011 12:53 PM  5 years agoPost 18
AirFoil Aerial Systems

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IL.

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Thanks.

Our RTF systems like the one flown above use the WK-M in the Quad's and WK-H's in the heli's. T-copters have 3 options but not important for this post. Personally my opinion, Electric heli's are the past. It makes no sense to worry about autorotating when you have added all those failure points compared to a quad with no moving parts.(It's like not buying CCPM) The trick to good video is and always will be (lift.) People talk about not being able to autorotate with a quad. That's fine but a heli that will shoot great video can't autorotate.

Over the past decade designing, a few tricks I've learned to yield a machine with the widest flight envelope. To build a quad that will perform in 20-30 mph winds and higher is the opposite to what most build. (less is more is 100% true) Hexa's, Octa copter's and so on will always have horrible performance in any weather other than a nice day. Their like trying to fly a trainer airplane on a windy day. On a Quad you need hard stiff props with no flex and contrary to what most think weight. Carbon fiber looks cool but is a horrible choice for tubes. Like a plane with a large wing fly's horrible in wind so will a heli or quad with large lift surface area. It comes down to lift. A 20-25lb. heli with 680mm-720mm blades setup right will shoot killer video all day long.(in 20+mph winds.) Go to 800's and you will start seeing a balloon effect, floating around plus gusts will offset the lead lag on the blades, cause them to shake. You can still autorotate with 710's but it more of a controlled crash. On a heli the first few inches have no lift. A 710mm blade or 27" long = 26" of lift max or 2 13" props to equal. Hover pitch on a heli is generally 5-6 degree's. To replace a 710mm blade on a heli your looking for 13" Props with 6 degree's of pitch. Four 13X6 props equal the same lift a heli with 710mm blades would have if the motor's/ESC's and voltage are also set up correctly. The bottom line is simple the more surface area you give to the wind the less control you have. The least amount of surface it takes to fly the machine will yield the best video in any setup. If you want safe buy the best components you can. That's what eliminates failures.

When designing these are rules I live by.

John

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12-18-2011 05:46 PM  5 years agoPost 19
CameraWings

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Austin, TX

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Here is another opinion and observations:

Regarding "That's fine but a heli that will shoot great video can't autorotate." I have personally autorotated in my AP Heli with no damage, so I don't go along with your absolute statement regarding AP heli's. I had an upper bearing failure and motor lockup. It was a challenge bringing in the heavily loaded heli and I would guess that I couldn't repeat the result more than 20% of the time.

Regarding "Carbon fiber looks cool but is a horrible choice for tubes." Not sure where you are coming from on that one. Maybe you were looking at a multi with undersized carbon tubes. But given similar weight, diameter and wall thickness, carbon out performs aluminum and steel significantly:

http://www.carbonfibertubeshop.com/...properties.html

My observations are that Tri's and Quads gain wider flight envelope (high wind) at the cost of stability (in low wind) as compared to a hexa or octo. I have flown and operated both. I agree that Tri's seem to shoot usable video in higher wind, but for optimal quality video, my observation is the octo shoots better video in calm conditions.

One of the top AP guys in the country personally told me about 18 months ago that he had tried multi's but they were just not ready for shooting high end video. I found this out because I called him when he was selling his multi.

The same fellow is now shooting some video with an octo and getting quality video, but his primary equipment remains a 800 heli.

That said, I will be adding a multi to my fleet for 2012 and enjoyed reflecting on what you had to say.

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12-18-2011 11:07 PM  5 years agoPost 20
AirFoil Aerial Systems

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IL.

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Both heli's and Quads have a place in this growing industry. 2012 is going to be the year this industry really opens up in my opinion.

John

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