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 Tuesday Activities...
Flying Dutchman
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 12:33 PM


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Tuesday, February 28 — I normally don't go out to the field during the week, but I had promised Rob I would help him with a school project. Rob Baker and I were expecting several students from the Alabama School of Math and Science here in Mobile who are involved with a robotics project.

Today they would be at the field for the first phase of their project — proving the flight-worthiness of the plane they were going to use. During phase two the students are to install the robotics gear into the plane. And phase three would be an autonomous flight on a prescribed course.

While we were waiting for the students to show up Rob took up Robert Laroche's electric T-28 Trojan, the one he got from Tony Farmer. It flew well and Robert is very happy.

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Robert also has a larger, nitro-powered T-28 Trojan. But this one is still waiting for its maiden flight.

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Soon seven students and their two teachers showed up. Pamela Quintana, one of the teachers, had brought the plane, a CAP-232, donated by her brother Raul.

None of them know how to fly a RC plane. This day was only for Rob to fly the airplane to make sure everything was ready and that it flew right. A couple of days later Frits is to take off the plane, flip a switch and turn control over to the robotic controller. Then after the plane flies the prescribed course, Frits would take control back and land the plane.

Here’s how Donald Wheeler, one of the teachers, explained the project: “We are trying to make an autonomous flying vehicle. We are basing our system on the infrared auto pilot system. This makes use of the sky having a different IR signature than the ground. It levels out the plane if there is null signal from the controller. Into this we will have an NXT “brick” programmed in LabView that signals via the same method the RC transmitter does. On seeing a command from the ground, it will send a signal to autopilot to turn to follow a specific course. It will do this for a finite amount of time, or until a signal from the ground is received. It will then return control to the ground station.”

The LEGO Mindstorms NXT "brick" controller (about $280) is widely used by robotics students to build machines that can do a variety of tasks. It does not require a computer, has its own simple programming language and can handle a multitude of inputs such as light, touch, sound, distance, compass, GPS, and has outputs for servos.

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I think they are basically using the hardware and software talked about in this article from the DIY Drones website > http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/705844:BlogPost:32733

Rob and Frits both flew the plane and it did well. I would definitely not have picked a highly aerobatic CAP-232 for this project! I would have selected a high-wing trainer. But the plane was a freebee, so we’ll see…
The plane's rudder — the only directional control used during autonomous flight — proved very effective. So all is ready for the real test on Friday! thumbup.gif

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Here's hoping Friday won't be a washout... dry.gif

This post has been edited by Flying Dutchman on Mar 2 2012, 11:03 AM


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Frits - AMA Member 403246 (since 1990)
Azalea City Model Aeronautics club Secretary, News Editor, Membership Chairman and Flight Instructor
ACMA "From the Pits" Field Reporter > http://www.acma-rc.com/pits.html
ACMA reputable Test Pilot (I will fly anything standard, unique, weird or odd...)
Multi-engine certified (I flew Robert's history-making TRIPLE BEAST!)
Proud member of BOSS, the elite Balls Of Steel Society - "Ballderdash"
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nstaller
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 02:35 PM


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banghead.gif I missed it, what time friday?


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King had a dream
We got the nightmare
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Flying Dutchman
Posted: Feb 29 2012, 05:01 PM


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Well, you only missed Rob and I getting the plane going, and then Rob and I flying it.
The students will install the robot "brick" today. We'll do the autonomous flight Friday, pending the weather.

I will let you know by e-mail what time, nstaller...

This post has been edited by Flying Dutchman on Feb 29 2012, 07:14 PM


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Frits - AMA Member 403246 (since 1990)
Azalea City Model Aeronautics club Secretary, News Editor, Membership Chairman and Flight Instructor
ACMA "From the Pits" Field Reporter > http://www.acma-rc.com/pits.html
ACMA reputable Test Pilot (I will fly anything standard, unique, weird or odd...)
Multi-engine certified (I flew Robert's history-making TRIPLE BEAST!)
Proud member of BOSS, the elite Balls Of Steel Society - "Ballderdash"
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Tony P
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 08:48 AM


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I hope you have good weather. Today looks better than tomorrows forecast.


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Time spent flying is not subtracted from your lifespan, SO GO FLYING!!
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Flying Dutchman
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 10:09 AM


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Joined: 17-October 04



I got a call from one of the teachers this morning... The flight has been put off for a few days due to a robot-related part that has not arrived yet...

For those interested, e-mail me and I will let you know when that autonomous flight will take place > fjetten@aol.com.


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Frits - AMA Member 403246 (since 1990)
Azalea City Model Aeronautics club Secretary, News Editor, Membership Chairman and Flight Instructor
ACMA "From the Pits" Field Reporter > http://www.acma-rc.com/pits.html
ACMA reputable Test Pilot (I will fly anything standard, unique, weird or odd...)
Multi-engine certified (I flew Robert's history-making TRIPLE BEAST!)
Proud member of BOSS, the elite Balls Of Steel Society - "Ballderdash"
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