When Mr. Head, AKA, Pat, and Brian asked me to contribute to Butter, What? I was both flattered and intrigued, but was extremely busy with other projects, plus I didn’t quite know what to write about here. Now that these same two finally convinced me to buy a TinyHawk 2 (TH2) drone kit, and I have a tiny bit of extra time, I finally decided to contribute.
These drone kits are available on Amazon with everything you need to get going, but could actually be had faster and cheaper from Race Day Quads at the time that I purchased it there. Unfortunately, they appear to now be out of stock, but there are some other options on Amazon that might work.
While I could tell you about my mechanical engineering degree, or that I once had a pet alligator, what you’re really interested in here is the fact that I’m not entirely new to multirotors—drones if you must. While two weeks ago, I’d never donned an FPV headset, I had flown… and flown, and flown, and flown, small Hubsan X4 drones. I also flew one that was even smaller, and would eventually become the brains of a strandbeest, but both were controlled line-of-sight or LOS.
I even designed my own ultra-tough polycarbonate frame for the Hubsan that could be used as a spinner as well. However, I had hung up my controls for the last few years.
Once I got the TH2, I was encouraged to find that LOS flying is apparently like riding a bike, and after a flight or two with it, I was almost entirely comforable. In fact, this new drone felt much more stable than what I was used to, which was perhaps to be expected given its much higher price tag. That all changed, however, when I put on the headset that came with the kit.
- Jeremy Cook’s SpinnerDrone Frame at Tindie
Step Into FPV
My first impression of FPV, to be honest, was that it was somewhat off-putting. Being used to LOS flying, the controls were familiar, but my judgment as to where the drone actually is in space was thrown off. It also probably didn’t help that my kids kept asking to wear the headset, so I was “between worlds” for my first few flights.
I think I chose the right music to accompany our Tinyhawk shenanigans. pic.twitter.com/l776dyqzg3— Pat Regan (@patsheadcom) May 29, 2019
NOTE From Pat: The TinyHawk bundle’s goggles don’t come with a DVR to record your shenanigans. I don’t have any of my own footage of a TinyHawk II flying around, so I’m sneaking in an older DVR clip of my own original TinyHawk flying around Brian’s house. I hope Jeremy doesn’t mind!
After maybe flight number six, things started to really click, and increasingly I found myself more and more comfortable in the FPV world. As I write this, I’ve had the new device for about a week and a half, and while I haven’t flown every day, after going through four batteries today, I can say that I really like this new way of flying. The sensation isn’t quite like flying an airplane—something I’ve done for about sixty seconds—as there’s not the same element of real personal danger, and your view is much more limited. It is quite exciting, however, and I’m anxious to get into it more.
When I bought the quad, I purchased one extra battery, but now that I’ve been flying for a while, I wish I had a few more. Even though this craft has only been flown in and around my house (near a charger), being able to pop in another battery a few more times would be nice. I also might need to purchase a couple more props, as I’ve used 2 of the 4 spares provided by the kit.
Video transmission to goggles isn’t exactly high definition, but it’s something that you get used to. Also, what came with the kit seems a bit small for my face, though I’m a fairly large individual.
Fun for the Whole Family!
As mentioned earlier, my kids initially wanted to wear the goggles, and somewhat still do, but they’ve now been converted to the sport of ‘drone chasing.’ This has been a nice distraction since they can’t do many of their normal activities during the Covid-19/SARS-the-Sequel lockdown. Obviously you want to do anything like this at your own discretion, but given the prop guards and small motors, I’m personally OK with the risks here.
So all that being said, I’m quite happy with my new drone, and look forward to using it more. The kits are a little hard to find with reasonable shipping times on Amazon or eBay, but RaceDayQuads, which is conveniently located in Florida, as I am, had them in stock at the time (per Pat’s suggestion). This shop was easy to work with, so I’d recommend them when they get more kits. This quad seems like a great intro to FPV flight, and I’m looking forward to getting into it more!
You can find me, Jeremy, on Twitter here, or via JeremySCook.com. Mostly I write and post about technology and DIY stuff or the intersection thereof, but I’m sure this little quad will at least make an appearance or two on Twitter. Actually, it already has, as seen on its maiden voyage below:
First flight (LOS)— Jeremy S Cook (@JeremySCook) March 27, 2020
Spoiler: Nothing that ridiculous happens. Apparently my cheap-o Hubsan training from years ago came in handy!
One may notice a @HackSpaceMag in the background though :-) pic.twitter.com/8qkJLOlD6v
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