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Archive for the ‘UP’ Category

NEice takes to the air in Huntington Ravine

It was Easter weekend and what better way to spend it than with our friends at Harvard Cabin!  Packed in a sizable sled, the latest and greatest flying machine and it’s components were headed up the trail Friday night, ready (or not!) for the job ahead.  The weather and snow conditions were superb for climbing and skiing in the ravines, but NEice pilot, Doug Millen, had his eyes on another type of weather forecast.

After a few weeks of rebuilding the new Woo Kong, version 3.0, we were ready to give it the ultimate test. With its lighter, smaller frame and only 4 props, it earned it’s nickname Pocket Kong.  Saturday morning was a little breezy as we hiked up the trail into Huntington Ravine.  We could have estimated the wind speeds, come up with theories about thermals, debate morning versus afternoon wind directions, time in between gusts, where to fly and when.. or.. we could just Send It UP!  And we did just that.

A few of our aerial photos, courtesy of Woo Kong 3.0.

(click on images to enlarge)

 

Taking frame grabs makes flying look so beautiful and smooth.  For those of you in the ravine that day, admittedly, it may not have looked so in control.  The winds were high and Pocket went for the ride of its life!   Even though we did get a good few seconds of stable footage (a few seconds is considered a successful flight).. I thought you all might enjoy the best of the worst footage from this weekend.

Here it is, the Out-Take Reel!


 

Submitted by Courtney Ley

The Missing Link

Up to now we have been flying blind. But that will change. I just finished building a ground station down link that will receive live video from the GoPro. We will be able to see what the camera is seeing as we fly. This will help us better compose our footage and save valuable flight time.

I also received my new GoPro Hero 3 Black. My original camera stopped working after a bad firmware up-date and had to be replaced. Looks like they got it right this time. Everything is working as expected. What a pleasure it is to operate the camera with the phone app.

The complete Aerial Filming System: Photohigher AV130 Camera Gimbal, GoPro Hero 3 Black, The GoPro phone app.,  a 1.2Ghz video RX with a 1500mW TX and a monitor for live video feed back.

 ~ Doug

Adding to the NEice Air Fleet

The latest build in progress

Just starting a new build.  A  small quad copter. I am hoping for more portability, longer flight times and a true FPV (first person visual) experience. Oh, and more power!

The photo shows the basic frame and arms. This is a Team Black Sheep Discovery frame. Not easy to get but awesome! I am looking forward to building this new rig.  Look for updates as the build proceeds.

~Doug

Night Vision

While we are still trying to figure out what makes the helicopters fall from the sky on cold days.. (not good!)..  we ended up testing one theory long after the sun went down.  Maybe next time, both the chopper and the pilot will have night vision goggles.

The first night flight of the WooKong (click here)

What’s being affected by the cold? It is the batteries?  The controller?  The on-board electronics?  We are close to an answer!  Just as the warmth of March starts rolling in, of course..

-Submitted by Courtney Ley

 

The UP Footage: First Takes

It all started one night just this past October over a couple of beers. We looked at the ‘Mammut 150 Years Peak Project: Trango Towers’ video which used radio control helicopters to capture amazing aerial climbing footage. After the two-minute video was over, Doug looked at me and said, “Hey, we can do that!” If it had been anyone else, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. But it was Doug Millen, and a short two months later, we were taking his first custom built helicopter out for its first test flight.

It has been nothing short of a journey getting to where we are right now. It started off by learning how to build them and then to fly them. If that wasn’t enough challenge, we ran into seemingly endless electronic issues, big crashes and the subsequent repairs and re-builds. Eventually we faced the inevitable video problems, worked through how to get good footage and then learning the video editing software. And we are still at the beginning of this journey because there is so much more to learn and troubleshoot. I wish there was a camera constantly rolling during these past months to film all that has happened up to this point. It has been an intense labor of love for Doug and it’s been an incredible experience being able to work with him and seeing our shared passion and vision turn into a reality.


I’d like to present the film we showed at the Adirondack Mountainfest and the Vermont Smugglers Ice Bash in a new edited format to everyone who is a part of NEice. I hope you enjoy a collection of the very First Takes!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of making the UP Project such a fun experience so far and to Luke Cushman, Chuck Drew, Adam E. and all the climbers that let us buzz by.

-Courtney Ley

 

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