Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now this is just too cool!

A long time ago I was enthralled with the idea of radio controlled planes.  I even bought a used one at a yard sale.  I think my one flight lasted about three and a half seconds and ended with the prop spinner firmly planted in the runway.


The plane wasn’t that badly damaged and I did try again that same day, but I couldn’t get the engine to start.  After my one ‘less than successful’ attempt to fly my plane I pretty much gave up. 

The original idea was to put a camera on the plane and shoot in flight movies.  Back then video gear was much too big and heavy and everything about RC was expensive.  So I shelved the idea.  I had also thought of using a kite or a balloon or even a blimp to hoist a camera aloft.  So far It’s all just been the stuff of daydreams.

I did build a series of remotely operated submersibles that were remarkably successful.  The big one even had has a video camera and is operated with what they are calling these days First Person Video, or FPV.  That project was set aside around twenty years ago now when I bought a larger boat to run the ROV from.  I fixated on the boat and lost interest in the reason I bought it in the first place.

Who me?  Nah!  (cough…)

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this series of YouTube videos.  Flight Test to be specific.

OMG!  They are doing things with RC planes I would have thought defy the laws of physics and aerodynamics!

And the planes and equipment, while not cheap, are very affordable!  Some of the planes are positively cheap.  They are using foam board from the dollar store the way I used to use the Styrofoam cafeteria trays from the lunchroom at work to make gliders back when I was still working on the ROV.  I could very easily get roped back into the whole RC plane thing all over again.  And putting a camera on the plane is now almost commonplace!

Meanwhile there’s been a new hobby springing up of people from MIT students to sixth graders launching ‘space probes’ to the edge of space on weather balloons.

So with all this background in place I can tell you about the story I spotted in the news at lunch today.  It featured a name I recognized from the Flight Test videos.

Better yet, why don’t you just watch the video…

You will want to watch this full screen fer sure!

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