FAQs about my video quadcopter

I often get stopped and asked all kinds of questions about my quadcopter out in the field after I am filming and have landed. I have decided to make a post to answer some of these questions for viewers with potential questions, as well as to those I have met in person who were kind enough to check this site out :)

I fly a dji Flamewheel F450 quadcopter with a Zenmuse-H3-3D gimbal and a GoPro Hero White edition, and Naza v2 flight control system. I use an Immersion RC 5.8 GHz video link system

Q: How high can it go?
A: I honestly don't know the exact answer to that. The FAA limits model aircraft to less than 400 feet, however, the craft is capable of greatly exceeding that height. I have seen people fly above the clouds with these in certain conditions. An easy answer to this question is: you will lose sight of it before it loses the ability to climb any higher

Q: What is the range?
A: The transmitter is rated for about a mile, but again, I will lose sight of it before I achieve that distance!

Q: Did you build it?
A: Yes, however, many of the parts are modular and integrate easily. Other parts are custom made or wired by hand. I did have to assemble the entire aircraft from a box of parts though.

Q: Does it come ready to fly?
A: Yes and no. Mine particularly did not, however, you can get this particular model from hobby shops or websites ready to run. The dji Phantom (a smaller quad manufactured by the same company) has a ready to run variant with or without a camera.

Q: How much did that thing cost?
A: Just the quadcopter by itself, probably between $1500 and $2000 is put into it. This does not include the battery charger, extra batteries, special tools and spare parts, controller, or time/labor to build.

Q: Is it gas powered?
A: it is electric. I looked into building a  custom, fuel powered, four engine quad for fun, but the idea of even just one engine stalling would be a disaster!

Q: What kind of batteries does it use?
A: Lithium polymer, at 11.1 volts nominal, or 3 cell pack for those who work with model RC.

Q: Can you see the video?
A: Yes! I have even constructed a portable backpack with a video receiver, with a TV screen that mounts to the controller and plugs in. This mobile backpack allows me to walk around, as opposed to my previous tripod setup, which prevented me from moving from place to place with he aircraft.

Q: How fast can the wind be? How bad does the wind affect it?
A: I honestly am unsure. Generally if the gusts are strong enough to give me a noticeable push, its probably not safe to fly it. I would say 25 mph is the most I would fly it in, since it cannot travel much faster than that.

Q: Can you fly it at night? Does it have night vision?
A: It can be flown at night with its navigation lights, however, the camera system does not have night vision or see well at night.

Q: What is that disc shaped antenna on the top?
A: That is the GPS antenna. It can be used to keep the aircraft centered on a spot in the air, or used to return to the landing point autonomously in the event of a radio control failure or disorientation.

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