Over the past few weeks, I've been replacing the video transmission system (the FPV system) of my quad. In the process, I added on a few upgrades, like the bullnose props you see above, which give me more power, as well as bought a few more batteries.
So, the big day was yesterday that I was finally able to take out the new iteration for a spin. The results were less then awesome.
At the end of yesterday, I had spent more time picking my drone up off the ground than flying, largely due to bouncing it off trees.
Specifically, I kept running into issues when my video would cut out. As the quad would come around, I'd lose the video signal for a moment (or more than a moment) and just not know what to do.
There was also this auspicious moment:
So, today, I decided to head out to the big field next to the school and see if having more space would make a difference.
The first flight out I simultaneously lost video signal and then had the drone lose all power, tumbling to the ground. I think I know what's causing that now, but it bears more investigation.
I picked it up and then did some line of sight flying, including a few flips, to make sure that all was well. My Xiaomi Yi had taken quite the tumble, so I left it off and decided to fly lighter.
I took her up and headed straight out, then decided to turn around. I happened to be directly over the school. As I was bringing her about, I lost the video signal again. I waited a moment, then panicked and stripped off my headset.
By this time, the drone was far from me, and getting further away. I tried to bring her down slowly by reducing power, but eventually I had to weigh the risk of an escaped drone verse a hard fall right then.
I judged that I might be near the houses beyond the school, so I killed all power. I wasn't too high and thought I might tangle up in some brush. I had a visual on the drone the whole time.
What ensued was a mad dash to try to recover the drone quickly followed by a tedious search, including driving around looking for itty-bitty smashed drone parts.
After a good 20 minutes, I went back to where I thought she had gone down and sure enough I could hear the ESCs chirping. I hopped a fence and found her upside down in a shrub about 6 inches off the ground.
Relieved, I headed home.
But the feeling that has persisted has not been relief. It's the feeling of failure.
Despite everything I've learned. Despite the realization that what I've learned has been hard to learn. Despite adding a whole new set of skills to my tool bag. Despite doing it all basically on my own. Despite all of this, the fact that I'm not flying like a pro has left me feeling like a failure.
It is a completely unwarranted feeling and I know it. But that doesn't make the sting any less hard to deal with.
Just like everything else in this, learning to fly is going to take time. It's going to take patience. It's going to take determination. I should not let a couple days of challenging circumstances dictate my continued participation in this sport.
But it's tough. At least right now. It's tough.
I should be flying like this already, right?
Oh, looks like he had a rough day, too...