Draganfly Innovations News March 31, 2008
On March 29th & 30th Draganfly Innovations participated in the 12th occurrence of Kilobots, an event where remote controlled robots weighing 1 to 6 pounds can battle each other in a lexan walled fighting area. Robots are grouped into four weight classes: Antweight (1 pound), Kilobot (1 kilogram or 2.2 pound), Beetleweight (3 pound), and Mantisweight (6 pound). Robots within each class battle each other with the goal of disabling their opponents robot. After all the combatants have fought, winners are determined for each weight class. Typical weapons included pushing wedges, horizontal/vertical spinning blades/bars/drums, lifting arms, and flippers. For more information on Kilobots, check out the official homepage: www.kilobots.com
Draganfly Innovations participated in Kilobots XII with a 3 pound Beetleweight named ‘Angry Dragan’. Featuring a shell spinner weapon design, Angry Dragan put up a good fight but unfortunately did not win. However, after the tournament each weight class has its own ‘rumble’ where all the robots that remain functional get to battle each other until only one is left standing. Check out Angry Dragan’s performance in the video of the Beetleweight rumble on YouTube.
This is the second Kilobots event in which Draganfly Innovations has participated, and the first in which Angry Dragan has fought. For information on all of Draganfly Innovations’ robots, check out Team Draganfly’s profile on the Builders Database.
Angry Dragan uses high quality lightweight components: a Thunder Power 11.1V 3s 2100mAh lithium polymer battery, and a Castle Creations Phoenix 45 ESC motor controller. If you are interested in building your own robot, you can obtain lithium batteries, brushless motors, and speed controllers in the parts section of RCToys.com. Other robot components are available at FingerTech Robotics.
RC Blimps March 19, 2008
Why RC Blimps Float
A remote controlled blimp is a lighter than air aircraft that relies on the principle of buoyancy. Buoyancy is the effect that causes less dense objects to rise when immersed in a denser substance. As long as a similar volume of one material is less dense than another, it will rise. RC blimps, airships and flying saucers make use of this buoyancy effect by using a lighter than air gas to fly: Helium. Because Helium is less dense than the air the blimp will float. The idea behind a blimp is to have the lifting force of the helium exactly cancel out the downwards pull of gravity. This is called neutral buoyancy. In order to rise or descend, the blimp fills or empties different compartments (ballonets) with air. Because air is heavier than helium, this will cause the blimp to decend. Emptying these ballonet compartments will make the blimp lighter and cause it to rise.
The First Blimps
The first rigid airships (also called Dirigibles or Zeppelins) were constructed in the early 20th century. Back then blimp aircraft consisted of a metal frame, covered with fabric and filled with a lighter than air gas like Helium or even Hydrogen. Below this balloon assembly was the gondola. The blimp’s gondola housed the pilot, crew, passengers, and engines. These airships were used for both war and civilian travel during the 20th century. A famous example of such a zepplin was the German Hindenburg airship, which was destroyed on May 6th, 1937. The Germans, who were unable to obtain helium gas for the airship, used hydrogen as the lifting gas. Hydrogen is explosive where Helium is inert. The Hindenburg disaster played a huge role in ending the use of huge blimps for passenger travel.
Modern blimp airships are non rigid, meaning that there is no internal structure to support the envelope. Modern blimps are filled with Helium, a safe inert gas, to make them float. Like the old rigid airships, modern blimps still rely on the principle of buoyancy to fly. Modern blimps are used primarily for advertising rather than passenger travel. If you’ve ever attended an NFL football game, NASCAR race, or PGA golf tournament you’ve probably seen the popular Goodyear blimp.
Remote Control Blimps
Radio controlled blimps are an excellent choice for someone new to RC and appeal to all ages. An RC blimp is just a smaller version of a modern blimp airship, except for a few differences. Instead of relying on ballonets (air-filled bladders) to change the weight of the blimp to rise or descend, neutral buoyancy is achieved by adding small weights or ballast putty to the blimp until it hovers. The RC blimp’s gondola is equipped with small electric motors with propellers used to propel the blimp up and down. Most electric rc blimps use a tri fan design, to provide directional control in every direction: up/down, left/right, and forwards/backwards. A good example of this are the Mach III Indoor RC blimps at RCToys.com. These R/C blimp aircraft are for indoor use only. Flying them outside will lead to them getting lost, or blown away. Remember, these aircraft are really helium balloons with motors and a radio, so make sure that you fly them where they cannot get away.
RC Blimp Balloons
RC blimps come with a super lightweight mylar balloon. These mylar rc blimp balloons are both durable, refillable and replaceable. For customers at altitudes greater than 4000 ft above sea level, a larger capacity high lift balloon is available. This white high-lift rc blimp balloon is also great for applying advertising stickers. This can be necessary because, as altitude increases, the density of air decreases, lowering the lift generated by the balloon.
Where to buy Helium for RC Blimp Balloons
Helium for the rc blimp’s balloon envelope is easy to obtain at wedding & party supply stores, flower shops, most grocery stores, and welding supply shops. Filling the rc blimp is also easy, the person selling you the Helium should be able to do it for you, if they have a mylar nozzle. After filling the envelope with Helium place a small piece of tape over the hole to keep the Helium in the balloon.
How to achieve neutral buoyancy so your RC blimp hovers
Chances are, after you have filled your blimp with Helium, it will try to climb. You can use either the weights included with the blimp, or some modeling clay (ballast putty) to correct this. Hang the weights on the rods supporting the engines, making sure to keep the weight equal on both sides. If you decide to use modeling clay, place it in the gondola, near the batteries. Using clay instead of the included weights will allow fine tuning the airship, so that it will maintain the altitude that you want it to. Add just enough weight so the rc blimp neither climbs or sinks.
Where to buy RC Blimps
Draganfly Innovations Inc. sells a huge selection of RC blimps and flying saucers. The most popular blimps are the RC Goodyear Blimp, the RC Airship America and the RC Blimp Bomber. Replacement r/c blimp parts, balloon envelopes and 3V lithium blimp batteries are all available at www.rctoys.com.
RC Airplanes March 19, 2008
After you get your new RC airplane, you will most likely want to fly it right away. Most of the time, rushing to a first flight without being prepared leads to a crash. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can learn to fly RC safely.
Fly your RC plane with an instructor and join a flying club
The oldest and most common way of learning to fly is by flying with a more experienced pilot. The easiest way to learn with an instructor is to join a local RC flying club. There are usually at least a few members who teach students to fly. This is an absolute must if you fly nitro or gas models, even a minor crash with one of these can be very damaging to the model.
When flying with an instructor, the risk of a crash is greatly reduced. An experienced pilot will know what do do in almost any situation, without thinking. It is also beneficial to learn how to operate the aircraft safely, and learning to fly with an instructor will make this easier.
Share the transmitter with an instructor
There are two ways by which an instructor and a student can share the transmitter, the first, and simplest way is to hand the transmitter over in case of an emergency. This is a fine method, but a faster and more reliable one is to use what’s called a “buddy box”. When using a buddy box, two transmitters are linked by a cable. The instructor has the master, and the student has the slave. When the student is flying, the instructor holds down a switch on his/her master transmitter to give the student’s transmitter control. As soon as the instructor needs control, he/she just has to release the switch, and control will be transferred to the master transmitter. This way the instructor can anticipate a crash and save the airplane before it’s too late.
Get an RC flight simulator for your PC
If you can’t find an instructor in your area, then you can still learn to fly without risking your model. RC flight simulators are becoming more popular, and are a fantastic way to practice without the risk of crashing your real plane. Read these articles on www.rchelicopter.com about RC aircraft simulators, and instructions on how you can use your actual aircraft transmitter with your computer. This GWS Flight Simulator Kit is an inexpensive flight sim for your PC.
Buy an inexpensive, simple, 2 or 3 channel RC plane and go from there
It is possible to teach yourself how to fly airplanes. If you have a simple, ready to fly aircraft like the a two channel Vortex or a Venom Micro Park Fighter, then your first solo flights are likely to be a success. Find an instructor and practice on the RC flight simulator before trying a solo flight with a harder to fly aircraft like a 3, 4 or 5 channel model.
FMS Flight Simulator March 6, 2008
Users of the excellent Flying Model Simulator are reporting having trouble getting it to work properly on Windows Vista. After installing and trying to run FMS, users are generally presented with an error box stating: “D3DRM.DLL cannot be loaded”. Basically, this is telling you that Windows is missing a library, and needs it to display the graphics. Fortunately, there is a library available that fixes this problem. In this article, I will show you how to install this on Windows Vista, so that FMS will work.
- First, reinstall the FMS flight simulator program. A self extracting installation wizard is available on the page, at http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html Download the latest version, titled Version 2.0 Beta 7 (Windows 9x/ME/2000) – recommended Version
- After installing, you will need to install the missing library D3DRM.DLL in your Windows Vista System32 folder. Please be careful to follow these instructions exactly, you could damage your system by accidentally deleting files in this folder. Here is the installation procedure, be sure to follow it exactly.
- Go to http://www.driverskit.net/dll/get/494.html and enter the code that you see at the bottom of the page.
- Press the download button, and save the ZIP file to your computer.
- Extract the file D3DRM.DLL
- Move the file D3DRM.DLL into the folder C:\Windows\System32
- Restart the FMS application, and it should now work perfectly.
Get compatible FMS transmitter to USB interface cables and simulator kits here:
We sell USB interface cables to link your RC transmitter to your Windows PC for use with the FMS program. We have Futaba FMS cables, Hitec FMS cables, JR FMS cables, GWS FMS cables and a complete FMS simulator kit. Get one today at Draganfly Innovations Inc. www.RCToys.com