Publications Raving About Us July 31, 2009
For the past several years, Mark Sharpe of the Ontario Provincial Police force has been using aerial photography and videography to help with law enforcement. From homemade aircraft made from commercially available electronics to hobby aircraft equipped with cameras, he has saved the police department approximately $20,000 in aircraft charter costs. Working with makeshift equipment helped the OPP greatly, but with today’s world issues and a vast area to patrol, they began looking for something more.
The OPP found their solution with the Draganflyer, North America’s commercially available UAV legal for law enforcement applications. Fast deployment and an advanced autopilot make the Draganflyer UAV the perfect choice for police departments who need aerial pictures and video.
So why would a police force based out of a small city in Ontario need aerial surveillance capabilities? For one thing, the Ontario police need to cover a huge area ranging all the way from the U.S border to southern Hudson Bay. They hope that using remotely operated vehicles can help reduce charter costs to remote areas. Aerial pictures and video are also very useful in court, helping judges and juries to visualize crime scenes effectively.
So you’ve crashed your new Multiplex Easystar or Minimag. Now what? Don’t throw your model out, it’s extremely likely that it can be repaired to like-new condition. It turns out that the Elapor™ foam Multiplex planes are built out of is extremely crash resistant, and can even be re molded with heat. Elapor™ is also CA glue safe, making repairs simple and economical.
Gather Parts and Assess the Damage
After a crash occurs be sure to retrieve all the parts, no matter how small. Foam can be fitted back together like a jigsaw puzzle and glued in to place. So you want to make sure that no parts are left at the crash site. Put all the parts you retrieve in a bin and store them in a safe place until you’re ready to begin repairs. It’s generally a good idea to wait for a few hours or days before repairing damaged models. This gives you time to think about exactly what needs to be replaced, and how you would like to proceed.
Repairing Cracked and Broken Foam Parts
Repairing broken foam is very simple. Done correctly, you can hide the cracks and make your model look just like new. Here are the supplies that you will need:
- Thick CA Glue
- Clear Tape
- Popsicle Sticks
Apply a generous amount of CA glue to the broken parts, then use the Popsicle sticks to smear the glue around and cover the entire broken surface. Hold the parts together under pressure and then wrap the clear tape around them so that they stick together firmly. Let the glue cure for at least one hour and then remove the tape. Repeat for all your broken foam parts.
Fixing Bent, Compressed, and Distorted Foam
Unlike Styrofoam, Elapor™ can be heated and re-molded to its original shape. There are two ways to do this, both are outlined below:
- Hot water method – Boil a large pot of water, and then dip the distorted part for approximately 10 seconds. You will notice all of the foam cells enlarge and expand. This is what needs to occur for the remolding to take place. Using gloves or other thermal protection, bend the heated parts back to their original shape. Smooth out any bumps or surface defects using a metal spoon.
- Blow Dryer Method – This method works well for smaller dents and bends. Simply take an electric hair dryer (not a heat gun), and gently heat the damaged area for a few seconds. After you see the foam cells start to expand, bend and smooth out the damaged area back to its original shape.
Replacing Electronic Components
Both the Multiplex Easystar and Minimag are compatible with Hitec’s radio components.
Need More Help?
Although we can’t exchange aircraft that have been damaged in a crash, we’re still here for you and can talk you through most repairs. Feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.
Have you ever wanted to mod your RC airplanes, perhaps to carry an explosive payload? Too bad – it’s illegal. Don’t worry though, here at Draganfly Innovations, we’ve found the next best thing: you can mod inexpensive RC planes to carry containers of inert powder, which will shatter and make a super nifty effect on the ground. All you need are 5 minutes and some common household materials:
What You Need
- Toothpick – We’ll use this to make a mount for the payload, and a mechanism that lets us deploy it remotely.
- Plastic Easter Egg (or similar container) – Plastic Easter eggs work best, because they split in two easily. You can find them at almost every craft store. Improvising here is fine, just make sure that your container is a reasonable size, and will open up with minimal force.
- Cellophane Tape – This mod isn’t permanent, just peel off the tape when your done with it.
- Plastic Drinking Straw
- Vortex Extreme RC Airplane – You can get one on our website. Similar models will also work, but if they’re of a different design, you’ll have to adapt these instructions accordingly.
- Talcum Powder, Flour, or any (safe) Powdery Substance – Basically, anything that spreads out in the air and makes a big cloud will do.
How to Mod Your RC Airplanes
- Start by taking the wing off your RC airplane. You need it out of the way, because your going to be building the drop mechanism on the bottom of the plane. Besides, breaking foam wings is no fun – store it in a safe place until your finished these steps.
- Cut about a 1 inch length of straw, and tape it to the tail boom, 2 inches back. You want to get the straw aligned parallel to the tail boom, and hanging right on the bottom. What we’re trying to do won’t work if the payload rubs against the tail and gets stuck. You might want to click this picture, to get a closer view.
Tape the toothpick to the round end of the plastic egg. The aim is to give the toothpick an upward slant, so that the egg hangs on to your RC airplane under gravity.Try to leave as much of the toothpick as possible free – this gives you a more secure mount. It’s very important not to tape the Easter egg shut, because the whole point is to get it to split open on ground impact.
- Fill the Easter egg with powder, and then snap it shut.
- Slide the “bomb” onto your drinking straw launcher apparatus (see the picture on the right), and get the plane ready for flight.
Dropping the Bomb
The Easter egg you mounted is held on the airplane by gravity and wind resistance. To drop it, simply take off as usual, fly to a safe area (free of people, pets, and vehicles), and put your RC airplane in a nose dive. The “bomb” should slide off the mount, hit the ground, and produce a nice puff of smoke. Watch Out: many RC planes have crashed because the pilot was looking at the payload being dropped, and not paying attention to flying. Let spectators enjoy the bomb, and concentrate on landing your plane safely.
Here’s what the result of a properly detonated “bomb” looks like (the best explosion occurs at about 1:12 into the video):
Need RC airplanes for this project? Get a Vortex Extreme online. Perfect for beginners to learn how to fly, and affordable, it makes the ideal first RC airplane.