Flight #1079 New Chase Cam Test

Breezy Dawn

It took all week to get this flight, three rainy days and two mornings at the field. Yesterday was a washout. The sky’s were blue except for one little cell parked over The Meadows. It was calm and the air would have been butter, except that every time I found a dry spot to set-up, the sky would open and start sprinkling.

Like yesterday, I woke up before the alarm and was at the LZ by first light. Yesterday it was rain, today the challenge was wind. I knew it was going to be iffy this morning because last night, the apps were forecasting a breeze between 6 and 10. I was betting on less than more.

At 6:00 it was blowing 7, gusting to 12. I set-up hoping to launch between the gusts. Previously I’d attached the chase cam three feet in from the tip, on a “D” line, so that it wouldn’t crash into the rig during landing. The GoPro mounts, as configured, only allows for straight forward positioning. So…. I attached to the center right, “C” line and then, positioned the cam for launch, in front of the wing, it was right in the middle with the line flaked out to run. I envisioned it would begin loading the line just before the wing was fully overhead.

The video corroborates this and the cam goes to its flying station quickly. On the other hand, videos of the arrow cam show it swinging wildly before it settles down.

Here is a link of a past cam flight. https://youtu.be/yVPT2bOehQk.

The launch was interesting. I’d noticed that the wing was turning 20 degrees to the right after inflation. But I didn’t “get it”. My wall was consistently forming straight down the runway and that was my intention. When I started the launch it came up fast and turned 20 degrees to the right. Go Figure? Then, when I applied some brake to dampen the surge, I felt the rig jerk back and the front wheel pop up a few inches So … we turned 20 degrees to the right. I rolled through the cul de sac and onto the field. The breeze was a big help, I was up shortly after applying power.

It was twitchy and bumpy up to 700 feet and even then, it was bumpy. I took a few laps to test the camera but there wasn’t a lot of incentive to keep flying. The sky had lost all the color from its earlier glory and there was a very serious possibility of rain so I turned back to the LZ.

The landing was great except that the wing decided to keep flying despite what I though was a wing dropping flare. It floated happily overhead in the breeze while the cam swung forward lightly tapping the cage. When the wing is flying the camera is hanging straight down it is almost exactly in the thrust line.

Reviewing the video; the new cam works fine . It doesn’t seem to fly much different than my old arrow cam. It does have more drag which makes it fly higher and farther back. I remember looking over my shoulder and being able to see the arrow flying off to my side like a tiny wingman, this one is out of view. I’m going to review older videos for comparison. I don’t think the drag is a problem. I do, remember the time I picked up my big wind indicator complete with gallon jug and lots of colored tape. I didn’t even notice it was there, so the asymmetric drag shouldn’t be a problem.

I think it was a more interesting perspective with the cam off to the side. Several viewers assumed the video was being shot by a second pilot. Next flight I’ll move the attachment point out a little farther from center and find a way to point the camera in toward the rig.

PPG Smoke Chase Cam
Old Arrow Cam
First flight with PPG Smoke Chase Cam right center “C” line

Probably the best thing was getting off a high wind launch. I’ll get a lot more airtime if I can get past being freaked out by a little breeze. It would take a lot to turtle the rig.