Today we return (alas, only spiritually) to Fallbrook, California and the First Annual Multirotor Challenge. As promised, here is a video detailing only some of the cool stuff we saw during our visit:
Here are links to most of the people and/or products featured in the video, although not everybody had a website:
- DIYCopters (3D Quad): http://www.diycopters.com/
- Fighting Walrus Radio: http://www.fightingwalrus.com/
- Glass Quad Copters: https://www.facebook.com/pages/XLRC/538944742806832
- GoProfessional Cases: http://www.goprocases.com/
- Tactical Tools: http://www.usasmog.com
- Enclosed Quad Copter: http://www.aerotestra.com
This “return visit” to Fallbrook also gives us the opportunity to share with you the most interesting adventure that we had during our stay that doesn't actually appear in any of our videos.
With the event winding down, one of the folks from the Palomar Flyers came over and asked if we would be willing to talk to another one of the club's members about a mysterious and undefined project that he needed some help to accomplish.
We agreed, and soon came to understand that this gentleman, named Ronald, had lost a beautiful fixed-wing aircraft out over “The Jungle” – the fetid, overgrown wetland that flanks the field. He wanted to know if we could send one of our FPV multirotors out to look for it.
Only too happy to help, we selected RQCX-1 “Little Bird” for the mission. Her two-camera configuration came in handy, allowing us to change back and forth between a forward-looking and a downward-looking perspective during the search.
It was a bit harrowing, seeing Little Bird so far out over that nearly impassible quagmire – knowing that any mistake or failure would result in another aircraft being lost, quite possibly forever. However, her high-quality systems and Techinstein's piloting skills brought her safely home from each sortie.
Even more troubling, we didn't have the sky all to ourselves – something else, also yellow and black, was buzzing around over The Jungle. With the video goggles strapped to his head, Techinstein exclaimed, “I'm being attacked by birds!”
Under other circumstances, that likely would have caused me to have heart palpitations right there on the tarmac. However, as luck would have it, I was watching Little Bird's progress through a pair of binoculars at that instant – and I didn't see anything near our intrepid little aircraft.
I told Techinstein that he was in the clear and he continued with the mission. It was only when we brought the aircraft home and reviewed the video from the GoPro that we saw the actual cause of his sighting: a swarm of bees had flown up to confront Little Bird, hurling themselves at her, only to be thrown back by her prop wash.
Our friends from DIYCopters.com rigged up an improvised video theater in the back of their truck, and we watched the HD footage with the Palomar Flyers in vain after each flight, hoping we might catch a glimpse of Ronald's missing machine. No luck.
We thought that was the end of the story, but after we got home we got an e-mail from Ronald, saying that he had gone back and watched the videos again with some friends and they actually did find and recover his airplane. It was a total loss, but at least he no longer had to look out over The Jungle, wondering what had become of it.