Showing posts with label I gotta get me one of these. Show all posts
Showing posts with label I gotta get me one of these. Show all posts

Monday, September 9, 2013

Most impressive RC airplane ever?

By Donald Sensing

Best one I have ever seen, anyway - an RC B-17G with a 19-foot wingspan:

This enormous RC B-52 is a competitor for the title, though.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Niagara Falls as you have never seen it

By Donald Sensing

Everyone knows about radio-controlled model aircraft. In the past few years a specialized type of RC aircraft has become increasingly popular. In the military they are called drones. Among hobbyists they are referred to as FPV, First Person View aircraft.

FPV craft have a video camera mounted in the "cockpit" of the model. It transmits live video back to the controller on the ground, who flies the craft using that flight view. The video can also usually be recorded for later playback.

With excellent HD cameras the result can be quite stunning, as here:

I have seen FPV systems more sophisticated that this. The most complex setup I have seen was a plane with the camera mounted on a gymbal with the video projected into a helmet the on-ground pilot wore, seeing the video in the facepiece before his eyes. When the pilot turned his head or looked up or down, the camera rotated accordingly. As you might imagine, this was a very expensive system.

There have been RC aircraft mounting cameras for a long time. But they usually are not considered FPV craft unless the video streams back to the ground station in real time. Some models on the market use your wifi network to stream and you can see the video on your tablet, tilting it to fly the aircraft. (Needless to say, flying these is a short-range proposition.)

FPV prices are dropping. Amazon has an FPV quadcopter (a very stable design) for $288. At lower prices, however, range will be limited (and so will quality, for that matter). Serious hobbyists hand build systems that can stream and be controlled to slant ranges of several thousand feet. This guy even tried to send his plane to the edge of space using a weather balloon, then glide the plane back down.

So this post is another under the "I gotta get me one of these" category.

But this is an even bigger "gotta."

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This is just nuts

By Donald Sensing

I gotta get me one of these!

Full screen is best

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stupid iPhone tricks

By Donald Sensing

Here's a list and explanation of possibly the dumbest, most pointless iPhone apps ever conceived. Like this one:

1. iNap@Work

Developer: SilentLogic Studios
Price: $0.99

This app promises to generate random office sounds -- mouse clicks, keyboard taps, pencil sharpeners, coughs, and rustling paper -- to give power-nappers some cover. Little sliders are supposed to control your "productivity" level and the frequency of each sound.

In our tests, however, the noises were a little too random to sound convincing. Besides, which is worse: to get caught napping, or to get caught using a lame iPhone app to pretend that you aren't?
Oh, yeah, that'll work.

But this one is on my must-have list:

This is the BulletFlight app. "It can determine the effects of windage, distance, air pressure, humidity and temperature, which makes dialing in the position of the scope’s crosshairs far easier. Think different, and then take the perfect shot." Just what every plinker needs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My kind of sailing

By Daniel Jackson

Now, when I was a kid, and my dad was teaching me the secrets of sailing, we used terms like "boiling" or "flying" to describe the vessel's passage through the water. But I don't think the Old Man had this in mind.

When I grow up, I want one of these.

Of course, like any vehicle, one has to be careful. On December 21, 2008, after a first run of 61 knots, the big bird capsized in 35 knot winds gusting 45 knots. Thank God, everyone survived. The crew hopes to have her ready to run in the spring. Long may she run.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New on my wish list

By Donald Sensing

The latest entry on my "I gotta get me one of these" category is a submersible speedboat. Popular Science reports,

Nautical engineers have long dreamed of a craft that could race across wave tops like a speedboat and seconds later dive beneath them like a submarine. But crossing the two breeds presents a catch-22: Subs need heft to sink, but speedboats need to be lightweight to go fast. With an investment of nearly $2 million and years of research, former auto-shop owner Reynolds Marion of Lake City, Florida, has finally hit on a solution, a machine he’s dubbed the Hyper-Submersible Powerboat. When complete, it will reach speeds of up to 45 mph and dive down to 1,200 feet.
1,200 feet! As comparison, naval historian Barrett Tillman reported in Clash of The Carriers: The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot of World War II that the safe depth for American submarines in World War II was only 300 feet, and that diving deeper was done only in extreme emergencies.

The sub-speedboat is not the first civilian sub by any means. Luxury submarine yachts have been on the market for years.

Ah, wouldn't it be nice?

(The 300-foot diving depth was for US Gato-class subs. USS Pampanito(SS-383), commissioned in late 1943, was designed to dive safely to 400 feet, although some of its class successfully operated deeper. Herbert Werner, a German U-boat captain in WW2, reported that no one really knew the maximum depth for their submarines, since the only way to find out meant that your hull got crushed immediately afterward. Looking at the picture of the speedboat-sub above, I personally would not want to test its claimed ability to make 1,200 feet below the surface. What might happen at 1,201?)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rocket man

By Donald Sensing

I gotta get me one of these.

Former fighter pilot Yves Rossy, 48, accelerated to 186 miles an hour May 14, 2008, over the Swiss Alps during his first public flight while strapped to his self-made, jet-powered wings.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fish School

By Daniel Jackson

My long time buddy, Jon Miller, sent me a link to the R2 Fish School home page. Jon, an attorney, knows I have a weakness for operant psychology but I don't like rodents; however, I do like trout. Here is how their press release describes their product.

R2 Solutions announces the product release of the R2 Fish School Kit, the world's first complete pet fish training system. Each kit includes an extensive collection of fish training tools, as well as an illustrated manual and DVD that provide step-by-step instructions.

The R2 Solutions development team and noted fish-training expert, Dr. Dean Pomerleau, collaborated to create the R2 Fish School Kit. Dr. Pomerleau decided he wanted to make fish ownership more interactive and fun for his kids. His work focused on using marine mammal training techniques to teach his common goldfish. One of Dr. Pomerleau's fish, named "Albert Einstein", turned out to be a pretty good student. Albert is recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the fish with the largest repertoire of tricks.

"With the correct tools and the basic promise of a food reward, fish can very quickly learn complex tricks - like the limbo, slalom or playing fetch. Now people in the market for a dog might want to consider a fish instead," Dr. Pomerleau said.

Dr. Pomerleau and the R2 Solutions development team spent the last year testing and developing the ideal tools for fish training. Dr. Pomerleau and his son Kyle host the DVD, which stars "Comet", a common goldfish showing off all his advanced fish trick skills. "When people see the tricks, after the initial disbelief, they want to learn how its done and teach their own fish too," R2 Solutions President Russ Ronat said. "Not only is this product fun, but it also has great educational value."

Now, you can learn the tools of conditioning right in your own living room, with the help of your goldfish. It must be real because The Seattle Times has an article about it.

Perhaps this is what the Foggy Bottom Boys used on Condi when she changed jobs. Everyone knows that life in DC is a fish bowl.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I gotta get me one of these

By Donald Sensing

The latest entry in the "I gotta get me one of these" category is the Segway of the Sky.

It works like the ground Segway - you lean (but not too far!) in the direction you want to go and the stand-on helicopter flies that direction. Known as the Vertipod, it's not a new idea, being about 50 years old. None of the earlier concepts got off the ground (heh!) but AirBouyant promises to get this machine to both military and civilian market within a short time.

Gizmodo, whence the link, says that the Vertipod "is intended to travel five to 15 feet above ground at a top speed of 40 mph" and will cost about ten large. That's about what it costs to buy a new, no-frills ultralight airplane, which can fly a lot higher and farther and one-fourth faster. But you still need a runway, even if it can be a flat pasture. Anyway, the ultimate in personal flight has always been seen as vertical takeoff, as in from your back yard.

I'd say they should push the Vertipod's ceiling up to 50 feet. Then most of us could fly over obstacles around the manse.

The Hiller Flying Platform of 1955 did fly higher and was very stable. So stable, in fact, that the Army rejected it (and for other reasons).

Hiller also developed a very small, true helicopter that he thought the Air Force could use to enable downed pilots to escape capture.

Another concept from the 50s was the WASP - a jet-powered, one-man platform that could fly up to 10,000 feet.

I'll take any of 'em.