Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Playing with Small Radio Control Planes


Ever since I was a kid I have always wanted to fly. As an elementary school student, when asked what superpower I would have if I were a superhero, I would immediately reply, "I want to fly." The possibilities of invisibility, living forever or being the strongest person in the world failed to register as a blip on my radar. The idea of seeing things from a different angle always has and always will intrigue me.

Recently I have spent a lot of time chasing buzzing RC planes around fields, climbing trees, gluing plane parts back together, and soldering electrical components after frequent crashes, all in the hopes catching a few glimpses of ordinary objects from a few hundred feet up.

With a quick toss into the wind, the foam plane soars into the air as the electric motor buzzes. The plane bounces around on the breeze, slowly gaining altitude. I relax and the whir of the plane's motor slowly fades to faint hum.

For aerial photography I have been using a Pentax Optio A40 velcroed under the wings of a small electric plane. With a flick of a switch on the radio, an infrared trigger hooked up to the plane's receiver fires the camera shutter. Driving along I-95, these black lines in the pavement, tar patches, register as nothing more than an annoying vibration, but from an altitude of 300 feet they look like something from movie 2012.

Test firing the Optio A40's remote shutter. The plane's tail is barely visible in my Vuarnets sunglasses.

Tucker and Dan's eyes to the sky.

My shoes from a different angle on a chilly December afternoon.

I think it's very important to pursue things that are fun regardless of apparent face value practicality. I have no idea what will come of taking photos from small RC planes, but it sure is fun to see them fly around above.

Here are some more links,
Playing with Planes (Picasa),
A Sunday Flight (Picasa).

13 comments:

Times Post Journal Review said...

Great aerial photography Foster. Where did you get those Vuarnets?

Foster Huntington said...

I found my vuarnets in the glove box of one of my friends cars. i traded an old jacket for them,
Foster

bferry said...

an excellent hobby. love that shot of the road below.

componentsofenthusiasm said...

Restless Transplant at its best. Love this post, man.

manifolddestiny said...

When I was a kid I had a model rocket that shot 110 film as it popped open to deploy the parachute. It was cool, but it never worked as well as this setup you've got. I really wish I were back in undergrad and had time for this.

Foster Huntington said...

I figured that i would never again have the free time to be able devote enough time to something like this to figure it out enough to get some results. I have heard about those rockets with the mercury switches. It would be so sweet to find a vintage one and fire it up.
Foster

Skip said...

This is one of my favorite post of all time.

My son would probably love seeing a remote control plan soaring in the air. Thanks for the inspiration.

Daniel Opalacz said...

Foster,

Any chance of your getting your hands dirty with nitro?

Foster Huntington said...

Mr Opalacz,
Never i am lipo man,
Fster

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It was cool, but it never worked as well as this setup you've got. I really wish I were back in undergrad and had time for this.

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