Totally Wild

Today Rob & I were at uni for a few hours shooting a piece for Totally Wild. Natalie Hunter, a reporter for Totally Wild, got wind of our project via La Trobe’s “Bulletin” magazine, and contacted the uni a month or two back about doing a story on it. Since it wasn’t working at the time, we were rather hopeful it could be moved back a bit. So it was, to today. That worked reasonably well – with the presentation & everything on Monday, we could work the interview into the same “milestone” if you like, and were relatively prepared with all our equipment & results.

Still, I did use the time yesterday to work out a few extra bugs, nonetheless. :)

It went pretty well, all in all… I was a bit worried, because our plane’s still a bit of a work in progress. As it turns out however the weather today’s been far too windy for flying, so we didn’t even power the plane up. We filmed in the CAD lab at uni, which gathered a bit of interest (and possibly annoyance) from those in the lab working on their projects. It took a few hours, all for a segment only a few minutes long, but it was quite informal and actually reasonably fun. Once we all relaxed a bit; I wasn’t sure what to expect, plus I was having a very zombie day anyway, so it took me a while to warm up.

I also got a haircut this morning. I would have liked to have done so before the presentation on Monday, but time didn’t really allow. So my transformation back from student to mostly human is complete. :)

Also, Rob went flying again yesterday and managed to crash the plane into a tree, and then down the bottom of a small gorge. He’s doing well. :) But we got the log from the flight, and it looks quite good. Although bizarrely once he hit the tree the temperature inside the plane started to climb slowly but significantly – reaching 36 degrees or so after a few minutes… he noted that the propeller became tangled in leaves and whatnot, so it looks like something was getting a bit crispy – hopefully the leaves, not the motor.

There was also a big spike in the elevation reported by the GPS, just for a couple of seconds, right at the start of the flight… we haven’t seen anything but reliable results from the GPS to date, so that’s a bit of a worry… hopefully it’s just “one of those things” that doesn’t ever come back.

He also had some trouble with the autopilot, which amounted to one bug plus some bad tuning… he happened to switch it on during a turn, while the rudder was at a strong angle. The rudder PID was a bit slow to react, and by the time it had straightened the rudder significantly, the plane had already turned around and lost a bit of altitude in the process. The fix is to re-centre the rudder immediately when switching to autopilot, and to further tune the PIDs. Clearly we’ll need to better compensate for lost altitude during turns.

Also, don’t ever Google for “totally wild”.

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