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Old 12-12-2013, 09:19 PM   #11
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

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If you put FPV on the aircraft, and if the power stays on to the FPV, then you can use your FPV ground kit to locate downed craft. A directional antenna will do it, or even an omni using your body to block the signal from certain angles. I have done this many times, usually using the all-in-one goggles with the built in receiver to find where I landed my quad. Just turn my head to see which way the signal is blocked and which way the signal is clear.

other kinds of telemetry can be used. On some of my aircraft, the GPS coords are transmitted and recorded all the time on the ground station DVR. Also also on a dedicated GPS coord display. If the plane goes down, I just review the video, or look at the coord display which keeps the last known coords. Have never needed to use this however I am mortal and expect I will need it some day.

Can add a parabolic reflector to te Loc8tor and make it work for many km range

Last edited by bcsaltchucker; 12-12-2013 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:54 PM   #12
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

A couple of months ago I got an email from I believe an Italian company that was introducing a new range/direction finder system for r/c aircraft. Seem to recall it cost about 300 bucks for a tx/rcvr set and then another 80 bucks for additional transmitters. The Tx's looked about the size of a r/c reciever and had phenomenal range.

Can't find the. Damn email though......

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Old 12-13-2013, 05:43 AM   #13
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

Originally Posted by Pauld View Post
Can't find the. Damn email though......

Not Italian, but expensive.
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Electric flying is pretty much seeing how close to a dead short you can run without setting it on fire.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:37 AM   #14
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

But rugged. I've seen one of the 70cm units free-fall from over a mile and remain functional. More than I can say for the rocket that put it up there...
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

A lost model alarm is, I think, the cheapest option and one I use on all my aircraft. I use a passive one so that it woks with failsafe receivers. This is the one that I use (10 minute option).

From experience (Here's my story, see post 93 for all sorts of links), I don't use just one method, but rather multiple ones. I also make sure at least one of the methods on each aircraft is standalone powered, in case the flight pack ejects or becomes disconnected.

If flying FPV, your video system is your first (no additional cost) option. If it survives intact and is operable post-crash, then you can shield the antenna from a portable ground station using your body while yoyu slowly turn. When there is a blip on the signal, the bearing to the aircraft is directly behind you (your body blocks the signal). This works well if your video system is functioning, but that is often not the case.

I mainly rely on an OSD with GPS and a groundstation recorder (DVR). As long as I remember to start the recording, the video signal showing the GPS coordinates is recorded.

I currently use:
The video system
Lost model alarm
Loc8tor (self-powered)
FMKit UHF Tracker (self-powered). Requires a compatible receiver and possibly a directional, high gain antenna.
High intensity strobes (Strobon, from Flytron hobbies).

Note that the Loc8tor can be used with a parabolic reflector to work at fairly long ranges. Here`s a nice video showing comparing the performance of the Loc8tor and the FMKit UHF tracker using good antennae.

Here are some other good systems that others have tested and used with success.
Marco Polo
The Plane Locator

There are many, many ways to locate lost airplanes/multicopters, but they have different capabilities and limitations, some are harder to setup and use than others, and the cost varies quite a bit.
Sport FPV Multirotors and fixed wing (OpenPilot Revo/CC3D, 3DR Pixhawk Arducopter/Ardupilot). 5.8gHz video, UHF LRS control. Intermediate experience.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:06 PM   #16
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Re: Tracking a missing plane

the BigRedBee trackers seem like they would work really well - thanks for posting up that link. Initial cost is somewhat high but when I add up the cost of everything on my would be cheap insurance.
My death spirals are a thing of the past. I just fly faster now.
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