As you may or many not know, I work in video/film production. And, like many other videographers, I was bitten by the UAV, or drone, bug. I have recently completed some much needed upgrades on my large, heavy lift Octocopter and will begin testing and tweaking this week. But, that’s not what I’m writing about today. I’m writing about how to improve skills, log time and experiment with your setup.
I was recently listening to a drone podcast on Drone Radio Show and the guy being interviewed, Tariq Rashid, had mentioned that he has a goal of 100 log cycles as quickly as possible. Now, you’re asking, ‘Chris, what the hell is a log cycle?’ Well, a log cycle is a full battery flight. Meaning, plug in, all checks done, take off, fly, land, unplug. That is a log cycle. So, log cycles and hours are different units of measure. You could have four, five, six or more log cycles per hour of flight time. Although, the more log cycles you have, the less time you’re actually in the air.
I don’t know if I want to reach for that goal, but I do want to set a goal of flying every day. Now that may end up being one or two log cycles or one or two hours, I’m not exactly sure which, but I do know that you can’t get better and more comfortable with the sticks and your gear if it’s not in the air.
So here I am, just finished all of my upgrades, propellers are balanced and installed and I’m charging and balancing batteries as I type. I must admit, every time Lola (my big octos name) lifts off, my heart does begin to beat a little fast until she’s back on the ground. And with a new, almost, everything this first test flight is going to be a little more nerve racking. It’s going to be a lot of lift offs and landings and small adjustments.
Also, get a log book. When I first started flying I wasn’t using a log book. So, truth be told, I actually have no idea how many hours of flight time I have. It’s clearly not as many as others, but it’s more than some. Now I have started using the Drone Log Book by Field Notes. It’s pretty good. I need to customize the procedures slightly to adjust to my pre-flight and post-flight routine, but it’s a really great way to keep you on track so you don’t skip any steps and it’s good way to keep track of flights so you can reference them, and the hours and cycles, as needed.
So, here I go. Loading up the gear and to a nice, safe space away from people and buildings to begin my testing cycle.