First Flight of our new FreeFly ALTA.
Topics: Java Blog
Recently, our Java Post Aerial Photography pilots, Jack and Trevor, found time to slip out to our private aerial test facilities and run our new Freefly ALTA UAV through its paces. For these initial flight tests, we left the camera off our Gremsy gStabi H-16 3-axis camera gimbal, and instead installed weights to simulate the camera payload.
"We're walking before we run," says primary UAV pilot, Jack Tunnicliffe. "We want to make sure we have a few test flights before we start mounting expensive cameras, especially our RED RAVEN, which will be arriving soon. You have to think about the fact that we are putting a combined UAV-camera value of $30,000 up in the air, so our desire is always to get it home safely. For these tests with the new Freefly ALTA, we want to determine things like battery depletion rates, takeoff and landing characteristics, and overall in-flight handling."
Ask any pilot and they'll tell you that part of any good pre-flight systems check is a selfie. Here's Jack, with Trevor in the background.
Judging by the look on Trevor's face, it's cold out. Judging by the tape on the gimbal, Trevor has mounted some weights to simulate the camera payload for the flight test.
And we're off (the ground)! As pilot Jack reports: "The ALTA is totally different than the DJI units we have flown previously. With the DJI S900 and the DJI Inspire, you're kind of locked into an auto pilot that can fight you a lot of the time. The ALTA requires you to take off and land in total manual mode. Then, once you are in flight, you can either use a position-hold or an altitude-hold to aid you in certain shots, but I flew the ALTA almost entirely in manual mode during our test flights and it handles beautifully."