Maybe I should call this post "Fixing the Pandora Warrior"
Having experienced it being bloated and not particularly responsive, it is time to remove some weight and fix the flight camera.
Click through for details, how the Warrior flies and naturally a flight video.
(spoiler alert there will be more weight loss in the future)
Removing the stub wings was a no-brainer. but let me give some reasons anyway.
First of all, looking straight down from the rotor, the stub-wings probably block / obstruct almost 20% of the airflow. Thing 20% reduction in power just from that.
Second. having removed the stub-wings and their missile load.. I put them on the scale and realized the wings weighed almost 65grams. so that is almost 10% of the aircraft gross weight. (out of the box with battery the warrior weighed 720grams)
Having done that I proceeded to remove the useless DV04 camera, it both freeze intermittently in-flight and have a narrow field-of-view useless for FPV flying.. finally it have terrible contrast and the exposure changes slowly during flight instead of quickly when needed. Another 12grams saved
BUT.. its not all bad news, the Walkera TX5803 is a good little transmitter, about 200mw for only about $30. can't argue with that, particularly since Walkera make FatShark goggle compatible transmitters. so I left that one in place.
The keycam 808 #16D come with a USB to Video cable, I cut the cable and made it adapt to the TX5803, important thing to remember, the Walkera video cable is YELLOW, power is RED and GND is black. on the keycam there is two black cables. twist them together and solder both to the TX5803 black. first I made a cable and checked that it worked.
Having successfully hooked the keycam to the TX5805, I made a extention cable and pulled it out through the hole where the stub-wing had been attached. and finally used a wedge made fo double-side tape to attach the keycam under the nose of the aircraft. as shown in the first picture on the page.
Finally I also removed the whip-antenna from the TX5803 and replaced it with a SpiroNet antenna, this was a straight swap, I used a solder-iron to make a hole in the bottom of the fuselage and simply screwed it to the TX5803. the antenna flattens the radio signal so it is more powerful horisontally out from the aircraft, if you fly high it can be weak straight under the aircraft with this antenna, but it should work fine for my use of low-level FPV. The antenna can be seen in the first picture on the page.
After pulling the camera extention cable I used a bit of tape to pull it tight backwards. I did that to avoid the cable getting jammed in the servos controlling the rotor head angle. these servos is directly in front of the TX5803. only thing left to do is putting the lid back on and go fly.
Screaming fast props
Ali mentioned the screaming sound of the Walkera Pandora Warrior, he was not kidding, i have never heard a multi-rotor sound anything quite like this. I already "justified" the noise by realizing that the Pandora Warrior at 720 grams is only 70 grams lighter than the Walkera X350 with battery.. the x350 have 4 motors with 8 inch props, the Pandora Warrior have only two motors and these are equipped with small 6 inch props. thinking about that, it do not take a rocket scientist to realize the props must be going a gazillion RPM to greate the same lift as the x350's 4 motors with bigger props.. and YES the motors DO go a gazillion RPM's. they scream.. After the flights I realized how much faster they go, because every piece of balancing tape I had put on the props had dissapeared. the props had literally spun the tape off the blades. WOW. I use the same tape to balance all my props and have never had a piece budge even the smallest amount, but the Pandora Warrior removed every piece of balance tape in only 3 flights.
JELLO FREE - notice in the flight video, I am flying completely un-balanced props. but they spin at a much higher speed than normal multi-rotor props and the frequency of vibrations do not seem to cause jello.. that is really kinda interesting, because maybe one could use small ultra fast props on video platforms as well.
Flying the Pandora Warrior after the diet.
In all fairness, I picked a terrible day for test-flying the Pandora Warrior, it was blazing hot in Southern California and with pretty high-winds. the Warrior is pretty heavy, or at least it feels that way, so I powered up regardless.
Once in the air I figured out a lot of things really quickly, first of all, the reduced weight and obstructions for the airflow DID make a big difference. the aircraft was lighter on the stick, but still heavy.
Second I figured out that the aircraft need a articulated elevator plane. the aircrafts interaction with wind gusts is horrifying.. and it can quickly result in the body "dangling" under the props. trick is trying to maintain a consistent speed.. a small drop in speed will make the thing dangle and cause a reduction in flight speed far more than expected.
But back to the moving elevator plane, I constantly was unable to get enough speed to really penetrate the wind even at full forward stick, max angle on the rotors is not enough to get real speed. I suggest Walkera replace the tail with a floating elevator plane which can help pust the nose down for high-speed flying
Thirdly.. top speed is miserable. look at the flight camera video, after I go down the creek, I have a hard time returning because that is into the wind.. on top of that, the wind is picking me up and I do not manage to really penetrate until I get back down lower again.
Fourth.. you probably already guessed it.. the side of the aircraft is like a bloody barn-door.. and almost immediately after take off Im being blown sideways into a branch.. I did not notice the sideway drift while flying. or at least not how fast I was drifting.
Finally - the sideways drift into the branch showed me how cool prop-shrouds really are, I ran into vegetation several times and each time the props kept lifting and was protected by the shrouds, simply a awesome feature.
I also was very comfortable snatching the aircraft in the air when flying LOS, because there were a big tail to grip and no props to get involved with.
On my first flight the sun kept blinding me evertime I faced into it, so for the next couple of batteries I flew with a improvised lens-hood, made from a piece of cardboard taped to the bottom of the pandora warriors original camera mount, the result was perfect, no more flare and clear video for flying.
Flying the Walkera Pandora Warrior Take Two....
Brought the Warrior to the park a few days later, this time with another 20 grams of weight removed.. and almost no wind.. this proved a winning combination.. the aircraft was stable and reasonably easy to fly.
But the REALLY cool discovery turns out to be the camera is almost "stabilized" I realized this is because the rotors are operated by servos.. so instead of pitching the down the nose when flying forward, the servos angle the rotors.. result..? check it out, hard-mount camera, looks almost like it is on a gimbal.. so both the aircraft is a naturally stable platform for a camera, and the speed of the rotors is too fast to register as Jello.. Whats not to like about this.?