December 20, 2002

New kite, Remote Video, Hawaii

I have completed the addition of a remote video system to the rig, and I have added a Sutton Flowform 16 to our arsenal of lifters. I take off tomorrow for Hawaii, and hopefully I'll be getting some spectacular shots down there.

Read more for some details:

On the transmitting end, the video system uses an Xcam2 camera/transmitter that has been modified to take video input from a digital camera. The built in camera has been removed, and the power is now supplied from a 9V rechargeable battery connected through a DCDC board which steps the voltage up to the 12V that the camera requires. Without the camera, the transmitter is pulling 87mA from the 8.5V NiCad "9V" rechargeable source; thus, the 150mAh battery should last almost two hours on this setup.

The Xcam2 Rx unit has been modified as well. I removed the RF modulator from the unit to cut down on its power consumption. It is placed in a hip pack with a 12V Gel Cell. Video goes out to a small LCD screen mounted on the radio controller. With this setup, we get a through-the-lens view from the ground. This opens up many great possibilities, such as placing a servo on the camera to control zoom; instant preview of shots, etc. It's kind of a shame there's not a better way to control *all* the camera functions remotely.

The new kiet is a Sutton Flowform 16, which should be a good lifter for moderate winds. At some point, I'd like to get a Flowform 30 too - that should give the ability to lift anything we've got in any wind.

I'll be visiting the island of Maui, and I'd really really love to shoot some panoramas over the crater of Haleakala. I have been in contact with a fellow kite enthusiast who lives on Maui who was kind enough to help me get in touch with the FAA contact for the area and the National Park Service and ask about clearances. The FAA has everything good to 2000', but the park rangers do not seem to be keen on the idea. I plan on calling them when I have a firm date to inquire again. I only want permission to fly at the summit parking area, and as such should not be in any way able to endanger myself or the endangered plants and animals. Hopefully they will cooperate. I can understand their reservation on letting someone fly a kite inside of the crater.

Posted by John Laur at December 20, 2002 02:34 PM
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