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I've always been fascinated by those big construction cranes that appear whenever a tall building is being built. There are two of them downtown right now and one is located right across from San Pedro Square Market where I usually walk Mac and get a cup of coffee several times each week. For quite awhile now I've been musing about the feasibility of landing a Phantom on top of one of these behemoths. From the ground its difficult to tell what's up there but, finally, this morning Romeo and I did a sunrise flight downtown and I was able to get a look at the crane by San Pedro Square.

Right at the back near the ballast is a small cabinet-like structure that I call "the outhouse." I'm thinking that with a careful descent it might be possible to land on the roof of the outhouse so, naturally, I'm thinking I need to try this. Over oatmeal I discussed with Romeo the possibilities. I would have to have the FPV camera pointed directly down during the descent because the target is so small. Probably the biggest issue is controlling the descent down to touchdown because it is so difficult to judge distance and motion through the FPV goggles. Romeo suggested hanging a small washer from the landing gear to give a visual cue of first contact. He explained that something a bit more high-tech but on similar principal was used by Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the first landing on the moon. It seems they had touchdown probes extending down from the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) so that they could be alerted before the landing pads themselves were engaged.

I'm going to try some practice landings via goggles and I'll probably go back up to take a better look at the target tomorrow or the next day if the weather is good. I can't help but think how much my boy David would have loved this kind of frivolity. He was so amazingly facile with his X-box and PlayStation that I'm sure he would have taken to this aerial stuff like a pro. ... Mark






 


Comments

Chris
06/23/2014 2:21pm

So? Did you ever manage to land it? ;-)

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