So this thing arrived in the mail a week ago, something I backed on Kickstarter cuz it looks fun. It took a while for me to start playing with it, but I finally got around today.
Well, actually I tried last weekend, but I couldn’t get the thing to pair with my phone.
But anyway, how it works is you have this Smart Module, which handles the communication with your phone or device via Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) aka Bluetooth Smart. This module connects to a rudder and propeller which controls the plane. It has a clip that you hook up to the nose of your paper plane.
For the paper plane itself, the kit came with a few templates that you can fold according to instruction. The manual also has instructions for two plane designs if you run out of templates. My backer kit came with a pre-folded plane, apparently by the founder himself, which I thought I’d use even though it came a little crumpled. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after all. xD
Back to the connection problem, the module wouldn’t pair with my HTC One M8 phone. Luckily, it pairs fine with wifey’s HTC Butterfly S, but since she may need to use it more than I do, I made do with her iPod Touch instead.
So with iPod, crumpley paper plane, and Smart Module I set out to the park outside. It was treacherous, as dog/cat poop could be hidden anywhere. As per instruction manual, I first did a few preflight checks: flying the plane without the motor which turned out okay, then flying the plane with the motor off which seemed alright after some tweaks. Good to go, right? Well, the next step was to fly the plane with the motor on at 60% throttle without manouvers, and this part didn’t go so well. At times, the plane wouldn’t fly straight, or would flip over and dive into the ground. I didn’t seem to have enough lift at 60% either. But a few times at 100% seemed to do the trick if launched softly; I think I managed to get the plane in flight up to 2-3 house widths before it touched the ground, but proper control of the plane seems out of reach at the moment. The Bluetooth range doesn’t seem far enough for sustained flight; I’d always find the app on the iPod disconnected mid flight. I’m gonna just hope it’s an Apple issue and try again with another device.
It’s back to the drawing board. The manual says to not give up, and keep folding new planes till we get this done! Let’s see how we do with a proper non-crumpled plane, and maybe a proper device with proper Bluetooth. Till then!