highaltitude.log.20070316

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[07:32] <defy> hey guys, I did my thermopile tests in my glider today, they worked beautifully.
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[10:55] <LaurenceB> defy- how did your tests go?
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[11:39] <defy> great
[11:40] <defy> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ8V1AQAGI4
[11:41] <defy> i put it into a dive then flicked the autopilot and it corrected its self perfectly
[11:41] <defy> I'm undecided if I want to drop it from a balloon next or throw an engine on it next
[11:46] <LaurenceB> cool
[11:47] <LaurenceB> just taking a look
[11:52] <LaurenceB> are you using the gps at 4Hz?
[11:53] <defy> no gps yet, that was just the thermopiles to keep everything stable
[11:54] <defy> I was planning on using the gpsstix but it's only 1hz and is rather heavy..so I might get a stand alone module
[11:55] <LaurenceB> oh okay, roll and pitch?
[11:55] <defy> yeah
[11:55] <LaurenceB> the gpsstix can go up to 4Hz
[11:55] <defy> even with nmea?
[11:55] <LaurenceB> yes
[11:56] <LaurenceB> see my glider page, I have some bascom code for doing it
[11:56] <LaurenceB> really I should put up the hex...
[11:56] <defy> the other issue is that i'm trying to make it a robostix only setup, adding the gpsstix will also require a gumstix, technically i guess i could just power the gpsstix and read directly from the module but it seems a bit overkill
[11:57] <defy> is it just a matter of sending the gps a command?
[11:57] <LaurenceB> however, I'm not convinced its so good, as the sirf2 seems to be superior to the antaris
[11:57] <LaurenceB> yes you print out a serial command
[11:57] <LaurenceB> gpsstix has antaris 4, so probably better
[11:57] <defy> interesting, I must add that to my nmea parser
[11:58] <LaurenceB> I've added flight data recording now, its very handy
[11:58] <LaurenceB> I've tried some powered flights, but it kept crashing, so I've decided to use it as a glider
[11:59] <LaurenceB> done some promising glides, but the wind is a problem
[12:00] <LaurenceB> seemed to get it to fly itself towards the target for about 4 seconds until a gust of side wind
[12:00] <defy> yea wind is a bitch, that video was done in 30kmph winds though..stayed really stable. I'm tempted to add the gyro but it almost doesn't need it
[12:01] <LaurenceB> I would be seriously worried by all that water
[12:01] <defy> haha, i fly there all the time..but i did read the tide charts wrong today, I came at a high tide when i thought it was a low, lol
[12:01] <LaurenceB> on the high altitude version, it will correct for the wind, recording on the way up
[12:02] <LaurenceB> but gusts could still muck things up
[12:02] <defy> yea
[12:02] <defy> my setup doesn't know how to right it's self if it goes upside down, i think i'll need 2 more sensors for that
[12:02] <LaurenceB> my glider has a polyhedral wing which seems to be badly effected by side wind
[12:03] <defy> btw was it you asking for a thermopile source the other day?
[12:03] <LaurenceB> I would think the aerodynamics would take care of that
[12:03] <LaurenceB> yes, where do you get them?
[12:04] <defy> well scalarobotics.com is where i got mine, but i just checked their link and can't find them any more...
[12:04] <defy> uavs.net linked to them
[12:04] <defy> third image down
[12:04] <defy> and they've changed their links, they used to link directly to the page with the thermopiles but now it's http://scalerobotics.com/store/catalog/
[12:04] <LaurenceB> hmm I was working at oxford uni space instruments lab and we had a hard time getting some for an experiment...
[12:05] <defy> getting the sensors themselves is pretty easy I think
[12:05] <LaurenceB> I'm planning on a rogallo wing, and dont recon it'll need pitch and roll correction
[12:05] <defy> but these boards were already put together and setup with the analog outputs
[12:06] <LaurenceB> oh okay
[12:06] <defy> sweet
[12:06] <defy> controled decent, like a hang glider?
[12:06] <LaurenceB> dont mind analogue stuff
[12:06] <LaurenceB> just yaw control
[12:07] <LaurenceB> I'm going to work on an rc rogallo wing later today
[12:07] <defy> yea it made for a really smooth install to the robostix, I didn't have to modify a single line of the simple-servo-2 code from gumstix. not untill I want to start hacking with direction and the real autopilot code
[12:08] <LaurenceB> but it'll be too windy to fly it
[12:08] <LaurenceB> hmm how do you program the robostix?
[12:08] <defy> via a gumstix and isp
[12:08] <LaurenceB> it has an AVR doesn't it?
[12:08] <defy> yea atmel128
[12:08] <LaurenceB> so your set up for AVR programming? using C?
[12:09] <defy> yup
[12:09] <LaurenceB> I'd go for a fully AVR solution then, much cheaper
[12:10] <LaurenceB> I'm using avr's with bascom compiler
[12:10] <defy> yea, I'm going to have another robostix/gumstix combo on the ground for manual control and reading flight data while in auto pilot, using maxstream 900mhz modules, thats the plan anyway
[12:10] <defy> how it will really end up is anyones guess, lol
[12:10] <LaurenceB> whoa a lot of work!
[12:11] <defy> nah doesn't seem like to much
[12:11] <defy> all the nav code and math is finished in perl, I just need to convert it over to C
[12:11] <LaurenceB> I've still got to retrieve the temperature data off MiHAB3 !
[12:11] <defy> the wireless modules just replicate a serial cable so comms is pretty easy
[12:12] <LaurenceB> are you just using PI loop control?
[12:12] <defy> no idea what that is :P
[12:12] <LaurenceB> and how are you dealing with wind?
[12:13] <defy> you mean keeping it stable? or keeping it on course?
[12:13] <LaurenceB> okay... wikipedia it :-)
[12:13] <LaurenceB> well the control surface response is proportional to error and integral of error
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[12:15] <LaurenceB> thats how the glider works, I've put all the code on http://wiki.ukhas.org.uk/projects:mihab:glider
[12:16] <defy> trial and error will be my friend I'm sure :P
[12:16] <LaurenceB> so what are you doing about wind then?
[12:16] <LaurenceB> recording on the way up?
[12:16] <defy> I know the 2d portion of the nav code works, my i wrote it for my gps guided boat which delt with way points and the tides of the harbour just fine
[12:17] <defy> I dont see a need to record wind at all, it'll navigate by waypoints, point its self in a certain direction and just go, make adjustments as needed on the way
[12:17] <LaurenceB> oh do you use digital compasses?
[12:18] <defy> nope, relying on gps heading
[12:18] <LaurenceB> but gps heading is absolute
[12:18] <defy> shrug, its already a proven concept. I'm just borrowing it
[12:18] <LaurenceB> you need to convert to air vector space for the response to become linear
[12:19] <LaurenceB> in high altitude conditions the wind is very strong in comparison with the glide speed
[12:19] <defy> I'm a more fly by the seat of my pants kind of person :P I'll do my first few drops at 500-1000 feet and see hwo it reacts
[12:20] <LaurenceB> especially in the jet stream
[12:20] <defy> gpsboomerang is gps only guided and it works great
[12:20] <defy> yea well, i think the idea will be to avoid the jet stream at all costs
[12:20] <LaurenceB> yes they record wind on the way up and conpensate I'm pretty sure
[12:21] <defy> who is they?
[12:22] <LaurenceB> oh I've just thought, you dont have to worry about the jet stream as much
[12:22] <defy> where i live I do, its actually directly above me, but i wouldn't be dropping gliders near this area anyway..I'd probably go down south, theres much less jet stream there
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[12:23] <defy> auckland does get quiest days though...predicting them is the problem :P
[12:24] <laurenceb_> yes... I'm how convinced a 1hz gps will work with a glider
[12:24] <laurenceb_> it its trimmed well and has small rudder for slow turns
[12:24] <defy> gps boomerang is even less complex, it has rudder control _only_
[12:24] <defy> and just relies on being a stable glider
[12:25] <laurenceb_> but a rate gyro would still be good
[12:25] <defy> but I want to eventually move this system over to a powered plane
[12:25] <laurenceb_> yes thats the approach with the rogallo wing
[12:25] <laurenceb_> it is surprisingly stable when semirigid
[12:26] <defy> cool, they look interesting..what would it be made out of to holdup in those winds?
[12:26] <laurenceb_> erm pine dowel and polythene :P
[12:26] <defy> hehe
[12:27] <defy> how heavy is the payload?
[12:27] <laurenceb_> polythene is good down to very low temperatures
[12:27] <laurenceb_> erm under !KG
[12:27] <laurenceb_> -1 kg
[12:28] <laurenceb_> dont forget that altho its going fast the air density is low
[12:28] <defy> for the first part of the decent, yeah
[12:28] <defy> I dont think ill go that high to start with, hehe
[12:28] <laurenceb_> well as long as its not gale force winds, for all of the descent
[12:29] <laurenceb_> only problem is the air resistance during ascent
[12:29] <laurenceb_> which will slow down the balloon
[12:30] <defy> hrm, yea
[12:31] <laurenceb_> at high altitudes its less significant
[12:31] <laurenceb_> shouldnt be a serious effect, I'm thinking of having the windg pointing up during ascent, with a cut down on the nose
[12:33] <laurenceb_> just dont want the playoad to cause damage by banging into the wing
[12:35] <laurenceb_> so, is the control suface response simply proportional to error on your glider?
[12:36] <defy> probably its just foam
[12:37] <laurenceb_> eh?
[12:37] <defy> can you elaborate your question?
[12:38] <laurenceb_> well to get your servo signal, do you multiply the error by a constant
[12:39] <defy> I'm using gumstix pre-written code for handing the servos, I give it a 10bit int..and it moves the servo, it always moves it into the same possition
[12:39] <laurenceb_> e.g if pitch thermopile signal is x , is servo set to servo_center*x*some_constant
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[12:39] <laurenceb_> oh okay... from my experience of servos I wouldn't could on them all being the same
[12:40] <laurenceb_> or going to the same position each time to 10 bit resolution
[12:40] <defy> http://websvn.gumstix.com/filedetails.php?repname=Buildroot&path=%2Fbranches%2Fprojects%2Frobostix%2FSimple-Servo%2FSimple-Servo.c&rev=0&sc=0
[12:40] <defy> gumstix/gumstix
[12:40] <defy> its all pretty straight forward
[12:40] <defy> the range is from 500-2500
[12:41] <laurenceb_> especially at low temperatures
[12:41] <laurenceb_> oh that sounds more reasonable
[12:41] <defy> so it takes the int thats fed from the ADC converts it to work within that range and applies it to the timers
[12:41] <laurenceb_> I added the integral term in the code to deal with such servo problems
[12:42] <laurenceb_> yes thats what I ment sorry
[12:42] <laurenceb_> so its just basic proportional control
[12:43] <defy> the nav portion of the code will just alter the gADC array to cause the plane to roll or pitch in whichever direction
[12:44] <defy> and hopfully I can combine that with my current gps possition, waypoint possition, current heading and required heading and point the plane where it needs to go
[12:44] <defy> yeah
[12:44] <laurenceb_> oh so it changes the target roll to turn the plane.. interesting
[12:44] <defy> designed to work via a potentiometer to just move the servo
[12:45] <laurenceb_> hadnt thought of that approach, could be very good, poss better than using rate gyros
[12:45] <defy> thermopile replaces the potentiometer, level flight reports 512, keeping the servos center..if it leans either way the alerons move in the direction to correct
[12:46] <defy> well my idea is to add the rate gyro into the equation
[12:46] <defy> take the ADC reading from the thermopile and the gyro, add and device by 2, get their average and apply that
[12:46] <laurenceb_> rate gyros are very temperature sensitive
[12:46] <defy> but I'm honestly starting to think that the thermopile by its self is enough
[12:46] <defy> yea exactly, these gyros drift quite a bit
[12:46] <laurenceb_> I think it would work very well I want to do it :-)
[12:46] <defy> but hopefully the thermopile could keep is centered
[12:47] <laurenceb_> however, I read a paper by some people at MIT saying that thermopiles were not reliable
[12:47] <defy> the test today was in some pretty gusty wind, and when that autopilot was kicked in it was stable as a rock..laughing with the auto pilot on was smoother than trying to take control myself because it could react faster than i could get my hand on the remote
[12:48] <laurenceb_> mhh
[12:48] <defy> I've seen it used in a lot of applications..lots of uav's have used them as well as the 4 proper dragonfly heli's
[12:48] <defy> I've also tested them in the sun, cloudy days, the rain and at night time
[12:48] <defy> the only thing I havn't really tested is how they perform at altitude..that will be interesting
[12:48] <laurenceb_> problem is clouds, they can be at odd temperatures and much up the readings
[12:49] <defy> oh yea im sure if it was IN clouds it would get totally haywire readings
[12:49] <laurenceb_> at low alt or very high alt its not a porblem, but when your gliding down it is
[12:49] <defy> maybe thats where combing the gyro will help
[12:49] <laurenceb_> or just passing clouds according to MIT
[12:49] <defy> hehe
[12:50] <laurenceb_> hmm thinking about how to combine a gyro...
[12:50] <defy> even if it went out of control, I think once it was able to get a proper reading it would correct it's self
[12:50] <laurenceb_> good point
[12:50] <defy> unless of course the clouds went all the way to the ground
[12:50] <laurenceb_> well you would only launch it in good weather
[12:50] <defy> yea
[12:51] <defy> I doubt this glider would be suitable for a drop as well, its made for the slopes
[12:51] <laurenceb_> I've done quite a bit of work on code to autocorrect rate gyros using the gps heading data
[12:51] <defy> I'd need something a little more self stable
[12:52] <laurenceb_> to very good approximation the center point drifts and the sensitivity changes
[12:53] <laurenceb_> so from 3 gps headings you could find the center point and sensitivity
[12:53] <defy> so you use the gps to calibrate the drift?
[12:53] <laurenceb_> then do a weighted mean over the last 30 seconds or so weighted according to how much the heading was changing
[12:53] <laurenceb_> yes
[12:54] <defy> cool
[12:54] <laurenceb_> for it to work really well you need the gps latency which is a pain
[12:55] <laurenceb_> but if the motion was smooth over a timescale of around 1 second it wouldnt matter
[12:56] <defy> i have a couple of gyro test videos up on that same youtube account
[12:56] <laurenceb_> yes I've seem them
[12:56] <defy> one was coded in perl, and mapped the movement, it was way to slow..the other one is hooked directly into the robostix using the same code as the thermpile code...it centers the servo on non movement though
[12:56] <laurenceb_> what gyro did you use?
[12:57] <defy> its the CRS03-02 from silicon sensing
[12:57] <defy> i got 4 sample gyros for free last year for writing a small review about them
[12:57] <laurenceb_> oh okay hadnt heard of it defore
[12:58] <laurenceb_> nice :)
[12:58] <defy> yea, at $250 each i would have never of paid for them =/
[12:58] <laurenceb_> I think the thermopile approach is the way to go
[12:59] <laurenceb_> if the pitch is level the glider isnt going to be turning much, simple as that
[12:59] <laurenceb_> would solve the issues with side wind gusts turning the glider
[13:00] <defy> well I think ill take everything into account, it'll keep an eye on decent and elevator up if its decending too fast
[13:00] <defy> not sure what style of glider would be best but it seemed to like the vtail quite nicely
[13:01] <defy> turns would be really simple, just offset the ADC value by some value, which could keep it at a specific bank
[13:01] <defy> getting the 'some value' will be where the trial and error comes in i think
[13:01] <laurenceb_> I want something quite big thats light and easy to transport and is not too picky about payload aerodynamics hence rogalllo
[13:02] <defy> yea, this glider really limits my payload size
[13:02] <laurenceb_> I've already built most of the electronics, and theres a lot to go in
[13:02] <defy> how big is it going to be?
[13:03] <laurenceb_> camera, phone, radio, main board, autopilot, gps, batteries, servo, cutdown
[13:03] <laurenceb_> about the size of MiHAB2
[13:03] <laurenceb_> Ie say 30cm long by 10cm by 10 cm
[13:03] <defy> a cutdown, hehe..thats one thing i haven't looked into at ALL yet
[13:04] <laurenceb_> use a heated resistor to burn plastic
[13:04] <defy> hrm..interesting
[13:04] <laurenceb_> well I'd better do some work... I'll look into getting thermopiles, looks more promising than gps alone
[13:04] <defy> technically for it to be legal here i need 2 independent cutdowns
[13:05] <laurenceb_> so I'll cya
[13:05] <defy> cool :) I emailed them to see if they'll be selling them again soon, ill let you know what they say
[13:05] <laurenceb_> thanx
[13:05] <defy> later
[13:05] <laurenceb_> look on the wiki for more info on cutdowns
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[20:59] <rocketboy> BBL
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[22:28] <LaurenceB> Hi all
[22:31] <LaurenceB> had an intersting discussion with defy earlier, he is using a two layer control system with thermopiles
[22:32] <LaurenceB> i.e. thermopiles are used to stabilise pitch and roll, but the null position is shifted by the gps code
[22:34] <LaurenceB> possibly a very effective technique
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[22:36] <LaurenceB> hi there
[22:37] <LaurenceB> just thinking about your control system lol
[22:42] <defy> hey :)
[22:52] <LaurenceB> you've basically got a two layer control system...
[22:53] <defy> do you know much about the atmega processors?
[22:53] <LaurenceB> a similar idea would be to use one of those heading hold units
[22:53] <LaurenceB> erm well I use bascom and its just like a pc :-)
[22:54] <defy> hrm, do you know if they support pthreads or fork()?
[22:54] <LaurenceB> parallel threads?
[22:54] <defy> I'm trying to find a way to do more than 1 thing at once with the robostix
[22:54] <LaurenceB> well I was working on it
[22:54] <defy> I suppose i should just look at the avr-libc docs
[22:55] <LaurenceB> but my pc based avr simulator crashed when I tried it out
[22:55] <LaurenceB> you have registers that are timer triggerable
[22:56] <defy> basically, if i start reading the serial ports inside of the pwm timer's loop, I'll throw the pulse width off
[22:56] <LaurenceB> and I was planning on swapping over the stack to ram
[22:57] <defy> although maybe if they're setup to non-block..hrm, i dunno..I really need to setup my other robostix and get it's uarts setup
[22:57] <LaurenceB> I use interrupts to do pwm
[22:58] <LaurenceB> you can see all the code on the glider page
[22:58] <defy> cool
[22:59] <LaurenceB> its not brilliantly commented, I'm lazy
[22:59] <LaurenceB> do you know a lot about stacks ect?
[23:00] <defy> nope nothing at all
[23:00] <defy> I'm a web programmer so my C and embedded skills are weak
[23:02] <LaurenceB> well basically the stack shows all the jumps ect youve made
[23:02] <LaurenceB> so each thread needs its own stack
[23:03] <LaurenceB> when you go to an interrupt the contents of all the registers are stored to the stack
[23:04] <LaurenceB> you can have a timer called interrupt that gets called from any running task and swaps stacks over before returning
[23:04] <LaurenceB> when your swapped stacks return will take you back into another thread
[23:05] <LaurenceB> - when you've swapped
[23:07] <defy> hrmm
[23:07] <LaurenceB> its the basis of an OS, the interrupt is the kernel
[23:08] <LaurenceB> altho I'm no expert on this, but I think thats the basics
[23:09] <LaurenceB> the stack is usually at the top of ram
[23:14] <LaurenceB> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_stack
[23:18] <defy> cool, i wonder if avrlibc has functions for dealing with that
[23:18] <LaurenceB> oh I tried out the big rogallo taday
[23:18] <defy> cool
[23:18] <LaurenceB> I've made the rc payload, but used two floor tile instead
[23:19] <LaurenceB> it was really slow, even with over 1kg on I could run at the same speed as it
[23:20] <defy> were you dropping it from a height?
[23:20] <LaurenceB> there was gusty wind and this made it really unstable, gusts caused it to stall
[23:20] <LaurenceB> steep hill
[23:21] <LaurenceB> I'm very suprised by how slowly it goes, I'm not sure its such a problem to get something to lift a 1kg payload
[23:22] <LaurenceB> got a IC plane with approx 1.5 meter wings, this has all the servos and stuff in already, might modify it
[23:23] <defy> cool
[23:24] <LaurenceB> the good thing is that rogallos dont get smashed up
[23:24] <defy> put any pictures of the big one online?
[23:24] <LaurenceB> altho the envelope ended up getting torn
[23:24] <LaurenceB> not yet, just got back from uni, havent found my camera yet
[23:25] <LaurenceB> its a bit of a mess now, it was embedded in a molehill
[23:25] <defy> lol
[23:26] <LaurenceB> the small glider is a lot lighter tho, will do some tests tomorrow or when the weather is good
[23:26] <LaurenceB> removed the motors and speed controlle so it just glides
[23:27] <LaurenceB> anyway I'm off to get some sleep cya
[23:27] <defy> sweet, cya :)
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[00:00] --- Sat Mar 17 2007