The 808 series of key-chain spy cameras


When it comes to dirt-cheap video cameras, the 808 series of key fob cameras must be one of the most popular. A large selection of these can be found on Amazon.com These cameras are designed to look like a vehicle key fob, and they do a great job of that.   Most folks would look at them and have no idea that you have a video camera attached to your key chain.  However, for many people, spying isn’t the primary use for these camera.  They are commonly used to capture areal footage from a model plane, helicopter, or rocket.  Because these cameras are lightweight, they work well for this purpose.

There are several models of 808 key chain cameras, and the video quality and price varies widely between these models.  The model is simply a number, usually between 1 and 24.  When you buy one of these, the particular model should be specified.  If it is not, be careful!  The lower models have very low resolution and video quality.  I got one of those to use with my model rockets to get areal footage.  You can see the quality (or lack thereof) by taking a look at my rocket videos, or the video taken from my radio controlled Sky Ranger airplane.  The cost for my camera was about $12, and I knew what I was getting.   However, there are some sellers that will sell you a low quality model for $40 or $50 – a big rip-off.

If you’re looking for a higher quality camera and don’t mind a higher price take, the 808 #16 and 808 #26 cameras are some of the most popular and give you 720p and 1080p video respectively.   In addition to the 808 series, there are also some similar cameras that have become very popular.  One of those is the Mobius Action Camera, which is similar in specs to the 808 #24 camera and will probably be my next camera purchase.

Five Tips for the Beginner R/C Airplane Pilot


I recently took up the hobby of flying radio controlled aircraft. It’s a lot of fun, but I would have gotten off to a better start if I had understood a few things before my first trip to the flying field. Here are five tips that every aspiring R/C pilot needs to know.

1. Choose the right airplane

I’m not a voice of experience here. The only airplane I’ve ever owned is the Cox Sky Ranger. But as far as I can tell, the two things you’re looking for in a beginner airplane are: Easy to fly, and durable. The Cox Sky Ranger is fairly good at both of these. It is very easy to fly, but it doesn’t glide well. You have to give it a little throttle when you come in for a landing. On the durability side, the “flex-foam” construction is almost impossible to break on a crash. The safe-prop system also makes breaking a prop very unlikely. However, if you crash it hard nose-first, you’ll bend the motor shaft. If it’s a minor bend, it may still be able to fly, albeit with less power. If it’s bent badly, you’ll probably have to get a new motor, which isn’t necessarily all that expensive but still a disappointment when it happens. I love my Sky Ranger, but if I had it to do over, I’d buy the Cox Sky Cruiser, which does glide (according to the reviews I’ve watched), and has a push prop above the fuselage where it is almost impossible to break in a crash.

2. Find a suitable flying area

Now that I know how to fly my Cox Sky Ranger, I can easily fly by Cox Sky Ranger in an area the size of a softball field. However, when you’re learning how to fly, a larger area is better. I’d also recommend you find a place with grass as opposed to a hard surface. Obviously, if you’re taking off from the ground as opposed to hand-launching, you’ll need a smooth hard surface to take off from; but grass is a lot more forgiving when you crash.

3. Choose the right day

The first time I flew, I made the mistake of thinking a slight breeze wouldn’t make a difference. You can fly in a slight breeze once you gain experience, but when you’re starting, choose a day when there’s no detectable breeze. If you know where there’s a flag flown on a high flag pole, take a look at that. If the flag is moving, choose another day.

4. Understand the controls

When I flew for the first time, I didn’t understand how the controls worked. From my experience when video games when I was younger, I thought that I simply held the stick to the right or left to start a turn and kept it in the position until the turn was complete. After a few crashes and a little research, I realized that I was doing it wrong. A short nudge of the stick to the right or left was all that was necessary to bank the plan and start the turn. Then the stick is centered again. If the plane starts to level off before it has completed the turn another nudge will put it back into a bank. Once the turn is complete, a brief nudge in the opposite direction may be necessary to straiten the plane out.

Of course, before any of this works correctly, you need to trim the controls so the plane flies straight when you release the controls. Read the manual, and watch some instructional videos before you take to the skies.

5. Label your plane

If you’re like most R/C pilots, sooner or later you will lose an aircraft. Put your name and phone number on the plane somewhere so you have a chance to get it back if that happens.

Conclusion

For me, learning to fly meant 8 or 10 crashes and a bent motor shaft before my first successful flight. If you follow these tips, you have a good chance of doing a lot better.