Tiny Whoops Pt.1

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve enjoyed making stuff. My lego obsession was evidence of that enough. Evidence that filled entire wardrobes and emptied entire bank accounts… But another that went fairly unsated was the enjoyment gained from remote control vehicles. I only ever had a few of them but they tickled an itch that nothing else could scratch. 

Then one day, Lego revealed a remote control car platform onto which you could build your lego creations! It was a dream and for a while I diligently built race car bodies and truck cabs and all sorts. Until I realised that the more Lego I added, the slower the car went and the shorter the batteries lasted (not to mention the carnage and loss of pieces from exploding models when it crashed) So eventually I just drove it around, without any lego.

It was great fun, but not really a serious remote control car. Nothing like my cousin Daniel who had something amazingly fast. I remember playing with his car on the driveway and struggling with the strange trigger and steering wheel controller. This was QUICK! So quick that very often we slammed it into the kerb, it was amazingly good fun. I remember wanting something like that so much, but never saving up the money to buy one, and by the time I was 15 and starting to earn money from my paper round and working in the canteen, I had firmly set my sights on getting a full size, proper, adult, motorbike. So the remote controlled car experience was left behind.

There is another memory I have from our trips in the car through the New Forest to visit our Aunt and Uncle. I’d stare out the window like any gormless kid in the pre-mobile phone age and make my own games up. My game involved imagining I had in my hands the controller to the fasted and most-est awesomeness remote control flying, floating, speeding, zoomy car on the whole world!!!! < I was only 13-15 ish so my english skills were lacking ] I would imagine deploying my remote car from under our car like something out of a James Bond for kids cartoon, and then zooming off ahead, weaving in and out of the other cars on the road. I’d circle the car ahead of us and then zoom back to under our car so no one would see what it was. It would then transform ( obviously ) into an offroad truck with bouncy suspension and huge tyres so it could jump and splash through the puddles and over the mounds of green grass at the edge of the road. In the New Forest, there are always sheep and horses keeping the grass short near the roads, which was easy for the truck to deal with. I couldn’t go to far away into the scrubland tho because I’d lose sight of it and have to just guess how to get back into visual range. 

Luckily I was an excellent imaginary driver and even when things looked hopeless, like I’d never see my car again, I could always find a conveniently placed mound, with a smooth run up ramp that pointed exactly back towards the road that I could launch from and sail over all the obstacles, to land neatly in my lap, through the open window…. Sometime during these events, I’d add extendable wings, so I had some control over where I could go and how far I could glide. It came in useful clearing large holes and for when I wanted to take a rest. I could just extend the wings and float up onto the top of the car and stop dead. Mum and Dad never heard me landing on the roof, I was just that good a driver! On one of these trips I remember thinking that a plane was just too restrictive. You always had to be going forwards in order to stay up in the air. Much better to have a helicopter! And so my racing car/truck/boat/plane could also now transform into a helicopter and land wherever it damn well pleased….

Well I’ve recently been able to scratch this long dormant itch with the advent of DRONES. I was given a toy drone at christmas that was AMAZING! It was as small as a cherry bakewell and as light as a mouse’s fart and as quick as a pingpong ball as it bounced around the room. It took a lot of learning. Now instead of my imaginary infallibility with only the left and right controls to make it do what I wanted, I had 4 degrees of movement on each thumb! I am so glad that the drone was cheap and very hardy because I smashed the absolute shit out of it, trying to learn. But I got it in the end and I was hooked. 

I started watching youtube videos of drones and soon discovered that my little toy drone was NOTHING compared to what you could fly with a bit of cash and a lot of practice. They also had something I’d not seen before; camera’s. They were mounted on the drone and the video was wirelessly viewed with goggles by the pilot. This meant you could actually fly the drone as if you were sitting in a miniature cockpit actually onboard! These FPV (First Person View) drones have been miniaturized by Jesse Perkins who has coined the class Tiny Whoop. They are so small and light weight they can be flown around your house without (too much) fear of breaking anything valuable.

Finally the remote control flying vehicle my thumbs have been wanting for many years of my youth has been unleashed to the world! I immediately bought a set from Ebay. And then some spare batteries. And then a charger. And then a new frame. And then some new motors. And then another new frame. And then a set of goggles. And then more batteries. And then a battery voltage checker…..

I was hooked – No doubt