Into the wild with Cheerson CX-20

22 April 2016 at 20:15
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There are quite a few reviews made about Cheerson CX-20, so I will not follow the beaten path and will tell you about its use in the field. Both the specifications and prices are available on its flypage.


I am one of those who prefer outdoor recreation and this year I scheduled two trips: to Svaneti (Georgia) and the ascent of Kachkar (Turkey). 25 days in total. GoPro is always with me during such events, but at some point, I decided to add a couple of unordinary angles, so I purchased Cheerson CX-20 and four additional batteries for it.

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Preparation



To avoid any questions from officials I packed the copter into a backpack in order not to expose it. I enveloped it in a sleeping bag making sure that the pressure was distributed along the whole surface thereby minimizing the risk of damage in transportation. The remote control, the batteries and other components were aslo there.

Once I settled into a hotel in Kutaisi, first off, I unpacked my backpack and checked the integrity of the quadcopter. Everything was fine.

Svaneti (Georgia)



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Day 1, the evening before dinner. The wind was weak, so I decided to perform a first trial flight, took the quadcopter out and found a crack on a GPS antenna. The compass itself was not affected and I managed to make a few pictures of our camp, after that a wind arose and I had to stop the flight.

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Day 2, a hidden function of cow grazing.

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We settled on a large clearing at the slope. The place was perfect for flying but I have found a crack on the quad’s arm. It is likely happened because I had failed to fill the empty space around my Cheerson.

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The wound was not deadly and I managed to fly successfully. First off, I checked the flying performance of the quadcopter without the camera. The drone easily obeyed, and I even managed to chase the cows (although they obviously were not happy with the flying buddy). The first flight with the camera ended in a fall, because with the additional load the response to the throttle was slowed.



I carried the quadcopter on the top of the backpack the following days in order to avoid any damage.

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Day 5. Koruldi lakes and Mestia viewpoint.

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I took the quadcopter along for the radial route; I had a great idea for a video. Unfortunately, the video turned out too dark. Most likely because of the sun shining into the lens. I made yet another attempt at the viewpoint over Mestia. This flight also failed due to the strong wind, but I managed to make a couple of successful snapshots nevertheless.



Day 6, a start from the Svan tower. Before lunch we walked around Mestia and climbed the roof of one of the towers. In search for the interesting snapshots, I started the quadcopter from the roof; flying was tricky because the gusts of wind would blow it away. I had to catch it, because the roof was small and inclined.



Day 8, a long untrodden passage and a broken compass. At the crack of dawn we started to work our way through the grass and rhododendrons to the passage. The slope was steeper on the other side of the passage. Only grass grew there, which you had to hold on to. At the very bottom I lost my footing and swayed forwards, thus the quadcopter was sandwiched between the backpack and my head; at that very moment the remote antenna I glued together a day before broke off.

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Day 9, a mountain lake on the Svan ridge. The lake is pretty high and surrounded with the mountains on three sides and the only fine view one will have is on one side. This relief was a second chance for my plan after the Koruldi lakes. This time I miscalculated the trajectory and took off too low.



Day 10, horseplay over the water. The morning started off with flights; I simply flew over the clearing but then decided to hover over the lake. Everything seemed fine, but at some point I got distracted and quadcopter fell into the water. It appeared unharmed upon preliminary examination.



Transfer from Georgia to Turkey



We took a shuttle from Batumi to Pazar, for that reason I did not pack the quadcopter into the backpack, but simply put it in a bag and covered with a jacket so that it would not catch anyone’s eye. At the border when my stuff was X-rayed, the quadcopter looked like a couple of boards on the scanner monitor and the cables were visible in some places. Nothing suspicious altogether and from now forth I stopped being afraid that I might get into trouble for it. The bottom line is not to show it.

Kachkar (Turkey)



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Day 2, a flight after the lighting. The passage was accompanied with squally wind and rain, but towards the evening the clouds parted and I assembled the quadcopter. It started beeping after a while indicating low battery and I panicked. As a result, I was all mixed up with the control and, lest something irreparable happened, shut down the motors at about 5-meter height. Consequently, the quadcopter broke both legs (chassis), but it is a good thing that the travel aid-kit always contains Band-Aids. Upon treatment, the legs improved a lot and became flexible.

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Day 3, a huge clearing broken with streams. In the middle of the day, we walked into a huge clearing where the cows were grazing, and a thought to shoot it from above would not leave my mind. Having crossed the clearing lengthwise, I decided to fly over it after all despite the wind. Video.

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Day 6, cow grazing. Did you know that cows treat dogs the same way Tom treated Jerry? It would have been fine, if not for the battle by our tents; we had to chase away the cows again and again.
Through the experience from Svaneti, I started the quadcopter and it was able to chase the cows away for some 500 meters. It lasted for about 20 minutes and after that, the whole herd at full speed would run toward barking of the dogs that would hang around our tents. By the way, I let the quadcopter fly far during this flight and decided to use the function “Return to home”. Cheerson behaved quite oddly, it would fly in my direction, and then it would go widely sideward and backward. Most likely it was due to the wind, because the tilt of the turn in the Home mode is small. I waited until quadcopter flew closer and switched to the manual mode, after that lowered the height, and brought it back to me without any trouble.



Conclusions



I’d rather start with disadvantages, in fact, there are only two of those. Firstly, I would like to point out the misplacement of the GPS antenna. With every impact the cap would break off the leg and in the end I simply put it on in such a way as to maximally press it to the body. Secondly, the legs that would break in a case of more or less serious crash. I think they should be made of more flexible plastic.

Besides, it is preferable to shoot with a gimbal; I have hard time finding a segment without any jerks and more than five seconds long.

Despite these mild disadvantages, I would likely to recommend this quadcopter. It fell, it drowned, it got blown with the wind and nevertheless it is still running and with me.

I would like to specially focus on its “Return home” function; several times I sent the quadcopter so far away that I lost the sight of it. But once the mode was switched on, it obediently flew back home. However, one must be careful with the strong wind for the tilt of the quadcopter is not enough in this mode for fighting the wind and it goes the opposite direction. Once the wind dies down, the quadcopter returns to the owner.
Photo and video are provided by the trip planner Kirill Yasko.
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