FlightSketch Products for 2020

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gtg738w

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As promised, I wanted to share some info on what is in store for 2020 from FlightSketch.
39AD9171-5540-43E2-81E9-9CCA24B8BC38.jpeg


First up, it’s been a long road getting the Mini to production and at every step it seems like someone has asked “why doesn’t it do ........” And well, there were a few awesome features that just wouldn't fit. In order to meet the size and price targets for the Mini, a few things got left out. The biggest being deployment events. So, we are announcing the FlightSketch Sport. All of the capability of the Mini plus a 2 channel deployment controller. It’s the same width as the Mini (fits in 18mm tube) and 2" long. Single cell LiPo operation opens up dual deploy to many more models. The first flight on the sport was a BT-55 model on a C6-5!
Example flight: https://flightsketch.com/flights/347/

Second, almost as many people have asked for the opposite - an even smaller altimeter for competition use. We shaved 30% off the mass of the original FS Mini but the question was still “how low can we go?” Introducing the FlightSketch Competition. A sub-gram recording altimeter that is just 8mm wide and with all of the features of the Mini including Bluetooth. Small enough for record setting flights in the smallest models, we will be pursuing NAR and FAI approval for contest use.

And one more thing... like many others, we’re tired of spending hours searching for models after landing. Even low power models in tall grass can be impossible to find. It’s (almost) 2020, why can’t I just get a map to my rocket? Introducing FlightSketch SST - the Super Simple Tracker. Still just 0.6 inches wide, fits in an 18mm tube and plots your rocket’s position in real time on Google Maps. Uses Ublox GPS with LoRa radio technology for incredible range without external antennas. We maxed out our line of sight test capability at 16.5 miles with still a few dB of link budget left. And most importantly, it will be the most affordable tracking system available.

Range test:
6D57CFB4-1CE7-4179-814B-75AA30BDD782.png



Actual flight:
D650D40E-3556-4CBF-B2E0-C541714AB19B.png


Stay tuned for more updates. Please let us know what features you would like to see!

Thanks for all of your support, looking forward to another amazing year.

Russ
 

SecondRow

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But seriously, the SST might be a game changer for me.
 

tOD

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When do you think we'll be able to buy the sport? I've got something in mind that would be perfect for this
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Very nice. Really interested in the Sport and SST.
What kind of UI is used?
How is the Sport programmed?
And so on and so forth.

A feature I would like to see, yes it'll make it bigger, live altitude streaming, maybe velocity as well.
 

DAllen

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[Lumbergh Voice]Hello Russ what's happening...I'm going to need you to go ahead and get this stuff into production.[/voice]
 

Chad

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man, those are awesome! what can we expect in terms of pricing?

You know what would be cool? A separate component that's like a rules engine for a pyro event. For example, imagine you have a two stage rocket and the sustainer is being ignited by a basic timer that fires N seconds after liftoff. Well this other component would sit between the timer and motor then, for example, the circuit would be open only if velocity >= X and tilt <= Y. It would be a great way for flyers to tie a decision on whether or not to really ignite a sustainer to a simple timer based setup without having to replace everything. I believe a while back there was a "tilt-o-meter" thing that basically did this, i think the schematics and code are on the forum somewhere.
 

gtg738w

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When do you think we'll be able to buy the sport? I've got something in mind that would be perfect for this
It will be a while - these are what delayed the Mini coming back. I wanted to make sure the basic design would support all of these variants. All four use the same processor family and share most of the same code. The new models are really proof of concept level. This post is to solicit feedback for what people would like to see in each. There are a huge number of possibilities. I'll probably start a thread in the electronics section with some more specific questions.

I also want to make a 18mm dual deploy model and see how high we can get it!

Very nice. Really interested in the Sport and SST.
What kind of UI is used?
How is the Sport programmed?
And so on and so forth.

A feature I would like to see, yes it'll make it bigger, live altitude streaming, maybe velocity as well.
All versions will (probably) use the same iOS/Android app. It will look the same as the current app with extra info as required. Programing the sport will be through the same interface. Live stats including altitude, ground speed and heading will be included.

what can we expect in terms of pricing?
Thats the question... I have targets in mind but the current situation with the Mini has resulted in some interesting emails to say the least. Not quite sure how to balance price and demand yet. Would be interested to see what people would expect to pay for a given feature set.
 

stmoon

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oh please.. just send my paycheck to you guys!!
 

Chad

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Thats the question... I have targets in mind but the current situation with the Mini has resulted in some interesting emails to say the least. Not quite sure how to balance price and demand yet. Would be interested to see what people would expect to pay for a given feature set.
what would be pretty easy is to just hold an auction with an opening bid at cost + whatever_margin_you_want. Then after you auction 10 or 15 units take a look at the bidding history and take the median. You'll have to filter out bidding wars but that seems to be a quick/easy way to do price discovery. I'm sure there's thesis after thesis on price discovery from grad students on the web too.

One thing that would be a tremendous contribution is a detailed build thread on how you went from a concept to a shippable board including all the manufactures and companies you had to engage with to get finished products in your hands.

EDIT: given how inventory seems to work for rocket electronics you may consider just selling via 24 hour auctions period. I'm sure there's a brazillion auction APIs out there or you could write your own. Setup a newsletter announcing when inventory levels change and then let the market figure out pricing.
 
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rharshberger

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what would be pretty easy is to just hold an auction with an opening bid at cost + whatever_margin_you_want. Then after you auction 10 or 15 units take a look at the bidding history and take the median. You'll have to filter out bidding wars but that seems to be a quick/easy way to do price discovery. I'm sure there's thesis after thesis on price discovery from grad students on the web too.

One thing that would be a tremendous contribution is a detailed build thread on how you went from a concept to a shippable board including all the manufactures and companies you had to engage with to get finished products in your hands.

EDIT: given how inventory seems to work for rocket electronics you may consider just selling via 24 hour auctions period. I'm sure there's a brazillion auction APIs out there or you could write your own. Setup a newsletter announcing when inventory levels change and then let the market figure out pricing.
I will be the first to say, I will not participate in an auction for a product that is currently being manufactured. OOP products are a different matter. The price point has to be determined and fixed, the cost to develop and produce a new item should be well known, and the the price can be adjusted based on demand. But one thing about rocketry is that some people are willing to spend large amounts on items with relatively litte value (not saying that these products have little value, they are sure to be fantastic devices with excellent value).
 
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billdz

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Russ, any thought of making a device that has both dual deploy control like the Sport and GPS like the SST?
 

gtg738w

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I will be the first to say, I will not participate in an auction for a product that is currently being manufactured.
I have to agree. An auction by definition would determine market value but I think it needs to be a known quantity and the same price for everyone, at least for a given lot. Plus, for a new product, people have no idea what it is really worth and I think there would be a good chance of someone overpaying and being disappointed it wasn't everything they dreamed of. Proven products like Jolly Logic, EggTimer, Featherweight, Marsa, etc... have an established record of quality and reliability that we don't have (yet). I think it's reasonable to limit prices to be significantly lower acknowledging it will take some time to get the initial bugs out. Obviously on the other hand is the problem we have with the Mini where it sells out quickly and people are still disappointed...

One thing that would be a tremendous contribution is a detailed build thread on how you went from a concept to a shippable board including all the manufactures and companies you had to engage with to get finished products in your hands.
That is a great idea. I know at least one person actually built their own mini over the summer from the info we published. There are obviously loads of talented people here and I would love to see more progress in this area.

Russ, any thought of making a device that has both dual deploy control like the Sport and GPS like the SST?
My though was the Sport would be wired into the av-bay and stay with a given model. A separate tracker that is self contained could be moved around and also have more flexibility in placement avoiding metal all-thread & wiring for RF performance. The BoM overlap is actually pretty small so there wouldn't be much cost savings. It would be possible to do though and might eliminate some wiring to have an all in one.
 

BDB

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In my opinion, you have a winner with an affordable deployment altimeter that can be programed by a phone app. That convenience is why so many of us use Eggtimer Quantums. If you could be close to the price of the Quantum (but didn't have to assemble them), you would sell out of the deployment altimeters as fast as the Minis on Black Friday.
 

cwbullet

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ok, I am glad I skip many of the Black Friday Sales.
 

Eljay

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I bought two of the Minis and I'm definitely interested in the SST when it comes out. I have a lot of deployment altimeters so while I might pick up a Sport just to compare it's not as exciting.
 

manixFan

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Russ, any thought of making a device that has both dual deploy control like the Sport and GPS like the SST?
Just as an aside, in my experience combined units really don't work that well. Trackers really belong in the nosecone, A/V bays, not so much. Trackers require no external wiring, deployment altimeters require a switch and of course connections to the charges. Most trackers have long enough battery lives that you can turn them on well in advance of putting the rocket on the rail and making sure they are working. If you can't test them until they are on the rail now you have to check both your 'beeps' and your tracking - it adds to the delay at the pad. Altimeter bays tend to be custom to each rocket, a tracker can live in a nosecone that can be moved easily.

Just my experience over many years as both a flyer and as an observer.


Tony
 

Tobor

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A feature I would like to see implemented could be handled by adding a Bluetooth "Data Link" between the Sport and the SST. The link would allow deployment events to be reported back to the tracking receiver. I have no idea how much code would be required to bring such a feature to life but it's a neat concept IMHO.
 
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NateB

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I suppose I take the opposite approach of some of you guys posting. These are small units and I would find more value in them doing one thing well and keeping the price and complexity down. They are small enough that you should be able to put 2 or 3 of them on a sled even on a 24mm project.

Getting them to communicate with each other is a neat idea, if it works without fuss. I would be concerned that this could introduce errors which would make troubleshooting gremlins at the pad frustrating.
 

Chad

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I suppose I take the opposite approach of some of you guys posting. These are small units and I would find more value in them doing one thing well and keeping the price and complexity down. They are small enough that you should be able to put 2 or 3 of them on a sled even on a 24mm project.

Getting them to communicate with each other is a neat idea, if it works without fuss. I would be concerned that this could introduce errors which would make troubleshooting gremlins at the pad frustrating.
I really like that idea too. The easiest way would be to use one of the built in serial buses and physically wire them together with connectors. The coolest way would be to use the mesh networking features of Bluetooth 5.
 

Scott_650

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My FS Mini arrived today - now that’s awesome customer service! Of course the weather here in north central Ohio is dreadful so it’ll be awhile before I can try it out. The size/mass of the Mini is amazing but I do have a question - what’s the best option for use when NOT mounted on a sled? My first thought is a small sleeve made of an open weave synthetic fabric. Any suggestions?

As for future products the SST looks great! I’m sure if I knew anything about how these gizmos work I wouldn’t need to ask this question, but does the SST require some kind of cell phone wizardry? I’m happy when I can figure out how to make a call or send a text on my cheapy Android phone so hopefully the SST is a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.
 

rharshberger

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My FS Mini arrived today - now that’s awesome customer service! Of course the weather here in north central Ohio is dreadful so it’ll be awhile before I can try it out. The size/mass of the Mini is amazing but I do have a question - what’s the best option for use when NOT mounted on a sled? My first thought is a small sleeve made of an open weave synthetic fabric. Any suggestions?

As for future products the SST looks great! I’m sure if I knew anything about how these gizmos work I wouldn’t need to ask this question, but does the SST require some kind of cell phone wizardry? I’m happy when I can figure out how to make a call or send a text on my cheapy Android phone so hopefully the SST is a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.
My BF order is out for delivery, not bad CT to eastern WA in only 3 days.
 
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