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Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Blog, Video

150 Tiny Gardens

Interesting Things on the Ground…

Constantly on the look-out for new places to explore from the air, my various wanderings took me just up the road from home, where I discovered a vast empty field neighbouring a pretty large set of allotments. Intrigued to see what they would look like from above, I set about planning this flight session extremely carefully.

No, I haven’t counted them. But there’s loads. It is my hope that the individual allotment owners (I couldn’t ask them all) won’t mind my brief sailplane around their growing efforts, and  might appreciate an unusual view of their produce.

Safety first…

There is more need for safety and risk assessment at this fly-site than at almost any other I have flown before, entirely due to its proximity to the railway track that passes behind the allotments. Although a lot of it is protected by tall trees, not all of it is, and I needed to be able to guarantee that I would not overfly the track, or risk crashing on it, so I took a number of steps to completely eliminate that risk.




Flight Planning

Before the flights, I walked the entire site, planning a flight route that would maximise my distance from the railway line, also gaining permission to fly as I went, and noting how many people were present on the site. Permission was kindly given by Nick, of The Black Sheep in Petersfield (Thanks Nick!) who leases and gardens several of the patches there (and has some multirotor experience himself), and I established that there were only 3 other people on-site, none of whom I would overfly directly.

I also tried to fly a route that avoided the many sheds and other structures on the ground, but of course they were so numerous this couldn’t be avoided altogether. However, none of the buildings were occupied by anything other than plants or tools, so I considered them ‘structures under my control’ and decided that the flights there were safe to make. In the unlikely event that I crashed, damaging someone’s property I was resolved to leave a note with my contact details so that I could take full responsibility and apologise to whoever’s greenhouse I might have damaged.

As the second of my 3 short flights took place, another gardener arrived by car, but I could see them on my viewscreen well in advance, and also avoided overflying them.



The wind was negligible, at 3 mph, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

There were several trains on the tracks during my session, and all but one of them stopped alongside the allotments, in response to signals ahead, before moving slowly on towards (I assume) Petersfield Station. I stayed as far away from them as I possibly could at height, but allowed the craft to get within 50m of them when there were high trees between the the train and the flyer.

Lastly, for the majority of the flights I stayed under 150 ft so that I didn’t have to worry about other traffic in the sky, although in the second flight, having observed that I did indeed have the sky to myself, I climbed to 400 ft briefly, to get the site overview, but again, did it over the empty field to put as much safe distance between the flyer and the railway track as possible.

I am pleased to report 3 ‘text-book-perfect’ flights, in which I had precision control throughout, no satellite drop-outs, and all flights were conducted safely and without incident.

Gardens Later…

I was later to be rewarded by beautiful aerial views of the ground, captured by my GoPro4 as it passed at various altitudes over the growing vegetables and flowers of all the people that have plots there. Sitting down for the edit, I very much admired their hard work. Let’s have a look at that in the gallery.

The Final Solution ?

I feel the excellent design of the TBS Discovery Pro should get a mention for its consistent delivery of ultra-smooth, professional quality video, courtesy mainly of its amazing camera gimbal set-up, which entirely isolates the GoPro from any on-board vibration caused by wind or generated by the propellers. Graupner props further minimize this, and now I use them exclusively, for that reason, and because they also offer stiff, responsive control, and never break, except in a crash.

Before I found this flyer I used to really struggle with jello and vibration, but TBS really have found the perfect system. Thanks Trappy ! :)

And thank you for watching…

More like that, later