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Posted by on Jul 27, 2018

Harting Heights

Harting Heights

Freewheeling over Harting Down Another one of the places I am very pleased to have revisited is Harting Down, a very pleasant fly site, a largely unobstructed wide open field, only made Level 3 by the often turbulent and prodigious wind, and by the difficulty of recovery should things go wrong while you are over the edge into the valley beyond. But the careful pilot who goes on the right day, when the wind isn’t too bad gets rewarded by some epic views of the Hampshire countryside in the afternoon sun. Afternoon Artefacts I am beginning to see the wisdom of getting a neutral density filter set. As I venture out on flying missions in the day, as opposed to golden hour / sunsets, then I find myself having to set exposures very low (shutter speeds of up to 1/1000 needed today), which, given that I was filming at 60 FPS, is a long way from ideal. 1/120 would be the perfect setting for ultra smooth video there, and...

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Posted by on Jul 26, 2018

High Gold

High Gold

Return to Elsted I’ve missed this place in my time of no-flyings, so it’s nice to be back. I didn’t get here sooner only because I was working my way back up to it, after all this is what I’d call a level 3 fly-site – massive wide space, but lots of obstacles at a range of heights, and massive body of water nearby to not fall into. Also a minor road to avoid overflying, sometimes there is low air traffic, and usually walkers / dogs on the common, although unusually I didn’t see a single one today ! I was utterly alone with my Typhoon H and we had the skies to ourselves ! Technically Speaking I wouldn’t call today’s flights flawless – they started off that way, and kept going for a whole 20 minutes of flight. But during the last part of the second flight, I was hearing a rare but familiar short unusual motor buzz from the craft on reaction to input, there was a...

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2018

Water Works

Water Works

New Fly Site Alert Ever since curiosity got the better of me and I airwheeled my way down that lane down by Penns Place I have admired the view from the field that waits at the end of the road. We have a clear view all the way to Butser, but I couldn’t help noticing how perfect it would be for flying too. But I wasn’t flying at the time, so that plan was shelved for a while. But I am flying now :) There are a couple of houses there, but they are perfectly hidden by tree banks, so their privacy shouldn’t be affected by my presence. It is good in terms of space – there is certainly more than enough of that, very few obstacles (some powerlines, positions / heights noted), but it’s less ideal in terms of openness, being SO open that a fairly colossal amount of wind comes off the hills and sweeping into that field on most days. That keeps me away from here...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2018

Petersfield Pans

Petersfield Pans

It’s not a good idea (or legal) to film in town centers, where there are a lot of people, but for a long time I have been looking into other ways to get decent shots of my home town without breaking any rules. It all comes down to finding launch sites that are in exactly the right place – right on the edge of town, and I have been looking for those a lot recently. As you’ll see, I found 2 suitable sites, where I could launch in green fields with good tree protection, and more than 50 m away from any building, and 150 m away from any building with people in. Hospital Recreation Field Not alot of room to play here, but we do meet the minimum requirements for distance from buildings at launch, and if we go pretty much straight up and down in a single line we are doing considerate flying, not overflying any building or structure, and generally keeping out of the way, and...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2018

Turning Circles

Turning Circles

We’re down at Penns Place, today having a little fun on the ground before heading up high for the sunset… Finding Form Now that I am happy that the craft is relatively safe and stable in the air I can turn my attention more towards filming techniques, especially the unique and unusual perspectives offered by having total gimbal independence from the craft. So I start this video exploring the travelling pan, where our camera rotates at a constant rate while the craft moves in a straight line, and then later a much more variant flight path. This produces really nice, slightly dizzying epic sweeps of the surroundings, and the effect becomes much more pronounced if you add altitude change and reverse direction into the mix as well. Loving the results of that so far, I imagine I’ll do quite a lot of it wherever flying circumstances allow (can only happen where you have clear VLoS for the entire path, because you obviously can’t rely on a screen that isn’t...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2018

New Fly Site – Rake Lane

New Fly Site – Rake Lane

The Lay of the Land… Special Assistant Andy told me about a cool little field he passes on the way from Milland to Petersfield, and having pre-flighted on google maps it did look ideal, in that it was vast, safe, miles from anywhere, and the landscape was very attractive, and contoured interestingly, and today it was particularly good because of all the black-wrapped hay bales everywhere. But we did get there quite late, so light was fading fast, and there wasn’t as much time as I would have liked to really use the space to our advantage, but the sunset was great, a nice ethereal spooky pink and purple one that made a nice end to the fun flyings in the field below. Can we fly here ? My main concern with any fly site is ‘Is it safe to fly?’, but there are other considerations too. It is very difficult to seek permission to fly at these sorts of places because it is almost never clear who owns...

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2018

Lake Panoramas

Lake Panoramas

Test Flights Complete With 20 problem-free flights between us (all in wide open fields in the middle of nowhere) there is now a good a level of trust building between me and my new flyer, so I am moreĀ  confident taking it where there are (a few more) people. Gotta watch out for defensive birds too, who can take a multirotor down if they take exception to it and attack. Fortunately today’s birds were quite chilled out and I wasn’t worried, having established in my pre-flight scout that there were no big raptors, or swallows about (the 2 main avian UAV aggressors). There is a lot to love about that machine, and today’s performance was one of its best. Whether it was gracefully side-swiping the tree line, or remaining nailed to the sky at any height for my various slow pans, the Typhoon H proved itself more than adequate to the task, although to be fair it was a particularly calm evening and even at 400 ft winds were...

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2018

Testing the Typhoon H

Testing the Typhoon H

Here are my thoughts on the first sessions with the Typhoon H. Hopefully not only is this a record of the flights for me but might be useful to other pilots about to fly the H for the first time. Large open space with nobody in it… (OK, 2 people and a dog in it, but even so…) When you get a new flying machine, and have done all its updates and hardware checks, the only thing remaining to be done is to get out there, fly it and learn its systems and responses. Being a pilot of some reasonable experience I know that this is best done far away from other people, so I have a selection of local ‘test grounds’, where I have permission to fly, and if I go early or late enough in the day the chances of encountering other people is very slim. All those are cricket pitches in my case, which are very good flying environments (when there isn’t a match on!) because...

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2018

Back from the Brink…

Back from the Brink…

Long time no fly ! Aerocam has been grounded for the last 3 years, mainly because of ‘trust issues’. After the 3rd crash caused by DJI flight controllers and no pilot error, I was at the point where I simply could not and would not trust that company again. Their lack of concern or willingness to admit to or address a problem that has plagued their flight controllers since the first one they ever built has left DJI’s reputation in tatters for me. They might be the biggest in the world, but they are flawed and have let me down 3 times too many. Discovery Pro I loved that machine, and in the year I had it before DJI trashed it was one the happiest and most rewarding periods of flying I’ve ever had, and the first time I had ever achieved proper broadcast-smooth footage, with that amazing gimbal and My GoPro 3+. Very keen to differentiate between the excellent Team Black Sheep, who have designed a brilliant system...

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