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Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Blog, Video

Above Harting Down

Test flight 4 complete…

Harting down is a good place for test flights – acres and acres of high hilltop greenery, relatively good recovery possibilities if anything should go horribly wrong, and a clear line of sight in every direction. Nice long grass as well, except on the pathways, so we can expect some cushioning should we have to come down in a hurry.

Harting-Down-TF4-2015-007

Not that I was expecting, or experienced any problems at all – it was 3 pretty much perfect flights with full GPS lock all the time, on the red, blue and red/yellow battery 5000 mAH Turnigy packs, which are the only ones that have proved reliable so far, and still hold almost a full charge 3 years after I bought them.

Higher, please…

There are good video reasons to fly Harting Down every so often, you start high, and it’s worth going to the (CAA imposed) max 400 ft above that to gain some spectacular views over South Harting and East Harting, and all the way back to Ashford Hangars, although I didn’t go quite high enough to see those properly.

In fact, I was extra cautious about height today because wind conditions were so ideal, which means everybody who’s got a light aircraft takes a day off and goes out in it. The skies over Petersfield were hardly ever empty earlier that day, so Harting Down proved to be a good choice for less populated skies.

Even so, I only did one flight with some real height to it, and confined the rest of my session to lower tree / canopy stuff, and flying out over the drop-off into the valley. Of course there could be no dive-bombing into it because I’d lose LoS, and I really didn’t fancy the massive walk it would have been to recover it had anything gone wrong while it was out over the bowl.

GoPro4 in the sun…

Before YouTube ruins it, I am enormously pleased with the resolution, sharpness and colour-set of the footage that my GoPro4 collects, and it certainly seems more reliable in operation than its predecessor, the GoPro 3+ which sometimes used to mysteriously stop filming once you were in the air. But is not without problems, particularly noticeable in today’s filmings under bright cloudless sky, and that is its reaction to general light level changes. The sun was overexposed quite a lot, and I noticed strangely abrupt changes in colourset at one point. Nothing that can’t be rescued either by choosing your down-angle more carefully, or in post, but even so…

I’m filming at 50 FPS, only because I have to use the PAL format so that my live feed from the craft displays properly on my monitor, and I get much better shots, angles, speed and framing when I can glance down and see exactly what I’m looking at. I can also see if the camera has stopped recording, although the GP4 hasn’t done this so far.

More importantly, I can see my battery voltage and the amount of mAH I have spent, which, together with my timer, and on-board battery alarm, means I’m well covered for knowing when it’s time to come home.