Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Blog, Video

Cloud Connected

The misty sands.

I was planning on heading into QE Country park for some sunlit woodland flying, but before that, as I was driving along the South coast on a brilliantly bright and sunny afternoon, suddenly, as if from nowhere, a large bank of cloud / fog / mist started moving rapidly inland from out at sea to the South East.

Weather bands

Cloud bank

I’d never seen weather conditions quite like it, and had my hex in the back, so overjoyed at the possibility that the cloud may have actually come to me for a change, and that I might be able to legally get above it without breaking the 400 ft rule (usually impossible), I parked up, got down on the beach and launched skywards for what would be 8 exhilarating (and at times quite tense) 6-7 minute flights. Yes the cloud is perfect, but the wind is pretty full-on – most of the time manageable, but sometimes less so. Fortunately, it was blowing inland, and was fairly constant.


But mainly, I’m here for range-testing on some new antennas, and to see if mounting the GPS disc on an arm without a mast makes any difference to GPS-related behaviour. And testing / tweaking some much increased gains. The wind will be a good test for GPS hold and my faster settings should make it more responsive as it fights to stay on the path it’s trying to follow.

A clover-leaf antenna, yesterday.

A clover-leaf antenna, yesterday.

Risk aversion

Notice that today I am not taking any risks so soon after a rebuild, and before I am 100% certain about what caused my last crash. So, whilst I am prepared to put the craft through second level tests, and pit against all sorts of weather, and difficult terrain, unusually for me, there will be hardly any flying over the sea and a lot of nice safe ground stuff.

Still shaking…

So whilst the conditions have made it a fairly ropey video, and shaky as hell in places, it’s going up anyway because I like the scenery. I’ll try it with de-shake but have a feeling I’ll have to remove it again because it’s rubbish at low shots and this is full of them.

The good news is that it is, I am fairly sure, less shaky than it was with my old unbalanced craft and, whilst the wind is definitely have a go, and succeeds in disrupting perfectly smooth video, it is a step in the right direction.

I say it’s balanced now – it’s more balanced – still not exact, due to my varied battery pack weights and sizes… I must take the time to check the balance before each flight and adjust the position of the pack or camera along the rails until I get a perfect CoG.

Go and get the guitar…

It’s the tasteful phrasing and nice chord choices / voicings that makes Joe Satriani a good person to be accompanying today’s seaside antics, so thanks to him, and Stu Hamm for his smoothly melodic bass work.

Here’s some pics…


Just under the cloud, it’s all nice and clear…


Don’t want to be heading very far that way…


I love it how people desert a beach at the first sign of a bit of weather…


Don’t want to be falling on the rocks either, ideally. Or getting that camera wet.


200 ft moving cloud bank, starting at 100 ft finishing at 400 ft. Clarity either side.


A rare glimpse of the sun above the clouds – not often we can get shots like these.


Me, on the beach, just before the zombies emerged.



Right, more of that sort of thing, soon… it’s one of my mini-missions for this season – to get properly above some decent clouds – not silly misty ones like these – I want to get above the puffy cotton wool type.