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Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Blog, Video

Drive-by Flyings – Hawkley XL

Plan C – the Art of the Drive-by Fly.

First stop this evening was a huge array of garden allotments I’d spotted on Google maps just outside Petersfield.

They’ll look amazing in Spring, I thought, but no, when I got there, it was all very dull, and would have made for fairly uninteresting filming. Also, some safety concerns.

Plan B then was just up the road, but what Google had shown as a through road wasn’t any more, so that was the end of that one too, and the hill view over by Steep Cricket ground was out because there was cricket going on.

Which leaves plan C – the default when all else fails – race the sunset, and go randomly driving until you find somewhere to fly…

This random field I found appears to be connected to hundreds of others...

This random field I found appears to be connected to hundreds of others…

Hawkley Down

Just as I thought there wasn’t a single field in West Sussex that wasn’t locked or had horses in it, my luck finally changed when I drove through Hawkley. There I found ¬†an open gate leading to a freshly mown field with lovely contours, and tree-lined on most sides, but devoid of anything else… OK – some haybales, and some hay, which might get blown about a bit.

Wind power

And so with just 3 battery packs I launched into the air for 3 successful 5-6 minutes flights which were very relaxing and enjoyable. The ubiquitous wind was definitely there, but it was nice smooth consistent streams today, with not much of the bluster of yesterday’s gales. I say that, but my 2 main big pans were both ruined today by exactly that, as I chose to do them really very high, where the wind was most blustery.

Access All Areas ?

It’s a great phrase, but it really doesn’t apply to multi-rotors – while in theory there is almost nowhere that is out of bounds, at least in terms of possibility, there remain¬†lots of places I won’t / can’t go with my flyer, and I spend quite a lot of time deciding on which side of the ‘allowed or not’ fence the various locations I encounter may fall… it’s often a much greyer area than you’d think.

One thing is certain though. I am not restricting my flyings to one test field – what the hell is the point of that ? No, it is my duty to venture out into the world, and see the things in it (preferably from as high up as possible), and then share them with you all.

Lured by open gates…

Take today’s field. Had the gate not been wide open, if there had been any animals in the field, or if there was anything around I felt I could damage in the event of an accident I wouldn’t flown from here.

Definitely no damage, but possibly some extra blowing.

Definitely no damage, but possibly some extra blowing.

Should the worst happen, and I crash, I will do so onto grass or trees, wherever I could fall, causing no quantifiable damage to either – perhaps a small divot in the ground at worst.

But, I can see that the field is owned by someone, and that they care for it (it’s been recently mowed) so I will treat it with utmost respect, and take care to leave it exactly as I found it. I can’t ask them for permission – I have no idea who they are, and there are no buildings around for miles. But I am here, and the sun is going down fast, so I have to make a decision. And this blog shows what mine was, and this paragraph explains why.

Having already stopped, looked at and rejected (2 on safety grounds) 4 locations already, if I’d said no to this one, I’d have lost the sun, any chance of a video and wasted an evening’s driving round looking for launch sites. That factor shouldn’t affect my decision, but probably does.

Feel free to tell me on the YouTube comments if you think I’m wrong, or if you do things differently… I am interested to know.

XL videoings…

I was in the air for just 22 minutes total, and of that, 18 minutes was usable footage, and at least 12 minutes of that really nice shots. And I can’t just throw so many away, so because I’m really tired, and have already done one massive edit today – I’ll just throw those shots together over some reasonable Hard-house, and we’ll call that done. So, if you have another 7 minutes to kill, and want to spend it floating about over these fields…

Watch this.

If it’s unavailable, that’s because it’s so massive it’s still uploading. It’ll be here later.

More flyings soon hopefully…

JW