Harting Down Photoblog
Spring has sprung…
It’s been a full 11 days since I last went flying, work and unusual sleep patterns mainly getting in the way of the aerial fun this week.
There has even been a bank holiday weekend in which I wasn’t out with the band, and the sun was gloriously illuminating the countryside for a full 3 days, and there was almost no wind – but other things conspired, and in the end I didn’t get out until late Monday night – arriving at Harting Down for around 8 pm, in time for the sunset at 8.30.
I almost didn’t fly at all. When I arrived, I set up half way down the hill, and upon powering up immediately encountered 2 major problems.
- The start up sequence of ESC beeps was wrong, and continued in a cycle until power was removed. This has happened once before and is a new problem since the last crash.
- GPS just would not locate more than 4 out of 7 satellites – not once in 20 minutes.
So I ruled flying ‘unsafe’, and moved all my gear back to the car, ready to depart, but then it occurred to me to check if I could get GPS on top of the hill. I wanted to see if the hill was the problem or if it was my GPS disc, temporarily affixed directly to an arm while I await the arrival of a replacement mounting mast, the original of which broke in the recent crash. And on powering up for the second time, full 7-satellite GPS lock was achieved, although it still took about 5 minutes to get there.
The other problem seemed to have disappeared as well, and I conducted a good 5 mins worth of hand-held ‘shake and roll’ testing to see if I could get power to fail through what must be a dodgy connection somewhere. It passed that test, so I decided it was safe enough to try some low-risk, low level flights over just the open field parts of the hill. There were no people or animals anywhere near my flight path, and I was prepared to risk a crash from low level onto soft, long grass. And it passed that test, so I did another one, and went a little bit higher and further. And then another. And another.
A slightly ill-advised, though not unsafe 8 flights later, I landed intact and as intended, with no recurring power or ESC issues.
That’ll be luck, however, and I’m not going up again until I’ve found and fixed the problem.
Although I probably have got enough footage to make one, there probably won’t be a video for today’s adventure – I wasn’t really concentrating on cinematic moves, or overflying anything spectacular because I didn’t want to risk going down in a forest miles away just as it gets dark. If you don’t trust your craft 100%, you are severely limited in what you can do. So mainly I pointed my camera at the sun and high cirrus clouds, and whazzed off some photos we can all enjoy instead.
Here they are.
Back in the air as soon as I can…