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 a particular field, unless there are any houses or farms nearby. We don’t want to go knocking on doors disturbing people, so I generally think best thing to do is try to find an unlocked gate (I won’t fly in locked gated fields) and if there is one, you know the owner probably isn’t going to mind if you fly there as long as you treat his property with respect and don’t trample stuff, or leave gates open etc. Occasionally a land-owning farmer will see the drone over his land, and come and find you, hopefully not with a shotgun, and you can make your apologies and officially ask for permission to continue. Or of course pack up at the request and go somewhere else if they are not keen. No damage done either way.
As luck would have it, the gate to the field wasn’t locked, so we assumed that would probably be fine to just borrow it for half an hour of evening flights. Glad we did, because the sunset was amazing.
There really was a lot of space here so we tried the first of the TH’s autonomous features – the pilot Orbit Mode, which did a brilliant job of circling the controller until we told it to stop at which point it returned to flawless hover. Impressive stuff. I generlaly don’t want me in any of my videos, certainly not as a focus of attention, so I am more keen to try ‘Point of Interest’ mode, which allows me to do the same thing but around a landscape feature or object other than the pilot. Very useful that one I’m sure. Likewise Curved Cable Cam and the various Follow / watch modes are all on my list to try out and test soon.
I had hoped to do some proper range tests here, as the field extends so far away from the launch that you can get about 1km away, at about 10-20m above ground level, without losing VLoS, very helpful for range tests