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Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog, Video

Sand Pits @ Sunset – Episode 1

It’s there if you dare…

Hey Internetsters – it’s me, back with another trip out to see something nice, mainly from the air. Today’s niceness is…

Beautiful, but dangerous if you go in the wrong bit.

Beautiful, but fairly lethal if you go in the wrong bit.

West Heath Sand Quarry, or as some people know it, Borrowers Sand Pit is just outside Rogate, off the A272.  Google maps found it for me, and I’ve flown here once previously, well before I started this blog, so it’s an first.

Let’s not get bogged down (pun intended) about what constitutes a quarry or a sand pit… we’re flying over it whatever it’s called.


It’ll be absolutely fine, as long as we don’t run out of, for example, battery power.

Double Bill

Not much wind in my bit of the air today, so quite a lot of usable footage ! And because I had so many nice comments about my last adventure, up at Stoner Hill, I thought you deserved another multi-parter. Part 2 isn’t up yet, but will be, hopefully within the week. That one will be ultra smooth and ultra slinky, but this one is pretty much straight out of the cameras and up, give or take a bit of clip editing…

Maximum Risk

This is a level 5 fly site, for one big watery reason. The CAA don’t like me taking risks, and I don’t take uncalculated risks when there are animals, people and buildings involved.

But put me in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to hit,  no people or animals anywhere to be seen, and a massive great lake, and that risk is entirely mine to take, and nobody can tell me not to.  The only objects that can possibly be affected by a worst-case-scenario type crash are mine, and the only person at risk of injury is me. And I’m fine with both those eventualities.

Yep – if I drop it anywhere in the lakes that comprise most of today’s location, my craft is almost certainly not coming back out, and I will be starting again from scratch or running out of cash and giving up. But you don’t get the decent shots without taking those risks sometimes, and I’m in this to get those sort of shots.

When I last flew from here, I confined my flyings to a simple vertical rise, a short pan, and straight back down again. That’s because back then, I was very new at all this, terrified of losing my new (then) quad, and absolutely unwilling to take even the smallest of personal risks. It is nearly a year later, and now I am a very different kind of pilot…


One of the last Winter suns flashes through the clouds, minutes before it disappears. My GoPro3 continued perfectly well without it. The GoPro 2… didn’t.

Go go GoPro…

Today my small arsenal of cameras truly came into their own. Realising that the head-cam mount in the car was rubbish last time, mainly due to my filthy windscreen, today I have improved that situation, so we’re outside the car for pretty much the whole way there for a much more pleasing result. Which is why it’s in the video again ! Well – that and so I remember where to go when I return for another session.

I was using the amazing suction mount that came with the cam, and the string I had rigged to catch it if it fell off was never required to do so – despite speeds of <60 mph and some rough ground, it remained reliably where I put it for the duration. I don’t live in America, so I don’t have to worry about people trying to grab it off my car as they pass.

The same GoPro2 Hero became head-mounted for the rest of the trip on foot, and during the flights (more of that in Part 2).

My GoPro 3, on the other hand, remained on-board my hexacopter the whole time, where it’s massively improved low-light performance, and better lens were there to capture all the flying goodness. I can honestly say I was blown away with how well that camera did. Even when the sun had actually set, and the GP2 would have been recording lots of horrible noise and lack of detail, the GP3 just kept getting better !

I did the first 4 flights in ProTune Mode, and when the sun had set, switched that off to allow optimum noise reduction and light levelling.

Looks like that lake's been leaking... great additional views over Hampshire to the North and West...

Looks like that lake’s been leaking… great additional views over Hampshire to the North and West…

Photo Frenzy

I took 50 stills from this flight session, and edited those down to the top 40. Five of them you can see now – the rest will be a long with part 2, together with the actual flight log, which is well worth waiting for, and full of excitement, extra danger and intrigue :) There might be a small crash in there somewhere too.

Here I am, not falling in the lake. Well done me.

Here I am, not falling in the lake. Well done me.

All today's flights launched from an 80 cm wide public footpath. You can ONLY do this with a multi-rotor. Here, the multi-rotor in question is wearing orange sunglasses.

All today’s flights launched from an 80 cm wide public footpath. You can ONLY do this with a multi-rotor. Here, the multi-rotor in question is wearing orange sunglasses.

The Music Rules

  1. Always take a grand piano with you. Specifically a Boesendorfer 290 Imperial Grand
  2. If you can find a string section, bring them too. Take whatever you can get.
  3. Ask the musicians to accompany your flight, varying their tone and atmosphere to match your flying.
  4. They can make their own way home.

I was lucky – I had both. Yep, musicality today is written and performed by me, so nobody needs to be a dick about the Copyrights (do they, WMG?)

See you in Part 2.