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Posted by on Aug 28, 2018

Sky Light

Sky Light

Power Down There has been a lot of rain recently, but I had battery packs that needed running down to storage charge, so I was very much looking for the gaps in it. Not brilliantly, as it turns out, as seen in this quick video, where I arrived at Iping / Elsted Common with a relatively bright sky, but by the time I had set up, a heavy cloud bank had moved in, was heading very much my way, and the quality of the light was quite muted and eerie. I decided to do my first flight while I thought the impending rain would hold off, and it did, until right as I was coming in to land. Got her down without problems, and just had time to shelter the craft under the landing pad before the heavens opened, and we had the lengthy shower the cloud was threatening… To fly or not to fly ? On another day I might have given up and gone home in the...

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Posted by on Jul 26, 2018

High Gold

High Gold

Return to Elsted I’ve missed this place in my time of no-flyings, so it’s nice to be back. I didn’t get here sooner only because I was working my way back up to it, after all this is what I’d call a level 3 fly-site – massive wide space, but lots of obstacles at a range of heights, and massive body of water nearby to not fall into. Also a minor road to avoid overflying, sometimes there is low air traffic, and usually walkers / dogs on the common, although unusually I didn’t see a single one today ! I was utterly alone with my Typhoon H and we had the skies to ourselves ! Technically Speaking I wouldn’t call today’s flights flawless – they started off that way, and kept going for a whole 20 minutes of flight. But during the last part of the second flight, I was hearing a rare but familiar short unusual motor buzz from the craft on reaction to input, there was a...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2018

Petersfield Pans

Petersfield Pans

It’s not a good idea (or legal) to film in town centers, where there are a lot of people, but for a long time I have been looking into other ways to get decent shots of my home town without breaking any rules. It all comes down to finding launch sites that are in exactly the right place – right on the edge of town, and I have been looking for those a lot recently. As you’ll see, I found 2 suitable sites, where I could launch in green fields with good tree protection, and more than 50 m away from any building, and 150 m away from any building with people in. Hospital Recreation Field Not alot of room to play here, but we do meet the minimum requirements for distance from buildings at launch, and if we go pretty much straight up and down in a single line we are doing considerate flying, not overflying any building or structure, and generally keeping out of the way, and...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2018

New Fly Site – Rake Lane

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...

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2018

Lake Panoramas

Lake Panoramas

Test Flights Complete With 20 problem-free flights between us (all in wide open fields in the middle of nowhere) there is now a good a level of trust building between me and my new flyer, so I am more  confident taking it where there are (a few more) people. Gotta watch out for defensive birds too, who can take a multirotor down if they take exception to it and attack. Fortunately today’s birds were quite chilled out and I wasn’t worried, having established in my pre-flight scout that there were no big raptors, or swallows about (the 2 main avian UAV aggressors). There is a lot to love about that machine, and today’s performance was one of its best. Whether it was gracefully side-swiping the tree line, or remaining nailed to the sky at any height for my various slow pans, the Typhoon H proved itself more than adequate to the task, although to be fair it was a particularly calm evening and even at 400 ft winds were...

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2015

A New Era of Flight Control

A New Era of Flight Control

Goodbye DJI Having had my second flyaway, and as usual no response from DJI, my trust in them and their flight controllers is just not there anymore. So I won’t be using anything made by them again. Ok, maybe their high density plastic multirotor arms but nothing else. But what else is there, Flight Controller-wise ? Quite a bit of choice, as it goes… After some exhaustively lengthy research, I have narrowed my choice of flight controller for my TBS Discovery Pro rebuild to either a 3DRobotics Pixhawk, or an Eagletree Vector. I also looked at the APM 2.6, CC3D, Naze32, Hobbyking’s KK2.0,The Unmanned Tech All-in-One and a few more besides, but decided that the cheaper acro boards were not really for me, given that my main focus is smooth, slow, sail-plane style aerial video, not screaming it round a forest with high-speed mini-quad action, to which the smaller, cheaper boards, without GPS seem more suited. The Semi-final Eagletree Vector I really like the Vector, and Eagletree in general, and the Vector’s in-built...

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2015

Treyford Rise

Treyford Rise

Summer Solstice, almost… OK, 2 days late for the solstice, and 3 days short of the longest day of the year, but thought it was about time I went and got some sunset action while the daylight hours are so long. So as 9 pm approached the sun was heading behind some fairly epic clouds, and the skies were turning golden just as I was rolling along the road between Treyford and Didling (really ?) hoping to find somewhere good to launch from, ideally next to a fairly impressive bit of the South Downs. Luckily, half way along it I found a convenient layby, and a newly sown field with an open gate, and perfect launch spaces, so resolved to do 3 quick flights here in what I had been led to believe by the BBC was fairly light wind. Up, up and away… No craft in the air around me at first launch, so I went for ‘cams-pointed-at-the-sky’, and a fair bit of height. And the height was where it was...

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Posted by on Jan 8, 2015

And that was Xmas 2K14…

And that was Xmas 2K14…

Long time, no blog… Yep – sorry ’bout that, Christmas gave me loads of time to make videos, less time to edit them and no time at all to blog about them. I’m only just beginning to return to normal schedules after all that and start the catch up missions that have to go on so that YouTubes and blogs align… So many lights For as long as I can remember, one of the best things about being alive has been all the lights. And the more twinkly and sparkly they are, the more I appreciate them. No shame in that, but for gods’ sake stay away from fruit machines… Anyway – in my quest to capture shiny things on camera Christmas has really really helped. Not only did it bring me a GoPro4 to replace its predecessor (lost at sea) and a decent new camera pole, but also the opportunity to go Aerogliding my way around almost perfectly deserted streets – just how I like them :) Who’s...

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Posted by on Dec 11, 2014

28 Fails, 9 Falls and a Win

28 Fails, 9 Falls and a Win

Crash Happy Hey Aerocammers. Aero J is has wheeld himself to the skate park, and parked up to film something else for a change. And that something is Tyler and his Skateboard, and his determination to nail one move that he can’t do yet but will be able to shortly. I’ve got my 60 frames a second out so we get it all in glorious slow mo. So enjoy him showing us why we shouldn’t give up, even when it really hurts trying… See you next time…...

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2014

Winchester at Christmas

Winchester at Christmas

Join me for an afternoon roll around one of Hampshire’s most picturesque cities and largest cathedral. It’s nearly Christmas, so much to my surprise I found a full-on craft market at the base of the cathedral, and this resulted in some classic Airwheel skills-up proximity glide opportunities… Slow-wheeling Part 1 is all about Airwheeling the busy market, intercut with a few quality time-lapses of the awesome scenery. This was easily as hard work as Westminster was the other week, possibly more so in that at least in London they keep moving, albeit very slowly; here, people were randomly stopping all over the place, and it took all my concentration and slow-wheel skills to do the whole lot without a single UDM or fall. Couple of forced intentional dismounts along they way, as you’d expect, but generally I was very happy with that, and pleased that I seem to be able to maintain increasingly deathly slow roll speeds without losing balance. Part 2 builds on that as we head into...

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2014

Ultrawheel Week

Ultrawheel Week

3 Airwheel Rides a day, every day. And at least 2 videos a day gives us… a lot of videos. Far too many to do as individual blogs. So here they all are in one big pile. That’s a good half hour you can kill without even leaving the page :) We start…down on the coast – the blog video above is a fast track and glide along the coast… Then, we’re back home for a… Petersfield Town Center Test Run and now it’s time to look at some airwheel accessories for Airwheeling in the rain and at night, among other things… Airwheel Accessories Episode 3 And now for something…else, it must be… Motion Stills A serene collection of my favourite views about town, and down on the Southsea coast… Then it was back to the lake for a final Swansong Feeding the birds and trying not to lose my fingers in the process… and finally – that’s it from me for the first 2 days of this week… See...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2014

Discovery Pro – GL Gallery

Discovery Pro – GL Gallery

View from the Ground. A while back, before all this Airwheel nonsense came along, me and my good friend Graham Larter, photographer for newspapers far and wide, and decent chap all round, went for a little fly with my newly hatched Disco Pro, so I could show him what RC multirotors are all about, and give him a go at piloting a decent sized pro model. He enjoyed the flight he flew, and as I took over the controls for a little flyabout myself, he picked up his camera and produced a truly lovely range of shots of my most recent flyer in action. Here’s the gallery, and thank you, Sir Graham !...

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Posted by on Jul 18, 2014

English Country Garden

English Country Garden

The power of 1… Over in Godalming today, to see my rents, and while I’m there, do a bit more Airwheel practice, and some aerials of the local area, and more particularly, my parents’ immaculate garden. It was a terrible shame therefore that my Kingston Memory Card chose today to corrupt and not record the second and third flights, especially as they featured some really nice cinematic moves, and the garden, and light was at almost its best. So I’ll have to go back and do it again next week. Further investigation reveals the card probably corrupted because I manually deleted (via the PC) all the previous session’s flights except one I wanted to keep, so didn’t format the card in the camera as I normally do before each session. After an in-cam format, I did 3 test vids and didn’t have any more problems. So – my bad then ! Fortunately, it doesn’t take much of an excuse to go home for some of Mum’s lovely cooking, so it’s...

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Posted by on Jul 3, 2014

Hawkley Down

Hawkley Down

Like an inferior Hobbiton … this field, not for the first time, caught my attention as I was driving past it on the way to somewhere else, and lured in as I was by its undulating hillocks and sunset-through-trees action, I had to park the car, pop into the field, set up, and get in the air for 2 short flights on a very pleasant evening. Wildlife This field was empty last time I was in it, but today there was trio of horses that started off far away from me, wandered towards me, so I moved all my stuff (and latterly me) behind 2 lines of helpful electric fence, which the horses seemed to know about. One remained close until I took off, then looked annoyed, and walked away to join his friends, who then all ignored it together as it was high and out of their way, and I didn’t overfly them or even go down their end of the field much… Monitoring… I am monitoring the...

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Posted by on Apr 5, 2014

Drive-By Flyings, Chalfont

Drive-By Flyings, Chalfont

  The Lure of Gold… There’s something really quite good about the particular flaxen yellows of a massive field of flowering rapeseed. And they’re not doing the flowering for very long, so as soon as I see one, I know it’s time to go drive-by flying, and see if I can find a field of it that has parking and isn’t locked. Today’s field was a chance find on the hill-top road out through Clanfield, then through to Chalton and beyond, nearly all the way down to Denmead. Having passed up about 30 alternative fields as having one thing or other wrong with them on the way here and the sun was not far off setting, I stopped here mainly because there was lots of parking space, it was adjacent to a public footpath, didn’t have a 300 ft electricity pylon in it, and because I didn’t think I’d find a better one before the sun disappeared. Swings and Roundabouts Once in the air, it transpired that I’d picked...

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2014

Silence Breaks

Silence Breaks

Quiet Skies Ok, well that’s more about the headline – the skies round here are never quiet – there’s usually 1 or more Police helicopters, private planes or Chinooks at 2000 ft, so they’re rarely quiet. But today, it was a little bit noisier because me and Aerocam were back in it after really quite a long time away. So that was nice. Or was it ? Testing ++ Having been sitting in my workshop for nearly a year, there is lots of testing to be done on the AC5 Hexacopter, cleaning up, and making sure every component still works. A lot of that was done indoors, just checking wiring and power, and how my variously storaged (or not) LiPos would do on flight time after so long without any activity. I estimate I’ve lost about 10%, or 30 secs of flight time per battery, so not too bad. I’ve got some new 8000’s I’ll wire up if flyings go well. I needed to get a new FPV-cam, and new...

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2013

The Morning After…

The Morning After…

…that horrible crash, all night re-builds have been done, a day of testing has already taken place, and AC1 is back in the air, now at version 5.3… So it’s not the morning, nor is it the day after. It’s sunset, and 2 days later, but that’s not a phrase is it ? Round 2 – Open Field Today’s open field should have excellent GPS reception, has only 1 big important building I’m 99% certain I can stay away from, even if my craft goes batshit on me, and for that reason, I am launching far far away from it nearer the other end of the field. Not too close though. There are cows in the field beyond, though I know from experience they really couldn’t care less about the presence of my multirotor. They can barely be bothered to even look up, though of course this is probably partly because I was always at reasonable height when directionally near them… So – 3 flights, and 1 of them...

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Posted by on Jul 16, 2013

Chalk Pit Wind Chasing

Chalk Pit Wind Chasing

A Whiter shade of shale… Sorry about that. But what I lack in punning excellence I hopefully make up for in brave(ish) piloting, and today I am being tested to the max by everything nature and engineering have to throw at me, as I manfully take to the skies over Portsdown Chalk Pits, just over a bit from Portsmouth. I’ve got my friend Tudor with me, who is both spotting (and heroically keeping the dogs away) and floating about on the ground with my GoPro 2 and his own muchly superior Nex 5, the footage from which hasn’t quite made it over to me in time for this video, but will be very interesting to see as I’m planning to mount one of those on my flyer at some point, and it’ll be nice to see the quality first-hand before I do. Location, Location Ray, the plane guy I met up at Butser last week had kindly sent me the link to this place, and cliffs, and chalk quarries...

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Posted by on Jul 12, 2013

King of the Hills XL

King of the Hills XL

At last, we meet again… That’s right folks – I’m up as high as I can reasonably go, at the grand daddy of local viewpoints, Butser, off the A3 in Hampshire (UK). That’s why there’s 3 videos. There might be less than that when you see this, but the others will be coming soon. I’m slightly to the west side of the main run up to the mast, and I’m focusing my aerial efforts into getting the awesome array of valleys to the South and West. The mast deserves a separate flight session all to itself, and this isn’t it. That’s not far off. But you won’t be disappointed in today’s efforts. It’s all pretty epic up the top of the highest hill in Hampshire. Weather Report It had been quite windy earlier, but as the afternoon set in, it died right off, and as soon as that happens I immediately think of places to go on calm days that might not work so well on more windy ones…...

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Posted by on Jul 8, 2013

Field Lines & Forest Hills

Field Lines & Forest Hills

Starting out low Remember my last visit to Stoner Hill, in Froxfield, particularly the part 1 video, which mainly focused on the North Face ? It’s a very difficult fly from the top, but the view is so epic I am duty bound to try and find other ways to commit it to film. And today, mainly by chance, I found one – fly from the bottom of the hangars instead ! Yes, I get the same scenery, but from another angle, and flying from here I replace the difficult, restricted-viewing-window, woodland-based launches of previously with nice, easy, big, wide-open, spacious ones here. Launch Control But still, it took quite a bit of driving to locate a suitable take-off site on the lower edge of Stoner Hill. In the end, I found 2 fields separated by a helpful public footpath, and so was able to launch from that. In the danger department, we’re not up for much fun if we go down in the trees, but if anything goes...

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