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Posted by on Mar 30, 2013

Sky Towers & Sand Banks

Sky Towers & Sand Banks

Winter Blues… Yep, Winter hangs on with icy, windy claws, way past its sell-by date, but undeterred, I don set of gloves B2, and venture forth into the furious winds on a quest for filmic excitement and self-educational flying fun. It’s a level 5 fly site, with maximum danger everywhere, so I have my full wits about me, my flight-paths planned, and my carefully calculated risks evaluated and minimised. Location, location Today I had trawled the entire South Coast, from the East side of Southsea as far as you can go West along the front towards Gunwharf. I stopped at several potential places, but various reasons marked each as not great places for flyings. And then I found myself at the end of the A3, and a gateway through a large fortified wall revealed a lovely bit of beach front, almost entirely deficit of people and flying hazards, and as close as I can practically get to the Spinnaker Tower without anyone getting cross about it. Yes, the beauty...

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2013

Beach Rise – Photoblog

Beach Rise – Photoblog

Braving the Jet Stream… …to bring you spectacular views from Portsmouth Seafront. This year, the jet stream is much further South than normal, which is why we’re having snow in March, and horrible high winds all the time. I remain cold, but undeterred. So as soon as I noticed it had stopped raining, and didn’t look like it would resume imminently, I headed straight down to the coast with some flying gear. An interesting set of flights today, with a vicious easterly wind to deal with at height, but great views on almost all sides. I’m not going to have time to do the video before Friday, so here’s a photo blog to keep you going. All images rewardingly large. Click for full view and then use mouse or arrows to scroll through…       Right – there’s another 30 of those, but I’ll save some of them for the video blog – coming soon…...

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2013

Sand Pits @ Sunset – Episode 2

Sand Pits @ Sunset – Episode 2

High Times Spin Panoramas in glorious Technicolour.  Watched Part 1 yet ? This is the bit after that. This episode sponsored by the Cat’s Protection League.   Yes, I am still using my unique location-based freedom from responsibility (see part 1), to do some high flyings over treacherous waters. We start high, and get to the lower stuff at the end. Conditions were good – there wasn’t that much wind to be any sort of threat to control, but it was there enough to have an unhelpfully profound effect on filming, during descents especially – prop wash + wind can’t ever be good. We’ll see how de-shake copes with all the long fades… Even if it’s duff video – I really don’t care – that sand pit isn’t going anywhere, and I’ll do it better next time with more wind-defying equipment as time goes on – for now – I got some great flying fun, and some amazing screen-grabs, and I’m happy with that. For anyone wondering why I...

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Posted by on Mar 21, 2013

Sand Pits @ Sunset – Episode 1

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… 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 aerocam.org.uk 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. 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...

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Posted by on Mar 15, 2013

Litten Lane Photoblog

Litten Lane Photoblog

Up, up and away… Today I’ve been having multi-site adventures up high on Stoner Hill in Froxfield, having not been there since the middle of Autumn last year. Let’s see what it looks like as the last of Winter disappears, and Spring is in the air. I am very much in the air with it. In fact, there were so many photos I liked from today’s flyings that I thought I’d award them their own blog, and do a separate one to the inevitable video and flight log report, which’ll be along on Sunday, or thereabouts. Until then, here’s some good ones… everything on-board is a screen grab from the GoPro 3 Black Edition video, and everything on the ground is the same, but from my head-cam GoPro 2, which always gives me a headache to wear, but does at least stay put… Click for full resolution, then use arrows or mouse to browse left / right....

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Posted by on Mar 11, 2013

Forest Flyers

Forest Flyers

Slightly sunny Saturday afternoons… I’ve been looking at the upcoming weather forecast, and it’s really not good. Even as I write this, my house is shuddering ominously in the freezing gale force winds that are battering Hampshire at the moment. And it’s snowing, and what isn’t being blown away is remaining. I could see it might be a while before flying was a good idea, so took this Saturday as something of a last opportunity to go. Weather isn’t ideal, but at least the sun is trying to emerge… To the forest ! So here we are on Liss Forest Heath, with a vague plan in mind, and Capt. McT on the ground with a GoPro2 on a hand-held gorillapod, while I’m in the air (not bodily) with a GoPro3. Yet he still has the advantage… Yes, of course we are also joined by stalwart of British weather ‘The Wind’, which once more set about its furious task of ruining my aerial filmings, and I’m ashamed to report that...

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Posted by on Mar 9, 2013

Pole Diving for Beginners

Pole Diving for Beginners

What no flyings ? What the hell is going on ? Oh, shush. I’d already been out with the hexcopter that morning, so batteries were still charging when the sun finally got its act together and appeared for the first time in bloody ages ! So really I was duty-bound to improvise a Heath Robinson-style pole-mount for my GoPro2 (broom handle, screw (waterproof case obviously) and I went down to Petersfield Lake (to the areas in which I have agreed not to fly because of all the people and animals etc) to see what was going on underwater and up-close-and-personal with the wildlife. In general, the wildlife didn’t seem to mind, although I was bribing it liberally with bread I’d previously sequestered from a passing child. Here’s some lovely swans. So what’s in the water ? Nothing is what’s going on underwater; the lake has visibility of about 5 cm and is fairly cloudy / scummy water, so we can see almost nothing of the wildlife that is (promise)...

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Posted by on Mar 4, 2013

The Two Towers

The Two Towers

Surfing the Trundle… Well, the last time I tried filming here, nothing went well, and I was forced to pack up and go home within about 20 mins of arriving. That was a fairly horrible day, I remember. But it was enough to scout the area, and plan a return trip, so this time I’m back, with an enhanced flight crew, an amazing skyscape, and surprise surprise, a hell of a lot of wind. Well – if you will keep going to the top of hills… Danger ! Danger ! This would be merely a level 2 fly site if it was just the ground I was taking into consideration – apart from the two rather inferior aerial mast stations on the top of the hill, there is nothing to hit and almost no obstacles for hundreds of meters in any direction. In the unlikely event of a crash, chances of recovery are very high unless it goes down in the tree bank off the South face. However,we are...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2013

Altered Earth – Part 1

Altered Earth – Part 1

Reality. Tilted a Bit. This is the first of a series of Altered World videos where we look at things from a slightly odd angle… We start here with a stranger, colder version of my last flight round Elsted Common, as imagined in some sort of parallel universe… the video quality is a bit ropey – sorry about that – I’ll work on trying to get that better in the future. The reason it’s rubbish here is because I left ProTune on, which you shouldn’t do in failing or contrast-y light, because of the massively increased noise that appears in the darker bits, and generally. Both of today’s vids are in 720 rather than my normal 1080 as I knew the quality was going to be a bit questionable. Sorry bout that. Normal service will be resumed etc etc…  ...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2013

Winter Gold

Winter Gold

Winter Sun, Sail-plane fun. Today I am back at the site of Thursday’s crash excitement. Elsted Common. Why back so soon ? Partly because I couldn’t think of anywhere more interesting to go, partly because I wanted to go flying in a ‘golden hour’  forest (that didn’t happen in the end), but mostly because I’ve lost the 8000 mAH battery that came down with the crash, and those are expensive. What are the chances of finding that on a public heath that massive, 4 days later ? Extremely good as it turns out – I’d been looking for less than 3 minutes before I saw it – it must have slipped out of my bag without me noticing, and escaped the final look-round I mostly don’t forget to do before I leave anywhere… Amazingly, despite being outside in sub-freezing temperatures, and more than a little rain, I was very surprised to find it un-puffed, and apparently none the worse for wear for its experience. I checked the foil really...

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2013

AC1 v3.6 reclaims the skies…

AC1 v3.6 reclaims the skies…

Summon the repair crews! Oh, that’s me. Right – spent Saturday lovingly restoring my craft to its former glory. Just 2 new arms and a carbon fibre prop to replace initially. Did that, and connected to the computer to check settings, motor and prop direction, and to realign the gimbal, which had been knocked off whack by the impact. Got that done, but having removed all the props to test motors safely, I noticed ESC 4 was getting substantially hotter than all the others after a 2 minute unloaded 50% motor test. I looked closely at it and saw a massive dent in its underside (yet more previously unnoticed crash damage) which can’t have been helping, so out it went, and in went my spare. Hurrah for Power Distribution Looms, as mine made this a quick and painless plug and play sort of process rather than having to resort to the soldering kit. Can we fix it ? Yes we can. OK, so up to my ground zero test...

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2013

Aerocam Photo Log – Episode 1

Aerocam Photo Log – Episode 1

Aerial Stills Sep 2012 – Jan 2013. It’s raining outside, and nothing needs maintaining or doing on my hex, so I’m using the time to do a little compilation of photos that me and my craft have taken in the last 6 months or so of flying about over (mostly) the Hampshire countryside. Twitter has started reducing the resolution of all my photos, so I wanted to do a slideshow people could watch in reasonable HD, although I have used some low-res shots from the earlier days that I wasn’t expecting to ever be used in a video, but even so, it’s nice to have a little slideshow every so often… All these are stills taken from 1080p video filmed with a GoPro2 on-board or from 720p video from a FLIP or Nikon D3100 from the ground. Photoshop has been fairly seriously involved in most of them as I really hate washed-out photos and as these images were all taken whilst moving I usually have to reduce resolution and...

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2013

Sunsetting – Petersfield Heath

Sunsetting – Petersfield Heath

Up, up and away. Mostly away. As in ‘away in a workshop at home’. Haven’t done any flying this week, for reasons that may include what might later be referred to as ‘The Great Warning-off of Feb 2013’, but today the sky was doing good enough things to tempt me out and over to the Heath with a fresh rack of batteries and set of gloves B. My temporary flight area extension kindly granted by Petersfield TC so I could get extra good snow vids has expired, so I’m back in my ‘normal’ permitted areas. Never mind though, the sky is looking good wherever I point a camera this evening, especially if I then point photoshop at it afterwards… Mainly about the sky… Apart from a short whinge about battery / flight times, and wondering if that red light is trying to tell me something other than ‘battery low’, and also testing my new FPV cam mount that allows it to move with the main camera (that went very well...

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2013

South Downs Wind Riding

South Downs Wind Riding

Drive-by Flyings in the Winter sun. I had sort of decided the night before that today was going to be too windy for flyings, but when it actually got here, the sun was so resplendent and something of a novelty after the last 2 weeks of mainly grey, that not to fly would have just been the wrong thing to do. To the hills ! Whenever it’s a weekend and windy, I head for big open high spaces where people aren’t. Today’s big high open space was, as I later discovered, just outside Funtingdon, and I had spied from the road an interesting tower that I now know (cheers Richard Graham) is part of Racton Folly. Oh look at the tiny tower ! Oh wait, it’s massive, and miles away. From the road this looked very much like a small tower reasonably close, but as soon as I got in the air transpired to be a large tower a lot further away. It was within my flyable range, but...

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Posted by on Jan 27, 2013

Winter Sun Sky Surfing

Winter Sun Sky Surfing

Ruined off. Like rained off, except involving ancient battlements. Today’s video efforts are something of a backup plan, or rather what happens if you do an elaborate plan to go fly a site, and then get there to find that Google street view has let you down and access is absolutely impossible. Doesn’t happen often, but did today. So was the case with Bishop’s Waltham Palace. So myself, Special M and first-time flyer / improvisational cameraman Paul left, slightly disappointed we couldn’t do our original plan. Fortunately Hampshire is full of top countryside, and some of that isn’t locked, so we went looking for a bit of that instead. Drive-by Flyings… Leaving Bishop’s Waltham we climbed back on the A272 towards home, and did some drive-by flyings when we randomly found a very attractive golf course, later discovered to be Corhampton / Droxford Down, at the top of a very high hill, topped off by an atmospheric spot of Winter sun, and the flyings commenced. Temperatures were reasonable, a nice...

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Posted by on Jan 24, 2013

Ruins In The Mist

Ruins In The Mist

Drive-by Flyings. Today was very cold and misty, and I was resolved to go and get some footage of a large foresty spruce / fir tree canopy that I’d seen on Google maps just a bit further along the A272 from where I usually turn off for Elsted Common. The best laid plans… As it turned out, there was nowhere to park, and no easy access to my chosen tree bank that didn’t involve being some sort of gymnast, so I abandoned that plan, and drove along the road with some opportunistic drive-by flyings in mind. Rounding a corner, I saw what looked like a little roundhouse or fort in the middle of a field from the road, and then chanced upon the entrance to Cowdray Park, a venue I recognized, having played several peoples weddings there. But I had forgotten it was anywhere near me, or that I had resolved to go flying here, so what a chance find as I’m randomly driving about… Inspection, check 1. Cowdray...

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Posted by on Jan 21, 2013

The Winter Freeze – Elsted Common

The Winter Freeze – Elsted Common

In the bleak mid-winter… It might be bleak, and very very cold – indeed I very much froze my proverbials to the core getting you this footage, so let’s enjoy a Wintery look round over some evergreen trees, my second favourite quarry, and marvel at the intricate network of paths and symbols on the frozen ground that make up one side of Elsted / Iping Common… Yep, it’s one of my favourite flying grounds, and being determined to capture it in all seasons, I am pleased to add Winter to the list. Only Spring to go, and I have a complete year. Cinematically speaking… There wasn’t that much wind today, and what there was didn’t really get above 12 mph, so whilst it’s certainly not the smoothest flight vid I’ve ever made, at last I can add a snow-flight to my collection that doesn’t also involve the ridiculous shaking of previous efforts. I was on my own, and didn’t meet a single soul today, so was able to focus...

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2013

The Winter Freeze – PF Lake & White flights

The Winter Freeze – PF Lake & White flights

No Business like snow business. 2 vids in one this time, as one really isn’t very good, and yesterday’s flight is just me whazzing about in some real-time snow, so we’ll gloss over that (it’s at the bottom somewhere if you really want to watch it), and get on to today’s, which is much more interesting… Songs of Fire and Ice (no songs, or fire though) So, I woke up today to find it had stopped snowing, which meant I could venture further afield than the field by my back garden. To the lake then, which seems the obvious choice, given that Petersfield Town Council have just kindly extended my flying area until March so I can capture the wintery goodness. So here I am, doing that. What’s that, Mummy ? Loads of people, and their children / dogs about, so mostly flew over the lake where they weren’t, and my rigorous preflight checking paid off in that I didn’t fall into the lake at any point. So that’s...

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Posted by on Jan 16, 2013

Southsea Sky Surfing

Southsea Sky Surfing

Over the sea, not in it, please. It’ s cold out, but I’ve got a hat, and thermal socks that go up to my knees. We’re on the South Coast, just down a bit from South Parade Pier… This was my plan… As you can see, the green ‘safe area’ is rather smaller than the red danger areas. The orange bits are where I definitely won’t be overflying. The yellow bit is where I’ll be mostly flying with caution, and the blue and white arrows are showing wind at different speeds and heights. Note the wind is unhelpful in almost every way. Today was full of adventures… a lot of wind, a lot of sea, one RTH, one home lock return, and lots of people watching – if you’re reading this now, hello ! :) I’m specifically here to do a little lens-to-lens spy action on Portsmouth-cam.co.uk, who have a camera mounted a short way down from South Parade Pier. This is me. I was conscious of the fact that...

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Posted by on Jan 16, 2013

Broom Channel 7’s

Broom Channel 7’s

What the hell is a Broom Channel ? You might well ask. Hey Kids… I’m back, and it was almost another castle before I decided that the wind was just too high for any sort of town center fortress flying. So this is the backup plan, and we’re on the South Coast (almost) just off the A27 to Southsea flying next to an inlet called.. you guessed it;  the Broom Channel.   There’s a sailing club, a quarry, a large field, and a lot of sea, sandbars and islands, not to mention a massive industrial estate over the other side of the road, and it’s all lit by some rather nice Winter sun on a Sunday afternoon… Having said that, it was so cold my nipples were talking to me, like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s in that advert. Lot of wind as well, gusty and around 30 mph in places. Home lock had to be employed once, and worked a treat. Because of the wind, I’ve had to get de-shake...

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