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Posted by on Oct 10, 2014

Rain Glides

Rain Glides

Wet-wheeling I rolled into town under impending skies, and it was just as I’d poured the first cup of Earl Grey of the day that the heavens opened and deluged me, my airwheel, and any cake I might have had about my person. I manfully continued my review of some apple shortbread, but ultimately the weather defeated me as I was unable to unsheathe the cakes for safety reasons. Nobody likes damp cake. But we can see the levels of rain I was dealing with, and later to be airwheeling through… Never mind. They can wait. I’m really here to do other stuff, and go riding in the rain, in town, and amongst people, so I get my daily ‘glide manoeuvres’ exercise in. I love airwheeling Petersfield TC – I feel I know its surfaces intimately well over a huge area, and now able to avoid the dodgy bits from memory alone the ride through town is never not hugely enjoyable whatever the weather is doing. And just as...

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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 Oct 1, 2014

Priore Incantatem

Priore Incantatem

Back to the start… Having discovered pole-cam, I’ve been largely happy with my Airwheel filmings. It was only when I attached my plastic GoPro clip stand to someone’s BMX frame, and then watched it smash itself to pieces when he came down from a pretty serious height, that I realised its replacement could be used for something else. It’s a GoPro, so the camera’s fine, but it forced me to get my other version of the grip-mount out of the workshop, and I retrieved it very much with the intention of taking it back to the skate park to try again with the bikes. But then it occurred to me that this particular design of clip might work clipped to the front of a pedal, close to the body of the Airwheel, as long as it didn’t get in the way of my control movements, foot position and hamper me too much on inclines round corners, I was intrigued to see what the Superview Mode on the 3+ Black...

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2014

Team Aerowheel do Butser

Team Aerowheel do Butser

X-series, off-road, uphill In what will surely be remembered as Team Aerowheel’s second outing into the wilderness, we joyfully wheeled ourselves to the summit of Butser Hill, and then ventured forth onto the surrounding grassy plains for a full battery’s worth of gliding about the numerous undulating hillsides… it was a good hour and a half of weapons-grade fun. Skillset It’s quite a challenging ride in places, especially after dark, but Butser is always a rewarding place to Airwheel, if you can only avoid those damn rabbit holes. Although the main tracks at the top are fairly easy, there’s some difficult cambers and areas of rutty, stony ground ready to unfoot you at a moments notice if you don’t see them or if you’re going too fast… The key to not letting this happen lies in making sure you have total lower body independence from your top half, which allows a general lean in the direction you want to travel whilst simultaneously choosing a ‘micro-path’ around that general line, avoiding the worst terrain...

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Posted by on Sep 1, 2014

Airwheeling Spinnaker Tower to Clarence Pier

Airwheeling Spinnaker Tower to Clarence Pier

What’s bigger than Butser ? The Spinnaker is what’s bigger, and today I’ve Airwheeled all the way from the war memorial to Gunwharf Quays, right in the shadow of the tower itself, where I’ve stopped for some photos and a lovely cup of tea, and then videod most of the way back so you can share in the fun. Airwheel Range Test My machine put in a decnt performance today, taking me all the way into gunwharf and back again, but did run out of jiuce on me before i got back to the car because I got hopelessly lost at one point, and ended up putting 2 miles on the clock in the wrong direction. Had I not done that, my bettery would have been more than adequate for the 2 solid hours of gliding about that I did. I mainly followed walkways, even along wall-top and interior paths, across wooded walkways, through the funfair, and over the streets of Old Portsmouth towards Gunwharf, and once there found the...

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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

Quad-walking PFH

Quad-walking PFH

Cricket Grounds & Burial Mounds Dull sky and no sun, but also no wind means I’m looking for places to fly with interesting things to see on the ground, given that the sky won’t be up to much, and light is failing. Never mind, let’s pop to the woods by the heath, and fly around there for a bit, taking in some higher views of the cricket ground, heath itself and 2 of the ancient burial mounds that dot the heath. So just 2 LiPo packs worth before light at ground level was dodgy, but again, flawless Atti / GPS mode and control behaviour from the Naza – this frame feels very locked in, and I remain delighted with the gimbal performance, which is the best of any platform I have ever flown. The only artefacting on my video now is either down to shoddy non-smooth piloting from me, or because I left it in the sun for 10 mins, and this has resulted in a faint line on...

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2014

AC1 V6 :The Return

AC1 V6 :The Return

Resurrection Bonus Well I thought my beloved hexacopter AC1 had done its last flight, and had very much decommissioned her and nicked half her bits to go on AC2 my Discovery Pro FPV Quad which I bought with a mind to replace her for something smaller, lighter and easier to get around with. So out went her beating heart, the Naza-M Flight Controller, and her RX, and her lights, and all her video gear. I was unexpectedly sad to dissemble her for what I thought would be the last time, assumedly because I am taking down a machine that has served me well, and got me really very close to the sort of quality footage I am looking for. And then, the following week, as I was building machine no 2, I suddenly remembered that last year I’d dropped my original Devo 10 whilst crossing a road and broken a switch on it, and that there might have been an RX1002 receiver in the box with the one I ordered to...

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Posted by on May 14, 2014

Short Cuts

Short Cuts

Eventful flyings ! Having missed golden hour twice this week, I was a  bit more resolute to go and get it today, so headed up to Harting Down for about 7.30pm, and there it was. Here I had hoped to do some 1000 ft flight tests on the old hex, and had a veritable arsenal of batteries with me, ready to be put through their paces in what I thought was going to be some rather rewarding evening flights… Return to what ? The grass on the hill from where I would normally launch was very long, and would cause my gimbal to bind, and there are reports of big Naza GPS problems if you try and take off from the roof of a car, so I went for an area of car park close to the edge of the grass, and launched from there, making sure I had a full GPS home position register sequence before I took off. I completed a decent first flight (nothing too high,...

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Posted by on Apr 30, 2014

Spring Heath

Spring Heath

After the rain… There has been a lot of rain recently, and this has very much disrupted the flyings, but today it stopped for the early evening, so pre-loaded up and ready to take advantage of any such break in the cloud, I drove down to the local heath to have a quick few flights as the sun went down. Still on the rubber isolation mounts, but taking the time to carefully balance the craft every time a new battery pack went on, I was pretty pleased with the footage I got, which was mainly free of annoying vibrations you can get with an unbalanced craft, GPS mode, and any amount of wind. Frustratingly, I packed up after flight 4, just before the ground mist really kicked in, but not to worry, I’ll be back here again before Spring is out, I’m sure; it’s one of the few places I’ve definitely got permission to fly ! In the meantime, we’ve got some nice relaxing sail-planing around the common, and...

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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

Heath Greens

Heath Greens

Test Day 2 – Petersfield Cricket Ground …Everything was better in today’s tests – by adjusting some bolts on the isolation mount, and making sure each flight was properly balanced, I was able to mostly get rid of the shakes that were plaguing me yesterday, but for some reason chose to video at 30 FPS, so my turns didn’t come out as smooth as they were. Balancing the craft appears to make all the difference. Had I filmed at 60 FPS I would have produced some really solid footage. Power Lines Took 4 batteries, but discovered a fault with the power connection on one Zippy 5800, so retired that before take-off. Gains are now on Aux 5 rotary, and this was useful in that I was able to turn them down when my newly raised settings (P/R/A centered round 150) proved a little twitchy. GPS lock was flawless except once when it drifted a good 5 m before sorting itself out. There did seem to be a list to...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013

Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold

Ditcham Heights Day 3 of the trust-building test flights in big open spaces, and they don’t come much bigger or more open than the various fields and rolling hills up by Ditcham Park School. This is where I go when I’m doing height tests and want some nice easy recovery options if anything goes wrong. Sun, sun, sun Thought I’d time my arrival to coincide with the start of golden hour, so got there for 7.45 pm to find some breathtaking golden vistas surrounding me, and views for miles – almost to the sea. I didn’t get high enough to fully exploit those – my plan for slow incrementally adventurous flying limited me to about 250 ft on  the 3rd day of tests. But the sights were wonderful, and it was great to be out in the fresh evening air on another big hilltop. Over here, please… Just 2 short flights before I noticed my TX was getting a bit low on charge, so rather than risk an involuntary...

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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 13, 2013

Tower View – Mini Scout Flight

Tower View – Mini Scout Flight

Into the Blue, briefly. It was lovely sunny afternoon, and I was down the South Coast with a flyer in the boot, Special Assistant M in the passenger seat, and not much wind on the anemometer. Right, I thought, let’s do an experimental fly of the very Southern-most bit of land I can reasonably get to. And that turns out to be the official end of the A3, where we have a large circular stone seating area in front of one of those Ye Olde Sailors-style pubs. To the South, away from that my launch area, is the sea, where I will spend most of this flight out of all harms way (except to my craft, should it all go horribly wrong). Sky Towers And in the distance, though closer than I have ever flown to it, is my old adversary the Spinnaker Tower, whose looks and height virtually demand that I try and film it from as close as possible whilst making the minimum amount of people cross...

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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 10, 2013

Drive-by Flyings – Hawkley XL

Drive-by Flyings – Hawkley XL

Plan C – the Art of the Drive-by Fly. First stop this evening was a huge array of garden allotments I’d spotted on Google maps just outside Petersfield. They’ll look amazing in Spring, I thought, but no, when I got there, it was all very dull, and would have made for fairly uninteresting filming. Also, some safety concerns. Plan B then was just up the road, but what Google had shown as a through road wasn’t any more, so that was the end of that one too, and the hill view over by Steep Cricket ground was out because there was cricket going on. Which leaves plan C – the default when all else fails – race the sunset, and go randomly driving until you find somewhere to fly… Hawkley Down Just as I thought there wasn’t a single field in West Sussex that wasn’t locked or had horses in it, my luck finally changed when I drove through Hawkley. There I found  an open gate leading to a...

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Posted by on Jul 9, 2013

Sailplanes by Sunset

Sailplanes by Sunset

Cruising the Petersfield Skies… That’s technically cruising the heath, but I’m pretty sure I don’t mean that. I said there’d be an Abbey today, didn’t I ? I was wrong. No, it’s too windy to risk being blown about into ancient stone walls, so off I headed, into the sunset, to more spacious locations, and this sunset was over Petersfield lake and heath, because I haven’t flown here properly with my new camera setup yet, and I know you all like a bit of lake action if there’s some going… Taking the evening air… Apart from the odd Chinook, I had the skies pretty much to myself, but the same can’t be said for the ground. Lots of people out for an evening stroll, and who can blame them ? Certainly not me. And most of the people I met today were great – (Hi Mick !), and even the ones with dogs were mostly aware, considerate, decent people, with well trained animals… The Lunatic Fringe Just occasionally, I...

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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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