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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 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 Jan 12, 2013

Drive-by Flyings 9 – Petersfield Heath

Drive-by Flyings 9 – Petersfield Heath

Circles in the mist. Well, it’s one of those rare virtually windless days, so it is my duty to be in the air doing something with it. I’d got up late, even by musician standards, and didn’t manage to get out the door until the light was failing, so decided to head to my favourite training ground, Petersfield Cricket Club Field. Seen it all before ? I fly here so often that not much I film here makes it into videos, as I don’t want to keep showing you stuff you’ve seen loads before, but it’s a been a while, and I don’t think I’ve made a video all about here for quite some time. Anyway, I was struck by the beautiful Winter colours – all that amazing russet brown and purple, and I love the crazy textures on the ground over the heath as old paths and new carve their ancient way across the heathland… Sailing the tree line Video quality is a bit suspect, mainly down to...

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Posted by on Oct 27, 2012

AC1 V2 Down for upgrades…

AC1 V2 Down for upgrades…

Is 6 really better than 4 ? I am beginning to think that ‘upgrading’ to an F550 was a mistake; at least in thinking that I might be able to just sort that out quickly, and it would all be fine. 2 more motors I thought, half the lift again, surely ? No.  More stable flight, because there’s more motors ? No, worse if anything… interesting. So this week has mainly involved finding problems that need to be solved, and trying to solve them, as opposed to running round the countryside documenting Autumn like I should be. Which is slightly disappointing given that Autumn is looking especially good at the moment, in between all the rain. No, what I have now is a much heavier and less manoeuverable craft that still won’t easily lift the reasonable payload I want it to, and in the brief moments it does, won’t give me any sort of flight time or enjoyable flying fun because my confidence that the hexacopter is within my...

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Posted by on Oct 19, 2012

Drive-By Flyings Episode 8

Drive-By Flyings Episode 8

  Some people stop flying as soon as Summer is over. I am not one of them, but sometimes I very much see their point. This week has been absolutely awful for flying. If it hasn’t been raining it has been threatening to, and when it is dry, winds have been silly high, forcing me to go find new fly sites miles away from people and buildings and wires etc, where the wind would have less opportunity to get me into trouble. The other day I went exploring the South Downs, driving along its highest ridges, looking for launch spots. I found a few, the best and worst of which are covered here in this video, which gives up on cinematic aspirations about 10 seconds in, and is here to show you the various moments of joy and terror I had while learning how to fly in what felt like extreme gales, a skill I feel will be very useful living in the UK. This is really the ultimate...

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Posted by on Oct 17, 2012

Sunsets and Spaceships

Sunsets and Spaceships

2 Flights today. Epic wind in the morning at Liss Forest. But horrible flying, and lost a (previously damaged) landing leg in the process. (Mental note: never trust superglue) so abandoned that, deleted the relatively tedious video, improvised and attached a new landing leg, and went out again at sundown to investigate some crop circles I’d heard about. It is worth the 28 minute drive on the A272 to Winchester to get to the inexplicably named ‘Cheesefoot Head’, where there is a car park right next to some amazing high landscape, and as a double bonus there’s some crop circles to make the ground interesting. Unusually big danger factor from the air, of all places – several very low flying planes spotted, making this a level 3 fly site, I reckon – extra vigilance required. And the sun is going down, so we’re getting some golden hour goodness. My new favourite flying site :) There is no need to whinge that I’m re-using soundtracks :) It’s the Moonbeatz remix...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012

Autumn Falls Episode 1

Autumn Falls Episode 1

  ..in which we faithfully record and transcribe what stuff looked like when Summer stopped and everything started raining. Knowing how rubbish the weather was going to be tomorrow, I thought I’d make the most of the day’s brief respite from the rain, and did 2 flight missions, the first of which I haven’t bothered uploading because it’s Petersfield Heath, and we’ve seen it all before… And indeed I’ve flown from the ‘Hyperview’ at Litten Lane before too, but not this side of the hill.  Driving on down the dirt track for another 500 yards from the original viewpoint, I found easy(ish) access to a nice big field with amazing adjoining forestry happening on all sides, and beautiful drop off the South Face of Stoner Hill. The wind was there, as ever, ruining all my shots again, and I’m back on my 1.2 setup with a fixed cam mount, so the only weapon in my armoury is Google De-shake, deployed here for the first time on one of my...

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2012

Just too much…

Just too much…

  AC1 V2 Camera Mount Testing Episode 1 I say review, it’s not really; it’s the story of how upgrading my quad-copter’s camera gimbal  went… I’m not very used to my plans going wrong (more so since flying multi-rotors :), but in the thousands of pages of information I have absorbed on the hobby in the last 4 months, I have never come across anything that suggested DJI motors weren’t up to the job. Everyone knows their props are crap, but generally everyone seems fine with the motors. Indeed, AC1 Discovery (there’s a law that states we all have to name our first craft ‘Discovery’. ) v1.2. has always been quite ‘light on its toes’ so when it came to fitting a new and better camera mount I wasn’t thinking the weight of it would be a problem I particularly needed to worry about. The camera, yes, of course, but I didn’t know then how heavy servos are :) I needed to upgrade the cam department because I’m now...

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Posted by on Oct 5, 2012

Autumn Greens – Episode 1 – After the Rain

Autumn Greens – Episode 1 – After the Rain

Well that was Summer, apparently, and now we are firmly in the grip of chillier winds, and unfriendlier clouds. In this, the first of a new series of Autumn-flavoured videos, we catch it right at the beginning, while most things are still green, with the occasional splash of oranges and golds here and there. So I’m here on Petersfield Heath, taking in the scenery, and practicing my moves as a warm up for all the proximity tree-flying there is to come. Inspired by one of Quadcopters UK’s recent vids, I might also be here on a secret scouting mission to see if Petersfield Golf Course is worth a closer fly, so was aiming to get some high overheads of that too. I’ve got a thing for nicely mown lawns and interesting trees at the moment, so that should be ideal. The wind, as always, was present and correct to thwart my smooth filmings, and upgrading this to a level 3 fly site, but I didn’t care – I was...

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012

Drive-by Flyings Episode 5

Drive-by Flyings Episode 5

  … in which we combine 4 days flyings into 1, because I’ve had to go rain-dodging, and grab the odd flight here and there in between bouts of British weather. Notably I haven’t managed to avoid the wind, so join me as we get buffeted around the countryside and take in a lovely view or two along the way… These are the flights with my brand new set of Graupner Electros, following the horrible crash in the quarry, held down with star washers to see if that kills prop slip. On reflection I think it probably does. Have also tweaked the gains a bit while I had the props off, and not sure I have done entirely good things there. Oh well – will have to redo it anyway when I add the new cam mount and landing gear… Talking of which, as my TPPacks Isolation cam mount is slowly dying, as can be seen in various bits of footage here,  fortunately I am already building its replacement,...

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2012

The Epic Heights of Hampshire

The Epic Heights of Hampshire

This particular mission took a bit of planning. I didn’t want to get in the way of public and their dogs or the RC glider club that flies from there, but I did want some video of the epic hills of Hampshire viewed from the highest place I can reasonably get. 3pm yesterday was the perfect time, I had deduced, and indeed there was no wind, only about 3 people and no flyers at all (I had hoped they’d be there on windier days, and perhaps not when there was none). There was a hang glider off the South West face, but I was miles away from him and a lot higher. That is a very impressive mast they have up there. In bigness, if nothing else. It felt a little bit like all my piloting training had to come to this, and I had my own little Olympic ceremony moment, basking in the glory of all that I might achieve etc. I didn’t cry, or thank god, but...

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Posted by on Sep 21, 2012

Mystery Flyings Episode 1

Mystery Flyings Episode 1

For today’s adventure I thought I’d add some excitement in the form of some breaking and entering. Not really. Although it is fair to say they have made a reasonable effort to keep people out, certainly cars, I was able to walk in unobstructed, though mainly because I am quite thin, but was fairly confident the owners would be absolutely fine with it, I was certainly going to do no damage. It could be argued that were accidental damage to happen, then there’s possibly no less harmful place for it to do so, and it’s not going to cost anyone else anything to fix. I had seen the area on Google maps, and was very much looking forward to a close ground flight round a disused limeworks, but Google had let me down, and everything was massively more overgrown and inaccessible, and newly fenced than their satellite photography had led me to believe. I had to miss out all the amazing rusting mining machinery they have dotted around the...

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2012

Drive-By Flyings Episode 4 – Millham’s Copse, Froxfield

Drive-By Flyings Episode 4 – Millham’s Copse, Froxfield

Today we’re at Millham’s Copse, discovered by chance on the road through to Froxfield, Hampshire. Great flyings, and loads of interesting things to see, but I only flew over about a third of them, because I was having to fly eyes-on, not ‘on-board’, due to one slightly forgotten bit of FPV monitor cabling. So I was quite lucky to get the close-ish passes of the spire, as it was quite difficult to guage distances and angles from my position in the field opposite. Tried a low angle of about 60 degrees for one flight, which I think always looks good over trees. Hellos to Caroline & Anne (apologies if no ‘E’) who joined us for one of my 4 flights, and seemed very interested to know all about the quad. Music today harmlessly borrowed from Dream Theater, with their 2007 remix of ‘Another Day’. I must confess I’m mainly in it for the guitar solo and sax work. On reflection this might be my worst choice of music yet....

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2012

Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity

Always good to show the bad bits as well as the good. This is what happens when of one of your props falls off, as viewed by the onboard cam. Lessons learned, threadlock applied, and no probs since. GoPro, as ever, manfully records everything, and sustains no damage itself....

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2012

Introducing Discovery 1.1

Introducing Discovery 1.1

In the beginning there was AC1 Discovery v1.0. then we had a crash, and a repair upgrade, and v 1.1 was born. AC1 – Discovery Version 1.0 DJI F450 Frame DJI 30 A ESC DJI 920KV Motors DJI 10″ props DJI Naza Flight Controller + GPS upgrade Camflyer FPV Video (stock antennas) 5.8GHz GoPro 2 HD Hero TPPacks Isolation Cam Mount / Landing Gear Walkera Devo 10 / RX-1002 TX / RX  2.4 GHz 2 x 2200 mAH Li-Po Battery packs AC1  -Discovery Version 1.1 Replaced 2 new frame arms, and lower board after crash DJI props in bin. Graupner 10 x 5 (8mm Bore) fitted + threadlock Added LED Navigation Light Kit Swapped standard video antenna for Cloverleaf / Skew-planar type (massively extended range) Replaced 2 x 2200 batteries with 4 x 3300, and 1 x 3900 Added programmable message board for public flying Added forward pointing Strobe Position Indicator Added permanent mount Voltage Alarm New Battery Cradle straps    ...

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

Tide Lines and Sandcastles

Tide Lines and Sandcastles

Just got back from what can loosely be descibed as ‘work’ over on the Island of Jersey, where I was playing a client’s wedding. Took my faithful quad with me in case opportunity should present itself whilst I was there… On the Saturday we had a day free, so straight down the beach for four or five 8 min flights, and we can all admire the beautiful coastline of St Helier. I thought that would be my flyings over, but no ! We had a couple of hours the morning after the gig too, so we took the coast road to Gorey, where they’ve got a suitably excellent castle. They’ve chosen to call it Gorey Castle. It lies on a very steep cliff top with densely populated town on one side, sea on the other, and jagged rocks everywhere. It is what I would describe as a ‘level 3 flying challenge’, that is to say fairly bloody dangerous and high risk of ‘money intensive’ damage or even losing craft...

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

Skate Park – Episode 1

Skate Park – Episode 1

…in which I venture out into the world of people, and hover stuff around them while they do whatever they are doing. In this case, it’s Petersfield Skate Park, and the thing they’re doing involves BMX’s. They are quite fearless those guys, I was not expecting them to jump so high and willingly towards the spinning blades of death. As this was a bit of a spontaneous mission (previously planned Devil’s Punchbowl AP mission aborted for various reasons) I hadn’t thought through any action camera moves, so it’s all a bit random for now, but they seem like a decent bunch of kids, so will probably go back there and do it properly, and then do a really good edit, not the sort of rushed out effort you’ve got here because I have to leave the country in 8 hours. But I wanted to get something up from tonight’s flyings so here it is. Some good high bits over Petersfield as well, but it was windier up there than...

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

Big Blue Sea

Big Blue Sea

Lovely as fields and trees are, you can have enough of them sometimes and on occasions I yearn to do my flyings nearer something a bit different, a bit more challenging and with  colours other than green. So taking one of those rare British weather opportunities in which the sun remains out for longer than 4 minutes, myself and Special Assistant M went to Hayling Island to see what was going on down there. Pretty good views, and a lot of water was the answer. Lots of sea and a big lake. People and dogs and curious children and fairly epic 30mph gusting wind. No ice cream, but no wasps either, so swings and roundabouts etc… All started well. Began with the epic heights and got some good panoramics of the harbour and all the little boats… A while later I was having maximum FPV fun when I went for a steep descent round the back of an embankment, and lost FPV for a few crucial seconds in which...

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

The View From Above

The View From Above

We’re at the hilariously named ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ today. It only looks very slightly like a bowl, and there is nothing to indicate that any sort of alcoholic party drink has ever filled it, or that the Devil owns it (or exists). There’d be more thorns and fire and wasps, wouldn’t there ? Not lovely trees and greenery. Oh well. Didn’t do very good flyings on both trips I took to film for some reason. Sun was in my eyes a lot for the dawn flight, and I lacked a decent plan for the afternoon too, so apologies that these shots are all a bit disjointed and random. We had Special Assistant M on spotting duties, and ultraStu doing safety, commentary and occasional filming on his Galaxy S3. Drew quite a crowd in the afternoon – everyone seemed very interested in seeing it fly, and they were all very nice. I will go back and do this again – I think it could be filmed a lot better, and not...

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

High Times

High Times

I’ve been saving a few bits of video from the last week’s flights, as I’ve been pushing new boundaries in the height department on occasions. So here we fly as high as I dare (highest so far at the end) in a variety of places, and you can all admire the views thanks to my thoughtfulness, a TPPacks isolation cam mount from the US and the GoPro2 Hero, which certainly lives up to its name. How high is ‘high’ though. No idea. I’ll have to wait til I get an OSD to know anything like exactly…so for now I guage relative height with the amount of seconds at which I give the craft maximum elevation. The quarry one was 40 seconds, and I guestimate the quad climbs 5m/sec at full whack with the load I’m giving it, so that’s about 200m or 600 ft. But it feels higher than that, so will be interesting to see. Annoyingly my flight controller contains an altimeter but only for its own purposes,...

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