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Posted by on Aug 3, 2018

Canopy Glide

Canopy Glide

Up, up and away… I did that, and filmed it, but the bit I liked most was the journey ‘down, down, and back home’, where I had some battery pack to spare, so took a leisurely parade above the tree tops as I made my descent from a 400 ft pan, which the H handled flawlessly despite a constant stiff headwind. Nailed to the sky again, which is always nice. That Old Cricket Ground… As regular readers will know, Petersfield Heath Cricket Ground is my default practice ground, where I have town council permission to fly, except during matches, and the topography of the land makes it ideal for all sorts of multirotor tests. But although I did use the wide open space for some exciting auto-missions and orbit tests, today I wanted to explore the tree-line a bit more – not too close, but just a gentle forward tracking glide and a fairly steep angle down for the camera… as this is only flight 42 on the H...

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2018

Halls Hill

Halls Hill

Drive-By Flyings Today, me and today’s spotter, Special Assistant Andy were off to fly secret hidden towers, but our plans were thwarted because there were loads of sheep in the field we didn’t want to worry. So back in the car we got, and drove about a bit, mainly around the Buriton area, until we found ourselves at the Halls Hill Car Park, one of the many entrances to the South Downs Way. Handy car park next to a lot of public fields that we had entirely to ourselves for the whole session. Site Assessment Even though it’s mostly open fields and whatnot, there are enough hazards about, and the contour of the landscape itself makes this a Level 2 fly-site. So, careful not to directly overfly the one minor road, or the houses at the end of the field, and ever aware of the low-level power lines, and the slope of the land, we were good to go for two 15 minute flights. Could have gone longer on...

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Posted by on Jul 27, 2018

Harting Heights

Harting Heights

Freewheeling over Harting Down Another one of the places I am very pleased to have revisited is Harting Down, a very pleasant fly site, a largely unobstructed wide open field, only made Level 3 by the often turbulent and prodigious wind, and by the difficulty of recovery should things go wrong while you are over the edge into the valley beyond. But the careful pilot who goes on the right day, when the wind isn’t too bad gets rewarded by some epic views of the Hampshire countryside in the afternoon sun. Afternoon Artefacts I am beginning to see the wisdom of getting a neutral density filter set. As I venture out on flying missions in the day, as opposed to golden hour / sunsets, then I find myself having to set exposures very low (shutter speeds of up to 1/1000 needed today), which, given that I was filming at 60 FPS, is a long way from ideal. 1/120 would be the perfect setting for ultra smooth video there, and...

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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 Jun 17, 2015

150 Tiny Gardens

150 Tiny Gardens

Interesting Things on the Ground… Constantly on the look-out for new places to explore from the air, my various wanderings took me just up the road from home, where I discovered a vast empty field neighbouring a pretty large set of allotments. Intrigued to see what they would look like from above, I set about planning this flight session extremely carefully. No, I haven’t counted them. But there’s loads. It is my hope that the individual allotment owners (I couldn’t ask them all) won’t mind my brief sailplane around their growing efforts, and  might appreciate an unusual view of their produce. Safety first… There is more need for safety and risk assessment at this fly-site than at almost any other I have flown before, entirely due to its proximity to the railway track that passes behind the allotments. Although a lot of it is protected by tall trees, not all of it is, and I needed to be able to guarantee that I would not overfly the track, or...

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Posted by on Jun 15, 2015

Petersfield Heath Summer 2015

Petersfield Heath Summer 2015

Rain stops, let’s go Hello archaeologists ! And Summer. Join me for an aerial view of some of Petersfield Heath, replete with burial mound dig sites, and a bit of lake action. There’s also a golf course over there somewhere. I say Summer, but not sun, as it had been raining all day (despite being the hottest day of the year) and this somewhat lucky flight is the result of me checking the weather every 10 minutes, and then running out with my RC gear to grab a skyfull in the single half hour in which rain had ceased. Eye on the sky… I can fly in rain, but choose not to on the whole, as it’s not much fun flying in the wet, and it also makes battery pack connections more sparky and unpredictable. But dry sky was mine for the whole session, despite rather impending clouds, and I had 3 pretty much perfect flights, of around 9-10 mins each on my Turnigy 5 amp power packs. Kept the...

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Posted by on Jun 6, 2015

Old Litten Lane

Old Litten Lane

Spring into Summer From the ground at least, the weather looked perfect for a spot of flying half way through this week, and I thought it might be time to head up high to Stoner Hill, and see if I could capture the beautiful Spring greens along the ridge of the hill just outside Petersfield. I only had 3 charged battery packs with me, so I knew my time there would be brief, but it was enough to gain some reasonable height and check out the view both sides of the hill crest. Although there is a public footpath that runs through the fields and woods to the left of Old Litten Lane, I was especially delighted to randomly meet the owner of the surrounding fields as she checked on her horses, and was delighted that she gave me permission to take-off and overfly her land, so thank you very much to her for that. In-flight I took off from the field closest to the footpath where the charming...

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Posted by on May 21, 2015

Golden Heights

Golden Heights

Drive-by-flyings Today I was out looking for the few rapeseed fields that haven’t yet been harvested, and I must have driven for a good 40 minutes without finding a single suitable one, but as I turned back on to the A3, I wondered if there were any on the way up towards Butser Hill, which I would shortly be passing. A worthwhile digression as it turns out, because there’s at least 3 of them nearly at the crest of the hill, and one of the fields had helpful unrestricted access (yep, I could get through that gap). As it was the middle of a working day, there was almost nobody about, but I was resolved to be especially vigilant about other things in the sky (although I didn’t see a single flying thing other than the one I put there in the entire session) and having a clear view in all directions from my launch site, I felt confident to gain a bit of height, and have a pan round the...

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Posted by on May 15, 2015

Above Harting Down

Above Harting Down

Test flight 4 complete… Harting down is a good place for test flights – acres and acres of high hilltop greenery, relatively good recovery possibilities if anything should go horribly wrong, and a clear line of sight in every direction. Nice long grass as well, except on the pathways, so we can expect some cushioning should we have to come down in a hurry. Not that I was expecting, or experienced any problems at all – it was 3 pretty much perfect flights with full GPS lock all the time, on the red, blue and red/yellow battery 5000 mAH Turnigy packs, which are the only ones that have proved reliable so far, and still hold almost a full charge 3 years after I bought them. Higher, please… There are good video reasons to fly Harting Down every so often, you start high, and it’s worth going to the (CAA imposed) max 400 ft above that to gain some spectacular views over South Harting and East Harting, and all the...

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Posted by on May 11, 2015

2015 Test Flights 2 and 3

2015 Test Flights 2 and 3

Higher, Faster, Longer Yep, it’s a double entry for test flights 2 and 3, which went on last week in the gaps between all that mental wind. The Naza-M V1 (v2.12 software) continues to fly perfectly, and film beautifully, and my ongoing battery tests are re-familiarising me with what keeps me in the air and for how long, so I am gaining confidence that I still have a pretty much perfectly optimized aerial rig I can start to set on some decent photo missions without worry. The GoPro4 Black Edition does OK, but if I’m honest, not as well in some respects as its predecessor the 3+ which seems to give a better average light setting, and records arguably higher quality footage than the 4 does at high frame rates. It’s battery also does better, although with only 4 power packs, giving around 25 mins of flight, camera power isn’t a problem. We do have a cable that’s gone intermittent – the flyout cable that connects to the GoPro from...

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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 3, 2014

Ride’n’Fly 2K14

Ride’n’Fly 2K14

Skate Park Aerial It’s about time my Disco Pro came out of the workshop and made it into the air, and no finer place to do so today than PF Skate Park, which is quite busy, but not too much so, and more importantly is full of decent people, who aren’t going to be dicks and do anything stupid that will compromise my safety planning. Tediously safe As those there will attest, before I even got the kit out I gathered everyone round, told them my plans, and gave them vital information that would keep everyone safe while I was flying in proximity to people and more particularly, riders. Thanks to Harry, who volunteered to be my spotter / rear defence, and he did a great job of keeping my landing spaces, and the area behind me watched and clear at all times. Everyone there who had a helmet was wearing it (except Joe 1 occasionally! ), they were all told to watch for the flyer, and to be...

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Posted by on Sep 28, 2014

Afterglow

Afterglow

Waterside At first glance, Petersfield lake doesn’t seem to be a particularly spectacular lake. But those of us that live here know to look again, and keep looking ;) It would be easy to take that lake for granted, but it gives me such regularly amazing views and is one of the most relaxing places to sit, that I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to live close to it. I must photo it more. After a long night’s gigging in Wales I caught up my sleep and was straight out on my little Airwheel, and down to my favourite lake to see what I could see as the sun went down. Sundown Tonight’s sunset really was exceptional – the perfect combination of 10 types of clouds over a viscerally deep ever-reddening purple-orange-crimson dragon-fire backdrop that made me wish I could climb into the sky and live there in a little cotton-wool house. It couldn’t last – it would surely catch fire eventually. Also lucky enough to be sharing it...

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2014

Lake Marsh Sun

Lake Marsh Sun

Airborne Again… You can’t ride your Airwheel forever, right ? Well I had mine with me today, and great fun it was too, but the weather was perfect for other things, and I had a boot-full of Discovery Pro, so with not much ado, Aerocam gets off his Airwheel, and takes his trusty new GoPro3+ on a mission to get some epic aerial footage of some local lakes over in Milford, Surrey. I’ve asked for permission to film and The Angling Society that own it were kind enough to let me fly, if I shared the footage with them – my pleasure ! I get a free place to fly, they get some free aerial shots of their lake. So to the skies It may have been a while since I’ve been behind the sticks on pilot duty, but I’ve kept my hand in with regular practise on my trainer quads, so I felt a bit like a duck back in a lake as, preflight checks completed, I took off...

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Posted by on Sep 2, 2014

Skate Park AirTime

Skate Park AirTime

Twice the Moves For the last 3 days I’ve been down at the Skate Park with my new flashy camera pole thing to get on film the various amazing skills I see going down whenever I pass there on my Airwheely adventures. I pass there quite a lot because the Skate Park is between my house and the shops. Over the 3 days, my filming got better, braver and closer, and whereas in Part 1, the skaters are very much in practice mode, and the BMXers are pretty solid, it really comes alive in Part 2, where everyone really kicks it up a gear, assumedly to go with my drop-heavy monster-groove soundtrack ;) Key players I’m shit at remembering names, but I have to name Jim on his scooter and BMX as the star of Part 2, whereas Seb, him and Dave (?) and couple of others are ‘best of show’ in Part 1. We also get some nice moves in from some older riders, whose names I know absolutely...

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Posted by on Aug 24, 2014

High Point Glide

High Point Glide

Once more To the Top ! I love Butser, it ticks all the boxes, both for flying and Airwheeing. Unlike QECP on the opposite hill, which is really hard to Airwheel because of all the roots and chalky stone, Butser is mainly short grass, and well managed, wide paths that are absolutely perfect for gliding about most of the hill. Video up soon… Occasionally it goes a bit more off-road, but if you’re careful to look ahead and nimbly steer round rabbit holes and furrows, it’s a great place to ride. And even nicer when the sun goes down… Here’s some rather large pics from my Nikon (handheld, so not the sharpest)… …and then it was back down again for a pleasantly cooling drift to the car, a mile away – a journey accomplished without my feet touching the ground… More like that soon, I would have thought… See you then.  ...

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2014

Lost on Forest Heath

Lost on Forest Heath

Ways to set the days ablaze …sang All About Eve in a song off their 4th album which nobody except me and them heard. …but today I am allowing the sun and excitement in general to do just that as I comport myself to Liss Forest to see how easy it is to get lost on the heath. I’m also testing what might be a genius idea about using mouse mats with wrist-rests as shin padding on my wheel. that worked a treat. No additional padding required under jeans anymore, even though I did get these ludicrously coloured legwarmers, which did an admirable job before I fitted the foam pads… I know they don’t look great, but I can tidy them up later when I have perfected the positioning, which I’ve done so it can be altered, using ultra-strong self-adhesive velcro. After over 2 hours on the footplates I was only just starting to feel some shin discomfort, so they’ve done a great job so far, and can stay....

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2014

Park Life – Parts 1 & 2

Park Life – Parts 1 & 2

Find me a lake in the Summer Sun… I thought to myself as I awoke in steaming humidity this morning. So out I went with my Airwheel for Day 10 of my learning diary, and to have a lovely afternoon summer glide about the heath, in the nicely muted receding sun, recording it all as I go to share with you later. If you play the videos fullscreen and point a fan at your face, it’ll help with the realism. Here’s part 2, the slow relaxed actual speed glide around the lake – no de-shake – pretty much raw footage, 1080P from a GoPro3 Black Edition, ProTune Off… Whilst Part 1, top, is more of a speed-through, and mostly at 100-400% real time. If you like airwheels or lakes, you’ll like them both. Part 1 has been stabilized, which leads to some very odd and giddy camera motion, but I thought it suited the speed run we were doing, and riding a wheel feels a bit ‘all-over-the-place’ initially, so I...

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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 6, 2014

High Dawn – Parts 1 & 2

High Dawn – Parts 1 & 2

King of the Hills… It was 5 am, and I was up the top of the highest hill in Hampshire to capture some rather rare weather conditions, and if possible to use that opportunity to get above the cloud base. Flight 1 up the top there, and Flight 2 below… 1080HD much improves things, so you should turn that on straight away ! Safety safety Butser is the best hill not only in terms of its size, height, parking(!), lack of obstacles and easy but interesting flying topology, but also because it attracts morning cloud / mist, which sometimes rises off the damp grass, and slowly joins the main cloud layer some 500-1000 ft above, around dawn. And in the 3 days a year when that might happen at sunrise (when I want to film), I can safely get above it by only ascending to a nice and legal 100-300 ft, where, thanks to my overdriven LED nav lights, I can still maintain 100% LoS eyes-on contact with my craft...

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