Pages Menu
TwitterRss
Categories Menu

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015

Flyaway Disco

Flyaway Disco

The classic DJI flyaway Despite doing everything reasonable to avoid it, I am already a member of the esteemed DJI Flyaway club, but today I reconfirmed my membership by being the victim of a new mystery flyaway, which happened for no appreciable reason and without any sort of warning, following 2 minutes of perfectly normal flight control. Location is everything Ever since my first DJI flyaway, I have been extra cautious about where I fly, so as to minimize as much as possible the risk to people, animals and property if the worst should happen. Today I was up on the high hills of Ditcham, Hampshire in the setting sun, trying to get some stunning high aerial views of the interesting clouds and sweeping landscape. If we are going to crash, this is at least the perfect place to do it, miles away from anything that isn’t fields or trees. All systems ready ? This was the first flight of the day, and I had completed all the normal ground checks...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015

South Coast Wind Glides

South Coast Wind Glides

To the power of 3. Yep – 3 vids of today’s extremely rewarding airwheel glides, one of them under rather extreme conditions. Not that you’d know from the video, but today I got my first real taste of airwheeling in wind so extreme I could lean back as much as 30 degrees off upright, and still get pushed forward on my wheel by it. Very helpful for recharging if you happen to be going in the same direction as the gale, but woe betide (pun intended) you if you’re going against it for any length of time, because that really is a weapons-grade battery killer. So, your 3 videos start here with a cheeky glide round the Clarence Pier funfair, when it’s closed, but someone’s left the gate open… Then it was off to the lifeboat jetty to film the sea that claimed my camera the last time I tried it, but this time it was tied down, and I got very much the sort of shots I was...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014

Petersfield Xmas Lights 2K14

Petersfield Xmas Lights 2K14

The Dark Side Assumedly because it was the only day Darth Vader could spare, Petersfield kicked in its xmas lights in the middle of November this year, to the delight of anyone under 7. Aerocam was there in case anything good happened. I was quite pleased with the slightly unrelated decision to get a crew of fictional storm troopers and a dark lord in to switch on some xmas lights – if had been some low-rent celebrity I wouldn’t have even bothered turning up. Indeed it wasn’t sociability that led me there, but rather wanting to try out some new camera gear and techniques, and to record the xmas lights, which are normally quite good. There and back again As it was, I kept being ejected from previously agreed filming positions by various official types, so having nowhere ideal to film from, didn’t bother staying to capture the actual switch-on, or whatever went on on-stage before it, but instead returned very late that night to complete my video with...

Read More

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014

Gunwharf Glides

Gunwharf Glides

Excellent Shopping… …in the video department today, although it wasn’t always easy getting it for us. God – that sounds like I’ve been stealing video gear ! No – what I actually mean is excellent and interesting video from today’s seaside urban glides on my Airwheel, which I have obtained with glide-cam, my Right footplate-mounted GoPro 3+. Gunwharf Quays, and the Spinnaker Tower has some of the smoothest, most rewarding Airwheeling surfaces I have ever had the pleasure to ride, so whenever I am near the South Coast, it’s always on my list of possible places to go to kill some time while I wait for rush hour traffic to die down. Careful, J… Today I was there late morning however, as I woke early and the sun was shining, so I got out there around 11 am to find a relatively busy concourse, and to give Portsmouth shoppers something of the classic AJ2K glide-around as I carefully wended my way between them. It would seem that I did...

Read More

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...

Read More