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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...

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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...

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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 Dec 4, 2014

Winchester at Christmas

Winchester at Christmas

Join me for an afternoon roll around one of Hampshire’s most picturesque cities and largest cathedral. It’s nearly Christmas, so much to my surprise I found a full-on craft market at the base of the cathedral, and this resulted in some classic Airwheel skills-up proximity glide opportunities… Slow-wheeling Part 1 is all about Airwheeling the busy market, intercut with a few quality time-lapses of the awesome scenery. This was easily as hard work as Westminster was the other week, possibly more so in that at least in London they keep moving, albeit very slowly; here, people were randomly stopping all over the place, and it took all my concentration and slow-wheel skills to do the whole lot without a single UDM or fall. Couple of forced intentional dismounts along they way, as you’d expect, but generally I was very happy with that, and pleased that I seem to be able to maintain increasingly deathly slow roll speeds without losing balance. Part 2 builds on that as we head into...

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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 Sep 29, 2014

Spellbound

Spellbound

Watership Down… Back to the lake then, for some more spellbinding moments of serene loveliness as the sun floats away for another day… and lucky you – you have this video and a small gallery of things to see, including some clouds, some water, and a pair of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. Time & Space There was a lot of proximity going on today, which was all very good. And the water was nice, and it wasn’t too cold, which meant I could stay lakeside for a good hour, so I parked my GoPro for the last bit of that, set it firing every 2 seconds, and captured the last of the dying light. Tomorrows cloudscape will be every 5 seconds, which should make stuff move a bit faster… See you soon, peoples…...

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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 3, 2014

Blackdown & Haslemere

Blackdown & Haslemere

Up to the Down Blackdown, in Haslemere, the highest point in Surrey to be exact. I’m here for a double Air wheel adventure in which I will spend an hour up with the forests and high sandy paths of Blackdown Heath, and then a second hour journeying from the Tesco at the bottom of Wey Hill all the way to Haslemere Town Center, and back again. That will use up all my power, and I will cover some furiously difficult terrain and some perfect paving alike as I glide the 10 solid miles by Airwheel faultlessly carried me. What viewpoint ? Due to a complete absence of any sort of beginners luck, and having no memory from childhood of how to get to the best viewpoints, I ignored the signs, took my own path into the woods, and ended up doing a 4 mile circular route, full of immensely challenging terrain, and managed to circumnavigate all the viewpoints and not find a single one of them, before I found myself...

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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 Jun 2, 2014

Sand Pit Grove

Sand Pit Grove

Stedham Common 3… Another good flight session today – 4 good long 8 minute+ treks around yet another new fly-site ! To be fair, it’s a sand pit / lake arrangement we’ve seen many a time before, but never from this side, which allows us to go a bit closer to the working area with all the interesting machinery, and the surrounding trees and scrub present a nice range of things to see on the ground, and the small village of Stedham is just off to the left there. However the sand pit planners have done their job well – I can’t overfly their machinery because then I wouldn’t have line-of sight over the tree bank that was between it and me, but at height, I could go where I dared. Not far – never forgetting this is still a test flight session, so no directly overflying water or anywhere where I can’t get it back if she goes down… But not to worry, the Naza Lite did another...

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Posted by on May 15, 2014

Spring Greens & Golden Glades

Spring Greens & Golden Glades

New Fly Site ! Having left the house perilously close to sunset, but with a vague plan in mind, I headed out on the A272 toward Midhurst, with it in my plan to visit one of the many flying haunts off that road, but impulsive and inquisitive as I am, sometimes I just see something interesting, and dive off the beaten track and go exploring. Today’s exploring led me to somewhere I’d never been before – an almost perfectly idyllic fly site, eminently suitable for integration into the normal cycle of good places to go regularly. It’s Tullycombe Forest, just outside Trotton, and features an array of features that make it high on my list of good places to go flying. Large car park, minimal walk to a large nicely featured clearing, almost perfect for long, slow descents, and surrounded on all sides (thusly protected from wind lower down) by forest, but not the sort of forest in which you wouldn’t stand a higher than normal chance of retrieving your craft...

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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 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 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 11, 2013

Town Flyers – Petersfield High Meadow

Town Flyers – Petersfield High Meadow

Out of the countryside, into the fire… OK, I mean into the wind, but fire sounded more impressive. There was no fire, unless you’re counting the sun, which I’m not. Due to lack of clouds, incidentally, the sunset was rubbish, except on the ground through the trees, so we won’t be looking at that today. On the ground there are trains ! Much more exciting. Lucky Finds… There’s been a lot of hills and greenery in my videos recently, and feeling like a change, I went on a Google satellite mission to try and find somewhere more ‘towny’, where I can continue to provide us all with interesting things to see on the ground, that don’t necessarily have to have leaves. There will be leaves, but also a big town. Today, there is grass in the field to whose boundaries I am strictly adhering, and I am surrounded by buildings. We’ll get into that later… Despite living in Petersfield for at least 7 years now, I had failed to...

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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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Posted by on Jul 6, 2013

Town Rise – Petersfield

Town Rise – Petersfield

To a small field in the middle… …of Petersfield, the home town of me, and a fair few of you reading this, I’d bet. I don’t often venture right into the center of town, but this is the closest I’m safely going to get, and it’s an almost windless night, so let’s get in the air and see what’s what. All About the Sky. And the Ground. And the Lake. The sky is very much what’s what. I arrived with my good friend Rich just as golden hour kicked in, and wasted no time in strapping on an 8000 pack, and pushing some sky past that lens. The sky was ablaze with high cirrus and various other noctilucent cloudforms, which only got better as the sun went down, until it was finally just a blazing orangey red on the horizon. Beautiful. Rich and I sat entranced. Rich more than me – I was trying to make sure the gimbal was aimed mostly at the right thing at the right...

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