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Posted by on Nov 17, 2018

Patchwork Gardens

Patchwork Gardens

Almost a Home Ground… Technically, this fly-site is the closest to my house of anywhere I fly, but despite one very successful flight here around 5 years ago with my Discovery Pro, I have been reticent to return because I don’t want to worry or harass the gardeners by flying there too often. The last thing I would want is for them to think I am spying on them, or up to anything nefarious, so I always go and talk to at least a few people of whoever is there and ask if they mind if do some aerial photography. Everyone has been very kind so far. Flight Planning Although I didn’t seem to need it last time I made my close-proximity flight, this time one of the resident gardeners advised that I should probably ask for permission to fully overfly the site, which I will do in due course, but in the meantime I do remain free to fly in the large public fields next door to the...

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2018

Lammas Land Spin Glides

Lammas Land Spin Glides

Losing Light… Over in Godalming again visiting Mum, so paused on the way to go grab some dusk footage from the Lammas Lands, this time from the ‘Farncombe’ side of it. It’s another huge wide-open space largely devoid of people, except the odd dog walker, and this makes it a similarly great place to fly as the other side of the road is. Safe and legally distant from structures, but close enough to a built-up area to get some decent views of the town. Light wasn’t on my side this time – it was failing fast at only 4.30 pm or so, but I got there and set up in just about enough time to get a couple of flights under the darkening grey skies. Testing Times Flawless performance from the H again, even better now that I have recalibrated the compass after finding the odd occurrence of ‘error 32’ in my flight telemetry. I am beginning to really trust the H now, and as I approach the 150...

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2018

St Peters at Terwick

St Peters at Terwick

Location location… I have often seen the sign to St Peters church just off the A272 in Hampshire, near Terwick, but until recently hadn’t ventured down there to do any flyings. But recently I was visiting a friend out that way who was staying in a local farm cottage, and we went walking about and found the church, and a nice little field out the back of it, and some very attractive Autumn colours. Just one really quick flight here, so didn’t feel I fully did it justice, but I will be back during Winter to get a slightly better view of the church, which I think would look excellent from the air when covered in snow. But we did have time for a nice little panorama, and a quick spin about the fields, so enjoy those for now… Next time we’re back in Godalming, more specifically the other side of the lammas lands at dusk… Aero...

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Posted by on Oct 19, 2018

Ashford Hangers

Ashford Hangers

250 yards further… Exciting new fly site time ! I’ve lived in Petersfield for at least 10 years, and have known about Stoner Hill and Ashford Hangers for most of that, but recently my good friends Matt & Joolz told me about a viewpoint I had never found in all that time, so today I set out on a mission to find it, and when I did I was rewarded by one of the best potential fly sites I’ve seen for a while ! And it is a mission to get there – I have to drive all the way to the end of Litten Lane, a fabulously unmaintained farmers track that puts my cars suspension to the maximum test – indeed have lost 2 exhausts to this road before, but I got away with it this time. I used to fly from the main viewpoint, but for various reasons had since decided that wasn’t safe, and the only other option is a gated field on the left that...

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Posted by on Oct 19, 2018

Butser Hill South

Butser Hill South

If at first you don’t succeed… …go back again and have another go. Last time I was here, the sun had already gone down, I inexplicably had an ND4 filter on, and had to set ISO way high, so footage was quite bad and trees got turned to mush – eurgh. So this time, I’ve got there an hour earlier, and all my ND filters remain in the bag, and things are looking much better for it… also less wind today, so that’s nice. The Road to the Top This is one of the fields that lines the main road up to the summit of Butser, but I’m saving flying from up there until conditions are perfect, so for now I am content to stay on the South Side ridge, flying from my favourite easy-access field where I have excellent views of all the surrounding skies and roads, and I have special assistant Andy spotting for me, so this makes me feel very safe for this session. There were...

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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 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 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 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 18, 2014

Master Airwheel Training – QECP NightGlide

Master Airwheel Training – QECP NightGlide

Lost in the woods Today I felt like challenging myself and improving my all-terrain skills. And the most challenging cross-country run I have done so far on my Airwheel was up at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, so I thought I’d have another go at that, except this time, I’ll do it on my own and in the dark. I have just returned from that mission, which started out as a planned 1 hour trek, but ended up with me utterly lost in woodland I didn’t know well, and unable to see more than 5 ft square of it at any one time for a good 2 and a half hours while I manually scaled the sides of the hills trying to find the path… Mission 1 – QECP Bottom to Top Having conquered Butser it seems only rude not to try the same at QECP. Today I thought I’d try the main winding road up from the lower car park, and I am pleased to say I got all the...

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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 3, 2014

Hawkley Down

Hawkley Down

Like an inferior Hobbiton … this field, not for the first time, caught my attention as I was driving past it on the way to somewhere else, and lured in as I was by its undulating hillocks and sunset-through-trees action, I had to park the car, pop into the field, set up, and get in the air for 2 short flights on a very pleasant evening. Wildlife This field was empty last time I was in it, but today there was trio of horses that started off far away from me, wandered towards me, so I moved all my stuff (and latterly me) behind 2 lines of helpful electric fence, which the horses seemed to know about. One remained close until I took off, then looked annoyed, and walked away to join his friends, who then all ignored it together as it was high and out of their way, and I didn’t overfly them or even go down their end of the field much… Monitoring… I am monitoring the...

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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 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 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 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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