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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 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 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...

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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...

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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 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 2, 2014

The Great Uphill Challenge

The Great Uphill Challenge

Get up that hill As far as impressive hills go, none come bigger or more intimidating (well, within a 20 mile radius of my front door :) than Butser, home to many a hobbyist, including me and my flying machines. But today, I’m here to test the limits of my Airwheel (X5) as I make it carry me and a large flask of earl grey tea from the bottom to the top of the South slope, arguably the second easiest way up, after the main road in, which is a gentler climb. It’s a reasonable challenge to attempt, as the other ways up are almost certainly beyond the scope of my little wheel. Perhaps a double-motored double power Q3, or a Rockwheel could get up those, but I can’t, so I’ll try the ones that might just work if I’m lucky with me and my little 500 watt motor… If you had an X3 here, I’ll be honest – you won’t make it up this slope with 400 watts and...

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Posted by on Jul 27, 2014

Airwheel Terrain Testing

Airwheel Terrain Testing

Where can we go on one of those ? Pretty much anywhere, as it goes. Today I’ll be transversing assorted types of country terrain and urban thoroughfare alike, as I go for an hour’s ride around the back alleys and paths of Petersfield. Condensed down to a 20 minute video, this saves me a lot of talking / typing about it, but in essence, the surfaces we’ll be exploring include: Gravel, woodland paths, short grass, long grass, bumpy ground, stony ground, wooden slats, loose shale, pavement, road, uphill, downhill, winding tracks and muddy inclines. On the way we’ll meet some very nice people (hello John, and Dave and Tegan, and Steve and Pete – the cat wouldn’t tell me its name), and 1 proper nutter, and roll past some very nice gardens. And a loose dog. And a talkative cat with 3 legs (It would talk about other things, just not its name). Here’s some pics. The best sky in all Petersfield… Dave & Tegan, who live in the...

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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 Jun 1, 2014

AC1 V6 :The Return

AC1 V6 :The Return

Resurrection Bonus Well I thought my beloved hexacopter AC1 had done its last flight, and had very much decommissioned her and nicked half her bits to go on AC2 my Discovery Pro FPV Quad which I bought with a mind to replace her for something smaller, lighter and easier to get around with. So out went her beating heart, the Naza-M Flight Controller, and her RX, and her lights, and all her video gear. I was unexpectedly sad to dissemble her for what I thought would be the last time, assumedly because I am taking down a machine that has served me well, and got me really very close to the sort of quality footage I am looking for. And then, the following week, as I was building machine no 2, I suddenly remembered that last year I’d dropped my original Devo 10 whilst crossing a road and broken a switch on it, and that there might have been an RX1002 receiver in the box with the one I ordered to...

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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 16, 2013

Chalk Pit Wind Chasing

Chalk Pit Wind Chasing

A Whiter shade of shale… Sorry about that. But what I lack in punning excellence I hopefully make up for in brave(ish) piloting, and today I am being tested to the max by everything nature and engineering have to throw at me, as I manfully take to the skies over Portsdown Chalk Pits, just over a bit from Portsmouth. I’ve got my friend Tudor with me, who is both spotting (and heroically keeping the dogs away) and floating about on the ground with my GoPro 2 and his own muchly superior Nex 5, the footage from which hasn’t quite made it over to me in time for this video, but will be very interesting to see as I’m planning to mount one of those on my flyer at some point, and it’ll be nice to see the quality first-hand before I do. Location, Location Ray, the plane guy I met up at Butser last week had kindly sent me the link to this place, and cliffs, and chalk quarries...

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2013

Tower View – Mini Scout Flight

Tower View – Mini Scout Flight

Into the Blue, briefly. It was lovely sunny afternoon, and I was down the South Coast with a flyer in the boot, Special Assistant M in the passenger seat, and not much wind on the anemometer. Right, I thought, let’s do an experimental fly of the very Southern-most bit of land I can reasonably get to. And that turns out to be the official end of the A3, where we have a large circular stone seating area in front of one of those Ye Olde Sailors-style pubs. To the South, away from that my launch area, is the sea, where I will spend most of this flight out of all harms way (except to my craft, should it all go horribly wrong). Sky Towers And in the distance, though closer than I have ever flown to it, is my old adversary the Spinnaker Tower, whose looks and height virtually demand that I try and film it from as close as possible whilst making the minimum amount of people cross...

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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 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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Posted by on Jul 5, 2013

South Downs Sky Rise

South Downs Sky Rise

To the hills once more… Just never the ones I’m trying to see… Today’s flyings took me back to the site I found a couple of weeks ago, in the foothills of the South Downs, close to Bepton and Didling. Last time you didn’t see the flights because gimbal settings were awful, and this time you’re not going to see it because my take-off area was full of sheep ! I like sheep, and have no wish to worry them. So back in the car I got, and after a bit of random driving about, eventually found myself heading steeply upwards, and then down the sort of road that might have stopped being a road a couple of miles back… By the time I realised I was actually driving the South Downs Way, I had come dangerously close to grounding my car twice, and the track in front of me seemed to go on ad infinitum into the distance with no turning places, or ways to get back. So...

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