Pages Menu
TwitterRss
Categories Menu

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...

Read More

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...

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 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 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 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...

Read More

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.  ...

Read More

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....

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014

Quad-walking PFH

Quad-walking PFH

Cricket Grounds & Burial Mounds Dull sky and no sun, but also no wind means I’m looking for places to fly with interesting things to see on the ground, given that the sky won’t be up to much, and light is failing. Never mind, let’s pop to the woods by the heath, and fly around there for a bit, taking in some higher views of the cricket ground, heath itself and 2 of the ancient burial mounds that dot the heath. So just 2 LiPo packs worth before light at ground level was dodgy, but again, flawless Atti / GPS mode and control behaviour from the Naza – this frame feels very locked in, and I remain delighted with the gimbal performance, which is the best of any platform I have ever flown. The only artefacting on my video now is either down to shoddy non-smooth piloting from me, or because I left it in the sun for 10 mins, and this has resulted in a faint line on...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Posted by on Apr 5, 2014

Drive-By Flyings, Chalfont

Drive-By Flyings, Chalfont

  The Lure of Gold… There’s something really quite good about the particular flaxen yellows of a massive field of flowering rapeseed. And they’re not doing the flowering for very long, so as soon as I see one, I know it’s time to go drive-by flying, and see if I can find a field of it that has parking and isn’t locked. Today’s field was a chance find on the hill-top road out through Clanfield, then through to Chalton and beyond, nearly all the way down to Denmead. Having passed up about 30 alternative fields as having one thing or other wrong with them on the way here and the sun was not far off setting, I stopped here mainly because there was lots of parking space, it was adjacent to a public footpath, didn’t have a 300 ft electricity pylon in it, and because I didn’t think I’d find a better one before the sun disappeared. Swings and Roundabouts Once in the air, it transpired that I’d picked...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More