Learner Pilot

My drone education continued yesterday with a few more flights successfully completed, though that was more due to the quality of the aircraft rather than the skill of the pilot. The first flight over Caroline Pool came up with a high wind warning as soon as the aircraft was higher than 60 m. Then the drone disappeared from my sight just as communication with the controller was lost, so I could not even see where it was on my iPad screen.

I was about to give it up as lost, when it hove into sight and connection was reestablished. Viewing the recording later I could see it had hovered for a short time then plainly concluded that it should head home by itself. Once communication returned I could see it was now in charge. I had only had to watch without interfering as it returned under its own control to the spot from where it had taken off.

The second flight went better. I kept it fairly low and always in sight. However when I told it to return to home by itself, this time it became confused and tried to land in a tree. A warning flashed up that the landing site was not suitable and asking me to guide the aircraft to a better spot. This I did. Smart little machine.

My third and fourth flights were out over old Halls Creek.  There I just practised manoeuvring.  I tried to follow some wild horses, but lost them. I am learning, but I need to remember to turn on the camera to record all the flights.

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Spéir Súl

At last my new toy has arrived.

To cheer myself up, and because I fell deeply in love with Jake’s when we took it out last week, I bought a drone with a really good camera.  The DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This will replace the GoPro I lost, and then some.

I have named it Spéir Súl, which is Irish for “Sky Eye”. It sounds better in Irish.

It was not cheap, this new toy, but I rationalise the purchase by considering it to be a new stage in my photography adventure, plus it will enable me to see, and photograph, places I can no longer access on foot. Besides. I am on my own now, and how I spend my money and my time is my own affair.

That seems a little defensive, so perhaps I do feel a little guilt.  But I’ll get over it.

Today I took her out to Palm Springs for her maiden voyage.  I wanted to film the rock I am no longer able to climb, and the view from the top I can no longer get to.  However, the drone would not fly for me, because before it’s first flight the software that controls it from my iPad demands that I register and activate it first.  Of course, that requires connection to the internet, and there is not even phone reception out there.

Mission aborted.  Try again tomorrow.

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