Sunday 9 July 2017

The Quad-copter Goes Farming

Six full batteries of flying, one minor crash and one forced landing later, here's my first real footage with the Hubsan.

My brother - driving the Claas Jaguar silage chopper - likes watching this sort of thing on YouTube, so, of course, we have to do the same thing for him.

I'm trying to concentrate on the action, but you do get a glimpse of the beautiful Manx scenery in the background.

The first filming session on Thursday was grey, misty and overcast. The footage is a little flat, but there was virtually zero wind and this gave me a chance to try and follow the tractors a bit. The Hubsan really is a bit of a handful, especially when stopping and starting. I'm finding that I have to do a lot in the editing, to cut out the jerky, bumpy bits at the beginning and end of each sequence. It's also, of course, about practice and smoothness. The controller is very sensitive and you actually need a very delicate touch to keep it a bit smoother.

Friday's rain meant that they were still at work chopping and carting on Saturday morning. By the time I arrived on site, they were just about to start the last field so I unpacked quickly and started filming. This time the weather was much brighter, with the sun being full for most of the time. I actually ran all three batteries down completely - including the quad doing an emergency landing when called home at the end of battery three. No damage, just a brief hunt to see where it had landed.

I think I'm beginning to get the hang of the controls by the end. Because the field is on a slope - steep enough for the tractor to get stuck at the bottom when loaded - at times I'm doing all four directions on the controller at the same time. This means having to think about, for example, flying forward, up, moving left and rotating right, all at the same time. It's still a bit jerky and wobbly, but that's what cheap quads are like. I'm still not doing this enough to splash on a quad with a stabilized camera - well not just yet.

Thanks must go to the farmers and contractors for letting me film, managing to ignore the quad as it buzzed around them.