My mate Dave & his mate Horace (Part 53)

Martin & Mandy

We've known this Dave (not comedy Dave) for many years, we have worked together in the past on various projects and always kept in touch on the social side. He does various things but one thing he does really well is take photos of wild animals in Africa. In fact the one of Horace on this page is his handy work so he clearly knows a thing or two about which end of a camera to point at things and when to press the button.

Published VersionAnyway he's been rattling on for ages about buying a quadcopter, to you and me that's a very stable model helicopter that is real easy to fly (apparently) and you can hang a camera on the bottom of it.

I entertain him with these 'flights' of fancy and provide a certain level of humour to him and sympathy to his partner Vikki who has to put up with it all.

Every so often they come and visit on a weekend to have a look at progress on St Bartholomew's and a few weekends ago they came over to look around and have lunch with us. This time Dave opens the boot of his car and not only has he actually bought the little 4 engine quadcopter he has a mad 8 engine thing (Mandy suggests this should be an Octocopter) as well, apparently this is even more stable and will carry even more weight. This, we are all told, is a good thing.

Published VersionThen he tells me that he's only just got them both and he's had a training course from the people that import them, but he's not sure if he can fly them and we might crash them immediately! Oh, and the big one needs two people to drive it, one to fly it and one to point the camera in the right direction. Am I doing anything for the next half hour or so he asks?

Fortunately my social diary is clear so we unpack the boot of his car and nip round the back of the church to the foot path and the open fields and have a try with the smaller 4 engine flying machine.

Mandy & Vikki look on with an odd level of disinterest and I suspect there is an element of rolled eyes and comments regarding "boys' toys" in their conversation. Half an hour later Dave and I have the general hang of how it all works, and we can both fly either machines without crashing into anything, so we get sensible pictures out of the cameras on both of them. The big eight blade one is a bit tricky and really does need two people to get any kind of sensible control but flying wise they are both really very good, they have on board computers that deliver stable flight and you literally just have to move them around with a normal model aircraft remote control.

Now that we are experts we move back to the compound of St Bartholomew's and take off from just outside the porch door, fly around the fields surrounding the church and the graveyard but we steer clear of Nigel's Alpacas as we are not sure how they would react to a buzzing flying thing!

Published VersionWe get some pretty clear pictures of the church and it's a really good way of inspecting the outside of the building. A bit more flying around and then it's down the pub for lunch.

Once home we get to examine the video footage we have managed to take, the plan was to produce some kind of video, but what is now very clear is that we need a story board to work with else you just end up flying around in a semi random way playing with the shiny toys so you end up with a pile of footage that really does not want to bolt together into any kind of film. Oh well, next time Dave & Vikki visit I suspect we will be more prepared.

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Published Version