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Gutted....

Started by Adamantium, Thursday,December 08, 2016, 05:32:24

Previous topic - Next topic

Adamantium

Hey sorry for the long post, but anyone who is interested this is the last post on my blog about my travels with my drone. Basically a year ago (before the announcement of the Mavic or Karma) I started building a custom folding drone to go in my rucksack to travel with. In November I flew into Thailand and started filming with it and blogging about my travels.
I was staying in Railay, Krabi in southern Thailand at the time.

With a firm goal in mind I woke at 6am and checked the window, it was cloudy and overcast so I slept another hour and got up to still warmth and sunshine.
After showering and packing I grabbed the drone bag and walked up the hill to the end of the road. After taking off I flew over a few hundred meters of jungle then climbed to about 200m to film the tops of the mountains that surround Hat On Sai like a horseshoe. The mountains were at the limit of my range and I started to loose video feed which made setting the shots up difficult. I was happy I got some good footage though, and happy that my flying was improving.
After this I headed back down the hill to the road by the beach, to the side of which are some imposing overhanging walls covered in limestone stalagtite formations. I did several close passes of these right up from the back out to sea, with further formations visible in the water in the distance. I was also able to get a high shot following the top of the mountain, which included the whole bay and way out to see. I was finally happy with how the drone was flying. I had fixed the misting issue by removing the glass from the housing, which worked great, provided I didn't get it wet.
After feeling very content with my mornings work, I headed back to Chill Out bar to charge batteries and grab breakfast. Here the Thai guys who worked at the bar were intrigued by the drone, and asked me to fly it over the bar and take pictures. I was slightly anxious about this due to the number of trees and things to crash into, but found a path I was confident I could fly and duly did. I did a couple of passes over the plot, enjoying the excitement of the Thais as Wanderer folded and unfolded, and as they watched the live feed on my screen. Happy I had got all I could, I decided to show off and ignore the 5x5m sand landing area, and brought it down smoothly and cleanly onto a 1x1m table top instead, to the delightment of the Thais.
After a bit of back and worth I found the long tail Captain I had spoken with yesterday and we set off towards Chicken Island. I did my best to explain my need to settle the drone on a beach or rock then move to the actual flying site, as the drone will not calibrate on a rocking boat. As the rock feature itself is in deep rocky water the Captain dropped me off on the same beach we had watched monkeys on yesterday, where I started the drone then got back in the boat and we drove around to where I wanted to film. About 80% of the way there the drone started beeping, and the tablet informed me we had left its Geofence (a feature designed to stop the drone running away). So I spoke to the driver and he tentatively dropped me on a smaller rockier beach. From here I flew straight to the rock stack, with the Captain moving me and the boat after the drone. I did a couple of passes of beautiful white sand, turquoise water and jungle, one of which followed the boat.
The boat stopped where I asked so I could get a good perspective of my target area. I did passes, approaches and shots of the whole island, and circled for a while. The footage was perfect. I could see even from the grainy AV feed that what I was getting was exactly what I wanted.
With the battery running down and a good selection of awesome shots, I brought the drone in to the boat, and controlling it with one hand I used my other to pluck it from the sky. Feeling very happy I asked the Captain if he knew any other pretty spots without too many people. He said he did and we set off. As we bounced lightly over turquoise sea, I was thinking to myself how good this was going. Hiring the boat allowed me to get to the places I wanted to get to, I was flying well, the GoPro seemed to be filming well, and I was doing what I had set out to do, getting the shots I set out to get.
Ahead I spotted an island I had seen yesterday, that had two towers of rock coming together at the bottom, forming a V shape with tress hanging on each side. I was pleased to see the Captain pointed towards this without me having to ask, so was further happy that he was understanding what I wanted too.
We landed on a small beach in a cove, surrounded by vast mountains on either side and a gap between them directly in front. The got the drone in the air, and with the boat driving out of the cove was able to do a perfect sweeping shot from out one side of the island, through the V valley, past the walls of the cove, over the beach and out into open sea.
"That's the shot!" I thought, feeling very happy.
I did several more passes of different lengths, at different heights to make sure I had all bases covered, then a surprisingly beautiful circle shot of a stack with the bay behind framed by jungle. Inside of the island covered. I manoeuvred the drone and signalled the driver towards a vast rock wall, with a massive undercut made by the tide with haunting teeth like shapes. I did several passes of this, out from behind the undercut to reveal more islands behind. I did a careful low pass just above the water that looked so cool.
"This is day is shaping up to be a 10" I thought to myself, ecstatic finally to be getting some not just good footage, but awesome footage. I decided to pull the drone in and probably call it a day, unbelievably happy with what I already had. I switched it to stabilise and flew it back to myself. As it was about 4m from the boat it suddenly started beeping, and flying back towards the rock. I checked my switches and flicked it to position hold, which it ignored then I switched to manual in an attempt to bring it away from the wall. It ignored this too, tilted back at full speed and crashed into the water about 20m from the boat. I grabbed my mask and the Captain moved the boat quickly over there, but in the 20 seconds between it hitting and us getting there it had completely vanished. I searched for about 10 minutes for any sign of it, but the water beneath me was just an infinite blue.
Accepting the unchangeable; I told the driver to return home, feeling gutted not just to have lost a year';s work and well over £2000, but to have lost that footage, and all the footage yet to come.
Before taking myself straight to the bar, I decided to ring the local dive centre, thinking they might like a break from guiding tourists around reefs to help a lunatic find his drone. They were interested until I told them where it was, and they said it was too deep for even nitrox diving.
So out of options I returned to the bar and called home. As the evening went on I became more and more gutted. Not just for what I had lost, but the fact that our journey together had only just started. I had spent so much time and money building up to this, so much frustration getting it working right, and the second I got to where I wanted to be, it was over.
This furthered my anxiety about my lack of purpose in my travels. Now I was just another lone wanderer, and all the dream I had made for myself, that I had chased had turned from perfect to over in a few seconds. I was so close, just seconds later and I would have had it back on the boat, safe and back to shore, but instead my perfect day turned to an empty one, I don't know why.
I guess if today had taught me anything, it is that there is no point designing something to be waterproof, if you don't design it to float...





Elmattbo

I feel for you mate. At least you had the flying experience that you enjoyed. Enjoy the rest of your travels regardless.


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nate80

Wow, that sucks. Sorry to learn about your misfortune. As difficult as it might be try to concentrate on all the positives you';ve had designing and learning about your folding drone and then capturing so much wonderful footage. It must feel pretty horrible that it';s gone, but at least you are safe and you can build another drone.

Regarding your new position as a ';lone wanderer';, if you';re traveling for an extended length of time, I don';t suppose it';s possible to buy a phantom or something so you can at least continue to capture the footage you want? Either way, think positive and try to enjoy the rest of your travels.  :smiley: