Okay, yesterday I told you that I may or may not have an adventure to tell you about. Well I do because it turned out to be a happy ending. If it hadn’t, I would not be posting this story. 🙂
It’s a long story with a 5 minute video at the bottom of the post.
I have been working on again off again on a video / photography project about the “Duck Pond” at the Hurstville Marsh. One of the things I wanted was to do a relatively low fly over of the marsh to give the viewer a sense of its size. Now with my questionable flying skills and flying mainly over water I have been reluctant to do it for sometime.
Saturday I decided that the weather was perfect for flying. Jeanne was busy with a church thing she was working on, so I loaded up my older Phantom and headed for the Pond. I had flown the root in my mind many times and knew exactly where I wanted to go and wanted to show.
I was super careful about getting the GPS lock, calibrating the compass, checking battery capacity, and wind speed. When I was comfortable with everything I launched the Phantom. It was a good flight (the video below is an abbreviated version) and I got most of the footage I wanted. I still had more than 50% battery reserve when I made a critical mistake.
I was at the far end of the pond (still well within the range of the flight controller) when I lowered the craft to get a better view of the surroundings. Apparently I got too low because the group of trees between me and the Phantom interrupted the signal and initiated its fail safe routine so the phantom went into its Going Home Routine.
Even that would have been okay if it had risen to 60 feet like it is supposed to and then come back everything would have been fine. But instead it did not rise and the altitude it was at is the altitude it headed back home at. The problem was there were trees between it and its take off point and it flew straight into them.
I really was getting bad reception through my monitor but the last thing I saw was what looked like bare branches. That’s all I had to go on because immediately after that the monitor went black. Nothing was showing (the impact knocked the battery out of the phantom) because there was no power.
So what to do. If I do nothing I lose my Phantom, camera, and a lot of investment. If I go in there looking for it I run the risk of seeing or worse stepping on a snake. How bad do I really want to get that damn machine back?
Now most people know that I have an abnormal fear of snakes and the area between where I was standing and the Phantom went down is covered in chin high grass, brambles, thistles, and assorted other bad things including fallen tree limbs. The grass is so thick in places it actually pulled my shoe off a couple of times.
Did I mention that it was 92 degrees with the humidity of an oven. I was wearing a tee-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. Not exactly the proper apparel for hiking through a jungle invested with all sorts of wild things and probably some poison things as well.
Throwing caution, fear of snakes, common sense, and logic to the wind I went into the wilds of the marsh. I wasn’t sure what the final path of the Phantom was but I did know that it hit some trees so I concentrated my search around them. Sounds easy but after an hour and a half of walking, falling down, being trapped and literally hacked to pieces I gave up.
I was drenched, dehydrated (I lost my water bottle) and bleeding. So dejected and very disappointed I drove home. Took a long hot shower and put medicine on my legs and arms and had a glass of wine.
Yesterday morning Jeanne and I decided to give it another try. This time properly dressed in hiking attire complete with gloves and walking sticks we headed back down. During the prior evening I had thought through the flight and had narrowed down where I thought it should be.
The good news is that after only 15 minutes of walking I found the Phantom. I found the water bottle too. 🙂
There was very little damage to the craft. One broken prop and the battery had been knocked out but the camera was in perfect condition and the video finally ran camera’s battery down. I spent about an hour working on it yesterday afternoon and took it up for a test flight. It worked perfectly.
So that’s my adventure story. Yes I’ll admit it was not a smart thing to do going into the marsh dressed as I was but I just didn’t want to lose that Phantom and camera. In the end I would have been better off coming home and getting the proper clothes for the search but it is what it is. 🙂
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Sorry for the lack of photography and images but you know me, if it’s on my mind I’m going to write about it.
Enjoy your day and be careful.