I’ve been having a brilliant time learning how to fly my little Eachine EG16 drone over the last few days. I’ve got to be careful, of course, not to offend my neighbours because I don’t want them to think that I’m flying over and around their homes snooping on them. The trouble is that these are not normal times and I’m limited to flying it just from my garden being unable to go elsewhere more open and less intrusive because of the strict Covid-19 lockdown that we’re subject to here in France.

As an aside before I get back to my drone flying, I received a message today fom FFPLUM, the French ULM/microlight association of which I’m a member, that’s equivalent to the BMAA in the UK (except much superior) saying that we pilots have now been granted a derogation by the DGAC here in France (equivalent to the CAA in the UK) to be allowed to go out once a month to run the engines of our aircraft for 20 minutes.

We have to carry a copy of the derogation with us plus a copy of the normal ‘attestation’ saying why we’re outside our homes and what time we left, so there are strict rules being applied nevertheless. Even so, it’ll mean that I’ll be able to ‘legally’ go out twice to run the engines of my Savannah and my Weedhopper.

But back to the drone flying. I’ve shot a video every time that I’ve flown (except when I’ve forgotten to switch it on) so now have quite a bit of footage. However, because of the pathetically slow internet that we have down here, it would be a waste of time trying to upload it to You tube because if I did, I’d probably be here until the end of the lockdown!

So what I’ve done is grab images from the videos themselves, a selection of which are shown below. It must be understood that these are NOT drone images, which would be of much higher quality (4K actually). If I’d done that I’d have had to keep stopping the video, taking a still and then starting it up again and life is just too short to keep doing that at the moment 🙂

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And finally, early this evening, a hard lesson was learned. Consider this equation…

Novice + Over Confidence = Disaster

The next three shots are a sequence that happened within a few seconds of each other. Note the proximity of the tree with yellow leaves in the next image.

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Note how much closer it is in this one!

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And this is the final frame taken from the video that was being shot at the time – a shot of my neighbour’s house taken after the drone had come to rest at the end of a branch some 10 or so metres up 🙁

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Although the video link was working on my phone at the time, I had my back to the lowering sun and couldn’t see the image on its screen. Consequently I was judging, or more correctly misjudging, the drones position compared to the tree from a short distance away by eye. Evidently it was not as far to the side of the tree as I’d estimated – not to the side at all actually.

Luckily, it wasn’t a complete disaster. I succeeded in getting it out of the tree undamaged and without a mark on it using the plastic chimney cleaning rods that have been lurking in the corner of my workshop for ages just waiting for an opportunity to spring into use. The only thing was that when I retrieved it I found that one of the little shiny metal caps that fit on the tops of the propellers had been knocked off when it originally collided with the mercifully very thin and light branch in the tree.

Unfortunately, although the drone comes with a few spares, these don’t include even one of these caps, which I think is a bit remiss of Eachine really as they must be near the top of the list of things that will get lost. So I’ve had to order a set of 4 that cost peanuts (the postage is more expensive thatn the caps) but as they’ll be coming from China, they’ll take about 3 weeks to arrive.

And, you’ve guessed it, yesterday I put my EG16 on Le Bon Coin describing it as in ‘as new’ condition, but with a little cap missing, I can’t really do that. So I’ve had to delete the ad for the time being. Not a big deal because as my new upgraded drone didn’t arrive today so will probably do so on Monday, that will then become my main focus of interest and the EG16 will just remain in its box. Pity though 😕

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