Desert Chase

February 4, 20140 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, we went out to a dry lakebed near Joshua Tree National Park.  We thought we would experiment with some chase shots.  This is the result.

Wild Pilots do Sequoia National Park

July 4, 20131 Comment

Another great trip! Flying among those trees was so much fun. We were up there for 4 days and the rain helped off until the last day. Everyone we met up there was very friendly, and they were all of who were very interested in what we were doing, naturally. A quick brief on Sequoia National Park from wikipedia:

Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,063 acres (631.35 sq mi; 1,635.18 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.
The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park’s General Grant Grove, home to the General Grant tree among other giant sequoias. The park’s giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (81,921 ha) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.

Enjoy the footage!

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Sequoia… check!

May 13, 20130 Comments
Wild Pilots playing among the BIG trees of Sequoia National Park.

Wild Pilots playing among the BIG trees of Sequoia National Park.

A week ago, Wild Pilots (West Coast) went on another team outing.  This time we headed toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, home to the giant Sequoia trees.  These trees are (arguably) the largest living things on the planet, and they were amazing to be around, let alone FLY around.  Being in the presence of such historic things, we made sure to take great care in leaving only footprints.  The trip was a huge success and we got a ton of great footage.  We’re going through it all now and will have some video available in the near future to document the amazingness.  You have got to see these trees from above!

A Crispy take on the Valley of Death – God’s Scrap Pile

February 12, 20135 Comments

Death Valley is certainly one of my favorite places to go in the US. Everything there is so unique, and fascinating, and SO random (as you’ll see in our videos). The terrain seems to change with every passing mile; hence the name “God’s Scrap Pile” 😛

Growing up, my family would come here every Easter for vacation; it was our number one tradition. And while I’ve seen most of this gorgeous creation, we still never managed to visit everything. But while I’ve seen so much, this trip was extra special because I got to see it all again with a VERY different perspective.

My flying experiences here, though short lived (yeah, I crashed…), were exhilarating. And when I wasn’t flying, I would act as a separate pair of eyes during FPV flights. We WildPilots always work in a group. Its just safer that way: one pilot, one copilot, LOS operator, and cameraman/2nd LOS operator. With so many sets of eyes, our habits exude safety, confidence, and (of course) fun.

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Death Valley From Above!

February 11, 20134 Comments

What a rush Death Valley was. We had an amazing time! Although we barely scratched the surface of what DV has to offer,we still ended up flying in 8 different locations around the National Park.  Enjoy the first episode and stay tuned for a couple of different takes.

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Death Valley… check!

January 16, 20135 Comments
Wild Pilots @ Racetrack in Death Valley

Wild Pilots @ Racetrack in Death Valley

Last weekend 4 out of the 5 of us took on Death Valley, California.  One of the most diverse terrains on the planet, Death Valley is 140 miles long and full of lake beds, canyons, craters, sand dunes, and even the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere.  We’ll be posting footage from this trip soon, so sit tight.  Here’s a shot to tease a little.

Flying into Ubehebe Crater

Flying into Ubehebe Crater


October 16, 20122 Comments

Crispy Cargo and I went on a field trip to Yamaha motor division’s HQ in Cypress, CA.  We met up with JohnnyCat500 of the OP Forums, and co-creator of the Ov3rQuad and took some aerial footage of the grounds.  Much thanks to the folks at Yamaha for letting us have our fun at their place for the day.

Crispy flew his TBS Discovery
Spackletoe flew his Ov3rQuad “Bruiser”
JohnnyCat500 flew two of his Ov3rQuads: the not so “YellowJacket” and the “Green Hornet”

Music is “Above and Beyond” by Bassnectar

TBS Discovery

October 5, 20120 Comments

Well I ordered my TBS Discovery back in late July and I finally received it a few weeks ago. The demand for the Disco is so high and it takes a while to get it (at least for me it did). And after I opened the box I realized the reason for the high demand. This frame is VERY well built and thought out. And assembly was very easy too! I had a few screws missing from my order, but a quick email to Trappy at TBS solved that – they’re sending the extra hardware free of charge.

To me, the icing on the cake for this copter would have to be the TBS Core. I’ve always flown 4S and when I got into FPV that posed a slight problem because FPV equipment runs off of 12V or 5V and the 14.8V+ from my 4S LiPo’s would most certainly fry them, so I resorted to running a separate 3S battery. In no way did it ever keep me grounded, but it certainly was a thorn in the side – having to deal with the extra batteries, charging them, dealing with excess weight, another thing to plug in and slap a LiPo alarm to, blah! No thank you. With the Core all I have to do is solder a few jumpers (once) and plug in the battery and GO! AND… I now have OSD (On Screen Display). The Core only informs you of battery voltage, current, mAh used, RSSI, and flight time – and really when you’re flying a multicopter, you don’t need anything else.

Here are my built pictures showing each step I took in assembly. I’m very pleased with this quad and I know its going to be my no. 1 quad for a long, long time.

Field Trip: July 2012

August 20, 20120 Comments

Quick! Steal his wallet!

Angeles National Forest was the site of our first dedicated copter trip as a team.  Vork, Crispy Cargo, Spackletoe and Bandicoot were the participants in what amounted to a weekend that closely resembled a Vince Vaughn movie.  But before that, the plan was to go somewhere not too far away, camp quickly and fly a lot.  We got a little more than we bargained for.  It started on Friday the 13th — more on that in a second.  We took off after work in a couple of different cars and went straight into the mountains North of Azusa.  It didn’t take long to find a spot to burn through a few batteries: a huge open area with a large paved turn-out on the roadside.  This is where we had our first casualty.  The plan was since Bandicoot didn’t have a copter of his own, that he’s use one of my old ones that still (barely) flew.  The first quad I ever made with a multiwii Paris board in it.  Welp, for some reason it decided to flip and crash inverted on the asphalt.  Dunzo.  Glad I was flying it and not the newest Wild Pilot.  Anyway, the rest of us flew there a bit and then we moved on just as it was getting dark. The road we planned on taking over the mountain was closed so we decided to find tent space for the night.  Ironically, being Friday the 13th, the place we found was called “Camp Crystal Lake”!  We slept there, keeping watch for Mr. Vorhees throughout the night.

The next morning we decided to get up early to check out something we saw on the way up.  As luck would have it, there was a grand opening for a 4×4 Rock Crawling OHV area just down the hill!  We approached the folks in charge and asked them if they minded us flying overhead a bit to capture the action.  They were thrilled with the idea and we spent all morning geeking on giant vehicles and flying. After we did that, we all piled into Vork’s truck and we took some some of that 4×4 terrain.  Was a blast and Crispy got some more flying in down there too.

A Brief Flight for Spackletoe

After lunchtime we decided we ‘d better get going to the other side of the mountain to see if we can get in some ski runs.  On the way there we saw a spot with these HUGE rocks jutting out of the ground that we all agreed to come back to later (which we did!).  Then Vork drove up a hill and accidentally parked on a rattlesnake!  After determining it was mortally wounded we had to put it out of it’s misery, it was a tragic comedy as we didn’t really have the tools for that job. After dealing with the serpent, and of course getting some more flying in, we made our way down the road a bit more and found the ski runs.  Crispy nearly flew to the bottom of the entire mountain from up top!  I was having all kindsa trouble with my copter, so the only thing I did up there was crash.  Just before dark, we made our way to the next camp site: a ridge that had amazing views to both the North and the South of us.

I’m glad we didn’t fly through this!

We went into town for dinner that night, and on the way back there was a lightning storm!  It was crazy looking.  We had to stop and take some pics.. so we did.

After sleeping up on the ridge that night, Vork and Bandicoot got up early and flew around another ski run.  Vork came up on a deer and got some nice footage of that.  We took off and headed back to the giant rocks where the next crazy thing happened.  First of all, it was windy, probably too windy to fly, but we seem to be using the “heck we have flashed ESCs, we can fly in any wind!” excuse lately (thanks SimonK!). So I take my misbehaving copter up and fight with it to stay in the air for a battery.  Not much usable footage out of that one… but we noticed that there were some falcons living in the rocks that took a liking to the HT-FPV.  Next it was Crispy Cargo’s turn.  Right out of the gate, he literally throws caution to the wind and dives under a bridge, that was cool.. but it was later in that flight that was the kicker.  That falcon came out again and had designs on fighting with his quad!  We were all yelling at him telling him the bird was on his tail so he flips a couple times and on the 2nd one shook the pursuer, all while grabbing some great footage of it.

Check out the video for some of the stuff we got over the course of the weekend.  The first Wild Pilots field trip was a huge success.  I’m sure there will be many more.

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Video Music: Personal edit of Skeleton Boy (Zio’s Stellar Extended Remix) by Friendly Fires

Flying Around Bluff Lake Reserve

August 1, 20121 Comment

A little over a month ago, we were camping up in the San Bernardino Mountains and came upon a HUGE meadow.  Turns out it was Bluff Lake Reserve.  This place is cool!  There’s a big lake, and the meadow has a dense tree-line surrounding it, and even though the wind wasn’t really cooperating, it made for some fun flying.  While we were setting up to fly we ran into Evan Welsh, who manages the preserve, and Doug Chudy, one of the summer rangers.  We showed them our gear and explained what we were up to and they told us that it was “coolest thing they’ve ever come across someone doing on one of their properties” — needless to say they were excited about the footage.  If you’re interested in the area, check out their page on Facebook or their web site. It’s only a short drive through the countryside south of Big Bear Lake.

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