Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Great flying at the cricket 

The Foxcopter hovers over Manuka Oval
As part of their TV coverage of the Prime Minister's XI v West Indies cricket match at the Manuka Oval, Canberra yesterday, Fox Sports were flying their new Foxcopter. This is an eight-rotor helicopter drone which carries an HD camera, and the whole is controlled to line up overhead pictures of the game. What a wonderful machine it is, it was very competently and safely controlled - and it produced great pictures.

When the machine first took off for a tour around the ground airspace during the afternoon session, an Australian Hobby Falco longipennis gave it a fly-past, probably to investigate this strange new flyer in its territory. There was never any danger of conflict or collision however as the bird was never closer than about 70-100m. 

Later, when the sky darkened, the new stadium lights were switched on and moths soon fluttered around them as it became darker. Then just as it became truly dark, a Hobby, probably the same bird, began hawking moths from in front of the lights. It disappeared into the shadows behind to eat its prey, and this was repeated several times, with the vast majority of the crowd unaware of the wildlife flying display above them.

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