No, it is just a drone overhead in the Chapel Ruins.
A few Saturdays ago, if you were around the area of the Village Sign, you might have spotted, flying low over the ruins, a drone. OK you say, what is a drone?
A drone, in a technological context, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Essentially, a drone is a flying robot. The aircraft may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems working in conjunction with GPS. UAVs have most often been associated with the military but they are also used for search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting, among other things. Personal drones are currently a hobbyist’s item most often used for aerial photography, but the market and potential applications
are both expected to expand rapidly.
In our case, the pilot, Nick had visited all houses in the vicinity to tell them what he was doing, ie taking aerial shots of the ruins. Bob and Jeannette invited him back for coffee when he had finished and he generously offered the whole of his work on a memory stick for use by the magazine. I joined them but was so fascinated that I failed to take coherent notes!
Nick was ex-military who had returned from the Middle East after a period in Security and had become fascinated by the possibilities that drones offer. He had completed the necessary training and obtained a license which enables him to use the drone up to 400 feet. He has to contact the nearest Airport/ RAF Station to give them his coordinates and only gets the go ahead if there are no civil or military aircraft in the vicinity. The drone has 4 rotors, one at each corner of a frame, with the camera slung between them. We guessed it was approximately 2 feet square and controlled by a hand held remote control.
He had taken over 150 photos showing different angles and resolutions of the Chapel Ruins which cannot be seen by some one on the ground. The sun at this time of year casts shadows and he managed to take shots that later in the year would be obscured by the trees in full leaf. It was a lovely sunny day.
If anyone is interested I can lend you the memory stick so you can see the full record of photographs. Meg White
Ps I will send Nick a copy of the magazine, so if there are any glaring errors, he will be able to put me right.