I was asked to come film in avoriaz, france to film for the volcom rail jam, video above.
I have flown in snow storms and temperatures down to minus 10 with no problems, but i discovered on this day is the dangers of "freezing fog". You can see from the video that it was only snowing a little, wind was gentle and it was a positively warm 5 degrees. I thought this was going to be a good day to get the most out of my hexa and show people what we can achieve using a drone.
However, on my first flight after just a couple of minuets i was in real trouble. I was at full power and coming down. Luckily i was near my landing zone and i managed to make a hard controlled landing. Normally i can fly for 20 mins no problem so was a little perplexed at my loss of power.
A quick inspection revealed the problem. A thick layer of ice on the underside of the props. My drone hovers at about 60 percent throttle, but with just a millimetre of ice on the bottom of each prop i can't even take-off! In hindsight it was an obvious danger, but be warned the dangers of freezing fog.
Unfortunately the weather got worse and my first flight was the only shot used in the video edit, they used as their intro. I was disappointed but the clients were happy,and impressed that i flew at all in the conditions. I have been asked to com and do the tour next winter perhaps!
What i need now is a solution to freezing props. I know that real choppers use heated blades, but i can't see that being available to us for a while. I think if i had a heated cabin and 2 hexa's flying in rotation with pre heated props that it might be possible. If anyone's got any ideas i'll happily test them....