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Posted on Dec 3, 2014

A Bird’s Eye View: New hobby takes off

Part wanna-be pilot and part amateur video maker, Dave Reynolds’ hobby has him soaring to new heights.

The Quincy man is using a quadcopter, or drone, to record everyday local views from a much different — and higher — perspective. It’s a sight most of us will never experience first-hand.

“I’m never going to get a pilot’s license, so this is the closest I’m going to get at flying,” Reynolds said.

DaveDrone2Recently at Lauzier Park, Reynolds gave a brief introduction to his quadcopter — a DJI Phantom Vision 2 Plus. He purchased the quadcopter in October after seeing similar ones on YouTube.

With its four propellers and blinking green light, the quadcopter looks more like an off-course miniature spaceship. It hums softly and moves smoothly as it flies high and wide overhead, recording what’s below with its small, onboard video camera.

Drones are no strangers to the news. Larger, more expensive versions have long been used by the military. Online shopping giant Amazon has announced it plans to use drones to deliver its merchandise in the future. And drones, which sell for as little as $1,000 or as much as $10,000, are being used around the country in a variety of ways, from weather surveying and mapping to monitoring farmland.

But for Reynolds, the quadcopter is an exciting hobby. The city’s maintenance supervisor, Reynolds flew the quadcopter over Lauzier Park in October, recording video of the new community stage and other upgrades there. He put the footage all together for a 4.5-minute video featuring all the amenities of the park. He then invited others to “come enjoy our facilities.”

DaveDroneHe’s also most recently made a 7-minute video of The Feathers. Reynolds took his quadcopter out to the Frenchman Coulee and recorded a climbing group from Western Washington University. The quadcopter flies high over the climbers as they make their way up The Feathers and then takes a trip over the coulee, gathering spectacular views.

Using GPS-based navigation, the quadcopter connects to the Wifi on Reynolds’ phone. It can fly up to 1,000 feet in the air and travel a distance of 800 yards.

“You lose sight of it long before 800 yards,” Reynolds said.

So what’s next for the local video-maker?

Reynolds has taken the quadcopter to other community sites, such as the Quincy Cemetery on Veterans Day. He would like to take it up next spring during planting season, or even harvest, to make a farming-related video.

“People who live in the city don’t realize everything that goes on at harvest,” he said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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