i ate some leftover turkey rollups at home for lunch before taking the motorcycle to belmont. this time of year, the sun is so low on the horizon, it makes for dramatic lighting, perfect weather (clear blue sky) for some drone flying. my mother went out for a walk just as my father and i were in the backyard playing with the drone. we tried to find my mother out on the streets but she was too elusive, even after we called her to figure out just exactly where she was. but it was the first we left the confines of the airspace directly above the house and ventured out a bit farther.

for the first flight, we flew 1200 ft to the west (to the belmont reservoir), followed by 1200 ft to the east (to the playground). i lifted off manually by holding the two joysticks down and inwards, we activated the motors. i then used the left joystick to bring the drone up in the air. i had no problems with the connection but there were a few times when the signal decreased by a single bar before going back up again. the angle of the sun was such that it cast long shadows of the people in the playground. i even saw a person flying a kite, even though we were easily 300ft above the kite.

i'd used this battery yesterday when i made a short indoor flight, so the capacity wasn't at full. we brought it back to switch out the battery to one that was fully charged. i used the return to home (RTH) function for the very first time, following it on the map until we saw it descending into the backyard. i stopped it before it could land, and had it land manually onto my hand by holding the left joystick all the way down while putting my hand underneath.

for the second flight, we flew as far as 2330 ft, to do a loop around the tall 700 huron avenue building. signal started to get weaker and at one point i lost signal entirely. it's a tough place to flying around because once the drone is on the opposite side of the building, the building will block the signal. but father suggested i turn around so i was actually facing the drone and that improved things and i regained the signal after about a second of loss. i thought maybe the drone would try to return home automatically but it just held its place in the air until i could reconnect. that building is about 250 ft tall, which is including the elevation from being built on a hill. at 400 ft i had more than enough clearance, but my palms did sweat a little bit, afraid i'd lose the drone in just the 2nd day of flying. we used RTH to bring it back home, i stopped it midair so i could land it manually on my hand again.

as i had a third fully charged battery, i decided to put that in the drone and just play around with flying it around the backyard. my mother returned home by that point, we were able to demonstrate the drone to her, but she didn't seem very impressed. i tried to use one of the quickshots (dronie) but it was flying backwards and almost hit the maple tree before i was able to stop it in time. also at one point when i was trying to example the tips of some pine trees, the DJI fly app crashed. the drone just sort of hung out in the air until i could regain connection and bring it back. for this landing, i tried landing it on the makeshift square plywood launch pad. i thought i had it centered but it ended up landing it a little on the side, no harm no foul. the experience reminded me of those UFO catcher machines.

late fall is a weird time to fly a drone, as the scenery is pretty stark. you get that nice low angle light, but there's not much to see. the bare trees are like skeletons, leaving the landscape a desolate look. i suppose it's easier to see things that would normally be covered by leaves. come winter, after a snowfall, would be a great time to fly, to survey the snow-covered vista. and springtime, with the flowering trees, would also be a pretty time. and then there's fall, with the new england foliage, that must also make for nice flying.

i didn't do much else in belmont. we brought outside the small potted jasmine and succulent so my father could it a thorough spray with the neem oil after he noticed they still had white fuzzy mealybugs. only spraying outside can you avoid making a mess.

another mouse visited the electronic mousetrap. it was flashing red, which meant it caught something. i took it outside to dump but what i saw surprised me: the compartment was empty! not only that, all the peanut butter was gone. so the trap didn't even at all. we ended up changing the batteries and resetting the trap with fresh peanut butter. we'll definitely catch a mouse tonight.

there was also football games on sunday; i caught the end of the patriots-cardinals game. new england won, but victories seem so hard to come by, like we only won because the other team made more turnovers than we did. once again, cam newton through an interception on the final drive that would've given the patriots a safe lead. instead, arizona drove the ball to within field goal range but missed the kick, allowing new england to advance and win by a kickoff.

after some turkey broth pho noodles for dinner, i returned home. after using the bathroom, i went back outside to put the rain cover over my motorcycle before taking a shower. i watched the diego maradona documentary i recorded off of HBO, had to finish it before i'd lose free HBO for the weekend. maradona died of a heart attack at age 60 on wednesday.