1. In the beginning…

It all started sometime at my freshman year in high school, back in Israel, my home country when I was still young and light (about half my weight today…  ).

One day a couple of IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers came to my school and offered us to participate in a model planes club that includes building balsa planes, some summer programs such as building motor planes, flying an actual full size glider and even flying a piper in your senior year…

Of course I said: “where do I sign?”

We started building small gliders, made of balsa skeletons wrapped in thin rice paper and threw them in the air… yay!

Summer of freshman year, I got to build my first motorized plane. It was a simple single propeller 1.5ft long “cable operated plane”.

If you ask yourself what’s a “Cable Operated Plane”, think of a motorized kite, shaped like a plane that is trying to run away from while you are getting dizzy in the center of a 40 ft circle, much like a horse trainer, and all you can do is change the plane’s altitude by tilting a small handle connected with two strong cables to the plane.

Cable model plane animation

You continue to spin in place following your plane until one of three things happens. You either:

  • Run out of fuel
  • Crash the plane to the ground
  • Throw up from spinning for a few minutes…

Guess which one happened the most? (let’s put it this way, running out of fuel never happened to me…)

I was the happiest dude in the world… until I saw, up close, an RC (Radio-Controller) plane, in a demonstration at the end of the summer camp, I had a new goal, but quickly I learned I can’t afford one any time soon.

I did get to fly a glider on my Jr. year which was an amazing experience, and I almost killed me and my instructor (well not really but it felt like it) because after he let me take control for a few minutes, he  tried to take control of the glider back to his own hands, but I thought it was just a strong wind, so I “fought it” until he slammed my helmet from behind and screamed at me: “Idiot, are you trying to kill us?!?!! LET GOOOOO OF THE STICK!!!!!!!” (In Hebrew it sounds much more dramatic, trust me…)

By the end of Sr. year, I was already 18 years old and instead of getting to do the Piper summer class, I had to join the army, so I missed it. This was the last time I had a chance to play with these planes. I did make a living during my first year of studies teaching kids at school how to build simple model planes, but that’s about it.

Roll the tape forward 30 years, I have developed few other hobbies over these years, eating greasy food is one of them for sure (which is why I’m… how to say it… ‘fat’), but the most dominant hobby has to be my passion for video on all of its aspects, shooting, editing, green screen SFX and post production, sound editing etc.

Among many projects I’ve done, one of the projects that become a tradition, is my company’s annual party video. Each year I tried to keep the simple montage more interesting and funny by filming funny bits with my co-workers…

Videos Samples

I can’t share the actual videos here because they are “private” but you get the picture (pun intended)…

For this year’s video, one of our IT guys (we’ll call him Pretzel) suggested we should use his Parrot AR drone to film parts of the video. This triggered my creative juices, and after days of thinking about it, it hit me!!! The guys at my office LOVE shooting  Nerf gun bullets at each other… so… I was thinking, let’s have a F.N.V (First Nerf View) video shot by the drone with the Nerf bullet superimposed in post to create the illusion that we are flying as a Nerf bullet through our office…

On the day of shooting, Pretzel brought his parrot, and as he started (or should I say attempted) to fly it around the office, I an old feeling started to surf back to my head. Apparently the passion for flying RC planes never left my brain, it just took a deep 30 years bear winter sleep, and the Pretzel woke it up.

Although we ended up using almost none of the drone’s shots in the video (due to the low quality and shakiness of the video) that filming itself woke that beast in me, I felt like now is the time to reunited with my 30-year-old passion, or so I thought…

I started looking at prices and got really scared… so after an intensive Amazon research I gave up.

About a week later, during the same company party were the video was presented, I won an action video cam in a raffle. I was not present at the time my name was drawn, but for some reason I remembered it to be a Sony Action cam. The camera got lost and it would take me about 3 months to get it…

But before we just too far, two months later, I get an e-mail from Amazon, telling me that they noticed I was looking for drones, and it seems that woot.com has a drone on sale, a “dji Phantom 1” at ~50% off its usual price.

I remembered I won the camera (which I didn’t get yet) and I had ~20 minutes to decide, before Woot would be sold-out… I quickly checked if the phantom can carry the Sony action cam, found some proof online, and I made a quick decision to buy it.

About two weeks later a package showed at my door step…

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