We see so many drone videos that it takes a lot to surprise us. This one? Well, it surprised us. And it will surprise you, too.
We’ve written before about the work done by FPV pilot Nikolay Anishchenko. We like Nikolay’s work for a couple of reasons: He’s always pushing the limit and experimenting with new things to film from the air… and he shows extraordinary skill for a relatively new pilot. In fact, Nikolay only started flying FPV early in 2020, after spending 60 hours on a simulator.
Well, that… plus talent.
A friend of Nikolay’s came up with a bizarre idea for some fun. What if – what if – you could rig up a swing to an excavator? And what if you put a person on that swing and let an excavator do the work of twirling them around, like some post-apocalyptic amusement ride?
It sounds like it would violate a plethora of construction safety rules. But there’s something kinda cool about the idea. And so Nikolay decided to make the concept into an FPV video. We asked him how this came about:
This was filmed at a friend’s farm near Boulder, CO. They needed some digging done and borrowed this excavator. My friend Colter Hoyt had the brilliant idea of setting up a swing on it and sent me a video of it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to film it! I didn’t actually plan on swinging with the goggles over my eyes. I was just going to keep them on my head because that’s sort of my brand image and how I take pictures. But once I sat down on the swing, I realized that flying a drone while swinging would be totally possible.
What was it like?
As you’ll see in a moment, Nikolay not only filmed others on the excavator/swing, but climbed on and filmed himself being swung. We figured that must have been a really disorienting experience, so we asked him about that:
I chase athletes with drones all the time, but chasing yourself is something I’ve never done before. It’s kind of mind-boggling to think it’s possible. The acceleration and decelerations feel a little disorienting, but once Colter locked onto the top speed I mostly just felt the centrifugal force pushing me away from the center. My main priority was to not get thrown off, and since we didn’t have any harnesses, I used my elbows to grab onto the ropes. The faster we went, the more tightly I was able to press against the ropes, which helped a lot. I was actually surprised I didn’t feel sick and the only reason we had to cut my ride short was because my head bonked against the bottom of the shovel, which caused me to crash my drone haha. The drone was okay though – it had no damage.
Okay, let’s see this thing in action
Ask, and ye shall receive:
But what about safety? Regulations? We know that’s a question we had about all this, so we put it to Niko:
I don’t see us violating any safety regulations. This was done on private farmland and we were not hired for the job nor are we employees so OSHA does not apply. As far as the FAA is concerned, the vehicle was parked and didn’t move an inch during the duration of the flight. Oh, and by the way, we also tugged on the rope before we sat on the swing, because we’re responsible adults so we’re safe as can be.
Well, yes. We were wondering about the guy operating the thing and why he was wearing a mask. At first we thought he was disguising his identify, but it was really more for fun:
My friend Colter Hoyt was the operator. It takes a lot of trust to basically blindfold yourself and hope you don’t get slammed into the ground but Colter did an awesome job keeping us safe. The alien mask was also his idea, I thought it was a great addition to the video because it kept it lighthearted.
You can follow NikoFilmz on YouTube here. And if you’d like to see more of his amazing piloting skills, check out this post we did earlier. If you’re looking for a pilot, you can find Nikolay via FPVFilmz.
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