September 11th, 2012  |  Filed under Photos/Videos/Media

Black Rock City Aerial Tour 2012

September 11th, 2012  |  Filed under Photos/Videos/Media

When I arrived home and started to miss [BM] I saw this amazing video that I wanted to share with you.

And here is some information that Experimental Airlines wanted to share about the video:

The most huge thanks to my spotter and ground crew T.R. “Deluxe” – I could not have done it without you!

“Ready To Fly” by Clayton Joseph Scott, from his album “More Love”, gifted to me by the artist himself on the playa. Listening to this song on the way back to the default world I realized that the lyrics encompass the Burning Man experience quite perfectly. The flying reference also made it great for this video. Clayton has kindly allowed me to use his song.

Please check out his other works at:

FPV is “first person view” flying of a radio controlled aircraft using a video image from the plane transmitted wirelessly to a viewing station on the ground, using video goggles in my case. This allows safe operation of a small, quiet, electric airplane while taking high-definition video while piloting the plane as if one were sitting in the cockpit. I flew at about 50kph (30mph) at an altitude of of 30m (100ft) over the playa and the city to obtain video for this production, then landed safely right on the inner playa. The plane was operated using the DragonLink long-range UHF system which gives highly-secure control for up to 10 miles range.

Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. It is an 8-day event which takes place annually in late August in the temporary city of Black Rock City located in a dry lakebed in northwestern Nevada, USA.

The radial streets are laid out like a clock face, from 2:00 to 10:00. I have marked some of these streets as well as some of the prominent and favorite theme camps and villages. (*if you want me to mark your camp in the video send me a PM and the timestamp in the video where it appears)

The attendees are all participants in a sense and are themselves the attraction. There is no corporate sponsorship or presence of any sort. Only ice and coffee are sold. Everything else is brought in under the concept of “radical self-reliance” or gifted by others. Most ‘burners’ participate by finding the creative or artistic thing that they enjoy most and do best, do it to the fullest extent, and share it as much as possible. My thing is RC aircraft flying (nerdy, I know). There are artists, musicians, performers, carpenters, doctors, architects, philosophers, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and people from every other imaginable walk of life.

Black Rock City is a full-featured city of over 50,000 citizens with every almost every amenity including airport, post office, recycling, bicycle repair, bars, dance clubs, barbers, yoga studios, fire department, clinic, rangers, kid’s center, and more – all given for free for the enjoyment and self-expression of doing it. A couple of weeks later the city is gone without a trace.

And yes, it is a huge party as well and we burn stuff – lots of big stuff, then clean it all up. This was my third time, my son’s first.

This video was shot during the hours of 8-10am August 29, 30, 31, 2012. Winds were 8mph, sky partly overcast.

A GoPro set to 1080p was used for maximum resolution capture. 95% of this video is actual-speed, with a few shots in slow-motion. Video editing on iMovie. Image stabilization was applied with excellent correction of roll movement, but does cause some artifact (rolling shutter-like “jello” and occasional skipped frames).

The aircraft is the “Ozone”, constructed from scratch by my own design out of foamboard, packing tape, hot glue, and carbon fiber. This was piloted using DragonLink UHF control and FatShark Predator video goggles. Video link was Lawmate 2.4GHz 500mW. RC transmitter was Spektrum DX7.

12 Responses to “Black Rock City Aerial Tour 2012”

  1. Moze Says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this Affinity. I thought this fpv view would take off (no pun intended). Here is another for everyone.

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  2. Paula Zucker Says:

    Amazing, gorgeous and so wonderful!!!!

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  3. richard Says:

    thank you so much for sharing – both the video and the info about BM and FPV flying! Burning Man spirit should expand in time and space… Again, thanks! p.s., may i use the video in a segment for my (public access = no profit) tv shos???

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  4. affinity Says:

    If you want to use the video you should contact Experimental Airlines for permission. Thanks for your interest. We love his work too.

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  5. Christopher Dean Says:

    Love the video and would love to see your plane as set up? Would you post a picture? Were you flying one of these at night with lights/ looked like a UFO. made with hard drive motors? Nice job, very smooth considering.

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  6. Ed O'Burn Says:

    The plane I used for most of the video is the “Ozone” which I designed and made from Dollar Tree foamboard, packing tape, hot glue, plastic gift cards, and some random other stuff. You can see more of it here: I uses a single brushless outrunner motor sold for the purpose. There were at least 2 if not 3 other RC flyers besides me: 1 fixed wing with blue and green LEDs that flew many nights, one large multicopter, and I believe one single-rotor helicopter with LEDs in the rotor tips, although it might have been a multicopter with a ring of EL wire.

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  7. Ed O'Burn Says:

    richard (and others) – As long as Burning Man is portrayed in an honest and positive light I would be very happy to share my video for use in your shows and other presentations, thank you for asking. I also have the raw, un-produced and un-motion-stabilized footage if that is of any use.

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  8. Shaggy Says:

    Here is a video of the plane (I think).

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  9. David (accelerator)Klein Says:

    Well done! This confirms that I will be back next year!

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  10. R.Hadley Says:

    What happened to the aerial video of BRC? The one posted is about a radio controlled aircraft contest :(

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  11. affinity Says:

    Good question R. Hadley. I will check into it!

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  12. Tv aerial Says:

    I enjoyed this lovely post regarding a lot of interesting affairs in aerial tour. Thank you so much for posting on this blog. Tv aerial

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