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Line of Site vs How far you can see?
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Barney Rubbel
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So I was out flying my P3P the other day and wanted to kinda push the envelope to see how far I could go before losing communication. I got about a half mile out and realized I was flying via FPV and FPV alone. Although there was nothing between myself and my bird, I just can't see the dang thing when it's half a mile away. Heck, I can just barely see it when it's half that far away (even above a skyline). Please keep in mind I am out in the middle of nowhere, so it's not like I'm endangering anyone or anything. So are we limited to flying it only as far as we can still actually see it, or are we OK as long as it is in our 'line of site'? Can anyone see their Phantom when it's a mile (1.6 Kilometers) away? Thoughts?

Thanks!  Barney
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foxy-stoat
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I believe "line of sight" and "being able to see it" are 2 different things.

I lose sight of my quad at around 350-400m but have flown it out to 850m so far, in line of sight.
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Squirrel
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I haven't even had my 1st flight yet, but I already have a hard and steadfast rule in place; don't fly it if you can't see it.
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microcyb
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I did a test with my Standard and was able to do 1.5 miles away when the bird was in the line of sight.
Next test was with houses and such on my way and was about 3/4 mile though signal would go in and out.

Don't know much about the light-bridge, though.
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QuadBart
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LOS to me means without using FPV  or any other aide to see my Quad. Naked eye from the ground kinda thing.   I doubt I'll ever be brave enough to send it out so far I can't visually see it and rely on FPV or litchi to guide it..   Well not to mention its against the FAA regs...  For me this distance is probably 300'
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

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You could grab some binocular glasses, I believe fishermen use them.
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aaron.ferguson
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As far as the CAA in the UK are concerned the two are synonymous. LOS is generally taken to be up to 500m.
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gregg1r
First Officer

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The FAA requirement is that you have to visually without magnification be able to see the craft.

You can add strobe lights to the Phantom to increase the visual acuity of the unit, which is legal.

Now that we have registration, you signed into the regulations, so if you're caught  thru a crashed quad investigation, expect the worst.
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R&L Aerial
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I can see around 3.1 miles
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johnsr
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Visual contact with a Phantom depends a lot on sky conditions and background. No additional seeing aids such as binoculars are normally "allowed" under VLOS. Against the sky you can usually see it out to 500 meters, and under conditions with good contrast I have followed mine out to around 700 meters. However, if you glance down to your tablet, then back up to see where you are, things become more difficult. That is one of the reasons why it is wise to have a spotter under such conditions. Even so, reacting to a risk at that distance is difficult, and frankly going beyond 500 meters is rarely needed for interesting photo or video work.
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Wolfiesden
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gregg1r Posted at 2016-3-4 11:11
The FAA requirement is that you have to visually without magnification be able to see the craft.

Y ...

Um...no it doesn't

"Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times"

line of sight

Definition of line of sight

    1  :  a line from an observer's eye to a distant point

    2  :  the line between two points; specifically :  the straight path between a transmitting antenna (as for radio or television signals) and a receiving antenna when unobstructed by the horizon
line of sight   See definition in  Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  Definition of line of sight in English: A straight line along which an observer has unobstructed vision: a building that obstructs our line of sight


Absolutely NOWHERE in the definition of the phrase "line of sight" does it say you have to be able to SEE it.  By definiton of the phrase, if you keep nothing between you and the bird (such as buildings for example), that IS line of sight.  In the guidelines nor in the PDF of various regulations does it say anywhere in there you must be able to SEE it.  The documents only use the phrase "line of sight".  That phrase does not mean you must have the occular accuity to be able to distinguish the aircraft, its position, nor its orientation.

Also, you agreed to GUIDELINES.  Big distinction.

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dacofty
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endotherm Posted at 2016-3-4 11:51
You could grab some binocular glasses, I believe fishermen use them.

but i think in the US the LOS is unaided visual view.  With the naked eye
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mcphipps900
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I doubt it
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Wolfiesden
lvl.4

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He didn't say he could see a phantom at 3.1 miles.  I can easily see a mountain 3.1 miles away.
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mjlstudios
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Wolfiesden Posted at 2016-3-4 14:42
He didn't say he could see a phantom at 3.1 miles.  I can easily see a mountain 3.1 miles away.

Shoot!.....That ain't nutin'.....I can see the sun.....thats 93 million miles away! I can't see my P3P past 300 yards....that because I 've been lookin' at the sun too much....burn my eye balls out!
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Wolfiesden
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mjlstudios@yaho Posted at 2016-3-4 13:55
Shoot!.....That ain't nutin'.....I can see the sun.....thats 93 million miles away! I can't see my ...

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gregg1r
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Wolfiesden Posted at 2016-3-4 13:45
Um...no it doesn't

"Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times"

If you read the regulations set forth by the FAA. the language is very clear.
https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf page 9 in reference to using FPV devices.

"Additionally, some of these devices could dramatically increase the distance at which an operator could see the aircraft, rendering the statutory visual-line-
of-sight requirements meaningless. Finally, based on the plain language of the statute, which says that aircraft must be “flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft,” an operator could not rely on another person to satisfy the visual line of sight requirement.
See id. (emphasis added).While the statute would not preclude using an observer to augment the safety of the operation, the operator must be able to view the aircraft at all times."


http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2192501
"By definition, a model aircraft must be  flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.  P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).1 Based on the plain language of the  statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the  aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the  operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision  corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the  aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu  of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the  criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an  unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator  has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would  preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night  vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed  to provide a “first-person view” from the model."


Seems like pretty plain language to me.
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Wolfiesden
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Under the  criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an  unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator  has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would  preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night  vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed  to provide a “first-person view” from the model.

That is their interpretation of the regulation.  A judge may or may not find otherwise.  The REGULATION does not stipulate those requirements.  I can almost guarantee this will be tested in a court of law sooner or later.  The regulation AS WRITTEN does not say the things the FAA wants it to say.

From the faa.gov website:
The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to promote Know Before You Fly, a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:

    Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
    Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
    Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
    Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
    Don't fly near people or stadiums
    Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
    Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

From https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Sec_331_336_UAS.pdf (the word visual occurs exatly twice)

(b) ASSESSMENT OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
.—In making
the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall deter-
mine, at a minimum—
(1) which types of unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as
a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability,
proximity to airports and populated areas, and operation within
visual line of sight do not create a hazard to users of the
national airspace system or the public or pose a threat to
national security; and
nger the safety of the national airspace system.
(c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED
.—In this section, the term ‘‘model aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating
the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

I do agree that FPV goggles would actually disqualify the pilot under the definition of VLOS since they DO obstruct your view.  They cover your eyes and therefore present an obstruction just as big as a building to LOS.

By the definition of "line of sight of the person operating"
1. You can not use FPV goggles as a pilot (or any other vision obstructing device)
2. You can not use spotters to see around objects (trees, buildings, etc).
3. You must have a direct line of sight to the UAV

I can't find the reference now but the original FAA's statement with LOS was that you must be able to see other aircraft in the area and be able and prepared to avoid them.  Thats their reasoning behind saying you can't use vision enhancement systems like binocculars, night vision goggles, and FPV goggles.

Using an FPV monitor does not obstruct your direct line of sight and should not break the LOS rule.  As long as you don't hold it up in front of your face that is.  You can still see and avoid other aircraft per their original statement on the rationale of the LOS guideline.

Taken literally as you see it, this LOS rule makes almost everything in the new P4 completely illegal to use in the US and makes lightbridge and the range of the P3A/P illegal to use as well.  You can't legally fly it from inside a car unless its right in front of some window (ie if its overhead, and you have a roof on your car, you can't fly it even if its 10' away).  The follow me feature would be illegal if it were behind you becase you are not able to see the bird, thats technically a breech of LOS.  If it flys behind a tree, you are in violation of the LOS.  If it flys behind a lamp post 10' away, its a violation of LOS.  Honestly, they are going to get you no matter what you do.  Drone pilots are criminals.  At least thats the position the FAA intends to take here.  We are guilty of something the moment we take off and they will find it, re-write it, or issue interpertations as they see fit to support that stance.

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nigelw
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In the UK you need to keep the aircraft within Visual Line Of Sight without visual aids other than normal correction lenses.  It's considered to be 500m but will vary with the size of the aircraft, atmospheric conditions, weather etc.  Ultimately, it comes down to whether you can see your aircraft relative to any other aircraft that may be approaching in order to avoid a collision.  So, as long as you can honestly say you can do that, the numbers are academic.

Personally, I can usually just see my P3 at 500m.  I wouldn't feel in control any further...like driving on the motorway with blinkers on, although a lot of people appear to do just that.
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Wolfiesden
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like driving on the motorway with blinkers on, although a lot of people appear to do just that.


Epic.  Seems thats a problem world wide then
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thumb
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I was flying mine down a road and lost sight of it about 150yds or so, it just disappeared! I had to look down at my iPad to see where I was, turned around and started coming back and finally got sight of it again. When flying my RC planes I always had a hard time seeing a white aircraft so I usually paint mine a dark color with very bright yellow or orange florescent stripes. I just may do that with my Phantom.
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nigelw
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Wolfiesden Posted at 2016-3-4 21:37
Epic.  Seems thats a problem world wide then

Yep, in a world of their own, oblivious to the consequences of their actions.
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lvl.4
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Wolfiesden Posted at 2016-3-4 13:45
Um...no it doesn't

"Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times"

???????  You're leaving out the definition of visual when you define line of sight.
I will fly within visual line of sight

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Barney Rubbel
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I had a feeling this would raise some controversy. I just wasn't sure which way it would lean. I usually stick to my guns that if you're responsible about what you are doing, you shouldn't run into any problems. Rest assured, you WILL be held responsible for anything that goes wrong, and if your bird is a mile away, it's probably not going to be pretty.

Barney
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Barney Rubbel
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thumb Posted at 2016-3-5 06:01
I was flying mine down a road and lost sight of it about 150yds or so, it just disappeared! I had to ...

That is a really good idea. White's not the best color for it. Maybe tow a flare about 10' below it?
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Barney Rubbel
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mjlstudios@yaho Posted at 2016-3-5 03:55
Shoot!.....That ain't nutin'.....I can see the sun.....thats 93 million miles away! I can't see my ...

Stop looking at the sun! That's not good for you. Pretty soon you won't be able to see your Phantom 100' away from ya!

Barney
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see around 3.1 mile.  Really?
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Wolfiesden
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thumb Posted at 2016-3-4 16:01
I was flying mine down a road and lost sight of it about 150yds or so, it just disappeared! I had to ...

I had actually looked for florescent orange dye (Rit) to dye the props but seems like Rit quit making it.
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bwaler
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gregg1r Posted at 2016-3-4 09:11
The FAA requirement is that you have to visually without magnification be able to see the craft.

Y ...

That's what I did - I made a couple strobes to help me see it.

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gregg1r
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Wolfiesden

All the gobbly gook you posted means nothing. The reference to RCgroups item was direct and copy from the FAA regulation. It was their attempt to simplify what is or is not allowed.
Line of sight is pretty simple. If you take your eyes off the UAV and then look back again and aren't able to locate, it's no longer under your control. Attempting to say that glancing down at a tablet to confirm your location as visual line of sight is like saying that you were just texting for a few seconds before you ran into another car or truck.

What I copied and pasted was directly from the FAA and N8900.313 rule for UAV flight unless operating under a wavier.

I have no need to make this stuff up. This is why I post attributions to items I post.

https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Notice/N_8900.313.pdf  see pages 12 and 13

  
The FAA interprets the section 336
  
Rulemaking prohibition as one that must be evaluated on a rule-by-rule basis.
  
Although the FAA believes the statutory definition of a model aircraft is clear, the FAA provides the following explanation of the meanings of “visual line of sight” and “hobby or recreational purpose,” terms used in the definition of model aircraft, because the FAA has received a number of questions in this area.
  
By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).1
  
Based on the plain language of the
  
1
  
For purposes of the visual line of sight requirement, “operator” means the person manipulating the model aircraft’s controls.
  
8/4/15N 8900.313 Appendix B B-8statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model.
  
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gregg1r
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bwaler Posted at 2016-3-4 18:52
That's what I did - I made a couple strobes to help me see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP ...

Bwaler,

  That is perfectly legal and using your head. Good job.

  What I've did to my helicopter was install a amber strobe on the tail boom and two red strobes on the land skids.
  Mine are larger than the ones you used, but I had these from a car breakdown kit that I replaced with LED units.  http://www.storesonline.com/site ... AllPSLK-XENONSTROBE
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Kneepuck
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Reminds me of the story of an old guy who was a witness in court.  The lawyer says to him, " So,  you saw the defendant from that far away?  You must have pretty good eyes.  Just how far can you see,  anyway"?  And the old guy replies, " Oh,  about a million miles, I reckon.  How far away is the sun"?
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R&L Aerial
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gregg1r Posted at 2016-3-4 19:20
Wolfiesden

All the gobbly gook you posted means nothing. The reference to RCgroups item was direct ...

I fly where I want, how far I want, how high I want and when ever I want. I'm not really concerned about what the government says.
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gregg1r
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R&L Aerial  Posted at 2016-3-4 20:00
I fly where I want, how far I want, how high I want and when ever I want. I'm not really concerned ...

That's good.

Some take risks, others prefer to stay under the radar, so to speak.

I pick and choose my battles.
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pgrover516
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Tip: the author has been banned or deleted automatically shield
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nigelw
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R&L Aerial  Posted at 2016-3-5 01:00
I fly where I want, how far I want, how high I want and when ever I want. I'm not really concerned ...

You're cool then...Do you drink & drive too?  Maybe when the roads are apparently empty?
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R&L Aerial
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nigelw Posted at 2016-3-5 11:40
You're cool then...Do you drink & drive too?  Maybe when the roads are apparently empty?

As matter of fact, I'm driving into town right now and I had to set my beer down to type in my response to your question. And by the way you guys are welcome for saving you in WWII, if it wasn't for the U.S. The United Kingdom would be a very tiny state in the German empire.
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nick4098
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R&L Aerial  Posted at 2016-3-5 18:19
As matter of fact, I'm driving into town right now and I had to set my beer down to type in my res ...

It was nice of you to pop along and join the party.  

Shame you were a bit late, old boy.

Still, better late than never.  Chin chin
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Kneepuck
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I am actually legally blind,  but it's ok.  I have a seeing eye dog.  This drone stuff is a new hobby for us.  We used to sky dive,  but it really scared the hell out of the dog.  When I went into the local hobby shop to get the drone,  I picked the dog up by the tail and started swinging it around over my head.  A clerk asked me if I needed help.  I said, No thanks,  just looking around.  
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R&L Aerial
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nick4098 Posted at 2016-3-5 13:40
It was nice of you to pop along and join the party.  

Shame you were a bit late, old boy.

Thank mate.
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