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Night Flying in the UK
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Shockwave
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Is it legal to fly a drone at night in the UK? I've not seen anything to the contrary, but on another forum unrelated to drones, someone said you can't fly at night without the necassary licence from the CAA? Can anyone shed any light on night flying (pun intended )

2016-12-24
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jonscott
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Yes that is correct. You need a PFCO from the CAA with a night rating to legally fly at night. Night is classified as 30 mins after and 30 mins before sunset/sunrise.
2016-12-24
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Shockwave
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OK cheers, but where does it actually state this then? as I cannot find anything that confirms this and seems to be a bit of grey area.... from the information I've read on the CAA website and from other resources then I'd be confident that flying at night is allowed... a link to something would be appreciated.
2016-12-25
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Kiffkool
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Shockwave Posted at 2016-12-25 09:55
OK cheers, but where does it actually state this then? as I cannot find anything that confirms this and seems to be a bit of grey area.... from the information I've read on the CAA website and from other resources then I'd be confident that flying at night is allowed... a link to something would be appreciated.

Trust me you can't ...I have my PfCO and know this as fact . As there is a level of equivelance with manned aviation we can only fly what you call VFR so at night you can't see so can't maintain VFR.
Like wise we should only proceed with flight if VMC allows. Its all about maintaining visual sight of aircraft (yours and other that might enter your flight area).
2016-12-25
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fansdc88257a
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I too am a Pfco holder and as kiffkool said.
2016-12-25
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Dennis9877
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The nice thing about CAA.... You do not have to get a PfCO.   Anyone can fly a Drone all you have to do is reg the Drone.  The PfCO is for Commercail and Business to fly a UAV.  So to answer the question Can I fly my Drone at Night.  Answer is YES as long as you maintain VFR.  Ok what does that mean?  Visual Flight Rules (VFR) is just that.  You must be able to see greater than 3 NMs and be Clouds greater than 1000AGL.  So I say keep it simple.  If you can see 3NM and there are no clouds around you then fly until you heart gives way.  I have be flying for over 45years and I also fly my Drone Phantom 4 all the time night and day.  Side note;  38 countries have the same rules as we do.
2016-12-25
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fansdc88257a
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With all due respect Dennus9877, you would not realistically be able to adhere to VFR in the dark for no more than a 100 meters with the fitted led lighting. If you can your a better man than me.
2016-12-25
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Shockwave
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Cheers all... commercial flying is not what I'm after... I have no interest in making money from any pictures / videos I take.
2016-12-26
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Dennis9877
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fansdc88257a Posted at 2016-12-25 12:18
With all due respect Dennus9877, you would not realistically be able to adhere to VFR in the dark for no more than a 100 meters with the fitted led lighting. If you can your a better man than me.

WoW I sure put one in my foot there.  Fogot about that.  You have to see the drone always. and that would be around.. what maybe 100 ft if your lucky.  Sorry.  Inside an aircraft you see...  lol again good catch
2017-1-31
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PhantomPhil
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Shockwave Posted at 2016-12-25 01:55
OK cheers, but where does it actually state this then? as I cannot find anything that confirms this and seems to be a bit of grey area.... from the information I've read on the CAA website and from other resources then I'd be confident that flying at night is allowed... a link to something would be appreciated.

https://www.bfgc.co.uk/VFR_Guide.pdf

Introduction, Paragraph 6.

"VFR flight is not permitted in any UK airspace at night. Night is defined as the time from half an hour
after sunset until half an hour before sunrise, sunset and sunrise being determined at surface level."
2017-1-31
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RedHotPoker
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fansdc88257a Posted at 2016-12-25 12:18
With all due respect Dennus9877, you would not realistically be able to adhere to VFR in the dark for no more than a 100 meters with the fitted led lighting. If you can your a better man than me.

There are LED diode/light kits that will increase your VLOS to several kilometres, a couple of miles...
One such brand are these: http://www.lumecube.com/164.html

With their drone mounts and bright LED's  you will be seen and noticed from a long way away...
Utilize one of the several drone light kits available here, or from other makers, to help give you much more visibility.


RedHotPoker
2017-1-31
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culnara69
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Still waiting for someone to post unequivocal proof that you cannot fly your drone at night, yeah and by that I mean actual documentation mentioning the word "DRONE" for some reason I couldn't find it in the VFR guide?
2017-11-3
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sagecelt
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Bit of a gap since the last post.   However, I also cannot find a specific reference to drone requirements for night flying.   It may be helpful to consider the requirements for a night rating for a PPL in the UK (no such requirement in the USA):-

The night rating typically includes five hours of flying in the hours of darkness, of which at least three will be dual flying with a qualified instructor.
At least one hour of cross-country navigation must also be undertaken, with one flight of at least 50km (31 miles).
Among this training you must complete at least five solo takeoffs and five solo landings at night.

There is no test to pass at the end of training for the night rating. You will simply be signed off once your instructor is happy that you have completed the training to a decent standard.

As there is no requirement for a Drone PPL in the first place, make what you will of the regulations.   Oh, and the PPL night rating specifically states 'VFR'.

2018-3-18
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embayweather
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The basis of  VLOS flying is firstly that you can see your aircraft at all times without visual aid. Secondly, you can also see other aircraft and hazards and take avoiding action. Realistically when it is dark, you cannot see all other hazards. Even in our light polluted world not everything is visible after sundown. Do you truly want to fly in the dark or just in that period just before sunrise and just after sunset where you can get a different set of images.
A third reason, at least around me, is flying after dark presents its own hazards to the pilot. Whilst we are looking up we are no looking down where are feet are. SOme things down there you do not want to put your feet into if you know what I mean (we have a lot of horses here too).
2018-3-18
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A CW
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embayweather Posted at 2018-3-18 04:47
The basis of  VLOS flying is firstly that you can see your aircraft at all times without visual aid. Secondly, you can also see other aircraft and hazards and take avoiding action. Realistically when it is dark, you cannot see all other hazards. Even in our light polluted world not everything is visible after sundown. Do you truly want to fly in the dark or just in that period just before sunrise and just after sunset where you can get a different set of images.
A third reason, at least around me, is flying after dark presents its own hazards to the pilot. Whilst we are looking up we are no looking down where are feet are. SOme things down there you do not want to put your feet into if you know what I mean (we have a lot of horses here too).

Spot on - and I wouldn't dare go for a long walk through the English countryside on my own in the dark with a couple of grands worth of drone gear on my back... Asking for trouble!  
2018-3-18
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Nigel_
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A CW Posted at 2018-3-18 07:11
Spot on - and I wouldn't dare go for a long walk through the English countryside on my own in the dark with a couple of grands worth of drone gear on my back... Asking for trouble!

A moonlight walk through the English countryside - one of the best times to be out

However photography using a small sensor camera seems rather pointless so I wouldn't take a photography drone with me and flying a racing drone around the bats would not be very successful either!

As for regulations, just stick to the UK drone code, which doesn't mention night, but does say that you must keep the drone in sight and be sure that you can complete the flight safely.
2018-3-18
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A CW
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-18 11:57
A moonlight walk through the English countryside - one of the best times to be out

However photography using a small sensor camera seems rather pointless so I wouldn't take a photography drone with me and flying a racing drone around the bats would not be very successful either!

That depends on where you live...  
2018-3-18
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Nigel_
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A CW Posted at 2018-3-18 11:59
That depends on where you live...

Jurassic Coast, hmm, should have taken the drone:

2018-3-18
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A CW
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-18 13:42
Jurassic Coast, hmm, should have taken the drone:

https://tbqyna.bl3302.livefilestore.com/y4m_HLzuU7YvT6_h97V5zmW4a3JVvNKnbZyO59aIc1Cik-0gfRdLZUbYQHVAG5t_hy1sdVw3OAZXtAb4CVjGONI2qUfGDsmVmOGiWL1VJnbDyu1G4Oh1lx0f4wPd_FBqkVBFSmAo3iH7Ky_hbGdBFh-rNdDAhpe5VI2o1F1n_1xFn_MvpKRyhyLmRJRhRBZh48yw0sZ9Ijr2mIhPlnLRbpaDQ?width=1152&height=864&cropmode=none[/img]

Yes you should of - I do!
2018-3-18
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Bashy
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Yes, as a Hobbyist you CAN fly at night in the UK, also bear in mind, you can see it better at night if you fit it with Cree Strobon lights
2018-3-18
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spikeuk76
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This thread shows the amount of confusion in the UK surrounding the rules of flying SUA's, or more accurately Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft (SUSA) (0-7 kg). For non-commercial operations, there isnt a great deal of regulation, just three articles in CAP 393 (Air Navigation Order), these being 241, 94 and 95 which basically state you are not to endanger anyone and fly within certain distances which we all know ( C&P'd below direct from the CAA website - http://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/U ... ublic-about-drones/)

Go to the Drone Safe website and that is what you'll see along with some pictures, there isnt any other regulation mentioned.

None of the night flying rules in the ANO apply as far as I can see and we don't adhere to VFR rules which isn't to be confused with VLOS. However you are bound by Article 94, para's 2 and 3 which will limit your ability to fly depending on the environmental conditions and the distance you can safely pilot.

Commercial Operations are different, these are covered in more detail in CAP 722, still, no restrictions for night flying (the word 'night' appears once in the whole document) and there are no further restrictions of where we can fly, only a reduction in congested areas to 50 m if your drone is <7 kg. CAP 722 describes all of the other 'stuff' we have to do for commercial flights, all covered in a PfCO course.

From the CAA website


Specific regulations that relate to drones (small unmanned aircraft)


The safety regulations are mainly contained in Articles 94 and 95 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) which is referenced in CAP 393.  

These are safety regulations and do not encompass matters relating to privacy and security.  The ANO articles set limits on where drones may fly and whether they can be used for commercial purposes (commercial operations).  

Article 241 - endangering safety of any person or property


A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger
any person or property

Article 94 - small unmanned aircraft

(1) A person must not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not
attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft so as to
endanger persons or property.

(2) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if
reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.

(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct,
unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in
relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the
purpose of avoiding collisions.

(4) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more
than 7kg excluding its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or
attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly the
aircraft:

(a) in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air
traffic control unit has been obtained;

(b) within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the
air traffic control unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of
any such air traffic control unit has been obtained;
or
(c) at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in
airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) and in accordance with the
requirements for that airspace.

(5) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly the aircraft for
the purposes of commercial operations except in accordance with a permission granted by
the CAA.

Article 95 - small unmanned surveillance aircraft


(1) The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the
aircraft in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in
accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.

(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are:

(a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;

(b) over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than
1,000 persons;

(c) within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the
control of the person in charge of the aircraft;
or
(d) subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned
surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.

(4) Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small
unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in
charge of the aircraft.

(5) In this article 'a small unmanned surveillance aircraft' means a small unmanned
aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data
acquisition.
2018-3-19
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Bashy
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Nothing to say hobbyists cannot fly at night, PfCO cannot unless they have applied for it in some way.
2018-3-19
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JokerUK
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2017-1-31 17:50
There are LED diode/light kits that will increase your VLOS to several kilometres, a couple of miles...
One such brand are these: http://www.lumecube.com/164.html

The reason for maintaining VLOS is for obstacle avoidance. Unless you're flying environment is lit up like a UFO landing site you would not be able to see or maintain separation from said obstacles. So even though it is technically possible to fly at night, you cannot do it safely without the proper knowledge and training, whether for recreational or commercial reasons. Although there are no laws yet restricting recreational drone use after dark, they are coming and there is still the CAA Drone Code that only irresponsible idiots with no respect for others would ignore. The more often that idiots break the rules such as they are, the more strict the laws will be when they are introduced.
2018-7-19
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RedHotPoker
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JokerUK Posted at 2018-7-19 07:07
The reason for maintaining VLOS is for obstacle avoidance. Unless you're flying environment is lit up like a UFO landing site you would not be able to see or maintain separation from said obstacles. So even though it is technically possible to fly at night, you cannot do it safely without the proper knowledge and training, whether for recreational or commercial reasons. Although there are no laws yet restricting recreational drone use after dark, they are coming and there is still the CAA Drone Code that only irresponsible idiots with no respect for others would ignore. The more often that idiots break the rules such as they are, the more strict the laws will be when they are introduced.

Fly below 400’ and only the sea gulls will care enough to complain...

But they might give a crap, so keep your hat brim low. Hahaha



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2018-7-19
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dronto
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nice view Andy
2018-7-19
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dronto
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-18 13:42
Jurassic Coast, hmm, should have taken the drone:

https://tbqyna.bl3302.livefilestore.com/y4m_HLzuU7YvT6_h97V5zmW4a3JVvNKnbZyO59aIc1Cik-0gfRdLZUbYQHVAG5t_hy1sdVw3OAZXtAb4CVjGONI2qUfGDsmVmOGiWL1VJnbDyu1G4Oh1lx0f4wPd_FBqkVBFSmAo3iH7Ky_hbGdBFh-rNdDAhpe5VI2o1F1n_1xFn_MvpKRyhyLmRJRhRBZh48yw0sZ9Ijr2mIhPlnLRbpaDQ?width=1152&height=864&cropmode=none[/img]

nice view Nigel!
2018-7-19
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RedHotPoker
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Nice replies dronto... ;-)



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2018-7-19
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dronto
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2018-7-19 08:17
Nice replies dronto... ;-)

My pleasure RedHotPoker...glad to become your friend
2018-7-19
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RedHotPoker
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dronto Posted at 2018-7-19 08:20
My pleasure RedHotPoker...glad to become your friend

I love being on this forum, where a majority of the members, are spread across and around the globe...


Pretty sweet seeing all the various locations and scenic journeys these drones make on a daily basis...



Thanks for participating on the forum...


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2018-7-19
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dronto
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2018-7-19 08:22
I love being on this forum, where a majority of the members, are spread across and around the globe...

Truly my privilege to be part of the forum here RedHotPoker

Lots to learn from all of you....and very fun and happy to see everyone's beautiful work being in their homeland or during travel

Happy Droning
2018-7-19
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RedHotPoker
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dronto Posted at 2018-7-19 08:25
Truly my privilege to be part of the forum here RedHotPoker

Lots to learn from all of you....and very fun and happy to see everyone's beautiful work being in their homeland or during travel

Thanks that was nice of you to say, and a pleasure to read.

Good stuff.

Same to you, enjoy the flights and sharing the glorious times...



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2018-7-19
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dronto
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2018-7-19 08:30
Thanks that was nice of you to say, and a pleasure to read.

Good stuff.

Thanks so much for your kind note.

Happy Flying (Droning)
2018-7-19
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A CW
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Thanks mate
2018-7-19
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dronto
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You are very welcome Andy
2018-7-19
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A CW
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dronto Posted at 2018-7-19 08:45
You are very welcome Andy

         
2018-7-19
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RedHotPoker
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dronto Posted at 2018-7-19 08:37
Thanks so much for your kind note.

Happy Flying (Droning)

We are certainly the fortunate ones, in the sense of our drones.

As well, the freedoms to express ourselves here, without too much rebuttal or remorse.

Be it in praise of the DJI drones and services, or of rather unpleasant experiences.


RedHotPoker
2018-7-19
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dronto
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2018-7-19 11:07
We are certainly the fortunate ones, in the sense of our drones.

As well, the freedoms to express ourselves here, without too much rebuttal or remorse.

Completely agree RedHotPoker
2018-7-20
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RedHotPoker
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dronto Posted at 2018-7-20 07:31
Completely agree RedHotPoker

Looking forward to seeing many and much more, of the natural wonders of the world, that grace our wide and various living environments.


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2018-7-20
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dronto
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2018-7-20 07:51
Looking forward to seeing many and much more, of the natural wonders of the world, that grace our wide and various living environments.

Absolutely...look forward to seeing your wonderful work here
2018-7-20
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RedHotPoker
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A CW Posted at 2018-3-18 07:11
Spot on - and I wouldn't dare go for a long walk through the English countryside on my own in the dark with a couple of grands worth of drone gear on my back... Asking for trouble!

Though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil.
For I carry a stout Shillelagh.


https://www.fashionablecanes.com/Irish_Shillelagh_Blackthorn.html

Ever see A Clockwork Orange?
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2018-7-20
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