Black Rock City Aerial Tour 2012

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.

About the author: Affinity


Affinity, a Burner since 2000, was legally married on the Playa in 2001, was wedding coordinator and then training coordinator at Burning Man, before becoming the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) Social Media Coordinator and an Advisory Board Member. An attorney, she served on the Board of Directors of the Western Pension and Benefits Conference. She interned with the Human Awareness Institute for 10 years. She writes about how art is envisioned, produced, created, installed and its afterlife.

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