My fellow Club members…
On 17th August 2019, we, the Grey Arrows Drone Club were officially two years old
If you’ve been here a while you may have seen the first birthday post which shed some light on the background of our club, where it came from, how it came to be, and so on.
Well, a similar theme this year, but with a bit more reflection on the last twelve months or so.
So again, much like last time, get comfy, this may take a while
5 to 635 to 1,705_…
Two years ago a group of five blokes kick started GADC.
Only six months or so later, due to various RealLife™ commitments, four of those five were no longer active, leaving just me to run the show.
Thankfully Callum and Dave picked up the torch and over the last year (and more) they have helped me build and shape what you see here today.
So I’ll start here and now by thanking them, sincerely, for their time, their effort, their dedication and their patience (some of you can be quite trying at times… you know who you are )
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t keep GADC running without them so thank you guys, genuinely
Hosting and stuff
Something you may not give much thought to, if any, but perhaps not surprisingly the photos and videos from 1.7k members can take up a bit of storage space on the odd server or two.
Since increasing the upload limit to 50MB in January, we are now proudly hosting just over 14,000 of your images and videos!
You’ll also no doubt have received the odd email or two from the forum. The emails are usually notifications of topic replies, direct messages from other members or daily summary emails when you’ve not logged in recently. In the last 28 days alone we have sent over 28,000 emails…
Our little corner of the internet has gone from just a handful of posts, to a few thousand posts, to over 86,000 posts now
And long may that continue!
New forum categories
We’ve also introduced some new forum categories over the last twelve months, to try and better organise things for you.
With more FPV fliers joining our ranks recently and more of our existing members getting in to FPV too, we added a dedicated category for everything FPV related.
We also introduced a Club Meet-ups category last year too. It’s proven to be quite popular so far with a good selection of meets having been organised and taken place in recent months. We’d love to see you organising more meet-ups though so please, don’t be shy!
Along with some new categories we also added a new feature to the existing Questions and Answers category. The new feature allows you to mark an answer as the ‘Solution’ to your question. The main advantage of this is that the ‘solved’ answer gets pinned to the first post in the thread, ideal for other people who have the same issue as they can quickly see the answer.
But even more importantly than that, the person that solved the question is also awarded with a badge! And there are a good few to collect too:
So please, do continue to help your fellow pilots
Wait… Why are there are still no adverts here…?
Yup, no ads is pretty unusual for any web sites these days eh?
We’re now two full years in, about to embark on our third, and we’re still rocking the show without a single advert or sponsorship deal in place.
Also, little known fact, we have a 0% markup on all our merchandise. You literally pay ‘cost’ price on anything you buy from the store
Which leads me nicely in to the whole Merchandise thing.
This time last year it was on our radar, but seemed some way off in to the distance.
I’d like to say two “thank yous” here.
One “thank you” is to the both of them, not just for their time and effort, but also for putting up with the constant, “oh, can you just change…” from @callum and myself.
And the second “thank you” is to anyone who has ever bought anything from the online shop - Thank you for supporting your club by promoting the Grey Arrows name out in the wild.
Not seen the merchandise yet?
Check it out:
You’ll no doubt be aware of the discounts we’ve secured for you in the past.
This year we’ve added a few more. Most of them were PfCO training related (as it seemed to be something that a lot of you wanted) so we’ve been speaking to various providers over the last year to try and secure deals which can help you all out.
As ever, we’re always looking for other accessory suppliers and training / service providers to partner with so please, let us know if you think there’s someone we should be approaching to discuss club discounts for you all!
Our ever-popular Challenges are actually getting harder…
Not for you.
But for us, the Committee!
Well a couple of reasons really…
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to come up with new items for the Treasure Hunts. These hunts are proving far more popular than we could have ever dreamed. Trying to keep them fresh is a constant, er, ummmm… Challenge (see what I did there? ).
Trying to come up with new items to find, that cover 80% of the member-base locations and availability is not an easy task
We’re also finding hard to keep up with the sheer number of entries sometimes!
Take the recent Birthday Treasure Hunt for example. There were over 220 entries in this one challenge alone.
TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY!!!
That’s absolutely mind blowing!
So thank you again, to everyone who participated. We’ve loved seeing all the entries come pouring in, and we’re sure other members have too,
Hard as it may be for us to keep these things fresh, fear not, we love our Challenges as much as you do and we’re going to continue to keep them as fresh as we can
Oh, and if anyone has any ideas for new Challenges in general, or new treasure hunt items to add to future lists, we’d love to hear from you
And on the subject of Challenges, I’ll leave you with a question.
Less than 1% of our members enter our Challenges.
What’s that all about??
We’d love to know why you don’t enter our Challenges. Is there anything we can do to help you partake? Again, please let us know, we want them to be as inclusive as possible.
Still with me?
The aim of the map is to give you all some visibility of other GADC members that may be within reasonable meet-up distance.
Over the last 12 months the map has grown from strength to strength and there are now over 270 members listed on the map
If you’re not on there, please check out our guide on how to add yourself.
It’s opt-in, but please don’t be shy
We are the only UK club to support the Dronesafe scheme.
It’s something we’re quite proud of - but at the same time it’s also something we’re a little unhappy about. Why isn’t every UK club supporting Dronesafe?
As you may have seen on the forum here recently, we’ve also been working closely with the CAA over the last eight months or so and in January we were able to secure an exclusive agreement which allowed GADC members to test the upcoming Drone Registration Scheme.
The feedback you provided has been invaluable.
It’s been invaluable to the CAA as they have able get feedback from real-world drone operators. But not only that, it has also invaluable to every drone operator in the UK (although they may not realise it yet). Without your help and feedback God only knows what kind of service we all may have ended up with If you have the opportunity to take part in an end-user survey, beta testing programme or to attend a local conference event, please do. For all of us
Earlier this month, also in partnership with CAA and BJSS, we were able to share with you a beta test of the actual drone registration process itself - again, the only club in the UK to be able to do so at the time
We, with your help, will continue to work closely with the CAA in order to provide safer skies for everyone.
There wasn’t tooooo much wrong with the old DS site but it was starting to look a little dated and we were having some issues in keeping it up and running.
So last month we rebuilt the entire web site from scratch and added a whole bunch of new features at the same time.
One of the key new features was the ability for DroneScene to display an additonal layer of data, that of Flight Restriction Zones.
As the rules around where we can fly are constantly changing, this was a great addition.
However, no sooner had we launched DroneScene 2.0 than work began on Version 3.0
I can’t say too much else at this point as we’re having some rather in-depth discussions with other organisations, but expect some amazing changes to be revealed very soon
Photographic Order of Merit
You take some seriously impressive photographs.
One only needs to browse the #photos category to see some simply stunning examples of aerial photography.
Every once in a while a photo is posted that is simply stunning, absolutely amazing, the kind of photo you’d happily see printed on A1 and framed on the wall.
In order to recognise these incredible works of art we created the Photographic Order of Merit (POoM).
The POoM gallery is a showcase containing each photo that has literally blown us away
There are also a whole host of Badges available too. Don’t be fooled though, these are not easy to obtain. Want more information on these exclusive badges and the whole POoM process itself? Check out this announcement: A brand new 'Photographic Order of Merit' Badge
The coming year is going to be challenging for us as hobbyists, there’s no doubt about it.
Drones have such a bad public perception, thanks mainly to shit media sensationalism and piss poor reporting. The Gatwick farce only helped fuel that fire.
Well, you’ll no doubt be aware of the regulations that are coming in later this year, along with the whole registration process. Personally, I doubt that’ll be the end of it. Legislation is only going to get tighter.
What does that mean for the future of our hobby? I genuinely don’t know…
And what of the future of Grey Arrows over the next twelve months??
Well, rest assured, we’ll continue to bring you more of the same as we brought you in the last twelve months really
And please, don’t forget, if you’ve any ideas for new Challenges that we can run then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
And so my friends, that concludes our year in review.
I hope you found it both interesting and insightful