The Great Birthday Challenge Discussion Thread


What did you like

What didn’t you like

What would you like for next year

What improvements can you suggest.

Constructive criticism, occasional witticisms and sensible solutions please!

Grammar could be improved :wink:

Guys, we have our first volunteer for next year’s committee. Our junior detective has just become our Grammar Nazi! :slight_smile:

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First of all, sincere thanks the @Challenges_Committee for putting on such an engaging, challenging and at times bloody frustrating competition!

What I liked:

  • Limiting entries to 2 per day. Really ramps up the tension in the final stages of the completion.
  • Using the Challenge to boost DroneScene entries
  • Being put in situations where I wouldn’t normally choose to fly my drone, and the increased confidence I have as a result.

My personal suggestions for next year:

  • A set minimum height for entries, proven with AirData as required. Not singling out anyone in particular, but I think it’s important that a drone photography competition captures a different perspective to a selfie stick/Osmo Pocket or otherwise.
  • A bit more restriction on what can/can’t be done with video entries. The ability to use timelapses made for some interesting entries, but personally I think if you’re able to condense 3 minutes of flying into a 30 second video it does remove some of the challenge.

I’m sure I’ll have some more rambling opinions at some stage, but that’s all I’ve got for the moment. Once again, a highly enjoyable competition and looking forward to having another crack next year.


What have you done to Postman Pat :scream:

I mean, I hate to weigh in but surely that’s spelling and not grammar…

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What did you like: all of it, even the items I struggled to find. I enjoyed getting to know folks better, the banter, the haggling, up/downs. And then there’s the amount experience I gained having to go out, day after day, chasing items … some outside of my normal comfort zone. I have flown more in the past 6 weeks than in the previous 6 months. And that is thanks to you lot :+1:

What didn’t you like: limiting videos to 30 seconds was tricky, but I get why :movie_camera: :yawning_face:

What would you like for next year: some form of easter eggs, where you have a secondary list of items, and if they happen to appear in any of our shots, then we are awarded an easter egg point :man_shrugging:

What improvements can you suggest: weighted score factoring the amount of items unfound, prize for most mileage (air/car), and a leaderboard that shows the movement and points remaining (I know the latter is subjective) :wink:


Drone Scene :wink:

The correct tile is Die Grammarundspelingspielnazinalsocialisteobergruppenfuhrer.

It is easier to refer to him as the grammar nazi.


I am having the first hot evening meal in seven weeks. I’m typing with one hand and eating with the other before my Bachelor Chow ™ goes cold.

Cut me some slack already!

The only reason for that was we used to allow 30 second direct uploads to the site

Who really wants to watch much more :wink:


Not the judges! :sunglasses:

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So in terms of constructive feedback!!

It’s quite clear in my humble opinion that there’s a subsection of members that have a huge advantage. The retirees.

Also while I appreciate some cross over with subjects there was a bit too much ‘construction’ themed. Which due to working hours of most construction sites hugely favoured our subsection of retirees.

As sub 250g drones get more popular and more affordable the hobby will see an influx of younger working professionals getting involved. Whilst I don’t expect the challenge to be easy I think some of the extremely similarly themed items need to be lessened. This is no longer an old mans hobby.

Another annoyance for me was how once we got into September, daylight just bombed by the day. If you were on the hunt after work, unless items were in close proximity you were lucky to be able to get 1 item a day. Take poor weather into account and this drastically reduces your chances of getting all items.

So how can this be addressed? I think I have an answer that gives everyone a better chance.

Instead of starting the birthday challenge on the sites birthday. End it on the birthday.

By having the competiton run though July/august. You take advantage of the height of summer with better weather and prolonged daylight. Grandparents and parents alike can take advantage of the school holidays to take kids out to places to grab treasure and get the kids involved with not only finding treasure locations but also encouraging them to be the next generation of flyers. You get to have a massive birthday blowout by celebrating winners on the sites birthday and everyone gets to pat each other on the back. I was joking about the zoom online awards ceremony but maybe it’s something to consider too.

Lastly. Retention. A lot of people on the scoreboard but many failed to stand the test of time. I don’t think any of the dedicated people are in a position to answer why those people gave up. Maybe they will reply or maybe they will need to be reached out too and specifically be asked why.

Whilst on subject of feedback not really birthday related, and I appreciate this is the sort of hobby that attracts men only but it does sometime feel a bit too much of a sausage fest. If we’ve had females join why don’t they stick around? Is the chat too much of an old boys club feel? Too much sexist banter? People sending creepy DMs? I’m not a ‘snowflake’ but I do think the tone of sometimes will put those of less thickened skin variety off sticking around. Just something to think about.

Sorry this turned into a very long post. Hope it’s constructive and while it may come across negative. As per my reply in the main thread before this one. This has been really really great fun and massively helped me improve my flying. Again thank you.


There is a particular reason why this year’s competition didn’t start until 17th August which we can discuss by DM if you really need to.

However we set up the competition some people will always have advantages due to working hours, family commitments or where they live. Sub 250gram drones have a distinct advantage in where they can be flown, we tried to make most of the subjects available to all pilots whether flying Minis or heavier UAVs and irrespective of the pilot’s qualifications.

People dipping in to the competition and then leaving is quite similar to the number of people who sign into this forum and then disappear. If anyone has suggestions how to retain people please let us know.

As to the “almost 100% identifying as male” nature of the forum that is something that possiblty reflects on the gender balance of the piloting population as a whole. This particular ChallCom member is by no means a snowflake (having a healthy interest in fast cars, military vehicles and firearms :slight_smile: ) but I do find the casual misogynist nature of some of the jokes in Droning On: Silly Stuff rather dispiriting.

I am certainly not retired as I run several companies :smiley:

I am also a developer, but refused to create the construction site scene - would have been easy - but I opted to just look at other sites without making contact.


TL;DR Great competition, broad range of subjects, lots of Drone Scene locations added.

The long bit:
When the competition topics were posted I thought, ‘I can get some of those, it’ll be an excuse to fly the drone’. Once I’d got a couple of targets and a few points on the leader board it encouraged me to go for more, not with any aspirations of winning, but for the personal satisfaction of achieving something.
All my entries were with the Mini, but if I was doing it again I’d use the Mavic 2 for ones like ‘the highest point in my county’. The broad range of subjects and locations meant I was encouraged to get out more with the drone (I’ve flown more in the last few weeks than the previous year). It also led to a bit of interaction with ‘the public’ while out & about. In my case all those encounters were positive, with most people wanting to ask questions.
For me the only ‘complaint’, if you could even call it that, was that I thought a couple of items were too close to impossible (eg Castle with moat - there are none of these in NI).
One question no-one seems to have asked (unless I missed it?) was how the prizes were funded. If it came from a sponsor that could have been mentioned. If the GADC committee put up the cash, then fair play to them, but they shouldn’t be out of pocket for a fun competition. I’d be quite happy to pay an entry fee, though I appreciate that might put people off entering.
Finally :
I’m now actively trying to stop looking for mobile cranes, red or blue cars in a line and moving trains. It’s been great fun, I’ve enjoyed the banter, and getting out in the fresh air has been a bonus. Will I enter again next year? Hell, yes!


Really enjoyed it until life got in the way - barely stepped out my front door for the last month, let along got out there with the drone. Next year I’ll try better :wink:

One suggestion, would it make sense to have two threads - one dedicated for entries only, one for all the chat around it? Not sure how well that would work, but there are 1700 posts in that thread now and keeping up with that is pretty intense.


I second all the comments above. Yes, even the contradictory ones.

I thought I could give it a real go again this time but soon discovered that family and work commitments made that impossible especially for the items that involved much longer journeys. I think that’s completely ok: there are other challenges for those of us with less time on our hands.

I thought the subjects were a very good mix except where they overlapped (the mobile crane, excavators and construction sites). Inclusion of subjects where the entrant has a little more control (like the dronie) was good, especially the way that was not completely straightforward.

I know it’s not easy to anticipate how people will think about the various treasure hunt items, but the more that can be done on that front the better. There were hardly any Intercity trains of the type indicated, for example, and that really did matter: I spent time checking which routes the 125s still ran on, I didn’t need to.

I would like to see the return of the more detailed league table as per the previous year, it’s much more transparent.