South African Winelands

I took these photos the day after Christmas this past December 2013 at the Creation and Ataraxia vineyards while wine tasting over a late lunch. In the first photo of the series you can see Ataraxia’s tasting room, modeled after a chapel, which sits in the Hemel en Aarde Valley “Heaven and Earth” below Babylonstoren “Babylon’s Tower”. One can see the warm day yielding to the falling sun as sea-breeze clouds crawl up the valley from Hermanus. The second and third photos were taken on Creation’s back deck and vineyard. It is one of the most Elysian places I’ve been in my life.

Flying the 3D Robotics Iris in Crissy Field, San Francisco

I recently had the opportunity to fly the new 3D Robotics IRIS with Eddie Codel of at Crissy Field in San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the first truly ready-to-fly (RTF) model that the company has released, and flies very well out of the box. I have flown their Y6 hexacopter previously and loved the education that having to fine tune the onboard computer provided, but the IRIS hits a much larger and more profitable demographic. Skyler with the 3DR IrisThe molded plastic body refines the look of the aircraft and protects the electronics. It also provides a Gopro compatible mounting point up front. The IRIS is also the company’s first production aircraft equipped with the Pixhawk, with higher computing power of the 32-bit processor, among a host of other improvements upon the existing APM 2.x microcontroller board. The IRIS is 3DRobotics’ first offering that competes head on with DJI’s Phantom line. This seems to be just the beginning of a larger RTF offering. It will be interesting to see what they develop for the consumer, prosumer, and commercial segments in the coming year or two.