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Aerial Video

DRL pilot films active lava field using FPV drone

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FPV drone

After hiking thee hours to an outside boundary of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Drone Racing League pilot Gabriel Kocher flew his FPV quad through an active lava field and captured unique drone footage, which was just two weeks before thousands of locals were evacuated off the island due to the Kilauea volcano eruption. With strong winds and volcanic chimneys, Kosher faced a challenging flight, especially since filming lava with a drone can easily result in a melted camera. Kocher uploaded his flight through his YouTube channel, which is also known as Gab707:

Just before the sun set on April 19, Kocher took his FPV quad out and flew two batteries before hiking back, according to Inverse. Even though the area that Kocher filmed started solidifying, he flew through an active lava field that was still extremely hot. The red glowing lava made for a mesmerizing scene, but Kocher described the environment as “very scary.”

“The lava is really hot, so I wasn’t sure the drone would make it!” said Kocher. “I couldn’t stand 3-4m (about 10-13 feet) from the flow.”

FPV drone

Image from Gab707’s Facebook profile.

Besides the heat of the environment, the lack of reference points proved to be a problem for the professional drone pilot. Kocher had to “fly back by ear” more than once. The seemingly endless lava field looked nearly the same in all directions to the drone pilot, so Kocher relied on his hearing instead of sight to gauge how far his drone was.

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