If you are in the East Midlands area and watch or listen to local news, hopefully you’ll have heard from us today about the work that our Flying Unit undertakes capturing change through aerial photography.
We have two aircraft which fly the length and breadth of the entire country during the flying season which lasts from March till November each year. From 2012 for the next three years they are going to be based at East Midlands Airport and today we’ll be showing the media what we do, what data we capture using aerial photography and how that information is included into our database to update our mapping.
We hope they’ll feature us on local news bulletins through the day and this evening, so if you’d like to see our aircraft in action, look out for East Midlands Tonight or ITV Central.
We have two aircraft which will be based at East Midlands in a brand new hangar built by RVL Group who maintain and manage the aircraft for us. They are a Cessna 404 called G-TASK and a Cessna 402 called G-NOSE. All aircraft based in Great Britain start their name with a ‘G’ and then four letters. There’s no particular relevance to our names, but once they are named they are very rarely changed – much like a car registration plate!
The flying season for 2012 won’t be getting started for another month or so, and when it does, our Flying Unit will be taking off from their new home at East Midlands airport. In the meantime, we have plenty of aerial imagery databanked to give you a birds eye view of places across Great Britain.
Rugby fans amongst you will be only too aware that the RBS Six Nations championship kicks off in a fortnight. While many of you will have been lucky enough to visit our home nation’s stadiums – would you recognise one from the air? Our Flying Unit are often over sporting venues as part of their daily job, capturing the changes in our environment ready to be added to our geographic data and made available for our customers.
The stadium below will be in use during the tournament. As my home stadium, I recognised it instantly (although I’m afraid to say I’ve only been there for music events and never for sports)! We captured the image in April last year – can you name the stadium?
When the last aerial imagery was flown in November it didn’t just mark the end of the 2011 flying programme, but also the end of our tenure at Blackpool Airport. We’ve been flying from the airport for over 50 years, had an office in the area since the mid 1960s, and two members of our Flying Unit have been spending six months of the year there for the last 20 years.
In its early days, the flying programme operated from a number of bases around the country, including Blackpool. Over time, the central position of Blackpool for flying to the far north of Scotland and down to the Isles of Scilly made it the sensible choice to have as a permanent base for the Flying Unit. In addition, the climate in the area meant that it was rarely a fog-bound airport and flying time could be maximised.
The Flying Unit could be in the skies over you anytime that weather allows between March and November, capturing around 50,000 images a year. Five people, some from our field teams and others from head office, work on a rota from our Blackpool airport base during the flying season. The two people on the rota spend around two weeks at a time in Blackpool, flying as often as the weather allows, including weekends.
I’m sure most of us have been more than happy with the lovely sunny, dry weather this spring, but how many can say that it’s helped them complete their work too? Personally, I’ve given more than one resentful glance out of the window at the glorious weather – not while writing for the blog of course! – but my colleague John has been embracing it whole heartedly.
John is part of the Ordnance Survey Flying Unit. Working as part of our Remote Sensing department, the Flying Unit could be in the skies anytime that weather allows between early March and November.
Five people, some from our field teams and others from head office, work on a rota from our Blackpool airport base during the flying season. The two people on the rota spend around two weeks at a time in Blackpool, flying as often as the weather permits, including weekends.