While we have all been out embracing the heatwave at every opportunity, as a result our Flying Unit has had to contend with a busier airspace. As well as all the air shows at this time of year, when the weather is good, those with PPLs (Private Pilot Licence) are more likely to take to the air.
Despite this meaning they have to be extra vigilant, our Flying Unit has been making the most of this unique weather window with unprecedented results. The best way to demonstrate it is with the below graph. This shows the stark comparison of our flying season volumes against previous years.
The Year of Engineering launched at Allenby Primary School in Southall, Ealing last week and our surveyor and air camera operator Roger Nock was on hand to inspire the children. The Minister of State at the Department for Transport, John Hayes CBE MP was at the Primary Futures event along with volunteers from the world of engineering, aiming to showcase the vast range of exciting roles within the sector.
Following on from the recent ‘Sue x’ field carving mystery, we spotted letters almost as long as the Anfield pitch spelling ‘LFC’ spotted on Shropshire hillside – but who has done it?
Our Flying Unit captures aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Isles of Scilly to Shetland, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes. And sometimes their pictures reveal something strange on the landscape…
Such as earlier this week, when flying over Shropshire, Andrew Tyrrell, a Remote Sensing Surveyor and Air Camera Operator, noticed ‘LFC’ carved into the scrub on the north side of Titterstone Clee Hill (SO588787), and took a picture. Intrigued by who or why someone would do such a thing and the effort required in such a remote location, he sent the image back to head office for analysis.
Our Flying Unit has been immortalised by the iconic Squadron Prints who produce the highly acclaimed series of aircraft and ship lithographic prints. One of the Cessna 404 Titan’s we use, G-FIFA, features on the stunning print.
Our Flying Unit operate from East Midlands Airport, taking to the skies above Great Britain between February and November each year. Professional pilots take our air camera operators up in two Cessna 404s, G-FIFA and G-TASK, to take aerial imagery of over 50,000 square kilometres of the country each season. From the Scilly Isles to the Shetland Islands, the team will capture over 140,000 aerial images each year, using the 196-megapixel cameras on-board the planes.
We often share the photos taken by our Flying Unit in between their surveying tasks. And you’ll have seen the aerial imagery they take when surveying from the skies. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to do your daily work in the back of a Cessna 404? Roger Nock, one of our Flying Unit, took a photo of his workspace. Take a look.
Roger explained what we can see…
Cabin crew doors to manual and seat belts signs switched off…the 2016 flying season is complete. Jean Martin and her team explain why the season has come to an end and what they’re planning next.
It’s been another busy year for the OS Flying Unit, working from our East Midlands Airport base and taking to the skies in the two Cessna 404s. Flying from Lands’ End to Orkney, we’ve covered some 54,203 square kms of GB and taken over 141,700 aerial photographs along the way.
If you were watching BBC Breakfast this morning, you may have seen their reporter, Graham Satchell, heading out with our Flying Unit and finding out how we survey Britain from the skies.
We’ve actually been using aerial photography to carry out our surveys for almost 100 years. Originally, this had the advantage of capturing information from areas that surveyors found hard to visit on foot. Today, it means we can keep on top of the data capture process – making continuous revisions of the whole nation’s landscape.
Those of you who regularly read our blog will know that at OS, we have a Flying Unit. Based out of East Midlands Airport, our two Cessna 404s fly the length and breadth of the country between February and November. They capture on average 50,000 aerial images covering 40 000 km squared of Britain’s urban, rural, moorland and mountain terrain every year.
There are two questions we’re often asked: ‘Why is there a man (or woman) in a hi-vis OS jacket in my area carrying a pole?’ and ‘Why is there an OS plane going backwards and forwards overhead?’
In both cases, whether on foot or in the air, it’s members of our surveying team, capturing some of the thousands of changes taking place every day and adding them to our mastermap of Great Britain. As well as 250 surveyors on the ground working across the country, we operate two aircraft which are used to take aerial photography and are based in East Midlands Airport. They capture on average 50,000 aerial images covering 40 000 km squared of Britain every year.
Every so often we receive a tweet from one of our followers saying that they’ve seen an Ordnance Survey plane overhead. Or someone will tweet us a picture like the one below and ask us what we’re up to. The simple answer is that we’re capturing aerial imagery of Britain, as part of our role as the national mapping authority.