A WALLINGFORD man was shocked to see the extent of the flooding in Abingdon when he used a home-built gadget to take a bird’s eye view.
Nick Terzino’s ‘quadcopter’, which features four rotors fixed to a cross frame fuselage, is able to beam live video footage back to the ground.
The 23-year-old said: “It is way more dramatic when you see it from above. You do not see the extent of the flooding from the ground.
“I was shocked really. I did not think it was that bad, but water was everywhere.”
The quadcopter features a gyroscope to allow steady pictures to be taken in windy conditions.
It also includes a GPS module so it can tell its position and hold it, along with altitude, speed and battery sensors that can be read on the ground. Mr Terzino built the hi-tech device over three months during the summer and said he is still constantly tweaking the design.
He now has three versions and has spent about £3,000 developing them.
The quadcopter he used to take the aerial pictures of Abingdon boasts about £1,300 of kit on it. Mr Terzino said: “I designed and built it myself. I saw that other people had done it on the internet and thought I would have a go. It was built off the top of my head, based on seeing pictures. There was no set of plans and it was trial and error.
“It started off as a bit of a toy and now it is a serious toy.”
He added: “I have really just built it for my personal interest but now I do aerial photographic shots of Oxfordshire.
“A few people have had extensions and wanted before and after pictures from the air and I have had a few inquires to take pictures of buildings and roof surveys.
“I just do it by word of mouth, but it has really taken off.”
Mr Terzino works for Cobham Lightning, an Abingdon-based firm which has developed testing systems to protect aircraft against lighting strikes.
His love of remote controlled vehicles started as a child playing with remote controlled cars.
He said: “My first model was a remote controlled car, then I used to fly radio controlled planes and then I went to helicopters and it took off from there.
“It has been a hobby that has been going on for a long time and has been getting more and more expensive as it goes.”