Drone Check

On Tuesday August 11th I decided to take the drone out for a few test flights as I had a photo shoot scheduled for the next day. With the current Covid situation it had been a while since I had last used the drone so I wanted to make sure everything was working properly after running updates.

I have a friend who lives next to the nearby UP Baird Sub west of Fort Worth, so I have permission to hang out and launch from private property. My first catch mid morning was an eastbound intermodal with the UP 8171 leading three other units at the new west end of Iona siding with the elevator at Aledo in the distance.

Over the radio I heard this train was going on into Fort Worth where the hot ZAILC “Laser” intermodal from Atlanta to Los Angeles was waiting to head west. Another eastbound would hold up here at Iona to meet the “Z” train. Wanting to keep my flights short in the increasing heat, I waited until the next eastbound intermodal activated the defect detector in Aledo before launching and getting into position for this view of the UP 8123 East.

The eastbound was holding the main for the meet where I had thought it would take the siding for the higher-priority “Z” train, but it soon became evident this was a VERY long train as it stretched back out of sight.

Before long two DPU’s rumbled by about two-thirds of the way back in the train.

The eastbound finally stopped before clearing the west end of the 12,675 foot siding, marking this train at somewhere just over 13,000 feet.

I landed the drone and swapped batteries while I waited for the “Z” train to show up. After about ten minutes I heard the two crews conversing on the radio. I launched again just as the ZAILC was in the clear and the eastbound started moving again.

The ZAILC led by Norfolk Southern 8153 had to pause for a few seconds before the switch lined and the train received a green signal out of the siding to continue its journey. This gave me time to reposition the drone beyond the west end of the siding for one more photo.

Now the outside temperature was over 100 degrees so I decided it was time to call this mission a success and head for home.

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