A daring Kyneton fisherman and his mates have tackled the first-ever drone fishing at Upper Coliban Reservoir in a stunt that put everything on the line.
Armed with his rod and a VB stubby of courage, Sam Foreman dangled metres above the water, suspended in a chair from a purpose-built drone while captured on film.
The Danny Deckchair style stunt went viral after it was posted to social media last Monday. It had received more than 150,000 views by Wednesday and its popularity has only escalated since with hundreds of shares, likes, comments and tags fuelling the makers’ excitement.
“What is so exciting is that we have achieved what nobody thought we could,” one of the men said.
Perfecting the aircraft to support human weight has taken almost two years as a weekend hobby pursuit for the group of four friends in their 20s.
At the helm of the project was Sunbury local Tim French who broke national headlines after flying his cashed up drone into queue for a Bunnings sausage delivery in 2016 and sharing the video to YouTube.
The incident hit a snag, landing him a hefty fine from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, but Tim said it hadn’t deterred him from taking his hobby to new heights.
“That Bunnings sausage video went viral and now everyone is loving this one,” Tim said.
“The comments have been phenomenal. People have said things like they ‘can’t wait for the crocs to get under it’ and that it ‘makes the new on-water boating access redundant’. They have had heaps of fun with it.”
The modified aircraft required 12 motors, 25 batteries and several 27-inch propellers before it could be stabilised for extensive weight testing.
The men documented their progress, capturing several flight tests including lifting an adult’s bicycle and one of the first failed take-offs that nearly terminated the whole venture.
Tim said the total cost of the project was just shy of $20,000 but it had been more about achieving what was previously thought ‘couldn’t be done’.
“People spend $50,000 on a boat and don’t look back. You can’t put a price on a hobby,” he said.
Tim said the drone was tested and proven secure before the real human trial but sitting in that chair had still taken a lot of courage.
“Sam Foreman had a lot of guts to take on ‘stuntman’ – it would have been pretty terrifying,” Tim said, although he assured the drone has “got enough power to start 10 cars at once”.
While the video has proven popular, it is believed CASA has been notified of the airspace use and an investigation is underway.
Watch the video here.