Not only is Manchester City and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero one of the best and most highly paid footballers in the world he also appears to a pretty mean pilot of a DJI Inspire 1
The £11.44 million pounds a year footballer performs a stunning dronie at the 55,000 plus seater Etihad Stadium in a new commercial for Puma and Foot Locker. It'll have all of you pilots out there asking "how did he do that?" Well take a look at the video first.
Pretty impressive eh? The flying that is, although the trainers are good too. Well I hate to be the one to shatter a lovely illusion but Sergio wasn't actually the pilot. Apart from the fact that his finger skills were not as good as his world class footwork, he isn't a qualified pilot with a Permission for Aerial Work from the Civil Aviation Authority
That's where heliguy™ client David Waite of Surface 2 Air Media comes in. He was hired by London-based Pink Banana Studios to fly the mission.
The Etihad Stadium on a match day. Credit: MCFC
David's skillful flying was pivotal to the shoot. He says he needed a couple of hours practice inside the Etihad to get the complex moves right. Dave always flies in Atti mod without the help of GPS because you get smoother shots but GPS wouldn't have been an option anyway inside the vast metal cage.
"We were told we'd have Sergio Aguero for an hour to pull off the stunt," says David. "But in the end we had just half an hour and we had to communicate with him through a translator."
I thought, rather naively, that David might have been hiding in the dugout to control the Inspire but I was wrong. That would have made depth perception too difficult for him at that distance.
A DJI Inspire 1 in flight
"After Sergio places the Inspire on the ground, he walks back 5 metres. I'm 5 metres away on the opposite side of the aircraft. He pretends to fly it and takes off. Once you see the pitch you won't see me because we were made to disappear with a green screen.
"To make sure that the shots of the stadium could be lined up properly in post production the crew placed tennis balls at key points on the pitch ."
So, although there was some very skillful flying on David's part, some CGI jiggery pokery was also involved.
Now you know how it was done take another look and see if you can see the joins.
In case Surface 2 Air Media ring a bell, it was one of the unfortunate companies that had their gear stolen from an airport near Dublin recently. You can read my full report on that story here