Wednesday, December 20, 2017

• So You're Getting a Drone For Christmas

Christmas is coming and it's a lock that many people will be finding a drone under the tree this year. 
The joys of flying a drone.
There are many different types of drones. Some are tiny little toys that only cost about twenty bucks. Others are complicated pieces of machinery that fly with the aid of satellites.
The sky's the limit when it comes to how much you can spend on a drone.
No matter what type of drone you get there are some basic, common sense things you need to know if you want to stay on the right side of the law.
  •  no flying near airports or helipads
  •  no flying near crowds or over people
  •  no flying over 400 feet
Though the average consumer grade drone (sUAS - small unmanned aircraft system) doesn't have a zoom camera on it, you don't want to invade other people's privacy by flying your drone into their yards. I've heard about such a thing happening not far from where I live.

Avoiding windy days is also a good idea. Not to mention flying near power lines, tall trees, and areas with high electromagnetic areas. Flying close to the objects like bridges, towers, buildings can also be troublesome.

If you see a drone flying above, most likely you look like an ant in the camera view unless it's flying very low.
This image is of the snack bar at Marna O'Brien Park from about 130 feet in the air. 
The rules for flying drones have been changing a lot. 

Not long ago, ALL DRONES over half a pound were supposed to be registered, but that changed and is no longer a requirement.



However, if you plan on making money with your drone, you have to pass a test. I'm studying for it right now and it's a lot more to do with air space and not so much the sUAS or how to fly it.
The test, known as Part 107 Knowledge Test, covers several different areas of concern and costs $150 to take.

 Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
 Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
 Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
 Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
 Emergency procedures
 Crew resource management
 Radio communication procedures
 Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
 Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
 Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
 Airport operations 
Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedure
I know a person that boasted about flying at night and over people... have at it. Just know that if your bird comes down and causes damage, you'll be singing a different tune in a hurry.

I got my drone in June of 2016 and though I opened it all up, attached the props, charged the batteries and installed the app on my phone... I didn't fly it for almost a year.

I've watched a ton of youtube videos showing how the type of drone I got operates, and what it's capable of. If you're a thinking person, right away you see how much responsibility comes with such a thing.

There are also a ton of videos highlighting stupid things that people have done with drones. They can be pretty funny and are well worth searching for.

There are potentially a lot of things that can go wrong, including "flyaways". If you google Drone Flyaway you'll see Drone Flyaway Insurance listed near the top. 

Pro Tip: There wouldn't be insurance if it wasn't something that happens.

As I was approaching my one year anniversary as a drone owner (that hadn't actually flown it yet) I figured it was about time to get into action. I was told about a local drone enthusiast named Desiree Ekstein, also known as Drone Diva Desi.

I arranged for a one hour lesson and after that had the confidence to fly on my own. I would recommend her to all people that get a DJI Drone. 

I've seen some at Costco for under $100 that use a smart phone to stream video. I bet they're a ton of fun, but they're going to be like riding a bucking bronco compared to the gentle ride of a DJI. The term you get what you pay for for was coined with modern drones in mind.
I've been inundated with drone ads this Christmas season.
Back to Drone Diva Desi, her approach was very inviting and not intimidating at all. The first half hour or so was talking about the drone, safety, and other important factors for beginners.
Grace Morabito takes in basic instruction from Desiree Ekstein.
I had such a good experience that I convinced my wife to take a lesson with Desiree too. She hadn't even held the controller up to that point, and didn't even read the manual. However, she really enjoyed the lesson and was very pumped up to fly again.
The first flight.
• Desiree's interest in drones stems from her longtime interest in making home movies. 
• Her first drone was an AR Parrot. 
• Passed the test on the second day it was in existence.
• She is fully licensed and has a daylight waver... mistakenly called nighttime waver by most people.
• Suggests [really] studying airspace and aeronautical charts when prepping for the Part 107 test.
• Always be mindful of other aircraft in the area, even if they're at a high altitude.
If you are interested in getting a drone, or already have one but need a lesson to feel a bit more confidence with it, contact Desiree and in no time you'll be flying safely too.
Desiree and Grace are all smiles after the lesson.
Drone Diva Desi Contact Info

If you see someone at the park, or other public place flying a drone around, you don't need to worry about them spying on you. The cameras are wide angle and they're most likely just out there getting some scenery/horizon shots. If you see me out there, chat me up about it.
At ten feet.
At twenty feet.
At forty feet.

Last on the drone list is local ordinances that mention them. 

It was brought to my attention that drones aren't allowed at Wildomar's Marna O'Brien park (where I've flown many times).
Let he who hasn't ignored one of these rules cast the first stone.

Take a look at that sign, and you'll see that plenty of regular park activities are also on the forbidden list... including distribution of flyers or advertisements

Which basically tells you that if you choose to fly a drone at the park, don't be an idiot about it.

Additional reading

6 Tips on How to Lose Your Drone and Guarantee a Flyaway!

•                •                •

Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
- Wilson Mizner

Wildomar Rap can't even spell playgerism.

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