|Parrot RTF Swing (X-wing) VTOL |
Phone App Control Drone : 7-8.5min Flight
I started flying a drone 6 years ago with an original A.R. Drone + iPod Touch ^^ long before the FAA required a license! I flew it with 3 batteries for 4 years then Meg sold it for me :)
|General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper|
In the commercial sector drones are starting to deliver packages with Amazon and USPS at the forefront of logistics drone technology development!
|Amazon Prime Air Drone|
|ASCTEC Drone inspecting Cell Tower|
|Drone Wildlife Photography|
|Red Epic Drone Filming Platform|
Filmmakers from hobbyist to hollywood budgets are flying everything from action cameras to epic RED digital cinema cameras.
|Photography Hobby FPV flight with HMD|
|Intel Realsense Drone Tech|
Palm sized sub $20 drones like the CX10 represent the entry level of the RC drone platform technologies! The DJI Phantom 4 platform is at the top of the professional consumer drone tech spectrum. Expensive, elaborate, amazing drone technology is available to commercial, industrial and government customers at price points that would shock most consumers!
|DJI Phantom 4|
|Parrot Bebop 2|
If you get a drone that uses Wifi or Bluetooth, beware that your control connection range is going to be limited to about 50 ft in practice, sometimes less in signal congested multi-family housing where everyone has 2.4Ghz wifi routers!
Manufacturers will claim better range from wifi and bluetooth, but beware of their claims vs reality! The reality is that the 2.4Ghz spectrum is very crowded today because of wifi! 5.8Ghz often used to stream FPV video is also a busy spectrum because of wifi, so beware of degraded video quality feeds if you try to FPV in a RF heavily populated residential zone.
Dedicated controllers with 200+mw of RF power are going to get you much better control range than a smartphone wifi control setup, but anything over 25mw is technically going to require a special permit from the FCC.
My first drone was wifi controlled and that was flaky even in a rural suburban setting with minimal RF pollution! Make sure to get a drone that uses something other than wifi or bluetooth if you want to fly the drone further than about 50ft away from you!
|Google Play Store : Drone Simulator App|
Digital Flight Training
There are smartphone apps for IOS & Android that allow you to practice piloting a drone digitally without the risk of damaging actual drone hardware! There are good reasons to practice digitally as there is no good substitute to practice time on the "stick", even if the controls are on a touch screen, practicing more will make you a better pilot regardless of which physical drone platform you end up going with!
|A DJI phantom Kit|
Get some spare propellers, a few batteries, a bank battery charger, and set aside some time to slowly warm up your skills! Skill chain is the sequential building of new skills. This process is true when learning how to play a new instrument and similar when you are learning to pilot a drone, toy or otherwise. If you find a $40 drone, the platform is going to cost about $65 with spares!
Consider the newest DJI Mavic Pro. This foldable awesome drone is about $1000 raw, but you can easily spend many thousands total when you budget for a case, spare batteries, backup camera setup, spare motors, spare props, memory cards, FPV goggles, enhanced light bridge radios, better controllers, better antennas, better optics, better GPS, better AI vision control safety, etc, etc.
|Brushed vs Brushless|
Crashing + Safety & US Law
Drone crashes by new pilots are extremely common! Crashes can be minor without damage or expensive. Propeller blades often spinning at many thousands of RPM's and are therefor dangerous to eyeballs, so be extra careful if you are flying your drone near people. The blades are often made of plastic that breaks if you fly the drone into a tree, rock, concrete, vehicles, phone poles, buildings, walls, etc.
The drone racing league or DRL offers a desktop computer drone simulator that works on PC or MAC, but as of now the software is still in Beta testing form. I bookmarked this site and will be back to load it on my iMac with an Xbox controller as the UI at some point when that software is more polished!
In the USA, if you drone weighs more than 249grams or 8.7oz, then to fly this drone outside your home you are going to need a $5 FAA license to do so legally! Please visit the following website in order to register your drone for legal operation outside your home!
Understanding Drone Batteries
Almost all drones run on LiPo or lithium polymer batteries!
These thin lightweight high energy density cells provide the best power to weight ratio of any affordable battery tech!
Store 1/2 Charged Disconnected from Drone
Never Store LiPO batteries fully charged! Discharge them slightly to 3.8v and store them disconnected from your drone in a cool dry location! This is true of digital cameras, laptops, or anything lithium ion!
Never Deplete to 0 %
Never fully deplete a LiPo battery unless you want it to wear out after a dozen or so cycles. When you notice the charge is low, land, disconnect the battery, let it cool off for ~20min, then recharge it!
Never Camp on Charger
Never leave a LiPo battery connected to a charger for a long period of time after it is fully charged. Doing so not only damages the battery by shortening its cycle life and ruining its charge holding performance quickly, it also posses a fire hazard.
Charge on a large ceramic tile or other fireproof surface like concrete! Never charge on a wood floor, carpeting, near curtains, sheets, clothing or anything else flammable like a filled propane tank, gas can, or natural gas line. Consider getting a charging container that is made of charging LiPo batteries safely!
If you notice a LiPo pack swelling, heating up abnormally hot, off gassing, or doing anything unusual, immediately disconnect the battery from the drone, place the pack into a fireproof container, like a metal bin, and move the container outside to a well ventilated area away from anything combustable!