FUN AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE AGE OF AFFORDABLE DRONES
Already, 1.7 million drones are darting around American skies. They’re commonly used in real estate, sports, photography and more. Now, even more people are itching to climb aboard the drone express.
Through steady action, we will ensure a bright future for our beautiful planet.
DRONES ARE FLYING HIGH
Why have drones taken off so fast? One reason is the expanded use of drones for commercial purposes, such as for real estate photos, fire control, golf course marketing, oil line inspections, hydration measurements for agriculture, search and rescue and special delivery, to name a few.
Drone use by amateurs — just for fun — is growing, too. Skiers have autonomous drones following them down the slopes for live-action fi lming. Other users take amazing drone shots of their children and pets, or use drones to record photos and videos of backyard events. Some homeowners inspect their roofs and gutters with drones, avoiding rickety ladders and potentially broken bones. On vacation, a drone shot of Niagara Falls provides a stunning and memorable perspective you won’t get from the viewing perches.
BUY A DRONE, FLY A DRONE
BUY A DRONE, FLY A DRONE
SOME SUGGESTED FIRST PURCHASES
THE DJI MAVIC MINI
$380 TO $400
Weighs about as much as a smartphone, including battery, propellors and microSD card
Because it is so small, you may not have to register it with your local government (but still make sure you check!)
Has a range of 2.5 miles and battery airtime of 25 minutes
Includes a flight tutorial
Has an IOS/Android app for flight control
Biggest downside: camera is 2.7K, not 4K
HOLY STONE HS120D
$150 TO $170
Has follow-me mode, where the camera locks onto a designated person, follows and videos them
Has a 2K camera
Features auto return, so that if the battery starts to fail, the drone automatically returns to you — even without GPS
Can be programmed to take photos from a hand gesture command
Charge provides 36 minutes of airtime
Compatible with a GoPro, which can snap on
Has a built-in 1080 HD, 4K camera, providing beautiful photos in stunning color
Has LED headlamps for night photos
Offers 30 minutes of fl ight time and a range of 500 meters
Does 360-degree flips
Has 2-speed brushless motors
Runs on 2 batteries, chargeable with USB port
DRONES AND THE LAW
Drone piloting can require registration — and even a pilot’s license!
The skies may be free, but there are laws governing drone flying.
First, drones must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) if they weigh more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. The drone owner must affix that registration number on the drone and carry proof of registration when flying the drone.
By law, drones must be kept in the pilot’s line of sight. In other words, you must be able to see your drone at all times. Drones can only be fl own below 400 feet and only in uncontrolled FAA air space. That means you can’t fly a drone over an airport. (To make sure you’re in a safe flight location, check the FAA’s B4UFLY app.)
If you use your drone for commercial purposes or make money from it in any way, you’ll need to get a Remote Pilot’s Certificate. Start with a Part 107 training course before taking the licensing test. Laws also vary from state to state, so make sure to check your local rules before taking off!