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Recreational Drones: High Flying Fun

Drones – An Army Of The People

I have never been any good at keeping up with the news, technology, the weather, or feeding my fish. When I heard about people owning and flying drones, I suddenly got this sensation of shell-shock, knowing that more than half the population can’t even drive their motor vehicle in a remotely safe manner. And here now they’re flying unmanned bots with guns…

Yeah, if you talked to me earlier than a week ago, and you asked me anything about drones – I’d tell you that if you see one, you are probably in a whirlwind of trouble, and that it was nice knowing you. I am most likely the last person to know that there are recreational drones, and even “drone hobbyists”. I would ask, “Who knew,” but I know the answer would be, “Everyone except me.” Let’s move on; I could drone on and on (take it – I’m here all week).


What Are People Doing With Drones?

Apparently the most popular recreational use for drones is photography. You can take some pretty neat aerial shots with those. Imagine that epic introduction to your favorite action movie when the to-be hero is flying into (or over) the town and you get a glimpse of the entire movie’s setting (hashtag: bird’s eye view). Get your drone arrayed with a nice fish-eyed lens, and you will be all the rave on Pinterest!

But seriously, these things are pretty cool. You can get some as cheap as $50-$100. Of course, these are nowhere near as cool as the ones for $500, but as a beginner, 0.5 megapixels may be enough to get the general idea of what you are doing and how to operate a drone. After all, you don’t want to start out dropping two month’s mortgage on a drone that you’re just going to smash into the side of a concrete building. Or worse – have it shot down by another drone (haha, I’m kidding… ever so slightly).

But when you do attain to such expertise and comfortability of droning, there are some recommendations:

Respectable Names In The Industry

GJI – a big name in the recreational drone industry has got a monster of a drone – the Phantom 3 Professional gives its users 4k video that can be filmed from up to 3 miles away and five advanced flying modes. The average price of this runs about a grand in USD. Doing a little digging around online can score you a couple hundred off the top (coughcoughamazoncough).

The Yuneec Q500 Typhoon has got a similar ranking with 4k videos, 12 megapixel camera. Its successor, the Typhoon H, is built for those more so into aerial videography! This one will generally run a couple hundred less than the GJI.

For the novices and the curious, check out the MJX X400W FPV. It’s good for those who want to start their way into aerial videography. It boasts almost a whole ten minutes of continuous flight, and can be controlled from around 100 yards away. You can actually see what he drone sees in real-time from your phone or tablet. That’s pretty cool, right? Not bad for under $100. Not only is that feature desired in videography, but also in drone racing.


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Some Other Stuff To Do With Drones

Yes. Drone racing. There is a such thing as a Drone Racing League (otherwise known as DRL) backed by sports authorities from England, Germany and the United States. Here is the place you can learn “the basics of First Person View drone piloting,” or watch “trained” pilots gallivant their drones well beyond the highway speed limit through the most vicious obstacle courses. The UK’s first professional drone race will actually be held in London in June 2017. It’s quite a big deal.

A beginner’s racing drone can be acquired for around $100 or so, with the most absolute basic get-up for a quadcopter. Intermediate and advanced quadcopters can run from a couple hundred dollars more into thousands. And just like any other types of racing sports, there are mods for the vehicle and standard to which pilots must adhere.

Kids! Gather ‘round. Let’s Go Over The Rules Of Droning

To give everyone some boundaries, especially considering the sophistication and intricacies of drones, the FAA has legislated some laws pertaining to recreational and business users of unmanned aircraft systems (otherwise known as UAS). Users who own an aircraft weighing any more than half a pound are required to register their vehicles online, whether for leisure, business, education, or in the public sector.

Failure to comply with these Federal Laws can result in close to $300,000 worth of penalties on civil and criminal levels combined. Let’s not talk about jail (in which you can score up to three years). I mean, it only costs $5 to register. The tax on your copter costs more than that. Sacrifice the venti iced caramel macchiato with whipped cream for the sake of your freedom, and register your weapon of mass photography, guys!

To keep from seeming suspicious or getting arrested for frivolous reasons, there are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Do not fly near people or property that may damage easily. Have the decency to give individuals about 25 feet of space (or the delicate property) to not raise any hairs.
  • If you are within 5 miles of an airport or heliport, be sure to report that you are flying a drone in their airspace (remember what I said about having your drone shot down).
  • Do not fly above buildings when possible, and try to stay under 400 feet in the air.
  • Don’t catch a DUI or a narcs charge while you’re piloting (yes, those are possible).
  • Don’t fly near powerlines or other similar areas.
  • Don’t fly in bad weather…

Most of these are common sense, but good to keep consciously in mind.

To Drone, or Not to Drone?

Black Friday is coming up. Undoubtedly we can all catch some great sales on some drones. Now is the perfect time to step up your recreation from basic to freaking amazing.

Don’t hurt nobody!

by Angelique Harris

Angelique’s Etsy Store:

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