Thread: Drones
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:42 AM   #5
KevinM
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Hi Greg,

Deciding which one of these things to buy is a bit like deciding whether to go Nikon or Canon.....except that I am not sure you can rent UAVs and try them out. There are many brands of small UAS on the market now, and I am sure that each of them is trying to grab market share with better software and/or more features than the next guy. There are quite a few websites and publications dedicated to small photographic UAS, and if you want to make an informed decision, doing some reading would be a great idea. Obviously, soliciting user feedback such as you've done here will also be helpful, but I wouldn't let ad-hoc internet reviews be your only influence.

With regard to size....as someone mentioned, these things do come in various sizes. The most common ones are very small and can be had for $500 - $1,000. As others have noted, the payload is limited on the small ones, so you may have to accept one of those tiny cameras they come with, or use the ubiquitous Go-Pros. There are UAVs that are large enough to take pro DSLRs or Video Cams aloft, but you could be talking 5 or 6 grand to get into that game. The price goes up exponentially with the payload.

Before you do anything, I would spend some time reading the new Part 107 Small UAS Rules. Start here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf

As you will see, you can't just fly anywhere, anytime, and the penalties for violating the rules can be pretty stiff. As a guy who holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate with a fist-full of ratings, I could get myself in just as much trouble with the Feds flying a DJI Phantom as I could with any manned aircraft. I have seen people who should know better....including people who write magazine articles, flying these things at night. As you can see in the above FAA circular, night operations are not approved without a waiver and some very specific requirements. These things are not toys. The Feds treat them like aircraft, so if you're going to get into it, you need to plan to learn some of the things that I had to learn to fly fixed-wing, manned aircraft.

It's a brave, new world.
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Last edited by KevinM; 07-22-2016 at 02:50 PM.
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