When you start to fly drones for recreation you will probably buy a cheap drone to see if you like it. Even with a small 720 camera you can start to see the power of aerial drone photography.
Once you get the drone-flying bug you will want to upgrade to a more powerful drone.
Your Next Drone
DJI (Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology Co) based in China, is the world’s leading drone manufacturer. Their Phantom range of drones was first launched in January 2013.
The early Phantom 1 & 2 did not have a DJI camera, you will see them with mainly GoPro cameras.
DJI launched the Phantom 3 range of drones in April 2015 and this was a serious leap in technology and reliability. There were three versions of the Phantom 3 – standard, advanced and Professional.
There is now a strong second hand market for the Phantom 3 on Ebay and the equivalent secondhand online site like Gumtree. Today you can buy a new entry level Phantom 3 Standard for around £300. This is a very popular purchase option for your next drone.
In March 2016 DJI launched the Phantom 4 and then the Phantom 4 Pro which both have built in collision avoidance. This means that the Phantom 4 should stop automatically before it flies into an object, like a tree.
This obstacle avoidance does work and can give novice drone pilots extra confidence, but it will not always detect wires, telephone lines, power lines or tree branches.
Lately the DJI have launched the Mavic, which has the power and many of the features of the Phantom 4 but it is light and folds down to a small very portable unit.
So now you have the drone-flying bug, you have bought your second drone and are becoming a keen recreational drone user, where do you learn the rules and get some basic drone training.
The Drone Code
The Civil Aviation Authority and NATS, the UK’s main air traffic controller have launched a website called dronesafe.uk that gives you a breakdown of all of the rules that are in place in the UK to keep everyone safe.
The drone code contains six main rules to make sure you are flying safely and legally. The key point in all of this information is that each individual is responsible for their drone and if you fail to follow the drone flying rules and fly responsibly then you could get a criminal prosecution.
On the same website NATS offer a drone safety app called Drone Assist powered by Altitude Angel.
It presents users with an interactive map of airspace used by commercial air traffic so that you can see areas to avoid or in which extreme caution should be exercised, as well as ground hazards that may pose safety, security or privacy risks when you’re out flying your drone.
It also contains a ‘Fly Now’ feature that enables you to share your drone flight location with other app users and the wider drone community, helping to reduce the risk of a drone related incident in the UK’s airspace.
If you’re not planning to get paid for your drone photography then there is no legal requirement for any training but you must comply with the dronecode and other rules and regulations around flying your drone.
When you fly a drone you need to be aware that the UK’s airspace is extremely busy with light aircraft, military jets and helicopters operating at low level.
We are now looking at offering short introductory lessons for drones in Cornwall and Devon for new drone users that will help you to both fly safely and also teach you the basics of controlling your expensive drone to avoid early accidents.