spilok

How many "simmers" are Drone enthusiasts?

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Just thought I'd ask:

How many of you simmers are into flying drones?  My Daughters (all grown) know of my love for aviation, and they got me a DGI Phantom 4 last October for my Birthday / Retirement.  It is totally awesome, and you have to patiently download firmware and frequent updates, but the results are truly rewarding in every way. Equipped with a 4K camera, it provides videos that are spectacular....even in your own neighborhood.  I've seen my neighborhood from a totally different perspective, and it's beyond what I thought it looked like.  The Phantom 4 has obstacle avoidance as well, and that is a superb feature.  Technology being what it is, the drone has a nice big RTH button  (return to home), and with the help of usually at least 12 satellites, it does just that.

I have been simming for well over 20 years and visit this forum daily and just wondered how many of you aviation lovers have extended this love to the rising excitement of flying drones. I'd love to hear about your interest in this hobby.

 

Stan 

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Stan I share your passion.

I'm in the early stages of learning the ropes of a DJI Mavic Pro. The big plus of this precision machine is that while it does everything its big brethren can do, it folds up and fits in your pocket. So far, I'm impressed, and the RTH function when the drone is far beyond visual and aural contact, seems almost magical.

I believe there will be goggles for it soon, to enable 1st person viewpoint flying. That would be sort of like flight simulation, would it not? :)

 

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No interest in drones and on the philosophical level they are worse than cell phones in my view for abuse.

Not saying that anyone here might fall into the abuse category, most likely the opposite however, I have seen abuse nothing short of disgustingly unsafe just to get the perfect shot. Any flying of these things over places where people live or work can potentially result in serious injury or worse with one wrong move (loss of control) there are tons of utube videos and news stories already about this stuff. It's very obvious. So I'm just not a big fan of joe and sally public playing with something this dangerous who can't even remember to look up from their cell phone while walking or turn their turn signal on to signal their intentions while driving.

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I'd love to have a DGI Mavic Pro. Unfortunately my amateur radio hobby consumes most of my meager "disposable income." To be perfectly honest, sometimes it means that I eat a lot of Ramen noodles and PB&J sandwiches for a month or two... :huh:

 

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Hi Stan,

I've had the DJI 3 for about 2 years now and logged about 200 hours on it,  I've done some Commercial photo/video work here in Australia and really enjoy it as an extension of my simming but outside. CASA, the Aviation governing body is really clamping done on 'cowboy' users - all flights have to have approval and operators using drones above 2kg need to have operators license, (components of PPL theory plus flight test). That said, it's a rewarding and fun hobby, which has commercial potential - and you get to look at your images/videos at the end of the flight.

Have fun!

Steve

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Don't initalise your drone in the trunk or back of your car. If you do, you might find when you press the RTH button it'll fly into your rear window! ;)

I have a couple of the tiny indoor quad rotors which are great fun  - no self stabilising or GPS autopilots but very stable for what they are.

A friend of mine has a blade 350 and a DJI Phantom (not sure which model). Fascinating machines, but each to their own - I prefer to fly model helicopters - not as easy to equip with cameras and GPS autopilots but it can be done. However, I just want to fly the model rather than go on photo recconnaisance missions, so all I did was attach a miniature keyfob camera to the canopy of my Raptor 30 and fly it around the local playing field.

Bryan quite correctly mentions the risky side of the drone or quadrotor hobby - common sense isn't always common! The thing is, and this is no disrespect to you Stan, or anyone wanting to get into the drone hobby is that the ones which cost a reasonable amount of money and upwards - the ones which have gps-lock, return-to-home, self-levelling, operator-avoidance (it won't get closer than a few feet to you), are so darn easy to fly! Anyone can do it. Again, no disrespect to the sensible people.

Regarding first person flying - drone racing is the exciting, adrenaline pumping side of FPV goggles combined with drones - think of Star Wars Pod Racing or the speeder bike scenes in the forest :cool: On the flip side - I believe the CAA (over here in the UK)  were looking to limit FPV use by the operator having to have a spotter standing with them who could see the quadrotor at all times, just like you'd fly a model aircraft: No going off 3 miles down the road then coming back. Modern FPV setups and telemetry will allow you to do that, complete with a battery power reserve readout. All the GPS lock in the world won't prevent loss of control if there's no power, so a good idea of flight duration is helpful.

Anyhow - despite my waffling on, drones are pretty cool. Enjoy the new toys Stan!! (Yes, you might well end up owning more than one :biggrin:

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One day very soon a passenger aircraft carrying 300 souls will be brought down  at a major airport, happens almost daily here at Heathrow.

Or you could alternatively fly it at your local beach resort and it comes down and rips a child's face  apart.

The sooner these things are licenced and controlled the better for all of us.

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Wouldn't call myself an enthusiast, but I do have a small one which can be flown from my mobile phone which transmits the on board camera image to the phone. It's kind of a cool toy and wasn't even that expensive either. The camera isn't great quality, but it's good for inspecting the condition of the roof on your home and things like that.

One thing I don't like about drones however, is that a couple of years ago, there were some miscreants in a home for young offenders which is pretty near my house using one to 'case' people's properties for robberies. I say 'were' because my (now ex) wife told me about it and, sure enough upon asking about, that is apparently what was being done, with several break ins having occurred a few doors down from me. This thing was coming over my own house quite a bit, and so needless to say I was a bit concerned. Reports to the police proved to be of no avail so... Typical of my ex missus, she asked me to fetch one of my .22 field target shooting rifles which has a telescopic sight on it, and after a bit of brief tutelage from me on how to correct your aim for a shot upwards at something and how to load it etc, she actually managed to shoot the thing down. Pretty amazing skills to be fair, she took it out with her very first shot at it, and that thing was probably up at about 120 feet. Of course drones are light and largely plastic, so a good hit will inevitably mess something like that up, but despite the fact that at the time I thought it might not be the smartest thing to do, she never got in trouble for it and I do now think it was pretty hilarious. I'm glad her and I are still very close friends, because as you can imagine from this (fairly typical of her to be honest) 'proactive approach' to sorting things out shall we say, she's not the kind of person you mess with lol.

Four more and she'll be an 'ace'. :laugh:

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You have to be sensible about it, of course. I would not hesitate to shoot down a drone I thought was intruding on my privacy. So when I fly, I make sure I am out of range! As an aside, you need to be a little careful about letting fly with a firearm. You can kill someone quite far away by shooting up in the sky...

DJI are pretty pro-active about protecting what is a billion-dollar industry. They tell you about local restrictions online, and have a drone registration regime so they can be tracked later if required.

I love the Mavic, it is a precision instrument which extends the photography envelope. I see it as a camera which has rekindled my interest in the hobby. And what a camera: it shoots gimbal-stabilised 4k movies and DNG stills. (This is just a jpg):

2J0iE7.jpg 

 

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I was into RC aircraft 20 years ago when all your paycheck went into it, it took you months to build a plane, and everything you built eventually crashed. 

Even though these are ready to fly and not as costly, I still have not ventured into them yet. It wouldn't take much to get my hooked though

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I'm not really interested and generally fed up of seeing them everywhere. I had one following us in the park once, and also others hovering over other people's property. I saw a couple on the beach with their kids, filming their kids, etc. There are many people who are serious and good with their drones, but the majority don't seen to be and I think it needs to be regulated (or require a license and some basic training). It's just another way for people to be intrusive and inconsiderate of others.

As a professional photography or film tool, under the right hands, I think they are fantastic however. 

 

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5 hours ago, WingZ said:

DJI are pretty pro-active about protecting what is a billion-dollar industry. They tell you about local restrictions online, and have a drone registration regime so they can be tracked later if required.

 

 

I own a DJI Mavic Pro and fly very safely. I only fly in areas where there is zero risk to people, property or other aircraft. As a photographer I just had to buy one with so much natural beauty to capture around me in the Alps. As WingZ said, DJI are very proactive in locking down where you can and cannot fly. For example, if you are within an 'No Flight Zone' area such as near an airport, it literally will not let you take-off. In other protected areas, it will restrict you in how high and far you can fly so that you cannot really do much with it. Also, they update NFZ data on the fly so if there is a temporary restriction (for example if there was a forest fire), it will update your app to stop you from flying. In Switzerland you also have to purchase drone insurance adding another layer of responsibility.

Of course this does not rule out some word not allowed been able to do something stupid and I agree this could be a concern as see sometimes in the news, but the new built in restrictions certainly help and might put certain people off buying a drone in the first place if they are not planning on abiding by the rules. I can understand that they can annoy some people but the photographs and video I get out of it are worth it for me. Besides the Mavic Pro is very small and rather quiet once its up in the air so it's not too intrusive as some of the bigger drones can be.

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3 minutes ago, steve310002 said:

Besides the Mavic Pro is very small and rather quiet once its up in the air so it's not too intrusive as some of the bigger drones can be.

Yes as I mentioned I try to get "Out of range". Generally 120m altitude is sufficient not to annoy people.

I am taking a Rhine cruise later in the year. I'd be interested to hear if it's worth taking the Mavic along - what restrictions might apply on the tourist routes I wonder?

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I think its an amazing tool and alot of fun, but as Tony and others have mentioned, it needs to be regulated. The idea of giving unregulated, untrained and unlicensed idiots free will to put any moving vehicle on the road (let alone the sky) is a recipe for disaster.  That's why the idea of flying cars will never work.  Not because it is not technically possible but because there are way to many idiots in this world - WAY too many.  People don't respect boundries anymore because the new generation are taught they can do anything they want - and it is usually this demographic causing havoc with air traffic violations.

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It will take a tragedy at a major airport before the UK government do anything about the idiots flying drones near airports.

It's only a matter of time, but it will happen sadly.

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Building Drones is amusing , educational and a most satisfying way of spending time with ones son , we have done three over the years.

When one orders a " kit " they tend toward the industrial and are about half the cost of the prefabricated designs and permit adding parts to increase range and flying time ,  as an added benefit they are easy to fix , the arms of the platform being what breaks mostly when mistakes get made .

 

Best CJ

 

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Having fun with a drone does indeed require you to commit to flying it safely by following the rules and regulations associated with the hobby.  Just as real pilots go through checklists and safety concerns before a flight, so must we, as drone pilots do the same.  Flight simmers for the most part are disciplined in flight preparation and safety considerations that lead to a successful flight.  We cannot control those who treat the drone as a "toy'.  I've never used FSX as a "game"; I treat it as a realistic "simulation"...which it was meant to be.  

Drone flyers who treat them as toys....should fly them only in their house.   Responsible flyers can go outside!

 

Stan

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This is kind of what I was alluding to - any uncoordinated word not allowed can "fly" a drone - it will just go where you want it. (DJI lock-down excepted - that's a great pro-active idea by that company!)

I don't want drones banned, but we cannot account for how much stupid is out there. Having said that - I don't want delivery drones buzzing around the skies - but that's another debate ;)

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I had a Radian motorized glider and I attached a camera two it.  I took a couple of videos but it finally crashed due to radio interference probably caused by my proximity to Luke AFB which was five miles away.  The glider thermaled to nearly two thousand feet once and once flew about half a mile away before I turned it around.  I had about twenty flights with it lasting 20 minutes or more.  After the crash I quit the hobby because I felt it just wasn't safe in an urban area and there were few places out in the open desert to fly it.  I didn't want to injure someone.  The company that made the glider sent me a free replacement but I sold it to a friend some years later.

Drones are interesting but I see regulations coming which will restrict their use.  They intrude on privacy--no one wants videos of their backyards taken and posted on youtube by a drone pilot.

I also used to attach cameras to kites and would loft them to about five hundred feet or so.  I have some great still pictures I took of my neighborhood ten years ago.  It was all fun but eventually I got bored, you can only take so many pictures before they all look the same.

My most recent aerial videos are of my takeoff and landing of my British Airways flight from London to Phoenix last month.  Those turned out well and I enjoy watching them.

John

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7 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

Drones are interesting but I see regulations coming which will restrict their use.  They intrude on privacy--no one wants videos of their backyards taken and posted on youtube by a drone pilot.

I agree and disagree. I agree that no one wants their backyard being filmed up close and personal as this would represent a complete invasion of privacy. However, drone cameras tend to contain wide angle lenses meaning that if you are above 50 meters, your backyard is going to look like a miniature world which in I don't think is really a breach of privacy if someone on the off chance flies over at 40km per hour (unless you live in the Playboy mansion, then that's another story :laugh: ).

Also, no one in their right mind is going to take a picture or video low down focusing on someones backyard and if they do then this would be a completely different matter as would someone casing the place out. That would be a matter for the police. In most countries in Europe, it's illegal to fly over urban areas which also makes it harder for anyone to film your property not that they would. I think the bigger issue is not privacy but more about air safety and idiots spoiling everyone else's fun and stupidly risking peoples lives flying at unsafe altitudes or near airports or indeed near large groups people. Like in all walks of life, there will always be morons doing moronic things but these represent at most 5% of people. 5% is too many I agree. The same can be said for almost anything unfortunately. 

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Have been annoyed several times on the beach by these pesky things hovering overhead - would have shot them down if I could!, and with the air safety risk (an airliner in the UK recently diverted due to a drone in the approach) I'd support the strict regulation of them...

Cheers
Keith

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On 7/18/2017 at 11:40 AM, Glynn said:

It will take a tragedy at a major airport before the UK government do anything about the idiots flying drones near airports.

It's only a matter of time, but it will happen sadly.

Regrettably I agree with you and as a commercial operator and amateur drone pilot it's obvious what risks drones pose. Airline are making pro-active steps and we're made well aware of the risks drones place, all be it blindingly obvious. There are channels in place to report these incidents immediately after duty.

Unfortunately it's the minor few who ruin it for responsible drone pilots which is why there is this negative stigma associated with drone pilots.

In the UK the CAA are quite clear regarding recreational drone flights and have set rules accordingly in the Air Navigation Order. I feel the drone manufacturers have to be me far more clear regarding these rules when selling to the consumer.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft-and-drones/

Until then I fear it will take a mid-air collision or some sort of serious incident for regulation to come into force which would be a great shame for those who respect the rules and regulations. 

For now people must be made aware of the strict rules in place, fly responsibly and you will not get into bother. I own several drones and fly well away from people, built up areas and clear of any controlled airspace and have 3rd party insurance if any think was to happen.

Most people are curious but I have been questioned before. They generally don't believe me when I say I have a license to operate drones and hold a full ATPL.....

 

Fly safe (drones as well!!)

 

FD2S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I used to fly RC Aircraft back in the 1990's we were regulated. We joined a club that owned property usually out in the country and flew there. The club had insurance and also members could insure their RC Aircraft that they were flying if they wanted to. If one became wayward because the radio went dead and it damaged other property or personal injury their was coverage, but that risk was very low as we flew out in the country at our own club property.

When Drones started to become mainstream I was always surprised by the lack or regulation, mind you RC Aircraft can cause far more damage but some of these drones are starting to get bigger and more powerful as well.

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Someone at the CAA must've read this post! 

 

BBC News - UK to bring in drone registration

 

I personally think this is a great idea and a step in the right direction, allowing sensible users to register and fly responsibly and place significant fines for people who flout the rules.

 

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