Things to Consider When Buying a Drone
So, do you want to pick up drones as a cool new hobby? Maybe you need to use them for business, but you don’t know how to go about it? Well, relax. Let’s go through the factors you should consider before reaching for your wallet.
How do you intend to use the drone?
The intended purpose of your drone is important when choosing which drone suits your needs. Drones have features that are aimed at completing certain specialized tasks with ease. For instance, if you want a drone just for flying then one with a fitted camera or without a camera should suit your purpose.
On the other hand, if your drone is meant for taking videos and pictures, then you should insist on one with a premium camera. In the case that you need a higher quality camera than the one provided by the manufacturer, then you should opt for a drone that allows you to upgrade or exchange the camera.
Either way, the task to be completed should determine the type of drone the user ends up purchasing.
Drones intended for personal and recreational purposes can go for as little as $100, while those meant for more specialized tasks can cost in the hundreds of thousands.
However, it’s important to note that beginners might find it frustrating to learn how to fly cheaper drones because they lack some of the features that make flying easier. For instance, the toy-grade drones lack GPS; an important feature that ensures stable flight for filming.
Because drones can be prone to crashing, you should remember to leave room in your budget for any necessary maintenance or repairs.
This is my least favorite part of the drones, because one does not get to enjoy flying as long as they might have wished. The standard camera drone can fly for approximately 20 minutes while toy drones can range from 5-12 minutes.
The quicker you fly the drone or the more weight you add, the stronger the wind resistance becomes. As a result, the battery dies faster. However, some companies have been working on improving battery life.
Different drones have different features
When dealing with drones you should expect to come across some common words and abbreviations that describe the features of a particular drone. Some of these words include:
- Ready-to-fly (RTF): This is a drone that requires the user to do a little or no assembly since it comes with all the requirements for flying. However, the user has to perform some simple tasks like connecting the propellers or installing and charging the batteries.
This type of drone is recommended for beginners due to its ease of use.
- Bind and fly (BNF): This kind of a drone has to be attached to a controller for it to start working. The drone is packaged as a completely assembled unit, but you’ll need to have a controller that will match it.
- Almost-ready-to-fly (ARTF or ARF): The user of this drone usually has to do some assembly since it is not packaged with a receiver or a radio controller.
- GPS navigation: This feature helps you track your drone and its path.
- Return-to-home (RTH): This is a very important feature that guides the drone back to you in case you lose it.
- First-person view (FPV): This is the ability to see the drone’s point of view via the camera. It is important for taking photos and videos, and the user can also use it to pilot the drone.
According to US Federal Aviation Administration a person who wants to fly any unmanned aircraft that weighs between 250 grams and roughly 25 kilograms has to sign up with the agency. However, it is important to note that all toy drones weigh below 250 grams. Civil penalties for failing to do this can lead up to fines that can go as high as $27,500. In the case of criminal penalties one can receive a fine of up to $250,000 and/or three years in jail.
It will cost you only $5 to register online. You are expected to keep your drone below 400 feet and more than 5 miles away from any airport.
The law in Australia and the UK is much softer with only those using the drones for commercial purposes expected to register.
Where am I going to fly my drone?
When looking for the right environment to fly your drone you should take legality and safety into consideration. In order to avoid places that are off-limits, you can check out Mapbox or AirMap.
Where do I buy a good drone?
The internet has provided a platform for many drone stores to sell their products, however it can be confusing if you don’t know which ones are reliable. When dealing with online platforms it is important that you take your time reading verified customer and Better Business Bureau reviews so that you can get a clear picture of the best parts on offer and also to avoid being ripped off.
Some of the popular sites include: Amazon.com , ReadyMadeRC.com ,HobbyKing, DJI , www.getfpv.com among many others. Another reliable source of drones and parts is the Classifieds section found on RCGroups.com.
Invasion of Privacy
You should expect to raise some eyebrows wherever you are piloting your drone in public. Many people will feel that you are trying to spy on them or otherwise feel like you are invading in their privacy.
I hope the above guide helps you ease your way into the drone culture. Enjoy your drone!