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Unmanned aerial vehicles
Old 07-23-2017, 05:44 AM   #1
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Unmanned aerial vehicles

Watched a guy flying a Mavic Pro "drone" yesterday and was incredibly impressed. The capabilities of this thing (and it's really just a middle range example of the genre) are amazing. And it was so stable I couldn't get over it. Hovered motionless even in a light breeze at an altitude of five or six stories. Maybe he was an exceptionally good pilot, but he said he got the hang of it quickly.

So my question is whether anyone here uses this or a similar model?

If you do, what sorts of things do you photograph with it and what kind of learning curve did you have?

Just an expensive toy, but I'm sorely tempted!
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Old 07-23-2017, 06:45 AM   #2
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If you have a convenient place to fly, this is a great hobby to get into. Check out YouTube for examples of what people are filming with their DJI Quadcopters.
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:28 AM   #3
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Here's a link to Austin Drone Pilots Facebook page.. I've been following it to pick up a lot of info before I spend the bucks (or not). Has a lot of posts regarding the Mavic, along with posts about video, photos, regulations and tips for beginners.
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:42 AM   #4
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I agree that these drones have come a long way. I just purchased a fold-able drone called Skyhunter. It really is just a toy, but I figured for less than $100 I'd see if I found this to be fun. I've only had it for a couple of days and I only have 1 battery (can only fly 6 minutes per battery;2 more to be delivered soon), but I can say that it is fun! It is taking me a bit longer to master than I thought, especially when I try to use my phone with it. So far just playing in my backyard. When I get extra batteries I'll head out to more open areas to try more stuff.

I think stepping up to something like Mavic Pro I would want to find where people in my area fly these things and learn more. I believe that the Mavic Pro goes for around $1k. If it becomes something I enjoy and I can find a small enough drone to bring with me on trips, then I may indulge a bit more into this hobby.

In the meantime, I'll try joining Austin Drone Pilots Facebook to learn more!

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Old 07-23-2017, 07:57 AM   #5
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My son in law has three of them. A couple of them he uses at work to take video footage of the construction projects he is over so he can give updates to the folks that do not work in the field. Their capabilities are impressive from my limited knowledge of them.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:45 AM   #6
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Ha Ha this is one of my Hobbies, I have just a few. Added a Spark too Recently.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:45 AM   #7
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From the point of view of a "toy", I don't have a drone, but I got bored with my RC cars and RC helicopter very quickly. I'm sure the drone and the camera aspect would be fun for a little while, but without a specific purpose, I think it would suffer the same fate. As mentioned, if I were a contractor - especially someone working on roofs or an inspector, I think I'd have one in a minute. As a hobby, I just don't see it. As an adjunct to a hobby (hiking) or a trade, I think they have great potential.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:50 AM   #8
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I have one of everything (well most that apply) I run a small 3D Printing business where I make/design parts and accessories for drones for the Topographical Mapping and Agricultural Mapping Communities. It keeps me Busy. My Webstore helps cover my costs and the costs of the drones to evaluate for mods.
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
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From the point of view of a "toy", I don't have a drone, but I got bored with my RC cars and RC helicopter very quickly. I'm sure the drone and the camera aspect would be fun for a little while, but without a specific purpose, I think it would suffer the same fate. As mentioned, if I were a contractor - especially someone working on roofs or an inspector, I think I'd have one in a minute. As a hobby, I just don't see it. As an adjunct to a hobby (hiking) or a trade, I think they have great potential.

I agree completely. I have visions of seeing if this is anything I would like as a more serious hobby, but just using the "toy" drone I can see is already a limiting experience.

From what I read about the other more expensive drones I can see the possibilities open up dramatically. I do extensive travels and would love to be able to take some more interesting photos/videos than what I currently do.

If I find this as something I begin to like a lot, then I may explore ways to turn it in to a part time gig... to offset the costs of the equipment!
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Unmanned aerial vehicles
Old 07-24-2017, 08:20 AM   #10
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Unmanned aerial vehicles

I surely don't fly as much as I use to, but man was it fun getting there.
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Old 07-24-2017, 08:40 AM   #11
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DW is the maint manager for Naval Aviation unmanned systems. I used to work with the RQ-21 system. Pic is of the MQ-8C.
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:53 PM   #12
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On more than one occasion drones created problems down here in AZ during the fire season. People were flying their drones close to the fires to get an up close view and it forced the firefighters to ground all aerial firefighting while the drones were in the area.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:02 PM   #13
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On more than one occasion drones created problems down here in AZ during the fire season. People were flying their drones close to the fires to get an up close view and it forced the firefighters to ground all aerial firefighting while the drones were in the area.
It would be nice if the firefighters had access to a shotgun in cases like that.
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Old 07-24-2017, 05:08 PM   #14
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I surely don't fly as much as I use to, but man was it fun getting there.
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Your set of QC's is very similar to mine.

To the OP, it's trivial to "fly" the expensive quadcopters. You really don't even need to actively fly it; you take your hands off the controls and it sits there, locked into a position using GPS. Press a single button and it lands where it took off from. The battery gets low, it zooms up to the return to home altitude, then comes straight down, landing where it took off from.

I operate a Phantom 3 and take video of "whatever" random stuff. But I'm not that interested in flying this thing. It's kind of boring unless you've got a video project to do. I got some great shots while vacationing on a houseboat on a remote lake. Below is video of my sister's house...low res because the high res one didn't upload to the site.

As to learning curve, you have access to a simulator, so you can practice on the ground. But "flying" the software controlled models is more about understanding/configuring/operating the software than it is about "flying". In other words, you could be a "good pilot" by simply reading the capabilities of the software, and never have had the thing in the air.

In general, the cheaper the aircraft, the harder it is to fly. I've bought about a half-dozen Syma XC5's. The first one, with the remote, was $50. Each additional one, just a bare aircraft, was $20. Out of the six, three have flown away. One of the three is in a tree...I can see it, but can't get it. It's very easy to fly out of range, and they just keep going the direction they were going (while I run wildly toward it). I've recovered a few by doing that. You'd think I'd learn, hehe!

I've still not tried FPV, although that's on the agenda for when the urge strikes me.
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:51 AM   #15
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On more than one occasion drones created problems down here in AZ during the fire season. People were flying their drones close to the fires to get an up close view and it forced the firefighters to ground all aerial firefighting while the drones were in the area.
The software in the DJI vehicles prevents flying in certain places and above certain altitudes. I'm not sure if it's updated dynamically with the TFR system. I've got my phone configured to deny cell data to the application, and it hasn't prevented me from flying, so the software can't enforce that. But it does enforce some other airspace limitations and people have figured out hacks (of course) to allow them to fly anywhere, anyplace. And there's always the DIY machines that don't have the restrictions.
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:00 AM   #16
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This drone stuff is out of control. I need a new one. I have a DJI Phantom 2 - an antique. Quite fun, but I don't have the nav screen that shows where I'm flying. Here's a test clip to see how I could kayak while flying the drone. Went well until I crashed it into a tree. Came out of it fine.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:35 PM   #17
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Well, I gave in to temptation and got a Mavic Pro. It arrived yesterday and this morning I took it to the local park for some familiarization practice.

All I can say is WOW!
Ridiculously easy to control, even for a beginner. The only tricky part is remembering that when you tell it to go left or right, that means from the direction the drone is looking, not from your viewpoint. Otherwise, it's dead simple.

Camera quality is superb as well. I was amazed at how good the video I shot looked on the computer when I got home.

The maneuverability is pretty amazing, too. I started it up in the lower level of our condo and flew it up the stairs to the second level and back down again (two 90 turns in the stairwell) with ease. Never came close to touching anything.

I'm going to have a lot of fun with this thing.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:38 PM   #18
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Well, I gave in to temptation and got a Mavic Pro. It arrived yesterday and this morning I took it to the local park for some familiarization practice.

All I can say is WOW!
Ridiculously easy to control, even for a beginner. The only tricky part is remembering that when you tell it to go left or right, that means from the direction the drone is looking, not from your viewpoint. Otherwise, it's dead simple.

Camera quality is superb as well. I was amazed at how good the video I shot looked on the computer when I got home.

The maneuverability is pretty amazing, too. I started it up in the lower level of our condo and flew it up the stairs to the second level and back down again (two 90 turns in the stairwell) with ease. Never came close to touching anything.

I'm going to have a lot of fun with this thing.
Congratulations.....

I have a Pro and a Spark and a 3Dr Solo as well as a few others, they are a lot of fun............... till they crash... Unfortunately DJI is notorious for it's poor customer service to please be careful, the gimbal is VERY fragile and fickle.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:02 PM   #19
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I have come close a couple of times to buying a Phantom but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Prices keep coming down and features keep getting better. Meanwhile we have fun flying the little ones.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:01 PM   #20
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So far the few that I have seen flying I wish I could shoot down...

First we were in Rocky Mountain National Park and hiking near a waterfall... and what is flying around bothering people... a drone!!! Now, they are BANNED in all land managed by the National Park Service, so what is it doing there


The second was on July 4th.... went to see fireworks and there were competing drones.... two in my sight line to the fireworks.... far enough away I could not hear them, but taking away from my enjoyment of the fireworks...
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