In this article, I'm going to share with you how the Autel Evo flies. In addition to myself, I had two friends of mine with little or no drone flying experience test fly the drone and asked them to answer a few basic questions about their experience. But first a quick note on Autel Customer Service. In setting up the drone and getting it ready to fly, I discovered I needed to do a firmware update. When I did the update, it failed and so I called Autel tech support and got to talk to a person right away. (BTW, I didn't tell them I was doing a … [Read more...] about Autel Evo drone – How easy is it to fly?
The Autel Evo was originally released in June 2018, and has gone through various updates and improvements since that time. This article will be looking at it in its current state running firmware version 1.3.46 and is the first in a three-part series. Below is a first look and focus on the basics of the drone, what's in the box and general observations. Part two will showcase how it flies. Here I'll have two people fly the drone who have no drone flying experience and include their feedback in the article and I will also fly the drone and give … [Read more...] about First look: Autel Evo drone
The FAA is making some important changes in the area of drones. One of which that may directly affect you is that as of February 25, 2019, hobbyists — like commercial drone pilots — are now required to display their FAA-issued registration number on the outside of the drone, where they are easily visible. The reason for enacting this was a concern by FAA's interagency security partners of hidden or concealed explosive devices that would pose a potential threat to first responders if they have to open a compartment on the drone when arriving on … [Read more...] about Hobbyist drone flyers must display FAA registration on the outside of drone
A few weeks back I had an incident with my DJI Inspire 2 drone. While I was taking off from a very gravelly location, I had one of the propellers detach. Because I was on a large landing pad, I was able to power it down and all that happened was that it rolled over and powered off. Had I not been using a landing pad, the drone would have sustained substantial damage. Even though I am very careful and double check this, this kind of incident can happen. Want the full story on landing pads for drones? Read it here. Fly safe and have fun! … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: A landing pad might save your drone from damage
Using a sunshade might seem like extra trouble and hassle, but I find there are definite advantages to using one, especially when they work properly. Check it out the article below and see if one might help you with your drone projects. Why Do I Use a Sunshade? For me, the bottom line is that it helps me see the tablet or smartphone screen more clearly and easily. That translates into better videos and photographs because I can see what is in focus and out of focus and what's in the frame. This clearer view of the screen also lets … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot: Display Sunshades and the One I Use
Vanguard's Alta Sky 51D is a spacious backpack for camera gear. It'll carry a laptop in addition to cameras, including the largest DSLR's, but its special characteristic is that it can be configured to carry a quad-copter drone, like a DJI Phantom. Even loaded very heavily, it is comfortable to wear and manages sweat well. It's a heavy-duty backpack for carrying and storing your gear, and it has a lifetime warranty. Highly recommended. More specs and details right here. Photos below the video. https://youtu.be/EYulL9MLbDk … [Read more...] about In Depth Gear Review: Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Backpack For Drones!
For me, Twilight is some of the best time to shoot video and photographs with my drone. This 30-minutes before and 30-minutes after sunrise or sunset is often referred to as golden hour. The light often has a golden hue and is much softer and pastel-like. So how can you fly legally during that time? You are already able to fly from sunrise and sunset but to fly the 30-minutes before sunrise and 30-minutes after sunset you need to have anti-collision lighting on your drone. This lighting is designed so full-sized aircraft can more easily see … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot: Flying Your Drone at Twilight as a Part 107 Pilot
Do you really need a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate? If you are earning money or want to earn money with your drone, you are required by the FAA to have your remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating (Part 107). Many companies, such as DroneBase.com and others, are now requiring proof and asking you to submit a copy of your Part 107 before allowing you to do work for them. Without it, these companies will not hire you for projects. This certification also will teach you how to know what airspace you are flying in and what … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot: Do I Really Need a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate
In this article, I review the new Brother AirScouter WD-300C Head-mounted Display, that I have been using for the last 3 weeks. In much of my commercial drone work, I am a single operator drone pilot. That means I am having to control the drone and the camera simultaneously. That translate into looking down at my tablet and back up to the drone, so I can fly safely and still get the shot. I am finding that using a headset even helps me do a better job when I am piloting and have a second operator controlling the camera because I can see what … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot: Brother AirScouter WD-300C Head-mounted Display Review
When I fly my drone, most places have dust, dirt, sand or vegetation and other debris on the ground. Even when there is asphalt, there is most often dirt, dust, small sticks or stones, that gets kicked up from the wind generated by the rotors/propellers. Why use a landing pad? Protect the drone's electric motors The most important reason to me is to keep fine dust, dirt and sand out of the electric motors that power the drone. Each motor has an intake, that draws in air, to keep the motor cool. I have been told by technicians in the … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot – Why would I use a landing pad with my drone?
Here are three things you can do to help your drone batteries last longer. Note that these tips are for Lithium Polymer batteries (LiPo) with a focus on DJI Drones. Don’t charge your battery or batteries right after flying. Let them cool down first Land your drone when you reach 25-30% battery level Deep cycle your batteries every 10-20 hours of flight Taking good care of your batteries is very important. Why? If your drone has a single battery and you have a battery failure while flying, then the drone is going crash. … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot-3 things that help batteries last longer
In Part 1, I wrote about buying a new or used drone and getting it registered. Now it’s time to unbox it and prepare for its maiden voyage. Here is an excellent YouTube tutorial from DetroitBORG called “DJI Phantom 4 Unboxing and Review”. I highly recommend watching this if you purchased a later model DJI Phantom. Hopefully, you have the sturdy Styrofoam box with carrying handle that it came in along with a set of 4 propeller blades and an extra set. Propellers, similar yet different In each set of propellers, there are two subtly different … [Read more...] about Your First Phantom Drone – Part 2: Unboxing and Preparation
(Editor's note: Welcome Steve Eilenberg to Photofocus as a brand new author! In this series of articles, Steve covers what it takes to begin flying drones.) You’re starting to get bored putting your tripod down in the exact same spot as everyone else. Different equipment, light, time of day and season will make big differences, but with a drone, you’ve just broken out of that rut. Here’s how to get started. First, decide how much drone you can afford (and afford to lose). The DJI lineup is a good place to start your search. The DJI … [Read more...] about Your First Phantom Drone: Part 1 – Getting Started
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Chris Anson. Check out his work right here. Here’s the challenge: Your drone can be flying along and all of a sudden you lose GPS signal or some other reason and your drone app tells you that it has changed to ATTI mode or it tells you that GPS mode is no longer working and tells you to switch to ATTI mode. What do you do? When this happens in an emergency situation and the pilot doesn’t have any experience in flying in ATTI mode, it often leads to crashes. What is ATTI Mode & Why is it … [Read more...] about Knowing How To Fly In ATTI Mode Might Save Your Drone
At least as much as anyone, I'm intrigued by drones. I've always wanted to be a pilot, I'm reading a book on the Wright Brothers right now, I fly every chance I get, and if I ever have a first born son, I'm torn between naming him Bernoulli or Orville. I'm crazy about flying, but I don't own a drone. However, the newest announcement from DJI certainly has me considering it more than I ever. I have three concerns that have kept me back from buying a drone, but the Phantom 4 seems to address them pretty well. 1. The Camera As much as I like … [Read more...] about DJI’s Phantom 4: A Photographer’s Take
Registration of drones-unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs is now the law of the land starting today, Monday December 21, 2015. The process couldn't be simpler. Go to https://registermyuas.faa.gov. If you are flying a micro-drone (they usually cost less than $100.00) that weighs less than half a pound, no registration is needed. If it weighs between .55 and 55 pounds you must register. Click Register My Drone to get started. The whole process takes about five minutes. You will enter your email then create a password. Once that's done the … [Read more...] about Registering a Drone is Easy
Today, the FAA formally announced plans for the registration of small unmanned aircraft (UAS), better known as "drones". The new laws apply to any UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. Effective December 21st, all owners of qualifying drones are required to register them with the FAA. Failure to comply may result in civil and criminal penalties. Registration includes a $5 fee, which will be refunded for all registrations submitted before January … [Read more...] about Like It Or Not, All Drones Must Be Registered
I'm a drone owner. I have been studying, practicing with it and learning the ins and outs of aerial photography from an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.) It has been expensive with no real idea of when it might become commercially viable. Today it has. The FAA (Federal Avation Administration) has proposed new rules that allow the commercial use of drones. Note: Like all things governmental, there will be an approval timeline for the rules to fully roll out and be implemented. Here is the raw document Restrictions The restrictions include … [Read more...] about New FAA Rules for Commercial Drones
Yes, I know it's supposed to be "fly safely." This post is about flying drones safely and what to do when things go awry. It is a story that happened yesterday for me and might possibly happen tomorrow for you. It is a cautionary tale that ended well. Accidents, like the one I am about to describe are rarely about just one thing that goes wrong. Most often they are a compounding of circumstances that build until the crash happens. Analysis of airline crashes rarely blame one event that lead to a catastrophic failure. Rather a series of … [Read more...] about Fly Safe with Your Quadcopter
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Matt Kloskowski who's a lead instructor at Photoshop World. You can take a class called Lights, Aerial Camera, Action! with Russell Brown at the conference. Last week, I posted some thoughts about the quad copters/drones that have become really popular lately. I mostly posted about how I personally didn't find them useful for landscape photography. This time, I wanted to post a few follow up thoughts. Look for Patterns Bill Fortney (amazing photographer, amazing guy, awesome friend of mine)shared … [Read more...] about More Thoughts and a Really Cool Video on Quadcopters