So, for Christmas this year I got a drone. A nice DJI Phantom 3. Its pretty awesome. It is much easier to fly, even with controls set to manual, than any of the little toy drones. The larger they are the more stable, and more dangerous.
I did need to register with the FAA to comply with the law. I also need to notify local airports when I fly. That becomes kind of a pain depending on where I’m flying. At this point most of my flights have been well below treetops, but I definitely see the issue at higher altitudes.
The primary focus of my flying to date has been getting used to flying it, understanding the modes of operation and how the camera works. Framing the shots and how to fly to get a smooth shot is interesting. Its really different from hand holding a camera and much smoother generally.
Getting fun shots of the kids on vacation and interesting landscapes will be pretty awesome this summer. By the time that rolls around I’m hoping to be pretty good at flying and more comfortable that I’m not going to lose the drone.
One thing that I would like to see from the FAA is to mandate electronic notification. If I fly at home I need to notify 6 or 7 operators because of the local airport and heliports associated with news stations and hospitals. Because I’m doing a notification and not asking for permission that should be a reasonable request. Or eliminate the need for notification by defining a flight envelope that is exempt. If I’m flying within 20 feet of treetops or below the level of the highest building I should not be interacting with any aircraft.
Overall I’m pretty happy with it. I can’t wait until I can use all of the capabilities.