What is a Drone?

What is a drone?

What is a drone

 

Drones have been gaining a lot of popularity over the years. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of drones one way or another. But what is a drone?

Only a few years back, drones (more specifically, the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper) were wildly known for surveillance and taking out targets in war zones from the US military. When it comes to modern warfare these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are a much safer choice, not risking the lives of soldiers.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a drone is considered an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), in other words, an aircraft that is controlled remotely, without the use of an on-board pilot.

 

Recreational Use

A drone, in a sense, is nothing more than a remote controlled aircraft. However, with the way drones are specially designed now for commercial use, there are many more advantages for using drones such as taking photographs or videos, seeking out tight spots that might be inaccessible to people, news reports, and even scouting rescue missions.

A lot of drones today are incredibly easy to operate can be controlled using an iPhone that is connected by Wi-Fi, and also have GPS attached. While others are operated using radio controllers, just like you would with RC helicopters or planes. Drones are able to remain in one spot for long periods due to the rotary blade designs.

 

Types of Droneswhat is a drone

Drones can be categorized by how many propellers they have, which is where these alternate names come from:

Quadcopter– Drones that can be lifted by a set of four vertically oriented propellers, like a helicopter. These are most popular small drones for personal use. They also go by the names of quadrotor or quadrotor helicopter.

Multicopter: Multicopters are drones with more than two rotors. These particular drones are aerodynamically unstable and relies on an on-board computer (flight controller) for stable flight. These are usually larger in size and are able to carry heavier loads than smaller drones.

Hexacopters: These drones have six blades and are much more stable when it comes to flying than most other smaller drones.

 

Commercial Use

In the past couple of years there has been a lot of talk about Amazon’s new delivery system, in which they will use drones to deliver packages from their dispatch office right to your doorstep. However, there have been complications for Amazon along the way. Due to the increasing popularity of drones being used by the public, the FAA are now coming up with new laws and regulations to ensure the people’s safety, and therefore, may prohibit the use of drones in some areas.

 

 

Drone Flying Regulations

As of January 14th, you must now register with the FAA if you plan on using a drone in the US. You can do so from here… http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/

what is a droneRegistration is free for the first 30 days with a rebate, then $5 after that.

These are the new regulations when it comes to flying drones in the US:
– Fly below 400 ft altitude.

– Keep your drone in sight at all times.

– Never fly near planes or near airports.

– Never fly over people, stadiums or sporting events.

– Never fly near emergencies response crews.

 

For UK residents, the regulations from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are:

– Fly below 400 ft

– Keep 50 metres or greater away from buildings, people or structures if your drone has a camera

 

Retail

I have found that the most reliable and trustworthy place to buy a drone these days is Amazon, no matter where you live. They’re generally the cheapest, if not, I will be pointing you to where they are. Not only do Amazon offer a money back guarantee policy, a lot of their products are free shipping over a certain amount.

Every now and then I would walk into electronics stores and glance over the price tags for drones, and believe me, you really do want to avoid these places.

 

The Lingo

When it comes to flying drones, there are three terms you should be familiar with before going out to the nearest park and sending it up…what is a drone

Yaw: This refers to the movement of the drone clockwise or anticlockwise if you were looking down at it from above.

Pitch: The pitch of your UAV simply refers to the up and down movement it makes on a vertical axis, which spans from the front to the back of the drone.

Roll: The name for the rotation of the UAV from its nose to its tail. It refers to all movements of the drone (forwards, backwards, left and right) along a horizontal axis.

The idea is to keep all yaw, pitch and roll of your UAV in as stable a position as possible to avoid crashing it.

 

Drone Obsessions

The US Federal Aviation authority predicts that 7,500 unmanned aerial vehicles will be operating in the U.S commercial sphere by 2018.
So now that we know what the different types of drones there are available, check out this site and learn more about each individual one and find which best suits you, friend, or family member if you’re planning on buying one as a gift.

Typically, people tend to start off with smaller drones to begin with, and when they become more comfortable flying, they would move up to the larger ones.

Just like there are with RC helicopters, planes, trucks, etc, there are communities out there that encourage people to join and fly their drones together. This is a great way to learn new skills and make new friends. Go ahead and check out if you have any near you.

what is a drone

 

Thank you for reading. I hope you’ve learnt something here, and good luck with your new drone! And remember, be mindful of the regulations at all times to avoid fines, or worst, having your drone confiscated.

– David.

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12 comments

  • Hello,
    Thanks for your article,it was really informative 🙂 Drones always interested me and I had a thought of getting one of them at Christmas, but I wasn’t sure what to choose, which drones are the best and what could I buy on a budget that still would be decent quality. Could you maybe recommend me something? 🙂

    • Hey Laura, thanks for commenting!
      Depending on your budget, there are a few drones that are actually decent for a good price.
      For a quadcopter under $100, I’d go for the Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter. It’s a great starter drone.
      Under $300: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition. The downside is that you need a smart device as a transmitter.
      Or if you’re after something a little more, the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is brilliant. It’s just under $500.
      I hope this helps and good luck, Laura.

  • I can definitely see how drones can pose potential problems. First of all, there is the issue of privacy. Because you can attach cameras to these things, I would be a bit nervous if I saw one flying over my house, because I might think that photos are being taken of me, maybe even looking through our windows! But a more serious potential problem is that they could collide with aircraft; but that’s why they have the rule of flying below 400ft, as you state. But I wonder how many people will stick to that height limit? It must be so tempting to fly really high to capture photos/video above clouds, etc.

    • Hi Marcus, I completely understand where you’re coming from. This is a real concern that the public have, and this is why the government have put these regulations in place.
      If people are caught breaking the rules, by flying too high or too close to buildings, they will be faced with a pretty hefty fine.
      I’d suggest you call the police if you are suspicious of any drones that you feel shouldn’t be flying there.

  • Hi David,

    Great article! The drone obsession is just about to rise for me. I love these things and so I’m planning to buy one.

    Could you help me out with my question? Is there a bif difference between the quad-, multi- and hexacopter when it comes to stability in stormy weather? I’d like to make movies/pictures in storm, in various hights.

    Do you think I can buy a one second hand without the need of worrying too much?

    Thanks again for your article!

    Adam

    • Hey Adam,
      I’m glad that I have continued to spark your interest in drones.
      Regarding your question, I would recommend a heavier drone, however, they tend to be more expensive. The DJI Phantom 3 is able to withstand winds from around 15-25mph (but I wouldn’t push further than that for risk of damaging or losing your drone) and can take excellent quality videos and photos. With heavy winds, you won’t want to fly too high either, no more than 20-30 ft from the ground.
      Just remember that these drones aren’t water prove and may cause some permanent damage to the circuit boards, so always fly with care.
      Good luck with your movies, Adam!

  • Excellent site giving information on various different types of drones and what they actually are. I like the best 10 of the bunch review which is very helpful when someone is wishing to buy one of these flying machines. All in all a professional looking site with well thought out layout and sound and informed information given. Well done

    • Hey Roy,
      Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you enjoy my site. There is a lot more articles and reviews coming soon so please stay posted!
      David.

  • Hiya Adam!

    Great site! I now know so much more about drones it’s been an enlightening read I must say, the layout is clean, easy to navigate, read and understand. Your site hits home the reality of how far ahead drones have actually come and has now filtered down to the mass consumer so your website is essential for novices like myself to know what, where and how much!

    Wishing You The Very Best In All Your Endeavours!

    MishybooX:-).

  • Hi David

    I had no idea there was so much to know about owning & flying drones. I live in Australia & they’re becoming more & popular.

    Thanks for the great info & site.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew,
      There is a lot to learn, and there are many beginner drones available to start 🙂
      Thanks for commenting,
      David.

  • Very interesting article! I will start saving money for a drone. I always wanted to have a remotely controlled airplane or helicopter to play with them on a spring day yet somehow life always stood in the way. Do you have any information about in how many weeks does an amazon delivery arrive? Thank you for your article!

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