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.
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 Drones
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.
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/
Registration 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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.