Drones have become one of the most important technology trends of 2016, especially for photography. This new tech trend has opened up the camera’s perspective resulting in a new generation of stunning aerial shots. However, every innovative new technology requires a skill, and variables to work with. For those starting out in the world of #droneography, here are 5 things to consider when flying your drone.
1- Mind the Law
Legislation regarding drones is still in the works as it is a very new technology and varies from country to country. In the UK, the focus is on two key points: one, is obviously safety, the other, privacy. This means that you will have to comply with the regulations set out by the CAA (available here), and also, you will have to comply with the Data Protection Act (available here).
A brief summary of the rules is detailed below:
1- For the commercial use of drones, a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is required, for which the applicant has to be considered “sufficiently competent” to fly the drone.
2- Drones must weigh less than 20 kilos.
3- Drones must be flown at a minimum distance of 150 meters from congested areas, and at a minimum distance of 50 meters from any person/vessel/vehicle or structure that is not under control of the drone pilot.
4- The drone must be kept within sight, which is to say flown no higher than 400 feet and no further than 500 meters away from the pilot.
2- Wild is the Wind
The wind will make flying drones very difficult, depending on intensity. A few things to consider will be the battery duration, loosing the drone, having it crash and break, having it crash and breaking something, and so on. If for whatever reason you’re intent on defying the forces of Zeus, take extra batteries, and make sure to fly in a safe area so that neither the drone nor anyone get hurt. A list of tips for flying in adverse weather is available here.
3- Forces of Nature
We’ve spoken of the weather but the dangers of the great outdoors are many and include wild and even “tame” animals that can be a threat to your drone. It may sound farfetched, but animals will react to disturbances and if they feel provoked by the new tech craze, they will show no mercy. Animal vs. Drone encounters have been documented and include cases of crocodiles, kangaroos, chimps and more reacting to this new perceived external threat. Find a detailed article here, and keep in mind, that this is not only about keeping your drone safe, but also about respecting the peace of nesting birds.
4- Pad your Landing
The key to a smooth landing is to do so in an open space where the chances of crashing are few. To minimize turbulence and rough landings which can affect the durability of your drone or your camera, you might also want to invest in some landing gear stabilizers, such as the ones offered for DGI Phantom 3, or in a small portable landing pad such as the SkySense pad or this 20” Quadcopter Helipad.