First Look at My New Drone

Just a quick update…

Well, I got my Mavic Pro drone yesterday and unpacked it. Amazing they could get everything into that box. And they sure learned something about packaging design from Apple; unboxing was a real pleasure that reminded me of just about every Apple device I’d ever bought. 

The drone has a truly amazing design, too. Folds up small enough to fit in a kid’s shoebox. With the controller. Self-deploying rotor blades. Easily accessible battery and micro SD card port. And don’t even get me started on the multiple battery charging station. I love good design. 

Got it up in the air today. Started out in the very limited beginner mode, then went into P mode and began experimenting with features like ActiveTrack and TapFly. 

Had it out for a longer flight when it told me it was too windy and suggested I use the Return to Home feature to bring it back. I did, but I manually landed it, mostly for practice. The area I’m camped in right now is level rocks — harder to explain than I’m willing to tackle right now — so I land it on a landing pad I bought to keep the gimbel and camera head safe. The Mavic sits very close to the ground. 

I’ll take it out tomorrow and try to get some video of the mass of RVs parked within a half mile of me. And maybe a look at the big RV show, too. 

Practice makes perfect.

13 thoughts on “First Look at My New Drone

  1. Getting into drone photography is a good idea if you want to stay competitive in aerial work. From what I see on TV and especially online, they’ve largely replaced helicopters for aerial photography work except for applications where a full-size movie camera (or IMAX) is required. The upside is that there seems to be a LOT more demand for aerial shots now that so many people have seen so many drone shots, which probably does drive occasional demand for helicopter work. When I used to fly S-300s in the Phoenix area, we did regular photo gigs with real estate brokers for high-end properties, but from what I hear through the grapevine, it’s mostly done by drone specialist companies now. Probably safer overall, given the ridiculous things that photographers often want a helicopter pilot to do. You can explain height-velocity diagrams all you like, but they just know the angles they want and don’t really care about the risk involved.

    • I agree, which is why I dove in. Have submitted all the paperwork to be a commercial drone pilot and am putting together a business plan. If you can’t beat them, join them. Benefit is that the drone is completely portable and I can operate Year-round, even when I go south for the winter.

      And believe me, I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say “ridiculous things photographers want to do” — and the height velocity diagram is the least of my worries sometimes.

  2. Great shot – Hi Penny – love the landing pad too (should it have a ‘D’ for drone? Curious about the long whip on the back end of your camper, off road visibility device or HF radio antenna? Thanks to you I plan to get my drone driver add on too (lets see, COMM ASEL ASEA GLID INST HELO DRON….? however you spell ’em they all say FUN)

    • Thanks!

      Yes, I was just thinking yesterday that it should be a D or a U (for UAS).

      The long pole with the ribbons on it is purely decorative. I have two similar poles at home. I have solar powered “Christmas” lights on my camper, too, that come on at night.

      I’m going to follow up with the FAA next week for the add-on rating. My mail isn’t being forwarded from home as reliably as I’d like. I’d like to get that paperwork done as soon as possible. Until then, practice! It’s not drifficult to fly, but there’s definitely a trick to getting satisfactory video that can be sold to clients.

  3. Congrats on the new drone. I saw the Mavic Pro at CES last month. Very sleek and compact.

    I bought a 3DR Solo last year and have had a few practice runs (including breaking a blade, good thing I have extra), but then winter came and I’ve been itching for a few nicer less windy and snowy days to get it back out and continue the practice.

    Also met with the FAA people at CES and got all of the info and details for getting this registered (was nice to find out that the $5 drone license covers all drones you own and use).

    • It’s extremely portable and I’ve launched it from more than a few remote places I’ve hiked to. Yesterday is a good example: I took a half-mile hike down a rocky creek bed to launch it for a flight around a pair of bridges spanning a canyon. If it didn’t fold up and fit in my day pack, I don’t think I would have bothered.

      While the registration fee might cover all your drones, registering them isn’t the same as getting your UAS Pilot certificate from the FAA. Don’t forget that’s required if you plan to use the drone commercially.

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