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Before You Get Started Your Drone

Before You Get Started Your Drone

Ensure it’s legal
The laws surrounding drones are constantly changing. One of the most important things to do before you take your drone out is to research and understand the basic laws regarding flying a drone in your country. There are limits to where you can fly, especially near people, airports and military bases, so check before you head out.

Know your boundaries
There’s a reason so many stunning drone videos are of landscapes: you cannot fly one within 150 metres of a congested area. Similarly, you cannot fly one within 50 metres of an individual. Also, if you are doing any flying for commercial reasons, you’ll need a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Pick your spot
The UAV must remain within your sight at all times. If you can’t see your drone without binoculars, you’re in the wrong. The rule of thumb is that you are limited to 500m (1,640ft) horizontal distance and 400ft altitude. (Note that the Civil Aviation Authority lists altitude in feet, and 400ft is approximately 122m.)

Track the weather
You can’t fly a drone in the rain (these are electrical devices you’re putting up there), and you must not fly through clouds. Sunshine and rain are easy to spot, but wind speed is harder. Drones vary a lot, but typically if wind is below 28mph (45km/h) then most drones will fly. You’ll struggle to get decent video when fighting against strong winds.

Test the camera
Some UAV cameras will just transmit video back to your phone to record there. However, high-end ones stream back so you can see what they’re filming, as well as record up to 4K quality video on board. Make sure you have a completely empty SD card, then try and test it to check it’s working before you pull off a fantastic aerial flyby that doesn’t get recorded.

Charge your controller
With all the concentration on battery power for the quadcopters themselves, you can forget that your controller actually needs it as well. If your controller fails while your drone is aloft, that drone is going to keep on going until its own battery dies and it falls from the sky. Keeping spare batteries is always a good idea.

Watch your time
How long you can keep a drone aloft is limited, due to the limits of battery technology. At present, you can expect to get around of 20 minutes’ flying time per charge. Professionals keep it to around ten and carry many spare batteries that they swap in for the rest of the shoot. The best at present are Lithium Polymer (LiPo).