4LOW Offroad Magazine|August/September 2020
We’re always interested in the latest toys; if we’re not spending money on our rigs, we may need something to photograph them on the trail. Enter the Drone Zone. Let’s explore all the fun we can have with drones.
Troy Ballard

The best way to get started working with drones would be to evaluate how we would use a drone. Drones can be used for a hobby or as a business. First, let us start with using a drone for a hobby, do you want to race your drone? Or take pictures? How about free-flying to see things you may never see from a manned aircraft?

Drone racing can be a great way to relieve stress. If you get really into racing, check out www.thedroneracingleague.com for more info to spark your competitive side. Make no mistake; these are not as easy as they look to control at high speeds. Racing Drones can reach speeds up to 180mph and pull an amazing 12-15 G’s. Comparatively, a fighter jet can pull around 9G’s.

Using a drone as a hobby, whether racing or taking pictures, is perfectly acceptable. As a hobbyist, you could capture a cinematic memory of your family or loved ones. Maybe even catch a beautiful sunset and have it printed for your home. But what if you want to fly commercially?

The first thing you must consider are the regulations and safety that go along with someone paying you to capture images or video. The FAA has set rules and regulations that state you must first have a Part 107 Pilot certificate before flying a drone for business purposes. The Part 107 includes passing a knowledge exam to show you know when and where you can operate the drone without hurting someone or getting in the way of manned aviation operations. To get an idea of how many commercial flights happen on a day-to-day basis, there were 97,495 flights tracked in the 24 hours of 7/20/2020. You can find that data at www.flightaware.com every day of the year. To be a good drone pilot, you’ve got to be out of the way.

There are plenty of places that you can fly. Part of the knowledge certification helps you to understand how to check Airspace and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) that could change daily (like a fire or a VIP coming into town.)

Once you obtain your Part 107 Pilot certificate, you can use your drone to take beautiful pictures, film videos and movies, perform aerial data collection such as Thermal, Multispectral Images or even fly a very large drone carrying a LIDAR unit or some other special payload.

Phantom Aerial Solutions, Inc. uses many types of drones to collect sensitive survey data.

Whether you are flying a large drone or a small Mavic drone, the basic flight principles apply. You will want to perform a safety checklist and make sure your aircraftis ready for flight.



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August/September 2020