How To Deal With Drones

Unmanned Aerial Drone Taking Off

Undoubtedly among the hottest boys’ toys with benefits to hit the market lately, unmanned aerial drones are causing a great deal of contention. At a loss about how to deal with their runaway popularity, authorities’ responses include threatening to outlaw all use of them. Of course, military spec drones could pose a serious threat that has to be contained – still taking into account their powerful potential to effectively combat poaching, for example – but we’re talking about the smaller drones that fly way below aircraft level, over shorter distances with more limited battery life.

Consulting the expert pilots we work with who are tapped into the regulation process through their affiliation with aviation authorities, the current consensus apparently acknowledges how unrealistic and counter-productive this knee-jerk, bureaucratic reaction could be. Given the high number of drones already in public hands, some for fun and others that have been contributing to aerial photography and videography work, more consideration is required. In the meantime, our understanding is that the scope remains to fly within certain parameters, clearly observing safety measures, which have always been applicable anyway. These key issues need to be addressed when activating an unmanned aerial drone for the safety of the pilot and bystanders, as well as the protection of the drone itself and any equipment mounted on it.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in flight

This includes setting the homing signal to ensure that the drone doesn’t go rogue and desert you, configuring the GPS so that it follows instructions from your control pad, and doing comprehensive test flights to hone your skills and hand-eye co-ordination. This last step is essential because of the inverted nature of your controls when the drone is flying towards you, as opposed to normal left and right when it is flying away from you. It may sound deceptively simple, but in fact requires significant practice, especially if you intend to fly the drone within a relatively confined space.

All that said, once you get the hang of how to deal with legislation and manoeuvre the drones in flight, they can be cool toys and effective tools to enhance footage and photos of select property, events and other subject matter. They can also be operated way less expensively and with an infinitely lower carbon footprint than traditional helicopters and microlight aircraft, for example. It simply doesn’t make sense to outlaw all use of them and it will be interesting to see how the authorities respond going forward.

2 thoughts on “How To Deal With Drones

  1. Heather Reply

    Interesting read, Dave. I think Drones are the next invention, after cellphones, to dramatically revolutionise the way the world is. I agree – amazing little toy, and amazing potential for good… but I appreciate the good reasons behind the threat of having them outlawed… That being said – no matter what laws get put in place, there will always be a black market, and technology will find its way into the wrong hands. The poaching angle was interesting to me too – are you aware that poachers themselves are using drones to locate their prey?

    Is this a picture of your own drone? How long did you take to master flying it?

    Heather Brits

    • Dave Post authorReply

      Hi Heather.

      We have been heavily involved in anti-poaching for the last 3 years, so we are aware of the tactics on both sides. Long story 🙂
      That is a picture of one of the drones we use. We also use the big 8 prop S1000 with a 5D attached. The most important thing about using these is to have an expert pilot for the kind of stuff we do, so he flies to my instructions, and I control the camera via wireless and the 3D gimbal. They are easy to fly very basically, but it gets exponentially more difficult depending on the complexity of the manoeuvres required by the client, so I have not mastered it yet, but I have one of the best pilots in the country flying for me while I do the creative stuff, with his help.

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