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Drone Racing and Airshow: A Dream come true 0

DRONE RACE AT SEBRING’S JANUARY EXPO with $20,000 PRIZE PURSE, $10,000 CASH FOR FIRST PLACE.

November 4, 2016, Sebring, Florida— The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo debuted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs … aka drones) at last year’s event. “This year we have upped the Ante. AirOps Inc. and CineVista Media have joined up with Sebring, and we’ve added the first known large scale MultiGP sanctioned Drone Race at an aviation event. Plus, we have multiplied the vendor area by over 10 times the space from last year,” said Beverly Glarner, Expo Director.

Drone exhibits will be inside a hangar flanking a 60 feet wide by 40 feet long by 30 feet high indoor flight demonstration cage. “The 100,000 square foot racing area is a spectacular addition for drone enthusiasts, featuring real aircraft as race gates, and a fully submerged audience viewing area done like never before.  Putting the viewer at the center of the action not the sidelines.” remarked Michael den Hartog, DroneZone Chairman. The Dronezone will be hosted by Urban Drones, race sanctioned by MultiGP, directed by Joe Scully, broadcasted by FPVLive.tv and raced among the top pilots in the world. The grand prize is $10,000 and total cash and prize purse are estimated at over $20,000. Racing Practice rounds will start on Wednesday; qualifiers will be on Friday, with Finals on Saturday.

Daily flight demonstrations will take place indoors from 9:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. and hands on “Fly-A-Drone” workshops will be held on the hour, every hour starting at 10:00am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Expo will be showcasing both the professional, and recreational sides of the drone world. Drone experts from all over the U.S. will be presenting daily forums on many aspects of drone ownership, Part107, 333, 336 safe effective operations and business management.  So, come and be a part of the action at DroneZone 2017 where you can go 0-100mph in the drone world.

Pilot Registration is available here http://www.multigp.com/chapters/view/Sebring-Air-Expo

More information about the event and to exhibit visit. www.sport-aviation-expo.com

 

MultiGP is the premier FPV radio-controlled drone-racing league which hosts frequent competition-based tournaments, free-fly gatherings and casual events. Their event management assets provide chapters with an effective process that make events fun and rewarding.

 

About U.S. Sport Aviation Expo
The annual Sport Aviation Event features sport aircraft, and includes conventional aircraft, kit planes, powered parachutes, trikes, gyros, amphibians, drones and innovative designs such as electrically powered aircraft—over 150 aircraft on display. The dates for 2017 are January 25-28.  To learn more, visit www.sport-aviation-expo.com.  Or email info@airopsinc.com

From Rhett: This looks great, thanks Diana. I changed the dimensions of the cage. I’d like to see a few more exciting features mentioned. Here are a few items: The race course will utilize real aircraft as race gates to keep the racing drones on course. The racing drones will fly all around and directly over the spectator’s heads because of our unique/original track design.  The audience will sit in a huge net in the middle of the track.  Live camera views of the racing drones will be viewable on monitors for the spectators, along with scoring and a professional produced broadcast.  Some of the monitors will have multi-view configurations showing all 8 racing drone views at the same time.  Exciting!

Another cool thing about this event is the fact that there are a couple of unprecedented features.  The drone race at an airport.  The audience-in-the-round.

The amount of media and technology being utilized is higher than normal as well.  Large 7.5’x14’’ projection screens and 55-65” flat panels monitors will help everyone in the zone keep up with the event happenings.

GoPro 5 Black vs. Canon 70D an unfair comparison and unboxing 0

We got the new GoPro 5 Black and compared it with the all mighty Canon 70D and this is what it looks like in real life.

A day in the life of a professional drone pilot 0

This is what it's like to be a professional drone pilot.

Why does MultiGP Run Great Events? hint hint...experience 0

MultiGP National Competition video coverage from a spectator's point of view. If you want to see what happened before, during and after the race this video is a must.

The Beginners Guide to Drones 1

The Beginners Guide to Drones

So all the drone hype has got you excited, huh? Well, you should be. Owning a drone is a lot of fun. The options are endless.

Whether you want to be a drone photographer, get a new toy, go drone fishing, or because you want to try something new; there's a drone out there would best fit your needs.

There's a lot to know about drones and the industry constantly changes, as it progresses with new technologies and new drones. However, this introductory guide to drones should serve as an excellent first step in learning the essentials.

Drones, quadcopters and other aircraft that flies without humans on board are also known as a UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle. This is one of several important terms you should learn before attempting to buy a drone.

quadcopter drone

Drone-Related Glossary

 

Accelerometer: An electrical device that measures acceleration for specific direction of flight

Almost Ready to Fly: Drone comes with everything needed to fly. but usually requires some assembly

Gimbal: The device that holds the camera. Contains small motors to make for video stabilization when flying 

FPV: A camera mounted on a drone that allows the pilot real-time viewing of the drone camera's POV

Gyroscope: On high-level drones, there is a device that measures angular velocity for the purpose of stabilizing your drone.

Multi-rotor: A vehicle with multiple rotors used in flight.

Hexacopter: A multi-rotor vehicle with six rotors.

hexacopter

Payload: How much your UAV can lift (in addition to its own weight)

Quadcopter: A multi-rotor UAV with four rotors for flight.

RTF: Ready to fly. This requires no assembly at all.

 

Making Sense of Drones

Drones come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, making it likely that the perfect drone is out there for you. It boils down to what you want to get a drone for specifically.

The UAV industry has really taken off (pun not intended) since the introduction of quadcopters, which are now the most common type of drone. 

Multi-rotors have motors and propellers on the ends of each arm. The two propellers are parallel to each other, spinning clockwise, while the other two spin counter-clockwise.

Why?

This adds stability during flight.

The propellers are not very large, as you can see below.

drone propellers 

But this doesn't mean they're not dangerous. Remember to be careful when flying your drone. You shouldn't do it indoors if it's near someone else, as it could get ugly.

If you don't believe me, just take a look for yourself...

drone safety

picture courtesy of dronefriend.com

 

Drone Sizes

Large drones are designed to carry heavier loads, such as video cameras. Copters with more rotors, such as octocopters, can carry a heavier payload and therefore make a good option for this type of use.

An alternative to this is medium-sized drones, which often have cameras built in. These first person view (FPV) drones are compatible with Android and IOS and allow the pilot to see a first person perspective of what the drone sees, in real time.

first person view drone

 image courtesy of wired

 

Other things to consider are flight time and range.

How long do you need to fly your drone in one shot?

How far away from you do you want it to be able to go?

If you are looking to record something upwards of ten minutes, you'll want to make sure that your drone is capable of this duration.

Drone batteries are purposely made as small as possible so that the extra weight doesn't hinder them. Most are capable of around ten to fifteen minutes. There are drones that can fly for up to twenty-five minutes, but this feature is something you'll have to pay extra for.

 

Drone Cameras

Cameras and camera holders also differentiate in quality. Many drones have swiveling camera holders, which are capable of 360 degrees of viewing from hundreds of feet in the air (aka gimbals).

drone camera

 

image courtesy of rcdronearena

 

There are also smaller drone models that have cameras, yet aren't able to record from distances as long as the former.

 

Drone Resources

One last thing before you go get yourself that drone you've been itching for; know the local laws. Before flying your drone, it's important to be armed with the information needed to keep you and others safe. 

FAA Rules (United States)

CAA Rules (United Kingdom)

Transport Canada Rules

List of Drone Manufacturers

Amazon Drone Store

Drones on Reddit

Community: DIY Drones

Drone Parts Supplier Directory

Mountain Dew Backs Drone Racing 0

Drone Racing Backed by The Dew

Mountain Dew has a history of getting behind sports that would be considered outside the mainstream. While skateboarding and x-games sports were non-traditional, the Dew has closed it's most non-traditional deal yet, sponsoring a new drone racing series. 

The organization is called DR1 Racing. The organization plans to hold a race in Los Angeles sometime this summer. The race will air on the Discovery Channel in August. You can view the announcement by clicking here.

You can bet that they will also take advantage of live-streaming technology to cast the drone racing to anyone in the world who wants to watch. 

Mountain Dew is likely to take advantage of its new drone racing partnership by featuring the high-flying drone racing in its national, if not global campaigns.

 

What is Drone Racing?

Drone racing is different from what you may do at your leisure with your own drone. In drone racing, entrants control their drones around a racecourse. Like is the case with many drones, cameras are mounted to them, making for some amazing footage. The cameras also allow the contestants to view video in real time.

Drone racing is certainly new, but this organization isn't the first or only one in existence. Another league looking to compete is the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA).

In April IDRA released news that they had signed a multi-year, international deal with popular sports media distributor ESPN.

 

Drone Racing Moving Forward

The news about DR1 and Mountain Dew is creating waves and will continue the evolution of drones in mainstream society. The backing of a large partner is likely to only be the first of many to come, although not the first drone racing organization to receive backing.

Another league, the Drone Racing League, has received backing of investors, including ownership of the NFL franchise Miami Dolphins.

Drone racing is up-and-coming and this deal only speeds that process along. 

How do you feel about Drone Racing? Is it something you'd have interest in watching, or even competing?

 

Starting A Drone Photography Business? 4 Things You Should Do 0

UAV Photography

Photography is an art. In fact, it's one that is close to my family. Several family members, including myself, share a passion and aptitude for photography. Drone photography is one of the latest forms of the art and it's being incorporated into businesses on a daily basis.

After proposing to my then-girlfriend last year, the process of hiring vendors began. Despite having family members who were capable, we felt it would be best to hire an outside photographer. The first wedding photographer offered a drone photography add-on to our package, promising 'sick aerial shots'.

Apparently it had caught on, as numbers 2 and 3 also offered drone photography. It had become a bargaining chip. Who would include aerial photography for free?

All of them eventually offered to include it at no extra cost

We ended up going with none of those photographers.

Why?

Because the DJ also offered drone photography and included it in our package!

If you are thinking about including drone photography into your business, or even opening a drone photography business, there are four things you should consider

Four Things to Consider 

1) Take a flight safety course

You may receive a job offer that puts you in a hazard-prone area. While the promise of a wad of cash is tough to turn away, it's definitely in your best interest. Aside from the FAA asking people not to fly drones over crowds, you also may have a run-in with local law enforcement. Keep it away from roads, crowds, airports and other potential disaster areas.

2) Establish clear pricing packages

This is not just for the customer, but to protect you as well. Strict pricing protects you from taking a loss and it allows the customer to know exactly what they can expect, and for how much. Inevitably, they will start to negotiate with you, so you may factor this in to your pricing. But whether you bill hourly or a flat rate doesn't matter so much as knowing how much you're making for your time and what the customer is getting for their money.

3) Insurance may be wise

While drone insurance is not an obligation, it could be the way to go. Let's say you sink a few thousand into your setup and your out on the job. Well, besides drone technology still not being perfect (few things are), you also never know when mother nature has a destructive trick up her sleeve. While damaging your drone would be bad, damaging a person or property would be even worse. The financial blow of any of these circumstances could be more than you're able to recover from. And speaking of finances...

4) Spend Wisely

You open a business to make money, yes? While spending is inevitable, you need to make sure you don't get carried away. It's very easy to spend on things you think you 'need', but you really just want.

To be clear let's use this example. You are looking for drone accessories and come across propeller guards. After all, isn't that similar to the thinking behind insurance? Spend a little to prevent from spending a bunch. NO.

I'm not saying don't buy propeller guards at all. I'm saying buy propeller guards if the areas where you'll be flying are indoors or narrow. If you live in the plains of Kansas and are working with agricultural businesses, you probably don't need those guards. Point being - be wise

Conclusion

UAV photography can be an excellent way of making money. It is becoming more popular and drone manufacturers are making better products everyday. Before you start advertising your drone photography business, consider the four items from this list. Your chances at a successful business will increase the more you can minimize risk. 

 

 

 

  • Nick McGuire

Think Before You Fly 0

Drone's Making News

Technology keeps getting smarter, but are you keeping up with it? Underwater drones, quadcopters, "follow me" and hover cameras; the drone industry is taking off. But before you fly your drone, there are things you must consider. 

Take an event from just this past month (Sunday, April 17th).

As you may have heard, a British Airways flight from Geneva to London was descending upon Heathrow Airport when the pilot says 'something hit the plane'.

That 'something' was reportedly a drone striking the nose of the aircraft. Fortunately everyone on board was safe and the plane landed without issue. Yet this was a hot topic in mainstream media.

Well, upon further investigation the British government says it was unlikely that a drone hit the plane.

However, with the near-collisions between drones and manned aircraft occurring more frequently, it seems only a matter of time before an accident like this does happen.

Plan Before You Fly

With drone technology on the consumer level still being relatively new, government and lawmakers are still working to establish regulations and educate the public. 

The laws between UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) and manned aircraft are inherently different. But since the average resident doesn't have access to commercial airplanes, new legislation is still being drawn up for UAS.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and several industry partners are working to create legislation and an educated public. They've begun to do so with their campaign, 'Know Before You Fly'. 

What Can You Do? Think Before You Fly

For starters, make sure that you have registered your drone.

Educate yourself and be familiar with drone laws.

Some other general things you should know:

  • Your drone should never fly above 400 ft (recently was only 200ft)
  • Your drone should always remain in your sight while flying
  • Learn more facts before flying your drone

When looking for a good, safe place to fly, Google Maps is a good starting point. Stay away from heavily populated areas, stadiums and events, airports and racetracks.

While drone photography is awesome and getting a great aerial shot makes for a nice Facebook post, it's not worth the potential trouble. The FAA have set regulations for a reason.

Plus, you can follow the laws and still get incredible shots

drone photo

Photo Cred: Dronestagr.am: taken by Capunagero

 

While there wasn't an actual collision between drone and manned aircraft at Heathrow, similar reports are becoming more regular. As new technologies emerge, evolve and adapt, we are bound to continue seeing an expanding assortment of drones.

New and better drones means more people owning them. 

There's no reason this needs to be a bad thing. In fact, it's a very good thing.

We are going to see drone technology incorporated increasingly more into many areas of our lives

Just make sure you do/know a few things before putting your drone into flight. 

 

  • Nick McGuire

Drones for Kids 0

An Intro to Buying Your Child a Drone

As drones become increasingly more popular, the interest of children simultaneously grows.

It's no secret that as the quality of a drone goes up, so too does the price. If you're looking to buy a drone for a youngster, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task. With prices ranging from less than $100 to over $1k, it's important to be informed.

This is not a list of specific models and brands, nor will any personal preferences be heaped upon you. The goal of this article is to help you decide what qualities are important. It is not a comprehensive guide to take you every step of the way, but rather several things to think about before you begin the process.

Finding the Right Drone

There are three factors that we will take into consideration in order to help you 

Factor #1: Location

Depending on where in the country (or World) you call home, certain drones may be better suited to your surroundings. If you live in a rural area or a suburban neighborhood with ample land, most drones on the market are appropriate.

However, if you live in close quarters or an apartment building, consider buying a smaller and less obtrusive drone. Heavily crowded areas increase the chances of your child coming across a neighbor or passerby who is a stickler, such as this drone-shooting neighbor.

Make sure you establish clear rules and boundaries with your child. It's reccommended you agree upon flight times, where flying the drone is permitted.

Furthermore, if you live near the beach or any bodies of water, you would want to consider a water drone. While water drones can be used anywhere, those living near water are highly encouraged to make sure they purchase aircraft fit for the water.

When spending hundreds of dollars on a drone and putting it in the hands of a child, it's imperative to protect your investment. What hazards exist near the location your child will fly his or her drone? These are the types of things you should be thinking about.

Factor #2: Age

How old is your child?

While a good number of beginner drones have toy-like features, many drone models are considered anything but a toy. The age you feel is appropriate for your child is entirely up to you. However, it is advisable that younger children only fly their drone under adult supervision. 

Before taking it out of the box you should both be educated on flying the drone, local laws, etc. You can do so with a handy internet guide, such as this ebook.

For younger children it's best to get something that is a beginner drone, but is not so cheap that one crash will shatter it to pieces.

There are plenty of $50-$60 drones on the market. Yet more often than not, that money is wasted in no time at all. Remember: low price, low quality

Factor #3: Personality

Is your child responsible with their other belongings?

Drones are not just another remote controlled piece of plastic - they're aircraft. They require maintenance.

Afterall, they fly through all types of weather, terrain and conditions.

Make sure your child understands that if the drone crashes, or if it is flown with reckless abandon, that it may break. Breaking means it would require new parts or being replaced, which means - you got it! More money.

In other words, your child needs to be extra attentive and responsible when flying their drone. 

If your child is too young to be flying a drone outside by themselves, you still have options. There are UAVs that are not too expensive and are made for indoor use.

Conclusion

Hopefully you have an idea what is important to you when buying your child a drone. At the end of the day, children and going to be children, as they should be. Having a drone can be an integral part of that fun, so long as you make sure they know how to use their aircraft safely.

If you still feel uncertain on how to proceed, there are plenty of other guides, tips and how-to's on the internet, such as this one here.

Remember to enjoy your drone safely. Happy shopping!

  • Nick McGuire
  • Tags: drone

Drone Fishing: Takeover The Seas 0

Drone Fishing

It was only a couple of years ago that drones were only afforded to the military elite. Presently, they've invaded the Christmas lists of millions of children and teenagers.

And it keeps getting better.

A truly creative generation that's always in search for the next life-hack, we've figured out numerous ways to use drones. While websites like hack-a-day are revealing the latest in drone technology and its many potential uses, they're wrong about one thing.

 

Drone Fishing: Yes it's Real (& Awesome)

In this hackaday.com article about drone fishing, they do a fantastic job of presenting a how-to guide for setting up your drone for fishing.

Complete with a video of the activity, author Gerrit Coetzee explains how drone fishing is the newest drone-centered thrill that drone hobbyists should be seeking.

However, in one regard he is mistaken.

Gerrit says, "as long as man is willing to risk a thousand dollar drone set-up, he can descend upon unsuspecting fish with robotic precision. It is very unfair, and awesome."

What if you didn't have to risk anything?

 

Drone Fishing: Safe with the Waterproof Drone


Classic novels like Moby Dick depict the battle of wits between man and fish. Fishing was a sport and required special skills. Well, thanks to artificial intelligence and the latest in drone technology, you’ll soon no longer need special skills.You won’t even need a boat!

 

 

 

The only requirements will be a fishing rod and your waterproof drone.

 

 

waterproof drones

Defeat Fish - Get a Waterproof Drone (pixabay)

 

Those who've made a hobby of flying quadcopter drones may already be familiar with the new horizons drone creators are reaching. 

Advancements in quadcopter and drone technology have drastically improved for the consumer market. Over the past 24 months, we've seen a steady rise in high-quality drones. The best part is that while the quality increases, the prices have remained reasonable.

A few hundred dollars could get you a drone that is rugged and ready for a more active lifestyle.

Aerial drone photography and videos have become progressively popular. Drone owners didn't want to risk losing or damaging their expensive camera, GoPro or drone. The limits of these amazing shots stood where land meets water.

Those previously standing limits have been shattered.

Now, drone photography can extend to the ocean or sea.

 

Are Waterproof Drones Extra Expensive?

In recent months there has been a rise in waterproof drones hitting the market. 

Some, like one released by popular drone manufacturer Parrot, are of lower quality and at under $200, cost-effective. For those looking for something a little more feature-rich and durable, there are several options. Much like any type of drone, it depends on how high-end you want yours to be (see article linked at end for a review of several waterproof drones).

 

Conclusion

Thanks to waterproof drones, you can now fly your quadcopter over the seas or ocean and capture rarely-before seen footage.

Or, as the hackaday.com article suggests, catch some tuna!

To learn more about waterproof drones and the models currently on the market, you can read the following article: 

The Best Waterproof Drones On The Market (from wearechampionmag.com)

Image courtesy of Pixabay