The big day has arrived, and with a record number of drones bought over the festive period in the US, there'll be plenty of people unwrapping the potential to fly, film and photograph like never before. Here are a few things to bear in mind for all the new drone owners out there...
1. Register Your Drone with the FAA
New FAA regulations mean that nearly all drones must be registered before outdoor use. If your new drone weighs over 250 grams, or roughly half a pound, then you need to provide the FAA with a few details via their new online registration system. Registration usually costs $5, but is free for the next month or so.
2. Read Your Instructions
Even for the most tech-savvy, flying a drone is unlikely to be like anything you've done before. Don't be the guy who tears open the box and sends their drone up into the sky without a little preparation. Read through your instructions, especially if your drone requires a little manual assembly.
3. Get Familiar with Your Drone Before You Fly for Real
Depending on which drone you've unwrapped, there'll be plenty of different moving parts and controls you'll need to get to grips with. As well as having an understanding of each part's purpose, take the time to master the basic functions of your drone before you get flying for real. It's best to first practice taking off, landing and hovering, instead of diving straight into recording those aerial shots you've always wanted to get.
4. Watch Out for the Wind
There's probably no feeling as helpless as that of a drone pilot watching as their baby is carried off into the distance by a sudden gust of wind. This will always be a risk for inexperienced flyers, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening. First, try and choose a day when you know the weather is reasonably calm, especially for your first outdoor flights. Second, you're going to need a lot of space. That way if your drone is ever carried on a breeze you'll at least keep it in view.
5. Don't Crash on Your First Day
So you've just unwrapped hundreds, or potentially thousands of dollar's worth of drone. What a day! Don't be the guy who ignores all the steps above and crashes on day one. And this isn't just restricted to crashing into walls, trees or The White House. It might be a good idea to let your neighbours know if you're planning on flying over their houses, and be sure to find your nearest no-fly zones before you take off. With an early accident you'll be robbing yourself of a fantastic, rewarding hobby. Whether you want to shoot memorable photography or use drones as part of your business, a careful, measured approach is the best way to ensure success in the long run.
6. Get Airnest
Here at Airnest we've put together an app perfect for newcomers on the drone scene. It can take a while to get familiar with the complex controls needed to keep your drone in the air, and even experienced pilots struggle to shoot reliable footage at the same time as flying. With Airnest you can plan your flight details and point of focus with a swipe of a finger before you leave the ground. Give it a try.