Are you thinking of buying a drone? Well cool your jets there hotshot, because if you don't play by the rules you could be facing jail time. Drones have become ubiquitous thanks to the upsurge in technology, increased fascination with photography and videography and the decrease in cost.
Now new legislation for drone users is rolling out as we speak and UK drone users may have to pass online safety tests under legislation being introduced to the Commons. Here are some of the KEY facts you should know before buying a drone.
How much should I pay for a Drone?
Depends pal, how flush are you right now? The sky is the limit (pardon the pun) when it comes to drones. Generally the less expensive the drone, the more of a remote control plane it becomes targeted for your ten year old nephew.
But you're a blogger, and you want to up your YouTube game. You're just finding your feet in videography and want a drone to film around the hotel you're reviewing, or do a 360 around the new outfit you're wearing?
Here's what you need to consider
You need to factor in the following. The wireless range and battery life. Can the drone land safely automated when out of range or better yet, can it return back to you once it reaches it flies out of range? Here are my recommendations:
The Yuneec Typhoon H is an auto return drone currently selling for just over £700. It has an automatic takeoff, landing, and return to home so you don't have to do an Anneka Rice treasure hunt to find the thing.
Is the drone compatible with my GoPro?
You might want to put your own camera into the drone. In that case you can purchase the GoPro Karma Quadcopter currently on sale at Amazon for £375. It's portable, compatible with GoPro HERO5 and HERO6. Also backwards compatible with HERO4. The only downside is the fly time of 20 minutes, which could be better considering the price.
Does it have Orbit Me?
This is the coolest feature. You might be interest in the Orbit Me feature (otherwise known as follow me mode, which locks the camera onto your movement). Very handy if you're a mountain biker, skateboarder etc. A lot of bloggers and videographers would recommend the Mavic Air if you're just starting out or the Mavic Pro (which is the drone that I personally use).
The Mavic Air/Pro comes with Active Track so it can zero in on moving targets. It's renowned for being extremely lightweight and portable, folds up and easily fits in a camera bag. Perfect for travel. Though I strongly recommend you seek out the travel allowance for airlines and countries.
Lithium batteries are on the banned and restricted list for British Airways flights, this is direct from their website:
Due to the potential fire risk associated with lithium batteries, hoverboards and other self-propelled electrically-powered vehicles such as Air Wheels, Solo Wheels, skateboards, scooters and Hover Karts are completely forbidden.
Some countries require a permit; others simply won't allow them into the country. Morocco for example.
And what are the new laws coming in I need to be aware of before flying my drone?
The chances are all the spectacular footage you've seen on YouTube of drones circling over cities and hotel resorts have been captured illegally.
Consumer drones (classed as those that weigh under 20kg) must be flown no higher than 400 feet (120 metres), and be kept at least 50 metres away from people and private property, and 150 metres from congested areas and organised open-air assemblies of more than 1,000 people.
New restrictions soon to be implemented will mean restrictions around airport boundaries have also been clarified stopping any drone flying within 1km of them.
Also, people who own drones weighing 250g or more will have to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Make sure you check the weight of your drone if you're augmenting its features. I.E adding your own camera.
Users who fail to adhere to the flight restrictions could face unlimited fines, up to five years in prison, or both.