Drone footage of Chestertown, Maryland

I bought a drone a few weeks ago and think I’ve found myself a new hobby. I live in Washington DC so I can’t fly the thing within 30 miles of my house because of the FAA restrictions over the capital, so I’m not sure if I’ll get to use it as I would like to. But even if I never use the thing again, I got my money’s worth last weekend. The Autel X-Star Premium, which I bought from Carolina Dronz, is really easy to fly and the photo and video quality is unbelievable.

Autel Drone

The drone at sunset

The FAA has some really simple safety guidelines for flying drones.

  • Fly at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your UAS within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence
  • Be aware of airspace requirements

The last one, airspace requirements, is a bit unclear. If flying within 5 miles of an airport, you’re supposed to call the airport tower and let them know. But what if it’s a small biplane runway in a cornfield? Who would you call then? If you took that last rule to heart, you’d be hard pressed to find a place to fly the drone anywhere in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast US.

Anyway, here are some of the shots I took last weekend:

Sunrise over Maryland farmland

Sunrise over Thornton and surrounding Maryland farmland

380 feet above the Thornton Estate, Chestertown, MD

380 feet above the Thornton Estate, Chestertown, MD

Downtown Chestertown, MD

Downtown Chestertown, MD

Drone over a marina at Rock Hall, MD

A marina at Rock Hall, MD

I’m now pretty adept at flying the thing, but I now know how easy it is to lose track of the drone. On two occasions I had trouble seeing the drone in the distance during the bright afternoon sun and got disoriented as to how to bring the thing back. Thankfully there are a few fail safes, especially the “Go Home” button. If you lose track of the drone, just hit that button and it will automatically fly back to you at a pre-determined height (default is 98 feet). Just make sure there is nothing in the way that is taller than that height, or else you’re drone will not be coming back to you.


Dusk overflight of a sunflower field outside of Chestertown

Dusk overflight of a sunflower field outside of Chestertown

Sunrise over the Eastern Shore with drone

Sunrise over the Eastern Shore

Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

One comment

  • Sam Shoge

    Hi Kevin. I help coordinate marketing for the town of Chestertown and would love to chat about acquiring your photos and potentially having you come back to take some more for our marketing uses. Shoot me an email so we can talk more and, hopefully, get something scheduled. Your photos and blog look excellent.

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