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.
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:
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.