Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

The Part 107 exam availability is about a week away — and it’s not going to be an easy test for people unfamiliar with aeronautics.

If you’re like me and have trouble committing to — and understand — a book, then reading the FAA’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge may not be enough. There are a number of online and in-person training courses to help you learn what you need to know

I tried out MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course, which consist of more than three hours of training videos, as well as 9 practice quizzes to cap the end of each section and one final exam at the end. Continue reading Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

PolarPro Drone Trekker Backpack Review

Enter to win this backpack! Scroll down for details on how to win:

Looking for a backpack for your Phantom lineup of drones that also doubles as a camera backpack?

I decided to give PolarPro’s Drone Trekker a try.drone trekker

The case fits any DJI Phantom model drone as well as any laptop up to 13-inches in size with a laptop sleeve in the back.

This case seems designed particularly with the photographer in mind. While the main compartment is designed for a Phantom drone, the padded inserts can be removed or reconfigured to store a DSLR camera body and lenses. It also has an external tripod mount, which I find useful when shooting my own Drone Girl videos.

drone trekkerI review quite a few drone backpacks and what I found really intriguing about this one was a TSA approved combination travel lock. I could see this coming in handy not just when you’re traveling, but also in cases where you need to ensure the contents of your backpack are secure — perhaps even just from your kids!_MG_2119

While walking around with this backpack, I enjoyed the form-fitting and ergonomically designed shoulder straps with chest and waist supports that alleviate pressure points.

This drone backpack is 19x13x9.5 inches, so unlike most hardshell cases, this meets most airline carry-on restrictions.  If you need to check your drone in through the airport, I would still recommend a hard shell case. But for carrying your drones on hiking adventures or wherever you like to fly, the ultra-padding on this case makes it pleasant to carry.

If you’re in the market for a Phantom backpack, this one holds up!

You can win this backpack for yourself! Simply ‘Like’ the Instagram photo embedded below and ‘Follow Me‘ on Instagram at @OfficialDroneGirl by Friday, August 26 by 9 a.m. ET to be entered to win!

CONTEST TIME! I’ve partnered with PolarPro to do a giveaway of this Drone Trekker backpack. . To win this backpack, you have to do two things: 1. ‘Like’ this photo on Instagram 2. ‘Follow Me’ on Instagram. . The contest ends on Friday, August 26 at 9 a.m. ET, when one winner will be chosen at random. . The winner will be contacted via Instagram Direct Message and must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen. . WANT MORE ENTRIES?! For every friend you tag in the comments who also likes this photo AND follows this page (up to 10 friends), both of you will receive an additional entry!! . #contest #dronegirl #polarpro #drone #dji #iflydji #tech #ameliadronehart #dronelife #drones #giveaway #win #2inning #droneoftheday #multicopter #p4 #phantom #liketowin #dronersio #dronereviews #quadsquad #UAV #djiglobal #dronesaregood #aerialphotography #dronetrekker

A photo posted by Sally French (@officialdronegirl) on

One winner who both ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ will be chosen at random. The winner must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen.


Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin

The first piece of advice I will give anyone looking to getting into drones for the first time. Don’t start with an $1,000 drone you will inevitably crash. Pick up a $30 toy drone and start practicing with that.

I got a chance to try out two toy drones — TDR’s Spider Stunt Quadcopter ($39.99) and TDR’s Robin Pro with built-in LCD ($139.99). Continue reading Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin

Autel will pay its customers to take the Part 107 test

Autel Robotics announced today that it will cover the cost for its customers who take (and pass) the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Knowledge Test.

Autel drone operators who submit a proof of a qualified X-Star series drone purchase and proof of a passing result on the FAA’s knowledge test will be entitled to a rebate for the test, which otherwise costs $150.

It’s a wonderful premise to set as it looks like Autel wants to make sure its customers are educated and safe. But it’s also a wise move for the drone company in an effort to remove itself from any bad press from rogue drones and ensure its drones aren’t the ones crashing. The drone that famously crashed into the White House lawn was a DJI Phantom — Autel’s primary competitor.

“We want to make professional drone use easy and accessible to wide variety of business users, and paying for the testing fees for our users is one small way we’re helping customers learn about how drones can make their businesses more profitable, safer and more productive,” Autel Robotics USA CEO Steve McIrvin said. Continue reading Autel will pay its customers to take the Part 107 test

How to make a flying, racing drone business card

You want to make a business card that stands out, right?

Marque Cornblatt, Founder and CEO of the Aerial Sports League has the coolest business card in town, and he wants to share it with the rest of us.

Cornblatt turned his business card into a tiny racing drone, complete with FPV. It’s made from one single 3D printed card and parts from a Blade Inductrix Micro Quad (you may know it as the Tiny Whoop).

And, at 22.6 grams, you won’t even have to register it!

Here’s how the drone business card is done:

You can download all the files to make your own right here on ASLCertified’s Thingiverse.

How Boeing and Microsoft technology is helping to fight fires

Boeing’s Insitu, the American dronemaker, is using drones to fight wildfires — and it’s relying on Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Essentially two futuristic technologies — drones and holograms — are fighting wildfires.

It uses the mixed reality headset to put a map display in three dimensions. Users can then drag the aircraft on a map to direct the aircraft where to fly. Flight operators manipulate holographic tactical maps of ScanEagles, helicopters and firefighters to direct resources to where they’re most needed. With Inexa Control software, the engineers hope to use mixed reality technology to one day control an entire fleet of UAVs for commercial use.

Check it out:


How to study for Part 107: training courses for FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test

Testing for the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test for remote pilots (known as Part 107) will be released on August 29, 2016.

Anyone wanting to operate a drone commercially without an existing manned pilot’s license will need to pass an in-person written exam. (People with an existing Part 61 manned pilot’s license do not need to take the written exam. They simply need to complete an online course).

See also: Frequently asked questions about taking the Part 107 test

How are you studying? A good friend of mine told me, “I’m going to just study the night before — college style.” Wait, what?! No! Don’t do that!

It’s important that you know the information not to simply pass, but to really know the airspace so you can be a safe pilot. If you’re like me and struggle to absorb information simply by reading, and prefer to take a course — in-person or online — then here’s how I recommend you study for the Part 107 test.

 study for part 107 Drone Pilot Ground School FAA Drone Certification Test Prep UAV CoachDrone Pilot Ground School:

This is an online test prep course for commercial drone pilots, led by Alan Perlman.

At the end of each lecture you’ll get a 10-question practice quiz, plus a 25 question quiz at the end of each module AND 5 full-length practice tests. Continue reading How to study for Part 107: training courses for FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test

What’s the best drone for roof inspections?

What is the best drone to use for roof inspections?

You really don’t need to do anything fancy! I was thinking about the use case for drones in roof inspections when I was at my mom’s house in Missouri over the weekend. (I live in a condo building in San Francisco, so no need for me to do my own roof inspections here!)

Roof inspections can get fancy. You could add a thermal camera (particularly if you have solar panels on your roof). If you had a huge roof and needed to fly the exact same route every time, you might want to use Skycatch, which could even generate a map for you.

But for most roof inspectors, all you want is a relatively small drone that is stable, easy to fly, can get close to the roof, is safe, and offers both a live video feed and generates high qualities images or video that can be saved.

Often, all you need to see is a clip something like this, which I took when my mom asked me to drone-photograph her house for her:

I shot the following clip on the Autel X-Star.

So what drone should you use for roof inspections?

There are really 3 drones I would recommend, all of which cost less than $800 including camera, and offer at least 20 minutes of flight time. Each of these drones also

If you need to do more advanced roof inspections — such as needing a dual controller, scroll down for more recommendations.

autel x-star
I did a mock roof inspection for my mom using this Autel X-Star drone.
Drone Girl

Reporting on drones, sometimes with drones