New York City’s B&H Photo Video store is giving customers a new way to learn about drones: test flights.
The store is allowing customers to test fly drones in a protected cage before purchasing. Drone fans or just curious onlookers can surround the cage on the store’s second floor to see drones in action, up close and personal. The cage has also allowed the store to expand its drone selection as a store spokesperson said shoppers are more confident to purchase after seeing their UAV in action.
The cage measures 900 cubic feet (10’ x 10’ x 9’), and operates all day during store hours. The majority of B&H’s drones are available to test in the cage, except for some of the most expensive ones. On rare occasions, when the cage area is excessively crowded, the cage supervisor might not allow customers to fly the drones.
While B&H may be the first general electronics retail store to feature a flight cage, other institutions have cages as well. The NAB Show has implemented various cages over the last two years, and Kansas State built a giant outdoor pavilion last fall. DJI has an epic flight test area in its flagship store in Shenzhen, China.
A B&H spokesperson said one inherent flaw in drone shopping is the inability to fly before you buy. First time operators often crash their first drones because they don’t know their gear well enough, fly in cluttered locations, or fly in unsuitable conditions. With a testing cage, users can gain some invaluable experience before committing time and money to their newest hobby.
“The testing cage allows people to demo the drones properly,” said Eli Daskal, director of the store. “It’s an incredible, hands-on experience that allows shoppers to know exactly what they are paying for.”