All posts by Sally French

Apple Campus 2 drone footage shows construction progress

Phantom drone-maker DJI has long expressed wanting to imitate Apple — and it works — DJI has been called the Apple of drones. (And hey, they even sell drones!)

So it only makes sense that construction of the Apple Campus 2 site in Cupertino, Calif. be documented via drone.

Watch it here:

Drone photographer Matthew Roberts has been documenting the Apple Campus 2 construction site with a new video every month on his DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone, which retails for $999.

The Apple Campus 2 drone footage shows the main structure — a spaceship-like building that will be covered with 3,000 glass panels — an 100,000 square foot fitness center and a solar power-topped parking structure. Apple plans to sell excess electricity generated by solar panels at its new headquarters, joining Google parent Alphabet Inc. in efforts to trade on the energy market.

Read the rest of this article where it was originally written at

What will GoPro’s drone look like? Here’s one clue

GoPro’s drone has been in the works for at least a few years. And though it was originally scheduled to be on the market right now, in May GoPro CEO Nick Woodman announced it would be delayed.

But PatentYogi, a patent services company with an accompanying YouTube channel, thinks it found clues as to what GoPro’s drone could look like.

Ryan Goldstein, who on his LinkedIn profile states he works as a Mechanical Engineer in the Aerial Products division of GoPro, was awarded a patent last week for a box-like drone. The patent was filed in December 2015.

GoPro does not have a single patent on drones, so it’s unlikely that this will be the exact same drone as what we will see when GoPro’s drone finally hits store shelves. But this drone might be the reason that GoPro hired him, according to Deepak Gupta, managing director at PatentYogi.

Here’s a video PatentYogi made on the patent:

GoPro did not return Drone Girl requests for comment.

The drone patented by Goldstein is called the QuadBox, which Goldstein wrote about on his website before joining GoPro. When packed, it will look like a rectangular box, so the motors, propellers, landing gear and camera would be enclosed in the main body and protected during travel — paramount to GoPro’s ambitions in the action camera space.

Do you think the GoPro’s drone will look something like this? Or will it be completed different? Leave a comment below!


DJI partners with Measure to step up commercial drone use

DJI on Thursday announced a partnership with Measure, a drone service provider, to increase how DJI products are used for commercial applications.

Measure is a “drone as a service company,” providing drones to commercial operations that would need a drone but don’t want to manage the drone themselves.

A farmer using Measure would pay about $1,736 a flight to cover an average-sized farm, which the USDA says is 434 acres. For a business farming soybeans, which settled Thursday at about $11.17 a bushel, that would cost $0.36 per bushel per acre, according to Measure’s own drone value calculator. Continue reading DJI partners with Measure to step up commercial drone use

How do I buy a drone?

How do I buy a drone?

There are a morass of factors you have to consider — price, safety, size, use case, and laws. My friends at Best Drone For The Job put together this info graphic that I wanted to share with you.

It’s a great primer on drone use cases, rules you need to know and other factors you need to consider when weighing which drone to buy.

And don’t forget to check out some of my latest reviews:


Parrot’s senseFly and Skyward are joining forces

Parrot’s senseFly has been in the business of using drones for high end mapping and surveying, but it’s now in the business of airspace safety and operational tools given its new partnership with Skyward.

The Swiss-based senseFly is partnering with the Portland, Oregon-based startup to offer a package to customers that gives operators a preconfigured Skyward account with senseFly flight log import, senseFly manuals, customized pre­flight checklists, and other information specific to senseFly operations.

SenseFly was found in 2009 to develop and produce aerial imaging drones primarily for surveying, agriculture, GIS, industrial inspection, mining and humanitarian aid.

Read more: Drone Girl interview’s Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux

Continue reading Parrot’s senseFly and Skyward are joining forces

Flying Robot international Film Festival entries are open

The Flying Robot international Film Festival (FRiFF) is back again for a second year.

The international drone film festival screening will take place in October of 2016 in San Francisco.

FRiFF, which awards cash prizes to the winners, was founded in 2015 by Eddie Codel, a fellow San Francisco based live video producer, aerial filmmaker and drone nerd.

Flying Robot international Film Festival friff

Last year, the competition saw 153 films from 35 countries. 20 finalists films were aired the night of the film festival, including one of my favorite drone films to date “Running into the Air,” by Sebastian Woeber of Austria. That film won in the Cinematic: Postcard category.

See more of Drone Girl’s coverage from last year’s film festival here.

How to enter the Flying Robot international Film Festival:

Submissions are now open through July 15th for a $10 entry fee. Between July 15th and August 15th, the price increases to $15. Films must be less than five minutes, and while it doesn’t need to be 100% aerial footage, aerial footage should be central to the story being told.  You can submit your film here.


Drone sale: DJI’s Inspire 1 has never been this cheap

Here’s a sweet drone sale you need to know about. DJI’s Inspire 1 has never been this cheap.

Here are some of the discounts:

With such a sweet deal on the Inspire 1, does this mean a new Inspire is coming soon? With the revolutionary sense and avoid technology in the Phantom 4, it makes sense that a new version of the Inspire 1 would come with a similar technology.

Either way, happy flying, and buying!

Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide

The Part 107 Aeronuatical Knowledge Test for UAS operators is expected to be made available in August.

But eager commercial drone operators without a pilot’s license can get a head start on studying now.

Many private companies have also put together training sessions (either in-person, webinars, practice tests, etc). that provide a clear look at exactly what you’ll need to know for the test. Check out my guide on UAS aeronautical knowledge test training courses here.

Some options include:

  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos. This is what I used to study for my test — and I passed on my first time — so I can guarantee it’s a good program! Use coupon code DroneGirl50 to get $50 off.
  • UAV Ground School is Gold Seal’s online Part 107 course. Sign up for free and take the first three lessons without charge. The course offers unlimited quizzes from a database of 400 practice questions and includes Flash Cards for additional practice. It’s normally $199, but use promo code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to just $174.
  • Drone Launch Academy offers another great online training course led by FAA-certified Advanced Ground Instructor David Young. Use coupon code DroneGirl50 or this link to get $50 off.
  • DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course. Use coupon code dronegirl10 to get 10% all DARTdrone courses site wide!

But a free and instant option comes from the FAA itself. The FAA released its Part 107 UAS online training course, which anyone can register and take for free. The course is designed for part 61 pilot certificate holders who have a current flight review (in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56) and wish to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating. But, anyone without a pilot’s license can take the training course.

“Applicants for a part 107 remote pilot certificate who do not hold a part 61 pilot certificate (or part 61 pilot certificate holders without a current flight review) may incorporate this training into their self-study curriculum to help prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test,” according to the test page.

**To be clear, that means this is a training course for people who already hold a Part 61 Pilot’s certificate. If you don’t have a pilot’s license, this is simply a wonderful, free training course to supplement your test studying.** Continue reading Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide