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.
EAA AirVenture is the world’s largest air show, and it focuses on all things aviation, from traditional planes to homebuilt planes to skydiving. This year, they significantly expanded their drone offerings, complete with a whole drone tent and flight demo cage.
I led a few drone related events, including a hands-on class for 60 young women, and a seminar on Drones in Today’s World.
But I REALLY had fun checking out the rest of the show and learning a lot about manned aviation. I’m dazzled by the positivity and enthusiasm here. People at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh are curious about what’s new, and proud to show off their own stuff. And the nicest crowd too!
So join me on my tour (I do fly in a plane upside down)!
Good Morning America’s Maria Stefanopoulos has had more wild adventures working in drones in the past couple years than many people might have in a lifetime. She has flown over (and through) everything from a volcano in Iceland, to a cave in Vietnam with DJI.
Stefanopoulos is a Production Manager at ABC News, Good Morning America, based in New York. She first got into drones about 18 months ago for GMA’s first drone-related shoot (in Iceland), and purchased her own drone shortly after that.
Here’s her story:
DG: Let’s start by talking about the first shoot you did with a drone in Iceland. So originally, the plan was to have a drone flying around the studio, but then you decided to just go big and take it to the Arctic Circle. How did that all happen?
MS: February is a sweeps month, so for us TV people that means we like to up the ante. Our senior editorial staff approached me about an idea to have drones take over our studio for a “Game of Drones” series — Wiz by the weather wall, carry scripts to our anchors at the news desk, even drop off a cup of coffee to a correspondent on the set.
We were sold on this idea, until our Senior Producer came across Eric Cheng’s video where he flew a drone into an active volcano in Iceland. I remember the day my boss approached me about production managing this event. She said “Would you mind putting together a budget for another crazy idea? I’m sure it’ll never happen. A volcano. Iceland. Drones. LIVE.” I watched the YouTube video and thought – for so many reasons – there’s no way this is going to happen…”
Drones may still be a new, niche technology, but the U.S. government is starting to recognize that they aren’t likely to go the way of other passing fads.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted its first ever drone workshop on Tuesday, which brought together leaders from around the corporate world (Google and Intel) and government officials to discuss developments in the drone world.
Several drone-related announcements from various government agencies came out of the workshop, including news that the United States Postal Service is studying drone delivery and the National Science Foundation would make a $35 million commitment to research drones.