Category Archives: Flight Diaries

Is DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro pricing cannibalizing itself?

This is an excerpt from a story originally written for Read the entire story here.

DJI earlier this week announced its new Phantom 4 drone, which can sense obstacles in front, behind and on both sides of it, and it has left industry experts wondering how much downward price pressure the drone-making behemoth can put on the industry.

The new Phantom 4 Pro, priced at $1,499, is an improvement on the Phantom 4 drone, which is also targeted to the prosumer segment and has only one sensor on the front.

China-based DJI on Tuesday also announced the $2,999 Inspire 2, which is targeted at professional photographers, captures 5.2K video and has a dual battery system as a fail-safe.

“DJI is coming out with new versions of its products left and right,” said Alan Perlman, founder of drone online community and training program UAV Coach. “They’re offering so many options, and maybe it’s a good strategy in the short term to flood the market.” Continue reading Is DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro pricing cannibalizing itself?

How Autel’s ‘flying pumpkin’ drone holds up against a real pumpkin

Happy Halloween!autel drone xstar halloween

Because you’re probably one of the 9 million people out there who have already seen this “epic Halloween prank” video (or your friends who know you love drones have sent it to you 9 million times), here’s an ALL-NEW Halloween drone video!

Autel is capitalizing on the joke around their ‘orange pumpkin’ drone nickname and checking out how their drone stacks up against some real pumpkins.

They took some drones and dressed them in costumes including a Phantom, a Parrot, a Hero, a Typhoon and a Solo — Han Solo.autel xstar crash

In my own reviews, I’ve found that the X-Star holds up quite well to crashes. However, spoiler alert: the X-Star does NOT hold up to pumpkin collisions. Check it out:

For the record — the orange color of Autel’s drone actually has  a purpose — better visibility of the drone while flying!

I passed the FAA Part 107 test! Here’s what it’s like (and how I studied)

Hey guys!

This week I am super excited because I now have my remote pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. I wanted to tell you a little bit about my experience, how I studied, and what to expect.

I took the test in Oakland, Calfornia at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. There are nearly 700 FAA-approved testing centers around the U.S.!

While most testing centers do take walk-ins, it’s best if you call ahead. The FAA has designated two private companies to administer the test— either Computer Assisted Testing Service (also known as cats) or PSI / LaserGrade Computer Testing. I chose LaserGrade just because it’s the closest to where I live.

Related post: FAA Part 107 test: everything you need to know (except the answers) Continue reading I passed the FAA Part 107 test! Here’s what it’s like (and how I studied)

InterDrone 2016: attendance up 25%

Thanks so much to all the fans that met up with me at Interdrone!

The drone industry has come a long way since last year’s Interdrone. Last year it was unclear even how journalists could legally use drones. There was no Part 107 test, and we didn’t have the sense and avoid in consumer drones like we have today.

I saw some of my favorite consumer drone makers, and plenty of new ones. I got a kick out of the drone with claw arms from Japanese company Prodrone. I was intrigued by the goggles that almost resembled Google Glass — allowing drone users to see their drone from their line of sight and get the first person view simultaneously — from companies including Epson and Brother. Continue reading InterDrone 2016: attendance up 25%

FAA Part 107 test: first week in review

The FAA Part 107 test was made available this week, allowing anyone who passes to legally operate drones for commercial purposes.

1338 people completed the test on Monday and Tuesday, and the pass rate from those two days was 88 percent, according to an FAA spokesperson.

For contest, here are the 2015 pass rates for other FAA Knowledge Tests.

  • The pass rate for an airplane private pilot is 89.44%.
  • The pass rate for an airplane recreational pilot is 78.69%.
  • The pass rate for an airplane commercial pilot is 95.7%.

For now, I’m studying using a mix of MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 online course and Drone Pilot Ground School online course. I like MzeroA because the instructor Jason, speaks in a really natural style that feels like a conversation and less like a lecture — making serious topics pleasant to listen to. And I love Drone Pilot Ground School because you get a whopping five practice tests — more than any other online course I have seen so far and something I find extremely useful. Continue reading FAA Part 107 test: first week in review

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh: tour with Drone Girl!

I had a blast at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016!

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)!

P.S.: Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. New videos every Sunday!

Drone Nationals air on ESPN this weekend

It’s the second annual Drone Nationals this weekend in New York City, and it’s shaping up to be America’s largest drone race yet, especially given the fact that they have snagged a spot on ESPN.

ESPN3 will air the race on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern time—the first time America’s largest sports network will cover the sport.

Tune in here.

It’s called the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, and this weekend, 100 pilots will gather to race at speeds of more than 60 miles an hour.  Continue reading Drone Nationals air on ESPN this weekend