Category Archives: Q&A

How to fly a drone in highly restrictive areas

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about flying drones in highly restrictive areas. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Any good suggestions or insights regarding commercial (Filming, real estate, building surveys) use within highly restrictive areas, like Washington, DC?

-Jon

Hey Jon,

I’m just going to cut to the chase here. If there are restrictions around flying drones in a certain area, there’s a reason for it. Those restrictions aren’t arbitrary. So, if you want to skirt the rules of flying within highly restricted areas, don’t do it.

However, since you asked, and I want to give you a  more thorough answer than that, let me attempt to impart some wisdom. Continue reading How to fly a drone in highly restrictive areas

Ask Drone Girl: How to dispose of LiPo batteries

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about LiPo batteries. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Hello Drone Girl,

I just read your article about the 15 things to know about LiPo battery care. There does not seem to be any good information on how to properly dispose of LiPo batteries. I have a puffy battery, and no idea what to do with it. Is there any good information out there to responsibly dispose of these batteries? I would imagine this will be a growing/ongoing problem as more and more drones are sold.

-Brian

Hey Brian,

That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked! A LiPo battery (technically a lithium-ion polymer battery) can be very dangerous and needs to be disposed of correctly.

DO NOT throw them in your trashcan alongside the pizza boxes!

In the event of temperature extremes, or the LiPo being crushed or penetrated by something like a nail, your battery you threw away could end up rupturing, the electrolytes may leak and it could result in a fire.

First off, make sure that batteries in your home are stored correctly. It’s ALWAYS worth investing in an (under $10) explosion-proof LiPo bag.

Now onto disposing… Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: How to dispose of LiPo batteries

Ask Drone Girl: what’s wrong with headless mode and why is it cheating?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about beginner flight modes. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

It seems most experienced pilots say we should learn to fly using standard controls, not headless mode. However, I can’t find any reason for that advice, except that headless is “cheating.” What do you recommend and why?

Jim

Why hello, Jim!

This is an excellent question — and you’re absolutely right. I don’t let my own students fly using headless mode! I’ll explain why, but first, let me explain what headless mode is.

In a traditional drone mode, if you take off with the drone facing forward, then immediately yaw (or turn) your drone 90 degrees to the left, and then pitch your drone forward, the drone will actually go to your left. Logical, right? Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: what’s wrong with headless mode and why is it cheating?

Ask Drone Girl: what to do in college to have a career in drones

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about preparing in college and high school for a career in drones. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

My daughter is 15 and is in a tech class at school where they are flying two drones. She wants to pursue drone technology in college. We’ve visited Embry-Riddle (we live in FL), but didn’t get much information out of the visit. The amount of information out there is mind-numbing and even the ratings are typically confusing (and I’m an airline pilot).

My thoughts are this:
1.) get the license after turning 16
2.) get a drone and work on flying
3.) internship, summer job or summer camp involving technology, drones

 I think her interests are more in the building and flying rather than coding aspects, but I want to help her “find herself” at this critical (and fun) time. Any help you can pass along would be greatly appreciated!

-Woody

Hey Woody!

Thanks for reading, and hello to your daughter! It’s great to hear about more young women interested in STEAM and drones. This is a critical and fun time for her, so I’m glad you two are thinking about her future. Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: what to do in college to have a career in drones

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman discusses Karma drone on Reddit

“Don’t call it a drone,” says GoPro CEO Nick Woodman on GoPro’s latest product, Karma. That’s the introduction to an AMA (short for Ask Me Anything on Reddit) that GoPro CEO Nick Woodman hosted on Reddit, where he took questions on a variety of topics, including Karma.

The Q&A reads like a script for a parody surfer bro (should we say ‘brah’?) movie, but it is, in fact, Nick Woodman himself writing. ‘Shredding’, ‘dudes,’ and ‘extremely stoked’ aside, here are some highlights from Woodman’s discussion, which provided insights into the future of Karma and Woodman’s thoughts on the drone manufacturer competition.

Reddit:  Will you bring out software/hardware improvements to Karma?

Nick Woodman: We will introduce updates to Karma to enhance its performance and what you can do with it. Karma already has a lot of hardware features built into it that we’re not exploiting yet, so expect more radness to come. We know everyone is excited to learn more and we promise to share more as soon as we can. Thanks for the stoke.

Get a notification when GoPro Karma is available for purchase from B&H photo at this link.

R: How do you feel the Karma holds up against recent drone industry competitors such as the DJI Mavic and the Yuneec Breeze — especially considering the difference in price point? Continue reading GoPro CEO Nick Woodman discusses Karma drone on Reddit

Ask Drone Girl: how can I fly over people for commercial purposes?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drone photography classes. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

If a contractor wants me to take aerial footage of their construction site progress over three years — once a year — what’s the exact FAA rule about flying above people?

Isn’t it forbidden unless they’re part of the video project? Or with a waiver (which can take up to 90 days)? Can the drone be above construction workers? Above moving cars from the streets next to the site? Above people walking in these streets? Even if 90% of the time the drone will be only above the site?

Hey there!

I reached out to my friend and brilliant drone lawyer Loretta Alkalay, to ensure you get an accurate answer to your question.

Here goes:

A commercial operation would require compliance with the new Part 107 regulations, including using a pilot in command who holds a remote pilot certificate.  Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: how can I fly over people for commercial purposes?

Ask Drone Girl: I’m a licensed pilot, so do I need to take the Part 107 test?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about taking the Part 107 test as a manned aircraft pilot. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Dear Drone Girl,

I’m a licensed pilot (stared flying lessons with my father who taught WASPs during WW2 when he was an Army Air Corp Instructor Pilot). I’m still not positive what I need to do in order to get a commercial drone operator’s license.

I spent a number of years doing aerial photography from my Cessna and I now have three Yuneec Q500 4Ks, but am I simply needing to take an online exam to get the commercial drone certificate?  Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: I’m a licensed pilot, so do I need to take the Part 107 test?

Ask Drone Girl: How can I sell my drone photos legally?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about where you can legally fly, and photography for commercial purposes. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Dear Drone Girl,

I read about you in the latest issue of “Professional Photographer.” I’m not sure if you’re willing to answer my question, but I thought I would ask anyway.

A few months back, my husband and I purchased a Phantom 4 to play around with aerial photography. When we first bought it, we didn’t think it was a big deal: we knew we had to register it and we knew there were rules to follow. However, we were overwhelmed with what we could and couldn’t do and it seemed that- with so many rules and regulations in place – we were paralyzed and didn’t even know what we could. We weren’t able to get any of our questions answered and we simply didn’t know if we were even doing anything wrong. So, we returned it. Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: How can I sell my drone photos legally?