Category Archives: Reader Submissions

Are you ready for the drone racing revolution? DRL’s Ben Johnson weighs in

The following post is a guest column from Chidubem Ezinne, Software Engineer, drone enthusiast, and founder and creator of TestingAlpha. The views of guest posters belong to the author and are not necessarily reflective of

This past year, the Drone Racing League has been all over the news, from ESPN to Wired. I talked with Ben Johnson, head of communications and a spokesperson for the Drone Racing League. The Drone Racing League is a premier racing league which has secured over $10 million in funding to help bring Drone Racing to the masses.

Chidubem (CJ) Ezinne: How does one become a racer in the Drone Racing League?

DRL’s Ben Johnson: DRL is unique in that it’s open to top pilots all around the world. Our elite pilots are incredibly diverse in background, age and geographical location – we’ve have pilots coming in from countries like Brazil, Australia, and Mexico City. Continue reading Are you ready for the drone racing revolution? DRL’s Ben Johnson weighs in

The FAA: “First Person View is prohibited” (sort of)

The following post is a guest column from Matthew Brown,  an engineer, licensed attorney, drone enthusiast, and founder and creator of US Drone Law. The views of guest posters belong to the author and are not necessarily reflective of

Is FPV drone racing legal?

The 2016 National Drone Racing Championships on Governors Island are just days away. For the first time, ESPN will bring live drone racing to millions of viewers. Race sponsors include heavy hitting multinational companies such as camera company GoPro, technology company EMC, insurance company AIG, and financial services company Ernst & Young.

Much of the appeal for drone racing comes from the sport’s pod-racing feel. Pilots orient and control their drones remotely by viewing a live video feed from the drone’s cockpit-mounted camera. This unique flight perspective, known as first person view (FPV), provides an exhilarating racing and spectator experience.

One of the keystone rules for drone racing is that “[p]ilots must use FPV to pilot aircraft.” While using first person view, a pilot cannot simultaneously keep the drone in his or her visual line of sight.

With the biggest FPV drone racing event just around the corner, one question lingers: Is FPV drone racing legal? Continue reading The FAA: “First Person View is prohibited” (sort of)

Need FAA Part 107 UAS test prep? DART drones offers courses

DART Drones Promo Codes:

Use DRNGRL10 to save 10% on your next in-person class. 

Use DRONEGIRL100 to save $100 on your next online class.

Looking for a training course to help you prepare for the Part 107 Aeronautical Knowledge Exam?

Drone training company DARTdrones now offers an in-person, UAS ground school designed to prepare UAS pilots to pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test, which is soon to be required by the FAA in order for pilots to fly drones commercially.

The Boston-based startup travels around the nation providing training to individuals and corporate clients, including AutoDesk and HBO.

Continue reading Need FAA Part 107 UAS test prep? DART drones offers courses

AUVSI to talk investing in drones

Money is pouring into drone startups. According to a report by CB Insights, drone startups raised over $450 million in equity financing across 74 deals in 2015, up a whopping 300 percent over 2014 in terms of dollars.

2015 was the first year where commercial operators were really able to get started by using Section 333 exemptions, and the investment seemed to follow; on a funding basis, investment hit an all-time high in the third quarter, at $140 million.

The funding was led by $75 million in Series B financing by Accel Partners to China-based Dajiang Innovation Technology Co., better known as DJI, the largest consumer drone manufacturer in the world with reported $120 million in net profit in 2014. Close behind was rival Yuneeq with $60 million and 3D Robotics with $50 million.

The money isn’t just going to hardware makers. Between 2012 and mid-2015, according to CB Insights, 42 percent of the funded startups focused on software and services, with 40 percent focusing on hardware. Continue reading AUVSI to talk investing in drones

Mountain Dew bets on drone racing

PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew has always had a strong presence in sports-related advertising. It’s a brand that targets sports and athletes that represent a certain lifestyle and attitude. It’s a  brand synonymous with the extreme.

Now, however, Mountain Dew is pushing past established sports, instead boldly embracing the rising sport of drone racing with the announcement that it will sponsor a one-hour racing special this August. Called the “DR1 Invitational,” this special will air on the Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and will showcase 12 of the world’s best drone racing pilots (with Mountain Dew specifically sponsoring Tommy “UmmaGawd” Tibajia).

The races will be held at the Sepulveda Dam in Los Angeles, with the pilots situated atop the dam, and will consist of several different rounds of competition. Continue reading Mountain Dew bets on drone racing

6 tips for better aerial photography with a drone

The following article is written by Thomas Foster who is an owner of website and a quadcopter enthusiast.

So you have a drone, and now you want to make better pictures? Here are 6 tips to get started:

Brendan Wong/SkyPixel
Brendan Wong/SkyPixel

Choose the right time: The landscape can change dramatically over the year, and even through a day. Try shooting the same spot at different times to see the differences, or if there’s one specific shot you want, pay attention to where the sun will be to avoid unwanted shadows.

Some photographers swear by shooting at “The Golden Hour,” which is generally the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset. The sun is low in the sky, producing a diffused soft light that provides the opposite effect to harsh midday sun shadows.

Adjust the camera settings: The key factors you need to understand are ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

ISO: indicates the level of sensitivity of your camera to light. A low ISO number (ie. 100 or 200) indicates low sensitivity to available light. Photographers on a bright, sunny day would want a low ISO. A high ISO number indicates high sensitivity to light, which you would want if you were shooting indoors or at night. The higher the ISO, the more grain you will see in your images.

Victor Wang/SkyPixel
Victor Wang/SkyPixel

Shutter Speed: This is the amount of time a camera shutter is open to allow light into the sensor. Slow shutter speeds allow more light in and are ideal for shooting at night, but could also cause more blur. High shutter speeds allow less time for light to enter the sensor, meaning your picture could turn out darker. The photo above has a relatively slow shutter speed to show the motion of the cars. Continue reading 6 tips for better aerial photography with a drone

UAV Coach launches online drone training course for new pilots

UAV Drone Training Image

The following piece is an advertisement by UAV Coach. Use THIS LINK AND type in coupon code “DRONEGIRL” to get 10% off your class.

UAV Coach, a drone blog and online community, recently launched a 6-part drone training course.

The 90-minute video and text-based course is geared towards brand new and beginner pilots who want to break into the industry and hone their flight skills.

“I built this online drone course to train new pilots how to fly safely and more confidently, and how to make money in the drone industry,” said creator Alan Perlman said.UAV Boot Camp — Article Google Docs

The training course comes in light of news that the FAA will likely require all drones weighing more than a half a pound to be registered.  The registration would take place through apps or Web sites, and could require some educational component.

Though this training course comes in addition to (and of course, ahead of) that. Continue reading UAV Coach launches online drone training course for new pilots

Building the future (literally) with drone construction teams

The following guest post was submitted by Andrew Armstrong.

Photo courtesy of Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Photo courtesy of Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich

Drones and drone technology are being employed to help with not just inspecting construction sites, but also doing the construction themselves.

ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in Zurich, Switzerland is using drones to build walkable rope bridges. Referred to as “flying construction robots,” the drones assist designers with constructing walking bridges that can support the weight of an average-sized adult, according to ETH Zurich.

The marriage of emerging drone technology with 3D printing capabilities would result in unlimited possibilities for designers to envision the creation of structures that would otherwise be inaccessible by means of traditional construction methods. A designer could create design, such as a human pathway between two natural occurring cliffs, and use drones that possess 3D printing capabilities to weave a spatial structure that could accommodate the design and natural contours of the cliffs and space between them. Continue reading Building the future (literally) with drone construction teams