Looking to connect with people in the drone world? It can be tricky to find dronies out in the world, but there are loads of online drone communities for any type of drone pilot. Are you a photographer? How about a policy wonk? Just looking to make some friends? There is an online community for you.
Of course there are plenty of other great news sites, blogs, Twitter accounts and IRL (in real life) drone communities to join. But for now, here are some of my favorite online drone communities (listed in no particular order):
UAV Coach Community forum: This is one of my favorite forums for active discussion on general drone questions. The forums are broken down by industry, type of drone and more. The community forum is run by Drone Pilot Ground School creator Alan Perlman.
NODE – A Drone Pilots Advocacy Group: For people interested in law and policy around drones, the Network of Drone Enthusiasts (NODE) is a fairly new grassroots group dedicated to representing drone pilots across the U.S. and Canada. While the FAA regulates the airspace in the U.S., many cities, counties and states have implemented additional regulations which can be difficult for drone pilots, and sometimes even conflict with FAA rules. The group is intended to give drone organizations a voice to collaborate with local legislators on developing reasonable and effective drone regulations that encourage drone use while protecting public safety. It’s worth noting that this group was launched by drone manufacturer DJI, which means there is likely some bias behind the intent of the group (to make sure you’re able to buy more of their drones, of course!).
Amelia Droneharts: For a fantastic, female-only community of drone pilots around the world, Amelia Droneharts is the place to be. There’s a main webpage, but most of the chatter happens in their private Facebook group. For other awesome female communities, check out Girls Who Drone, a group for women in the San Francisco Bay Area
AirVuz: Videographers should join AirVuz, a community of people looking to watch or upload aerial videos. The site also has donate and hire me buttons, for videographers who fly drones commercially. The community also has a pretty strong drone-racing slant, for people interested in racing or freestyle drones.
SkyPixel: For photographers, SkyPixel is a community centered around aerial photography. Members can upvote each other’s photos, and experts are ranked based on votes. SkyPixel also holds an annual photo contest for its members, and the competition is pretty fierce. SkyPixel is run in partnership with DJI.
Meetup: Meetup is actually how I found my first drone friends! Meetup is a site that organizes people from different cities based on different interests, and there are loads of drone-related meetups. There are drone policy meetups, drone racing meetups, drone building meetups and more! Search meetup for a drone group near the city you live in. While you can chat in the group, you’ll probably end up meeting up with the membersIRL! I didn’t know anyone who flew drones in my area, so I searched my city for the word “drone” and found a super awesome group!
Your transmitter is bound correctly with the drone
This happened to me too, and let me make sure it doesn’t happen to you. The reason your drone likely won’t lift is because you have a “clockwise” propeller on a “counterclockwise” motor. Fix it! Here’s how:
The thing most people forget when putting on new propellers is that they are pitched differently. If the propeller you replaced it with is the same color but different pitch, it still don’t fly correctly. Make sure that each propeller is mounted exactly on the motor whether it spins clockwise or counterclockwise.
All quadcopters have two motors that spin clockwise placed diagonally from each other, and two that spin counterclockwise on the other sides. It matters what propeller you use for each motor. If a “counterclockwise” propeller is placed on a clockwise spinning motor, your drone won’t lift.
It’s not a matter of “two blue propellers in front” and “two black propellers in back.” Even still, you won’t get lift if you don’t place each propeller properly. Use this diagram from the manual to ensure it’s clear which propeller to put on each motor. Always read the manual!
Pro tip! Having trouble removing the propellers? Placing them firmly on the drone is great to ensure they won’t pop off mid flight or in a crash, but placing them on too firmly can make them hard to remove. Use a credit card to wedge between the propeller and the motor to gently leverage the propeller off the drone.
While the pros are generally making custom-built drones, it’s easy to get started with ready to fly drones (including those first-person-view FPV goggles) for under $500 before you commit to your own build.
So you’re a commercial business wanting to use drones, but you’re going to have to fly at night, beyond line of sight, or in a situation otherwise illegal under the FAA’s drone regulations?
You more than likely can still operate — but you’re going to have to get a waiver from the Federal Aviation Adminstration in order to operate your drone even if those operations don’t fit under the Part 107 rules.
Here are some commonly asked questions about the Part 107 waiver process:
How are you studying? A good friend of mine told me, “I’m going to just study the night before — college style.” Wait, what?! No! Don’t do that!
It’s important that you know the information not to simply pass, but to really know the airspace so you can be a safe pilot. If you’re like me and struggle to absorb information simply by reading, and prefer to take a course — in-person or online — then here’s how I recommend you study for the Part 107 test.
LiPo batteries can be highly dangerous, and many people have no idea!
For years, lithium polymer batteries (LiPos) have been known to be dangerous and unpredictable. Dropping, denting or crushing can shorten the life of the battery and even cause an internal short — a recipe for fire. There are a myriad of guidelines for storing, charging and transporting them. Even among experienced RC users, they have led to fires.
I chatted with Toppilot, the creators of a brand-new battery line specifically designed to sponsor FPV racing competitions. The professional battery manufacturer knows what it means to need a good battery for competition — not only so it works properly but so it stays safe.
Of course, the #1 tip is to never leave a LiPo battery unattended during the charging or discharging process.
Beyond that, here are Toppilot’s tips for taking care of your batteries:
Before Charging LiPo Batteries
The #1 tip here is: RTFM (Read the Freaking Manual!)
Always check the voltage of batteries before each charge session in order to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe starting voltage. If their starting voltage is below recommended levels then your batteries have been over-discharged or have experienced a failure and should NOT be charged.
Always check the battery before charging for any type of damage. Check the battery packaging, wires and connectors for defects, which may cause a short circuit and eventual battery failure.