Tag Archives: drone

DJI just launched a new app that is basically the Tinder/Uber/Meetup for drones

When I first got my original DJI Phantom 1, I was the only person I knew on the planet who was interested in drones.

I did something highly NOT recommended — message random strangers on the Internet who I could tell lived near me and ask if they could give me a drone tutorial. (It worked out for me, and I made some lifelong friends this way, but don’t try this at home!)

But DJI just came up with something a whole lot less creepy. Continue reading DJI just launched a new app that is basically the Tinder/Uber/Meetup for drones

4 easy ways to log your drone flights

So you want to log all your drone flights? Good on you!

Here’s the next drone purchase you’ll need to make (that won’t cost an arm and a leg). It’s not some fancy gadget either. It’s a ‘drone logbook,’ and it comes in the form of free smart phone app or tangible notebook.

Why should you log your flights?

It’s a place to store important information — what drone you were using, flight type, location and maintenance concerns.

And if you are flying drones commercially, in the U.S. and many other countries, it’s the law. Commercial operators who have 333 exemptions and “blanket” COAs (Certificate of Waiver or Authorization) are required to file reports with the Federal Aviation Administration

And if — like me — you aren’t a commercial drone operator, it’s just sort of fun to see where you have flown, for how long, and document everything that happened for each flight.

Here are some of my top picks:

hover appHover Continue reading 4 easy ways to log your drone flights

How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.
Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.

Eric Garcia went missing in California 2013.

The search area for him was 40 miles along. Officials argued over whose jurisdiction is was, and the search was losing resources.

That’s when Garcia’s fiancé called their friend Jim Bowers, a full-time artist and drone hobbyist of 15 years.

“She asked me, ‘could you use my drone to help find Eric?’” Bowers said during a speech at International Drone Day in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I didn’t know what to say. I had never used a drone for search and rescue before, but I couldn’t say no.”

Bowers spent 4 days flying all over cliff faces, canyons and the road Garcia had been supposedly driving on.

“We kept using my drones to look back on the cliff faces,” he said.

The drone was able to help search team narrow down the area to 4 miles, sending out four people on motorcycles to continue the search.

The search led Bowers to start a network of volunteers to carry out search and rescue missions like this one, but on an international scale.

His organization? It’s called S.W.A.R.M. (Search With Aerial RC Multi-rotor). It’s a network where anyone qualified with a drone that had FPV capabilities could use the network to volunteer their time and search for missing people.

S.W.A.R.M. now has over 3,000 volunteer pilots in 54 countries around the world. The organization runs as a volunteer only network and does not operate through any law enforcement or emergency agencies.

Bowers’ first-ever drone search and rescue mission eventually found Garcia.

“He had come up on I-80, slid off the freeway and hit a tree,” Bowers said. Continue reading How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

Book review: art photography reaches new heights in visual tour of Baltimore

DroneArtBaltimore_smallDrones and art.

It’s an unlikely combination in a world where mainstream media is saturated with stories of how drones kill and spy on people.

But Baltimore couple Terry and Belinda Kilby have taken their unlikely combination of talents — software engineering and teaching visual arts in public school — to bring new meaning to the mainstream idea of a drone.

Drone Art: Baltimore” is the title of the first book by the couple, which together goes by the name Elevated Element. And, it’s the first ever compilation of photos in a published book generated completely by a drone.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 5.28.21 PMThe book is a visual tour of Baltimore, with photos ranging from famous landmarks like the Concord Point Light to the Mr Boh sign in Brewers Hill — aerial perspectives of landmarks any tourist would see on a trip to Baltimore. Continue reading Book review: art photography reaches new heights in visual tour of Baltimore

Own your drone (and paint it too)


I’ve seen a lot of drones, but very few personally painted drones!

I just put together this 3DR Y6 drone for a project at work, but once it was successfully put together according to the manual, I took it home for a fun project that is nowhere on the manual – painting!

Own your drone, and distinguish it from all the other drones when you’re out at meetups, or just happen to work in an offer where there are copters everywhere.


This first drone I painted was space inspired, fitting with the whole flying theme, right?

It was painted using nothing but nail polish!

See the picture below to see what it used to look like. Hopefully I don’t get trolled too hard for this, but that’s what you get when you go out on  a limb and own your drone.

Drone, pre-paint job

Plus I put it together myself, so I can do whatever I want with it, right?

5 stunning images captured by other drones

I’ve always loved Flickr since I got my first camera, a Nikon d40 (ok, I used to have this awesome Polaroid as a kid), and these days Flickr is filled with awesome photos captured by neither dSLRs nor Polaroid — but from drones!

Below are five fantastic photos I found from my frequent browsing of Flickr. I didn’t take any of these photos; I’m just honored to share them here. Do you know someone who took an awesome photo from a drone? Send it to me, and I’ll post it here!

This first photo comes from Andrew Trice. I love the light, and the soft, flowing patterns of the houses seems like it follows the patterns of the sky, which makes for some beautiful composition!

The next photo I chose by Miquel Martorell is awesome just because of the pure risk factor it took to take this photo. First, the pilot probably had to get to where that lighthouse, which is no small feat in itself, and then they had to fly over that water — no room for error! But it shows us a cool scene of a landscape that would be hard to see any other way since the lighthouse is surrounded by water. If you had the chance to shoot this photo again, I would love to see it done at Golden Hour to get a little less harsh lighting. Still beautiful! Continue reading 5 stunning images captured by other drones