Tag Archives: featured

How can I get a free or cheap drone? 7 tricks to getting a drone deal for non-profits, students and more

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

We are a volunteer-based animal rescue. We are rural and have a very low budget, but we would like to start a YouTube channel to help raise awareness. Would you have any ideas on how/who might have a drone they could give us (or sell very cheaply) so that we can start our story telling journey?

This is a question I get a lot! There are tons of schools, non-profits or research projects that are looking to get a free or cheap drone donated to their cause. And while every cause has its merits, the harsh reality is, not everyone can pull the strings needed to get a free drone. I wish I knew the secret to getting free drones myself!!

That being said, here’s my guide to finding free or cheap drones! These 7 tips will get you a drone at way less than you would pay at full retail price:

  1. Use the DJI Education discount to save 10%! The DJI Educational Discount allows customers with a “.edu” email address and who successfully fill out DJI’s online form to get a coupon code (typically a 10% discount) on a select group of items from its online site.  The items available for purchase include everything from drones like the Mavic Pro, accessories like DJI Goggles and –for those who prefer shooting from the ground — the Osmo Mobile.
  2. Use the DJI Better-With-Drones discount for non-profits to save 10%. Don’t have a .edu address, but you’re a non-profit? DJI offers a similar program to its DJI Education discount called its Better With Drones Discount program. Fill out the form on DJI’s website here, and when your application has been approved, DJI will send you a discount code, typically 10% off as well.
  3. Look for contests and promotions with free drones involved. Plenty of groups are offering free drones as prizes for taking surveys, submitting feedback, winning photo contests, etc. One of the best places to remain privy to drone-related contests! This site itself, right here at TheDroneGirl.com! For example, right now, Skylogic Research is giving away one free DJI Spark as a raffle prize if you take their survey. Other promotions, frequently offered by DJI themselves, give you a chance to “try” out the drone before you buy it, such as this deal a few months ago promoting the DJI Mavic Pro, where you could get one for two whole weeks, completely free.
  4. Rent a drone! Why pay $1,000 for a drone you really only want to use a handful of times, when you can pay closer to $50 to rent it for a day? Sites like Up Sonder offer drone rental services. It’s a similar model to Airbnb, where owners can post their drone up for rent, meet the customer, and the customer gets to use the drone for a certain amount of hours.

Here’s a pretty common example of the types of deals you’ll find on UpSonder: Continue reading How can I get a free or cheap drone? 7 tricks to getting a drone deal for non-profits, students and more

Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

Intel’s drone team has an extreme obsession with breaking drone swarm records, again, and again, and again.

Intel has its hands in a variety of aspects of the drone industry, ranging from providing software for Yuneec’s consumer drones to making its own enterprise-grade drones. But its most media-friendly vertical seems to be its drone light shows.

And Intel doesn’t just love to put on light shows. They seemingly love to make them bigger and bigger.

Intel just marked its 50th anniversary as a company, and to celebrate, launched 2,018 of its Shooting Star light show drones into the air above its campus in Folsom, Calif.

With 2,018 drones in the air at once, Intel set a new Guinness World Records title for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.

Intel’s first Guinness Book of World Records-approved drone swarm record was set at the end of 2015, when it sent 100 drones in the sky above Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, near Hamburg, Germany, syncopated to a live orchestra. Continue reading Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

Yuneec Typhoon H Plus with Intel RealSense brings small upgrade to Typhoon H Pro

Chinese drone manufacturer Yuneec just gave its Yuneec Typhoon H Pro a big sister.

The company this week launched  the Typhoon H Plus with Intel RealSense, dubbing it “Yuneec’s most powerful consumer product.”

The product was first announced back in January as the second generation of Typhoon H. The drone makes improvements to the Typhoon H’s iconic six rotor hex airframe, including a 40 percent reduction in noise from previous hex models, and stable flight in winds up to 30mph. The Typhoon H Plus’s camera is equipped with a high aperture, one-inch sensor camera capable of 20 megapixel stills and 4K resolution video at 60fps. The camera claims to have improved low-light performance as well due to larger aperture optics and extended ISO range. Continue reading Yuneec Typhoon H Plus with Intel RealSense brings small upgrade to Typhoon H Pro

Want a cheap toy drone? TRNDlabs is having a huge clearance sale

For a long time, my advice has been that before dropping $1,000 on a fancy drone (that you could accidentally drop into a pool), make a small investment in a toy drone.

If you’ve been holding out for a deal on toy drones, now may be the time.

TRNDlabs, which makes a range of toy drones, is offering a massive clearance sale with 50-60% off its drones on Amazon.

A spokesperson said the deal doesn’t have a set end date, but will last until its limited stock is gone. She also added that the sale doesn’t mean TRNDlabs is going anywhere soon.

“We’re always aimed at making innovative tech,” according to a statement from the company. “The drone market has changed a lot during these years, so we plan to sell out our stock to launch a few new products. “fader trnd labs TRNDlabs clearance sale

Some of my favorites are the FADER drone, which was formerly priced at $129 is now just $49, and is one of the easiest to fly, with auto takeoff and land buttons. It’s the perfect mix of an awesome drone that is easy to fly, and also at a great price point. Continue reading Want a cheap toy drone? TRNDlabs is having a huge clearance sale

Drones have arrived at high school graduation ceremonies — but not for the reason you might think

With high school graduation comes pomp, circumstance…and now drones.

Drones seem to be popping up everywhere, and high school graduation ceremonies have become their next stop.

Tethered drone maker Drone Aviation Holding Corp. announced that its tethered drones, which are actually DJI Matrice 200 units, were used at two major high school graduation ceremonies held in southern Arizona so far this year.

The tethered drones, part of the company’s FUSE Tether System, weren’t getting epic aerial shots of the ceremony, though. The drones were put in place by Arizona’s Oro Valley Police Department as part of its security and monitoring efforts. Continue reading Drones have arrived at high school graduation ceremonies — but not for the reason you might think

Need to renew your drone license? FAA announces recertification process details for commercial pilots

So you took your test to get your Remote Pilot Certificate two years ago? It’s time to renew.

The Federal Aviation Administration this week outlined details on the recertification process, which is imperative for drone pilots looking to legally operate commercially.

Regulations surrounding the FAA’s drone pilot certification for commercial pilots went into effect at the end of August 2016. Those regulations required that drone operators pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test. The test can be taken at one of the 696 testing centers in the United States and asks questions on topics such as air traffic, weather and safety. Upon passing, pilots receive a license, which is good for two years.

And with those two years coming to an end for thousands of drone pilots, the FAA says it is time for pilots to go through a recurrent knowledge testing process to re-up and to maintain their stature as a commercially certificated sUAS operator.

Much like taking the initial drone test, the recurrent knowledge testing process requires pilots to book a testing appointment at one of around 700 FAA-approved knowledge testing centers across the United States and achieve at least a 70% score to pass.

But the breakdown of topics that remote pilots will be tested on is a bit different.

Here are what types of questions potential pilots can expect to see on the initial license test: Continue reading Need to renew your drone license? FAA announces recertification process details for commercial pilots

U.S. finally approves certain companies to test drone delivery, but Amazon wasn’t chosen

This is an excerpt of a piece originally written for MarketWatch.com. Read the full version here.

More than four years ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos promised in an interview that aired on “60 Minutes” that drones would be delivering small items to people’s homes within a half hour of the order being placed.

“I know this looks like science fiction,” he said. “It’s not.”

At the time, he said drone deliveries could happen as early as 2015, but more realistically within four to five years (which would have been 2017 or 2018).

More than four years later, the thought of Amazon drones landing at your doorstep is still a lot more like science fiction than reality.

The U.S. Department of Transportation this week announced the names of the 10 state and local governments that it has selected to conduct flight tests as part of its new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. The program pairs governments up with private companies to test types of drone flights that are currently banned in the U.S., including flying drones at night, flying over people and, yes, package delivery. Continue reading U.S. finally approves certain companies to test drone delivery, but Amazon wasn’t chosen

Everything you need to know about the FAA’s drone pilot program, including Uber, Google and lots of drone delivery

The Federal Aviation Administration today announced the 10 state, local and tribal governments it has selected to be a part of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program. — and it is set to involve high-profile companies including Google and Uber.

The drone pilot program pairs governments up with private companies to test types of drone flights that are currently banned in the U.S., including flying drones at night, flying over people and package delivery.

The FAA’s drone pilot program, formally called the UAS Integration Pilot Program, was announced in October by U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. Originally, only five sites were going to be chosen, though ultimately 10 were picked. About 150 sites applied to be a part of the program, according to the FAA. Continue reading Everything you need to know about the FAA’s drone pilot program, including Uber, Google and lots of drone delivery