Now that we've officially been in business for almost a year we have noticed recurring themes when it comes to public questions about drones and the regulations that go along with them. So when we decided to add a blog to our website, it seemed only natural for our first post to address the most common questions we receive, so that you too can sound cool (or nerdy) when talking about drones! Here at Adventure UAV we fly the DJI Phantom 4 Pro so our Q&A is tailored specifically to that model. Other brands and models will have different costs and capabilities but the FAA's rules and regulations are universal throughout the USA (but local laws may vary).
1. How much did it cost?
The drone will set you back around $1500 and includes the remote and one battery. Each additional battery is about $160. The accessories are all additional.
2. How long does it fly for?
On average the batteries last around 20 minutes. If you are simply flying around for fun on a calm day you can get closer to 30 minutes. On the other hand if you are fighting the wind and shooting 4K video your battery life will be less then 20 minutes. Luckily we can watch the battery life on the monitor and the drone warns you when you are getting low. If you ignore the warning long enough the drone will return to its home point (pretty smart!) and will not let you continue manually flying until the battery is changed.
3. How high can it go?
The drone itself is limited to a height of 1600ft from its home point. That being said, federal regulations limit flying above 400ft from the ground in non-controlled (Class G) airspace. Controlled airspace is found surrounding airports, typically in a cylindrical shaped area that looks similar to an upside-down wedding cake that gets wider as it gets higher. In order to fly in these areas an authorization must be obtained (we have all of them for the Front Range from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins!) specific to the airspace in which you wish to fly. Authorizations are granted as a joint effort between the FAA and the air traffic control manager of each individual airport. As such, each authorization is unique and will contain different requirements for altitude limits, restricted areas, and notifications to air traffic control. Our authorization altitude limits vary from a height of 100ft above the ground to 200ft, depending on the airport.
4. How far can it go?
In a wide open, vast area with no cell or radio towers or interference of any kind, the drone can fly up to two miles away from the pilot before it will not have enough signal and will return. That being said, it is imperative that you have a visual on your drone at all times and even Superman would have a tough time seeing a white colored drone two miles away. The furthest we have let our drone go was a mile, but that was over wide open ranch land and at an elevation where there wouldn't be obstacles to avoid.
5. How big is it?
Its about 11” L x 11” w x 7” h. Think a large flat rate box from the post office, or two six packs of glass beer bottles side by side.
6. How long have you been flying?
Tyler has been flying for fun for nine years and commercially for about a year. He began with RC helicopters and small planes, which are much more difficult to fly then the stable and technologically advanced drones we use today.
7. Can you get some sweet footage of the Bronco's game?
Nope. Stadiums and concert venues become temporary no-fly zones any time there is a game, event, or concert. You will get into a lot of trouble flying within 3 miles of these areas when there is a TFR (temporary flight restriction) in place. In fact, these TFRs apply to manned aircraft as well. On the same topic, though not illegal (if flying for fun), it is extremely unsafe to fly a drone over any type of crowd and we at Adventure UAV always maintain a safe radius when on a job where a lot of people are present.
Have other questions? Feel free to comment or contact us and ask!