Finally!…we got the drone out after arriving at Elbow Cay (Abacos). Since I (Steve) am a complete novice, this is new territory to me. But…it’s a drone and it’s no good if it doesn’t get into the air. So…off we went to find a shore-based practice spot in Hopetown. Success!…a small park with a softball field and a basketball court. In the air she went!
We flew very conservatively as winds were blowing nearly 20 knots above the tree lined park but I got some basic maneuvering practice in; we tested the camera and first person video screen (seeing what the camera sees) and David and I practiced a few (first time) human recovery (catching) landings. It all worked out well. No crashes…no bumps…and only one signal-loss event which the drone landed itself at its GPS launch point.
Ok…ok…am I a chicken for flying on land…yes! Am I nervous about launching the drone from the boat…yes…until many more hours of practice. Will I ever convince Kimberly to catch the drone on the boat…don’t know…yet? However…I am excited about the new video dynamic (and perspective) the drone will give us for the website and our YouTube videos!
Our drone is an older model…a DJI Phantom 2 Plus. It has a flight time of nearly 25 minutes; it is gyro stabilized and GPS equipped and has a gimbaled Go Pro Hero 3 Black Camera. The good news is that it is very forgiving to a novice pilot:
– It will return to where it started if you lose signal
– It hovers and maintains its position when you let go of the transmitter sticks
– It flys back to the start point when the battery reaches a programmed setting
The bad news is…it is not water proof…if this thing goes in the drink…we will be buying a new one!…or doing without!
So…I need to learn to fly confidently. I need to overcome my fear of dropping it in the water and I need to learn to fly by using the FPV screen instead of trying to watch the drone as it gets smaller and smaller as distance from me to it increases. The pay-off will be some fantastic video! Many more practice hours are planned…but for now…we know she works (the drone – now named “Take Me There by Air”)and any malfunction is likely pilot error.