I don't Even Know What I Don't Know


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Hello All,

I have joined this forum because I have been looking at this website for a little while now, and have been enjoying, and impressed, by the vast amount of information provided for people interested in pursuing a greater knowledge of the subject. I thought I would touch base with y'all, and request your opinions and advice as to what to purchase, how to go about becoming a good and ethical licensed pilot, and any other advice, should I actually be any good at flying these cool little craft. I put more weight in the opinions of people, of any endeavor, that are actually out doing it. I am an environmental/wetland scientist no longer able to work in my field, or any field at the moment, due to health concerns. I have been looking for other career opportunities in my down time, with an emphasis in eventually starting my own business. I have absolutely no experience in flying UAV's, except an uncontrollable little helicopter my wife bought for me a few years back from Bed Bath and Beyond, so that doesn't count. I have been looking at the beginner level craft on your great website, and have picked out several I really like. I would like to purchase a beginner level drone that is as close as possible to professional level performance, without the large initial investment, as I can. My hand to eye coordination is not effected by my health concerns, and I'd like to see if I even enjoy flying them. I'm hoping that I will, and it will provide me with a way to get back to work, and the woods, without destroying my body any further. Forgive me if I have some industry terms incorrect; some forums take exception to incorrect lexicon.

Thanks,

TC

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On 10/21/2018 at 8:36 PM, TopCat said:

Hello All,

I have joined this forum because I have been looking at this website for a little while now, and have been enjoying, and impressed, by the vast amount of information provided for people interested in pursuing a greater knowledge of the subject. I thought I would touch base with y'all, and request your opinions and advice as to what to purchase, how to go about becoming a good and ethical licensed pilot, and any other advice, should I actually be any good at flying these cool little craft. I put more weight in the opinions of people, of any endeavor, that are actually out doing it. I am an environmental/wetland scientist no longer able to work in my field, or any field at the moment, due to health concerns. I have been looking for other career opportunities in my down time, with an emphasis in eventually starting my own business. I have absolutely no experience in flying UAV's, except an uncontrollable little helicopter my wife bought for me a few years back from Bed Bath and Beyond, so that doesn't count. I have been looking at the beginner level craft on your great website, and have picked out several I really like. I would like to purchase a beginner level drone that is as close as possible to professional level performance, without the large initial investment, as I can. My hand to eye coordination is not effected by my health concerns, and I'd like to see if I even enjoy flying them. I'm hoping that I will, and it will provide me with a way to get back to work, and the woods, without destroying my body any further. Forgive me if I have some industry terms incorrect; some forums take exception to incorrect lexicon.

Thanks,

TC

Hello @TopCat ! welcome to the forum. Most people find the DJI spark cheap and pretty easy to use. You can also look at amazon for lots of 4K crafts that are cheap but decent for a mid range drone. Just make sure you look at the reviews for it. If you need any further help, just make a new thread and ask. Welcome again.

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Hi Luke,

Thank you for the kind welcome and the advice!

I'll definitely check out your DJI recommendation. I've gathered through my research, that DJI makes some really cool and well built drones. I looked for it on this site but maybe I missed it. I've saved some money to buy my first craft, but I really want to make sure my first one is the "right" first one, so I'm doing my research, trying to learn as much as I can, and taking my time so I don't regret my purchase. So really appreciate your help Luke.

TC.

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On 10/21/2018 at 8:36 PM, TopCat said:

I have absolutely no experience in flying UAV's, except an uncontrollable little helicopter my wife bought for me a few years back from Bed Bath and Beyond, so that doesn't count.

Haha, love the humor in this.. but it's true. I'm new to the game too but I think you will catch on in no time. Flying these birds becomes addicting.. I'd make sure to get a Fly More package with more batteries. More power = more practice.

The thing I'm making sure to do is track all flights, flight time, and battery cycles from get go. That way I'll know exactly how experienced I am, eventually using the "hours flown" badge from the Skyward.io app.  This makes appealing to potential customers easier if you eventually lead to starting your own business.

BTW, I fully support the career path deviation. I believe a great philosopher once said, "Treat your careers like your bacon, turn 'em over early and often." Good luck with the endeavor and send me a message if I can point you in the right direction. (I just finished registering my new biz and all that jazz today!)

Great idea to start small and inexpensive to see if you enjoy flying. Spark is good entry aircraft. Sky is the limit, have fun..

Clear skies and safe flying to you good sir.
Cheers,
∞Chris

 

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Hey Chris,

I hope this reply gets back to you, I'm not sure I'm doing this forum stuff correctly! I don't know if I should reply to the emails I receive, or the "Reply to This Topic" box. So I guess I'll just do both until somebody hollers at me to stop.

Anyway, thank you for your reply and the great advice. I never would have thought to log my hours for future use, and the Fly More Package certainly makes sense. I like the career quote! This change was not of my choosing, but I have worn many hats (a 10x Resistol being a constant), so it's not quite as traumatic for me as it can be for some folks. I'm am actually pretty damned excited, albeit cautiously so. Congratulations on your new business my new friend! That's wonderful, and I bet you're excited as well.

I'm getting close to a decision on which beginner drone I'm going to acquire, and the Spark is at the top of the list. This website, and forum, have been a great resource.

Thanks again for your helpful reply, and best of luck with your new hat Chris,

TC.

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  • 3 weeks later...

From a rookie. ...  ...   Our local community college has a Drone Basics Class  through their continuing ed division.  We also have a pretty active Academy of Model Aetonautics Club with several members who fly both fixed wing and multirotor UAVS.   See if there is an AMA club in your area.  Joining the AMA also gives you liability insurance !  When you purchase a "serious" Drone, try to "buy local" through a hobby shop that has a large selection and in-the-know staff.  WEB buying might be cheaper, but often comes with limited tech support.  Many clubs and local stores have bulletin boards.   Look for used Drones.  I got a DJI PHANTOM 2 complete with three batteries for $300.00 this way.  You should consider registering your Drones with the FAA as well.  A comprehensive Operations Log is also useful.  Track not only all of your flying, but  any mods \ changes \ additions to your Drones as well.  Enjoy your Droning !

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On 10/25/2018 at 3:42 PM, TopCat said:

I hope this reply gets back to you, I'm not sure I'm doing this forum stuff correctly! I don't know if I should reply to the emails I receive, or the "Reply to This Topic" box. So I guess I'll just do both until somebody hollers at me to stop.

Click on the “Go To This Thread” in the email, it will launch your web browser to that thread and then use the “Reply To This Topic” box in the thread.  

On 10/24/2018 at 4:01 PM, TopCat said:

DJI makes some really cool and well built drones. 

Cool, maybe, we’ll built and supported, not so much.  

On 10/21/2018 at 8:36 PM, TopCat said:

I am an environmental/wetland scientist no longer able to work in my field,

We work with large utilities and civil engineering firms and environmental surveys is a big part of what’s needed in the commercial drone industry.  Your experience in that field could be invaluable, look at the UAV as a way to extend your reach.  

Your value proposition will be based on your ability to capture quality data and how you interpret that data to make it actionable.  A couple of things to consider; 

  1. This has very little to do with the UAV.  What instruments can you use to collect the quality data you need for your evaluation?  The better the data the more valuable your service. 
  2. With the exception of possibly training, don’t use DJI!  They are banned by the DoD, over critical infrastructure and they are a closed vertically integrated system which means they won’t work with whatever instrument you decide to use.  
  3. The key to this kind of career change is finding the right problem to solve and then figuring out how to integrate  your solution into already existing customer workflows. 
  4. Your previous experience as an environmental scientists is what separates you from any idiot who can buy a drone online.  Even if you decide to go into a different direction your previous experience is where your value is to someone who wants to use UAVs to solve a problem. All it takes to get a 107 is $150..
  5. Keep in mind that no matter what you decide, to make a career out of commercial UAV operations will likely involve extensive travel.  

http://iplayerhd.com/player/cec626ae-f30f-4df9-af7c-deb04f537d9c

Good luck with your career change.  

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