Frequently Asked Questions
Most people are naturally very inquisitive when they encounter me flying a multirotor. Unfortunately, I must avoid engaging in conversation while I am operating to prevent distraction and to ensure safety. Generally, I am happy to answer questions when my rig is on the ground; however, sometimes I have time constraints and simply cannot engage with everyone. Here are some of the questions that I am most frequently asked:
Is that a “drone?”
While the word "drone" has carried the stigma of long-range and/or autonomous warfare for many years, the media latched onto the term as a label for these benign and relatively small radio-controlled aircraft. At this point, it is futile to debate the point... It is a drone. However, there are a number of other suitable terms, such as sUAV (small unmanned aerial vehicle), multirotor, or quadcopter. When someone seems to have no idea what it is, I will often introduce them to my "flying camera."
What’s the range?
I can operate my rig up to a few miles away. However, I will rarely push it nearly so far out. Control requires unobstructed line-of-sight (LOS). Of course, even though the drone may fly well beyond visual range (BVR) of the naked eye, LOS still applies.
Is it difficult to fly? How do I get started?
Like many things in life, it takes a lot of practice to develop real skill. Every flight is a chance for me to both practice and learn. Whether you are interested in pursuing RC operations as a hobby or a profession, I strongly encourage you to study everything you can about it on-line before you launch your first aircraft. Know your equipment! You have a lot of responsibility when you operate an sUAV. Safety is essential!
Where can I get one of those toys?
There are many makes and models of drones. My main rig at the moment is the DJI Inspire 1 -- and it really is not a toy. There are many entry-level drones that can be purchased at various retailers such as Radio Shack or on-line at places like Amazon.com.
Personally, I do not believe that a device with propellers spinning at thousands of RPMs belongs in the hands of a child. For that matter, I have encountered many adults who clearly have not even read the manual and do not have a clear understanding of their essential responsibilities as an RC operator.
How much did that cost?
Suffice it to say that I have invested many thousands of dollars in my gear.
Is there a camera on that thing?
Yes. And really, that is the whole point for me… to capture amazing aerial imagery with my "flying camera."
Hasn't the FAA banned those things?
The FAA has a vital role in protecting our airspace. Drones must be operated in a manner that ensures the safety of full-scale aircraft, as well as the people and property on the ground. As for the FAA's present state of authority over drones, I will refer you to the insightful web site DroneLawJournal.com .
©2016 Archer Koch/MultiRotorCam