7 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Drone

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Drone flying over sea at sunset

Drone flying over sea at sunset

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), more commonly referred to as a drone is an aircraft piloted by remote control or onboard computers.

Drones are used for various purposes, such as capturing aerial footage, mapping terrains and for military combat.

The most basic function of a camera drone is to carry out aerial surveillance. Besides, they are also ideal for aerial mapping, inspection of vast areas, scientific research, search and rescue, aerial photography, aerial video capture, and transporting items to areas where road accessibility is limited.

In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the ownership and use of personal drones, especially for travel photography. Personal drones can cost as little as $50 and as much as thousands of dollars, depending on the model, type, technologies and features.

Drone flying over river

Drone flying over river

You can read more about our 10-step guide to buying a drone for more information on buying your first drone.

Whereas the latest drones are quite advanced and have reliable technology, some do come with underlying complications that you as an ordinary person would not be able to realize at first glance.

This 7 step guide is meant to provide you with more insight concerning the things you should know before purchasing your first drone.

1. Learn About Drones

The first thing you have to consider is the purpose of the drone. Will just be a flying toy, or will you be taking professional aerial or travel photography and videos?

Drone flying in the sky

Drone flying in the sky

Then you will want to understand the drone terminologies such as RTF, BNF, and ARF. Once you are familiar with what drones can do and the specifications that will best meet your purpose, then you will be more informed as to which model to purchase.

2. Drone Registration

Because of the various risks that drones pose to the general public, more and more countries are requiring owners to register/licence their drones. There have been a few near misses between passenger aircrafts and drones. Some drones are unfortunately used for illegal purposes such as spying on people.

Drone flying

Drone flying

3. Controllers

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles. This indicates that you will need a means by which you safely fly the drone and control its movements from the ground. The good news is that most modern drones already come with their own controllers. For some you will need to purchase the controllers separately or find a way to use your smartphone to pilot the drone.

Drone with controller

Drone with controller

4. Cost Vs Capability

The cost of your drone could be linked to the capabilities. That is a no-brainer of course. So for example, if you are in travel photography, you would ideally want a drone that can take high resolution pictures and also transmit videos back to the controller. You would also want a robust and very stable drone to avoid blurry pictures.

Drone flying aobe emergency scene

Drone flying aobe emergency scene

5. Design and Build

The number one reason for damaged or wrecked drones is due drones crashing out of the sky, even from low altitude. So if you plan to use your drone in harsh external conditions, ensure to get the right drone that is built with the right material and safeguards.

Drone with camera in flight

Drone with camera in flight

6. Flying Guidelines

In the USA, FAA guidelines compel UAVs to fly at not more than four hundred feet above the ground. Also, many countries/cities have no-fly zones for various reasons. These no-fly zones include military bases, foreign consulates and airports.

Camera drone

Camera drone

7. Applicable Laws

Drone image of beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Drone image of beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Forget what you see in the movies. Taking pictures of private locations such as homes, gardens and offices is illegal in most countries. So try not to capture footage that could land you in trouble, accidentally or purposely. In some cases you may get off with just a fine, and in other cases, you could get a criminal record.

Picture of Jeongdongjin, South Korea taken by a drone

Picture of Jeongdongjin, South Korea taken by a drone

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