What I’m Learning about Drones

If we’re connected on social media or if you listen to either of my podcasts (Social Media Church  and Awesome Marriage Podcast) you know that I’m a big fan of drones. For Christmas about 3 years ago I received a remote control helicopter and my inner child went nuts. It was pretty weak and maybe lasted about 3 months and could only fly in the house. I was hooked though and became fascinated by the potential usefulness of this technology.

Last year for my birthday, my wife took it to the next level and bought me my first actual drone. It was a  UDI U818 Wifi FPV  with a camera and could even be viewed live through a Virtual Reality headset while flying the drone. I was excited about it, but had no experience and trying to find space in New York City to fly it was next to impossible. I even tried flying it in our apartment, but 700 square feet isn’t nearly enough.

Once we moved to Texas I quickly found space and quickly saw how much fun this drone was and blown away by what it could do. It took me a week or 2  or 5 to get a handle on the controls as they are so reactive and the drone can take off so fast. I started flying the drone almost daily in our backyard until one day I lost the drone. I was flying it in our front yard this time when I lost site of the drone in the sun and my reaction was to go higher when a wind gust seemed to just grab it and take it away like a kite. I watched it fly away into a cow pasture (yes, I have a cow pasture across the street from my townhome… because Texas) never to be seen again.

After losing my first drone that my wife got me I wasn’t ready to give up yet, but I couldn’t quite justify this expense for something I so quickly and easily lost. My next step was to find the cheapest drone I could on Amazon, so I got the Syma X12 Nano.  It’s smaller than the palm of my hand, but I was blown away by how well it worked when I got it. I was able to have fun flying it around my house for about 2 weeks, but after a couple of crashes it never would fly straight and I was droneless once again.

I finally broke down about 3 months ago and bought 1 more at a price point of $50 this time and bought the UDI U818A-HD. It’s basically the same as my first drone without a high quality camera or the VR capabilities. It flies great though and I’ve learned to take far fewer risks. I’m having a blast and it seems to never gets old! It’s also been so fun to teach others including my kids how to fly it.

Now that I’ve shared my long history with drones, here’s what I’m learning:

  • They’re Fun – they’re seriously ridiculously fun! You get to control something that’s flying through the air!
  • They’re Affordable – I bought a drone that flies for less than $20! I have a very functional drone that I bought for $50. The price point continues to drop and the value that you can get for that price increases on a daily basis.
  • They’re Powerful – whether you want a racing drone that can go fast or a photography drone that can shoot 4K video, there’s a drone for that. There’s even a drone that can carry a person: watch this.
  • They’re Useful – these are no longer just toys, but have useful functions that are being developed for them daily. The delivery opportunities around these in the future will be very interesting to watch develop.

If you don’t have a drone yet, I’m just going to assume you don’t really care about enjoying life. Just kidding, but seriously, go get a drone and start having fun. You won’t likely find a functional use for it anytime soon (other than photos and videos), but having fun is useful enough for now from my perspective.

If you have a drone I would love for you to share which one you have and what you think. Also, if you have a good reason that I can convince my wife that I need the DJI Mavic Pro, please share that as well. I’m racking my brain here as I’m ready to take my drone flying to the next level!