Category Archives for "Commerical Drones"

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

Aviate, Navigate, CommunicatePilots of manned aircraft have a saying, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate“.  It’s a reminder of three of the most important habits to develop and maintain whether you’re a 10 hour student practicing in your local airfield or 10,000 hour airliner captain flying the globe.  To those familiar with this saying no explanation is needed, but for the rest of you here’s a brief explanation of why these three things are so important and why they epitomise good airmanship.

  • Aviate – Fly the aircraft.  Whatever else happens, whatever crisis unfolds, keep flying the aircraft.  This is the single most important thing you can do as pilot in command.
  • Navigate – Know where you are and where you are going, and when you’re likely to get there.  This should ensure you don’t run out of fuel or run into adverse weather.
  • Communicate – Talk to the ground and listen to what’s going on. Tell people where you are and what your intentions are. If you get into trouble, don’t be too proud or stubborn to ask for help.  Don’t leave it until it’s too late for anyone to help you.

Aviate, Calibrate, Concentrate

Pilots of unmanned aircraft, whether they are amateur aerial photographers experimenting with DJI Phantom quadcopters, or professionally qualified pilots flying the latest heavy-lift octocopters need to develop the same good habits of airmanship as those of pilots of conventional aircraft, private or commercial.  The training to achieve BNUC-s or RPQ-s (in the UK) will go a long way to instill the correct approach to flight planning and pre-flight checks for the more commercially minded pilot, but amateurs are left without any formal instruction.  They are encourage to read the manuals, follow the guidelines, and otherwise help themselves to develop the necessary skills.   Unlike PPL holders (Private Pilot’s Licence) they can fly their aircraft unsupervised as soon as they’ve unpacked it and charged the battery.  Unfortunately, this lack of formal training combined with a rush of enthusiasm that can cause new drone owners to overlook the training and practice steps advised in the manuals, can result in mishaps and loss of the UAV (see DJI Phantom Fly-aways and Crashes).

So why don’t we have a similar saying for DJI Phantom (any UAV) pilots?  Here’s our suggestion:

  • Aviate – Fly the drone.  This isn’t just about watching it and keeping it in the air, but also anticipation i.e. knowing where it’s going to be.  Keep in mind the effects of inertia a high speeds.  Try to build a picture in your mind’s eye of the flight path and follow it.
  • Calibrate – Calibrate your compass regularly and carry out checks before every flight.  If your compass isn’t correctly calibrated, if you don’t have a good GPS lock, and if you set your Home Point somewhere in which your compass can be affected by magnetic anomalies you too could run into (fly-away) trouble.
  • Concentrate – What is all the feedback telling you?  The lights, the telemetry information on the app, the flight performance, the weather, localised winds, battery power, all these and more need to be kept in mind if your flight is to end in success.

These are my three suggestions.  What are yours?  Use the form below to share your suggestions or let us know via Twitter or Facebook.

DJI Phantom 2 No Fly Zone Feature

As any PPL (Private Pilots Licence) holder knows one of the most important things he or she must do when conducting flights is to avoid restricted or controlled airspace into which the pilot is not allowed due to the privilege limitations of the licence held.  In layman’s terms this means a private pilot has to stay outside of designated areas centred upon major and some minor airports.  The pilot will have learnt this as part of the PPL syllabus, but nevertheless controlled airspace infringements continue to occur for a variety of reasons; navigation error in flight, poor flight planning, use of out of date charts etc.  Drone or sUAV pilots need to observe and adhere to the same regulations and the DJI Phantom 2 No Fly Zone feature that will be good news to both quadcopter flyers and aviation authorities all over the world.

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Drone Categories in the UK

If you stop a person in the street and ask them what they know about drones they are likely to mention the use of drones by the military, or perhaps they’ll call to mind their use in surveillance.  However, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of their many uses in civilian life and for commercial purposes.  The range of drones now in existence is so great that there are many ways in which to categorise them, so in this post we’re going to look at some of those drone categories in the UK.

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