Expert Interview Series: David Gonzalez of SkilledFlyer.com Discusses Drone Features, Applications, and Predictions For the Future
David Gonzalez is the owner and writer of SkilledFlyer.com, a website aimed at teaching people about radio-controlled drones. We recently caught up with David to pick his brain about the latest in drone technology, and to hear his thoughts on what the future holds for the drone industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become so passionate about radio-controlled drones?
In 2015, I bought my first quadcopter: the Syma X5C. This was the first time I had any experience with RC drones. Right away, I got hooked. Eventually, I found myself upgrading to more expensive models like the DJI Phantom 3 and Parrot Bebop. They’re just way too fun to ignore!
What are some of the basics that new drone owners must learn?
Every flyer needs to understand the law. If you don’t follow the law, you can have your drone confiscated, get arrested, or both. For this reason, I recommend that you check out KnowBeforeYouFly.org to get the latest rules and regulations regarding flying your drone.
These days, what are some of the features of RC drones that are most popular among drone enthusiasts?
It really depends on the individual. Drone racers are looking for speed and mobility, while aerial photographers are more focused on high-quality cameras. It really comes down to what you’ll be doing with your quadcopter.
Tell us about one of your favorite new RC drones. What makes it so special?
I like the new DJI Phantom 4. It’s a little pricey, but if you’ve got the funds, it’s sooooo worth it!
Why do some people choose to build their own drones instead of buying them?
Building a drone has a lot of advantages. First, you have full control over the capabilities of your drone. Want a longer flight time? You can customize for that. What a more durable frame? You can customize for that too.
When you build, you not only learn about how drones operate internally, but you also have much more flexibility with regards to its features. This is why drone racers often prefer to build their drones rather than buy stock models.
What are some of the most popular business applications that you’re seeing with RC drone photography or videography?
I’m seeing a lot of people use drones to film important events like weddings and parties. The market for RC drones is becoming huge. I read somewhere that by 2018, it’s going to be a multi-billion dollar industry. Pretty crazy!
For those people or companies who are using RC drones in their business, what steps should they take to protect themselves against liability?
Maybe buy drone insurance? I don’t have much experience with using drones for business purposes. An RC drone forum should be a good place to get some answers.
What do you expect to see in RC drones and the drone market by the end of the decade?
It’s going to get pretty crazy. I think drones are going to play a huge role in our lives. Delivering packages via RC drones will become the norm. Lifesaving devices like defibrillators and Epi-pens can be delivered by drones in a medical emergency. Heck, it’s not too crazy to think that one day, drones will replace ambulances. They already have drones that can pick up a full-grown adult off the ground and fly them around, so why not? A drone doesn’t have to worry about traffic either, which is a huge bonus.
I bet that we’re going to see drones in law enforcement as well. They’ll probably be used in riot control, catching suspects on the run, etc. The same way we look outside our windows today and see airplanes, it’s going to be the same with drones. You’re going to look outside your window, see 10-15 drones flying through the air, and think “no big deal.” We’re slowly but surely moving in that direction.
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