Expert Interview Series: Delon Anthony of My Drone Choice About the Popularity of Drones, the Laws for Drone Owners, and the Importance of Drone Insurance
Delon Anthony is the CEO of My Drone Choice, the #1 drone blog. We had a chance to speak with Delon about the increased popularity of drones, which features are the most popular, and what regulations are relevant for drone owners.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you come to be a drone enthusiast?
My name is Delon Anthony, and I have been a radio-controlled hobbyist ever since I was a child. I began with RC electronics and eventually worked my way up to remote control helicopters and airplanes, and I learned to hover them in my lawn.
In the past few years, there’s been a paradigm change in remote control flying because technologies have brought the price of RC electronics down to the consumer market. I am now fascinated with the products that have helped achieve this: drones (or, as some say, quadcopters).
I’ve been observing as many different quadcopter models as I can at one time, and have been flying them, testing them, and figuring out which ones are high-quality drones. I made a decision to create My Drone Choice to share a bit of my experience and knowledge with others. I will also be keeping articles up-to-date on popular quadcopter news.
Within the drone market, what types or styles of drone are currently generating the most interest?
As a drone enthusiast, I believe photography drones are currently getting the most interest. While cameras on numerous drones are made to capture videos, photography quadcopters are created with still pictures in mind. I also assume that surveillance drones are starting to get attention in the drone market. They are frequently used in agriculture, industrial applications, inspection, real estate, and so on.
What features or technological capabilities differentiate quadcopter drones from one another?
I believe there is no such thing as the best quadcopter. Every drone has its strengths and weaknesses. After all, you get what you pay for. Obviously, cheap drones may not include the advanced technological capabilities or features that expensive models possess. Some sophisticated capabilities include GPS, camera resolution, sensors, and flight time.
The decision of what makes one drone better/worse compared to another depends on the personal requirements of the pilot or user. They may have to select the model with features they use or need and not have it for the sake of buying an expensive model.
Finish this sentence: “The biggest mistake I see with beginner drone owners or operators is…”
The biggest mistake I see with beginner drone owners or operators is not knowing the rules before they fly.
The popular quote “the sky is the limit” is not for beginner drone operators or owners. Most of them do not seek to understand the rules to fly responsibly and safely.
The drone craze over the past couple of years has led to the introduction of new FAA regulations, particularly “part 107,” which is for operating mini commercial UAV aircraft (models weighing under 55 lbs). New drone owners often fail to register their drones and are unaware of no-fly zones. These common mistakes may cause conflicts, but they tend to disappear once new pilots become more proficient and understand their responsibilities.
I recommend that beginner flyers check out the Know Before You Fly website for more information. In fact, my website is one of the official supporters of the Know Before You Fly organization. My role is to promote the safety of drone flying and make people aware of drone rules and laws.
For a person or company who is considering a drone for aerial photography applications, what suggestions do you have for finding the right product?
Normally, aerial photography drones are expensive, ranging from $500 to $1500. It depends on the picture or video resolution you need. The higher the resolution and clarity, the more expensive the drone becomes.
In my opinion, DJI drones are the best models for aerial photography applications. Their models such as Phantom 3, Phantom 4, and Spread Wings can capture surreal aerial photography. However, they may be too expensive for some people. They could also check out the 3DR Solo Quadcopter, which is a better alternative, although though it comes with fewer features.
Apart from the drone itself, other things that can enhance the aerial photography experience include a gimbal for smooth video, a range extender for flying long distances, multiple batteries for extended flights, FPV goggles for a cockpit flying experience, and a sun hood for the transmitter. Remember, most of these add-ons may have to be bought separately, so prioritize your spending on what you need rather than buying something you won’t use at all.
What laws and regulations should drone owners and operators be aware of?
Drone operators and owners can find out information on drone legislation from the official Federal Aviation Administration or Know Before You Fly websites. Also, remember that for every country, there are different restrictions, so make sure as a responsible pilot to check out your local guidelines before flying.
You may be charged with hefty fines if you fail to comply with FAA rules. Some final words of advice: do not fly near airports and make sure to register your drone if the law requires you to do so.
What measures can a business take to protect itself against drone-related financial liability?
Some common drone-related accidents include the GPS not responding, drones flying away or crashing into trees, drones landing in water, and drones falling out of the sky due to a low battery. Buying drone insurance is, of course, one excellent way to protect the business from drone-related financial liability. An alternative solution is hiring an external or in-house certified drone pilot to handle your aerial photography projects. It may look expensive, but it’s worth it in the long-run.
In the future, how much of an impact do you think drones will have on our everyday lives?
I am a strong believer that drones are the future of technology. They will create significant changes to our everyday lives that we never thought would happen five years ago. The year 2015 is when drones started gaining interest among commercial-level consumers, and their growth is well poised to increase rapidly in the upcoming years.
Soon, we will have our deliveries done by drones globally. As you know, Amazon drones are already delivering small-scale items within the U.S. I have also heard about the possibility of drone journalism, which can change the way we see news coverage every day. Moreover, drones are now allowed to be used for commercial moneymaking opportunities.
In general, drones will become a game changer, and it is only a matter of time before we see drones become common in the sky. The positive impact of drones will be huge despite the minor problems that accompany them.
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