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Interdrone: Fifteen Resources to Get You in the Air

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org)

At Interdrone, the International Drone Conference in Las Vegas, Sep 9-11, it was possible to go from drone newbie to drone novice in just three days. No, that wasn’t a misprint. There is just too much to the world of drones to become an expert that quickly, but here are fifteen resources to help you on the way. (I am not endorsing any of the companies mentioned below. They are provided as a place to start your research.)

The Drone Invasion

dronesThe invasion is on the way, but, don’t run for the hills just yet. The Drone Invasion is a film, which, despite the intentionally ominous title, will help you understand the world of hobbyist and commercial drone flying.

The film includes interviews with many of the creative spark-plugs in the drone movement. Its aim is to dispel myths and show all the good things drones can be used for. Here’s a link to the trailer and if you share it, use #DronesAreGood.

The film will debut the day before International Drone Day, May 6, 2016. On that day, affiliated teams around the world demonstrate drones for the public. You can join a team or attend an event to learn more.

The Drone Invasion is directed by David Oneal. Who’s that? He’s a drone blogger.

Let There be Blogs

David Oneal and his better half Sarah run That Drone Show. Their videos provide advice, news and contests. They produced a series of blogs from the floor of Interdrone, so check them out for a live look at the show. They have a website, they tweet (@thatdroneshow ) and you can find them on Facebook.

David and Sarah are not alone in the drone blogosphere.

dronegirl

The Drone Girl, Sally French, brings strong journalistic credits to her drone reports

The Drone Girl is Sally French (@thedronegirl). She is a reporter whose work has appeared on KNBC-4 in Los Angeles, NPR, CNN, The BBC, Forbes, and The Economist. She writes about drones, sometimes using drones to get the story.

The Roswell Flight Test Crew, Patrick Sherman and Brian Zvaigzne, a.k.a., respectively, Lucidity and Techinstein, build and pilot (and crash and repair) small drone aircraft. Their motto, semper cadentes, means “always falling” or “always crashing.” It acknowledges that the world of drones is an ongoing experiment. They report on their adventures on their website and YouTube channel.

I Know Art When I See It

So does SKYPIXEL. This site displays the work of aerial photographers and filmmakers from across the globe. It conducts contests and allows photographers to promote their work.

They recently have descended from the Internet into the real world and are in the process of conducting a world tour at art galleries in North America, Asia and Europe. There may still be time to get your photos included.

Magazines – Like Websites on Paper

dronesFor you old-schoolers there are magazines to learn about drones. But, just to keep you from going into computer withdrawl, they have mailing lists, digital editions, and apps. RotoDrone had a presence at Interdrone and has coverage on its website. A magazine that used to be called MultiRotor Pilot is now Drones, and Drone360 premiered in March from the publishers of Discover magazine.

I Want One

There are many places to purchase a drone. I received a catalog in the mail today from a company known for workbenches, composters, and funny signs about beer and it contained several drones. You can find drones at Best Buy, Fry’s or on Google.

The key is to do your homework first and determine what you want to do with your drone — photography, video, racing, or just learning about the technology. You can buy them ready to fly or build them from kits or from parts. Drones range in size from those that will fit in the palm of your hand to five or more feet across.

If you are considering using a drone for business purposes, it is a good idea to go with a large American distributer such as MultiCopter Warehouse or Hobbico  rather than direct from a foreign manufacturer. Buying directly from a manufacturer in China, for instance, can lead to complications in getting your drone approved for commercial use by the FAA.

drone

A drone can fit in the palm of your hand

There are several good websites to help you get started. MyFirstDrone.com covers the basics. Drone Flyers has a section dedicated to beginners. For safety you definitely should familiarize yourself with the Know Before You Fly project. National Geographic has an article which recommends the ten best drones for beginners.

There are also firms that can insure your drone, or if you are an innovator, help you with drone patents. The Interdrone website contains a description of all of their 2015 exhibitors.

So far, my favorite drone, is the Xtreem Bubble Bomber. Yes, there is a button on the remote control marked “Bubbles” which allows you to hit your target with big, soapy bubbles.

So, remember, #DronesAreGood and they’re also fun. Fly safely.

The slideshow below contains images from Interdrone.

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