(C) 2014 Matt Jarvis. d vulputate

Matt Jarvis Associates
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Quadcopters and Aerial Photography

Having flown conventional model helicopters for a few years, I had little difficulty translating to a multi-rotor design. Having now taught a few others to fly the same craft, I have come to realise just how easy they are to fly - given a few basic techniques

It is clear that a gap in the market for a mid-sized, cost effective, computer controlled multi-rotor helicopter in ready to fly format exists and many major companies have rushed to bring their products to market.

Arguably first there was the Parrot AR Drone. Although seen by many as a toy – not least in part due to the use of WiFi and a smart phone to control, the aircraft is still a complex flying machine, capable of unaided stable flight in calmer conditions.

This was soon followed by the DJi Phantom, Blade 350QX and the very similar Walkera QR-X350. All these aircraft feature GPS, computerised control and a degree of autonomous flight and all are designed to have cameras mounted to them.

Costs range from £250 or so for a basic “Bind and Fly” ‘copter requiring a transmitter to complete, up to around £1100 for a full featured camera equipped platform, ready to fly straight out of the box.

Getting started with Quadcopters seeks to give basic advice for anyone thinking of buying a drone, along with UK legislation and flying rules to ensure you stay legal.

An overview of the three most common quadcopters is also included.

The computerised flight systems build into the DJI Phantom and other similar machines making flying them very simple, although of course, to learn to fly them well takes a little bit longer!

In a conventional model aircraft, pushing the control stick on the radio control directly moves a control surface on your plane. With Quadcopters, you are simply requesting that the on-board computer to be re-programmed to fly in a different direction, speed or altitude.

It’s a bit like flying one of the big modern jets, just with less passengers and somewhat less expense if you do crash…

GPS and other sensors allow the drone to follow a pre-programmed flight path and to be called back to you if you lose sight of it. Very reassuring given the cost of these machines.

All flying in the UK is regulated by the CAA, irrespective of the size of your aircraft. Further rules apply as soon as you strap a camera to your drone, with over flying of towns and villages prohibited, as well as limits as to how close you can fly to buildings and vehicles.

These regulations are all designed to protect members of the public and other users of the unregulated airspace below 400’.

Insurance is a very good idea, as well as joining a club or organisation, where further tuition on flying can be gained, as well as becoming part of the wider flying community.

Buy the book HERE and learn more about this absorbing hobby.