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European Drone Defence

Buying Drones Online

Drones; are the gadgets that are at the centre of today’s awe-inspiring aerial shots. A drone is a term used to describe any unmanned aerial vehicle. Basically, it is a flying gadget (others refer to it as a flying robot) that is controlled by software. Some drones come with autonomous flying plans controlled by a built-in program.

While it is common today to find professional photographers and videographers working with drones, these gadgets have been a preserve of professional pilots until recently. Drones weren’t widely used because they can be expensive, they need the experience to handle, and the license requirements can be daunting. With time, manufacturers have come up with the simplest, easiest to use drones that are now affordable to many and are used in various industries. The laws that were once very stringent now allow drone flying even by amateur pilots. However, it is important to note that anyone flying a drone must comply with the set regulations of the land.

Previously, drones were pretty hard to fly. However, as technological advancements take centre stage, manufacturers have increasingly made drones that are easier to master. Today, you can find toy drones that can be used in school settings to advance STEM education. Additionally, there is widespread use of drones in health care as they are fast, convenient and perfect for those hard to reach areas. Let’s look at some of the important facts about drones that we cannot afford to miss.

Drone Types Available Online

There are various ways that manufacturers and sellers classify drone types. For starters, some may use the mode of operation as classification criteria. Alternatively, the intended use of the drone can dictate the classification. If you are new to the game, here are some facts you should know.

• TriCopter drones come with three propellers, are small in size and are generally made for direct consumers, i.e. individuals who want to use them for their own amusement. They mainly consist of a camera.

• Quadcopters have four propellers and are made for professionals. They consist of first-person-view (FPV) video piloting

• Hexacopter drones have six propellers and are mainly used by professionals. They come with a GPS installed and can be used by surveyors or site assessors

• Octacopters, as you probably have already guessed, come with eight propellers. These drones are quite large, which is why they are fitted with stabilizers.

Now that we have looked into the general physical appearance of the drones, let’s get in-depth into the drone types you can choose.

Buying Toy Drones Online

Toy drones are the perfect device for someone who is just getting into drones flying and learning about domesticating drones. They consist of a basic camera and offer easy to use flying abilities that help beginners ease into the art. They come with basic technologies. Don’t be fooled by these though; some of them come with high-end features and can be surprisingly strong. You can get toy drones with an adjustable camera and collision avoidance. 

When shopping for a toy drone, be sure to look at the features that come with it. Different manufacturers include premium features in their products, which of course come with a cost. Toy drones usually have a low-resolution built-in camera, but at affordable prices compared to the other drones. Be sure to keenly look at the product description on the website before you make a purchase.

Buying Basic Camera Drones Online

If you would like to experiment and practice your aerial photography and videography without breaking the bank, the basic camera drone could be what you need. While the technology is basic and the camera is not high quality, it does the job for amateur photographers and videographers. It helps you practice your flying skills and acquaints you with the technology. This is also a good start to drone flying and informs you when the time comes to make an upgrade.

The good thing about buying the drone online is that you can ask if the seller allows trade-in. This means that once you are acquainted with the drone, and have enough cash to upgrade to better technology, you can return the gadget and get a better one. Most of the basic drones come with adjustable cameras and collision avoidance features.

Buying Racing Drones Online

Are you aspiring to participate in your local drone race competitions? If so, you will need a drone that can do stunts and actually race! Additionally, you need to know how to fly the drone really well so as to get a smooth race free of incidents.

Racing drones are built for speed, and can easily reach up to 80mph. They are small in size, extremely agile and great at shooting around corners. They are extremely responsive, which is important for drones flying at high speeds as it helps you to stay in control and have a smooth race.

If you are not yet experienced in handling drones at such high speeds but are still fascinated with official races and shows, you can participate in a stunts show. This works well if you already know how to fly a drone, and can do amazing tricks with it.  Stunt drones come with a 360-degree control feature and are perfect for flips, rolls and a whole load of other stunt displays depending on the flyer and the capabilities of the drone itself. 

When buying racing or stunt drones online, you need to look at the top speed, 360-degree control, size, sensitivity as well as price and brand. Be sure to purchase from an accredited seller to ascertain the quality of your purchase.

Buying Amateur Camera Drones online

While labeled amateur, these drones are a popular choice with filmmakers and photographers. They require an experienced flyer to take charge of the controls and use the various technologies incorporated in it that make it suitable for photography and filming. They are easy to use and are quite handy when it comes to capturing clear imagery in rough terrain and hard-to-reach areas.

These drones are equipped with GPS for easy navigation and controllers for precise flight adjustments. They also feature interchangeable gimbals, lenses, and cameras which can be tweaked up to produce the desired results. They also come with extended battery capacity, and often with spare batteries, so that they are in use for longer. 

The top features to look for when buying these drones online include the following;

• Flight time

• Range – how far the drone is from the control

• Camera and video quality

• Battery capacity

• Data storage capacity

• Other features such as control, GPS, ease of navigation

Before you take your drone for a ride on some hard places, practice with it. While you are expected to be a professional flyer to appropriately handle the drone, you may need to acquaint yourself with your new gadget’s control sensitivities before you begin your work. Take it for a test drive before you rely on it for work. It also helps to make a purchase from reputable online stores to guarantee quality.

Buying Advanced Camera Drones Online

These drones come with a variety of features fit for professionals. Some of the most common features across advanced camera drone brands include return home, obstacle avoidance withstands breezy situations and high-resolution aerial shots. 

If you are in the business of filming and photography, and you value shot clarity, you can consider this advanced camera drone. These drones are made for professional, clear shots. They are heavy, which helps in stabilizing shots even if it is windy. Additionally, its powerful, high-resolution camera with additional features such as GoPro allows you to control the quality of the shots you take. Be sure to browse around several online stores to compare the extra features that each brand has and pick what works best for you.

Buying Professional Drones Online

If you are a site assessor, filmmaker and photographer or just need top-notch aerial shots and enviable professional flying experience, then these are the perfect drones for you. These are the most advanced drones in the market today and come with as many features and advanced technology as is possible to make your flying and shot taking experience as high end as the gadget itself.

Professional drones come with flight precision adjustments, interchangeable gimbals and cameras, and lenses and give very high-resolution shots. They have extended battery life (and spare batteries) to keep the drone airborne for longer. Most of these drones give 4K footage and above, and feature fancy tech depending on the brand.

While these drones may cost you a small fortune, they are worth the investment. These drones come with a variety of features that make it easy to fly them, even though you need to be a professional pilot to handle this drone. The feature also gives the pilot a lot more control; of the drone itself and of the shots taken. This ensures that you always have clear, high-resolution photos and videos of the places you are filming.

What to Look For When Buying Drones Online

Like all other electronics that you wish to invest in, it is paramount to have non-negotiable features so that you get the drone item for the intended task. This is the only way to ensure that your investment will be worth your while. Here are some simple pointers to look out for when buying a drone online.

• Flying time – Depending on the type and brand of drone you want to buy, the flying time varies greatly. The general rule is that bigger drones fly longer. Professional drones are known to fly for up to 30 minutes when fully charged before additional charging is needed. Toy drones, on the other hand, can fly for up to 9 minutes, depending on the brand. Most drones come with spare batteries for those times you have projects that last more than 30 minutes and you may not be in a position to recharge. 

• Batteries – The battery capacity determines the flight time of the drone. While it is common to see drones with spare batteries, it is important to confirm from your seller if your drone purchase also includes spare batteries. If you are buying a drone for work, which will sometimes take you to places where you cannot recharge, you might need to always carry spare batteries. If you need to buy spare batteries separately, be sure to confirm the size and type to avoid buying the wrong thing. Additionally, buy batteries from reputable brands to ascertain that their lifespan is what they say it will be.

• Flight range – The range heavily depends on the intended use. If you are interested in professional, dramatic aerial shots, it would be best to go for a drone that has a greater flight range. Most of the professional drones have a flight range of up to 2 km. Advanced drones, on the other hand, have a flight range of about 500 m. Before you fly your drone, always make sure that the range at which you fly it is legal in that part of the world. Always keep your drone in sight, regardless of the flight range.

• The controller comes inbuilt in drones and act as the brain of the entire system. In some cases, you will find product descriptions that refer to the controller as the transmitter. The controller or transmitter transfers input commands to the drone itself during flying. These drone transmitters operate at an average 2.4 GHz frequency range. While this is the standard frequency range in many drones, it is essential to look at the drone you intend to purchase and verify the features offered. A good number of drone designs feature buttons, and others come with LCD screens that are used to manage controls.

• Sensors are essential, though they may not be available in all designs. Cheaper drone designs do not have sensors or feature very few of them. Expensive drones have countless advanced sensors; the more high end it is, the greater the number of sensors. Some of the popular sensors present in commercial drones include GPS, temperature and obstacle sensors. Advanced quadcopters are equipped with the return home feature that lets the drone go back to its take-off location when the flyer presses the home button.

• Cameras – It is important to note right from the onset that not all drones have cameras. The presence of cameras and their resolution will depend on the intended use. If the drone is intended for activities that do not require cameras, then it may not have one. For example, you can find educational toy drones that may or may not have a camera. 

• If you are looking for a drone with cameras, think about these two main factors; stability and resolution. These are the two factors that will affect the quality of your shots. High-resolution cameras give high-quality videos and photos. If you want professional, high-quality shots, consider drones from 2.7k. If you are looking for cinematic shots, look for drones with 4K and above. If your only aim is to create family holiday and home evens memories, anything above HD 1080p will be ideal. If you want smooth films, look for drones with stabilizing features such as gimbals. While the stabilizing features may come with additional costs, the final shots are worth the investment.

• First Person View means that you get a live stream of the footage the drone takes on either a tablet, a phone or on the controller’s display. This is especially important in helping you to guide the drone to perfectly position the camera for the shots you want. 

• GPS enabled drones can generate flight paths automatically from the board software. If you see any drone with a feature such as “return home”, it means that it is fitted with Global Satellite Positioning software that helps in mapping out paths to identifiable locations. It means that the software can be programmed to bring the drone to the exact location it took off from by just one flick of a switch!

• Ease of repairs for the drone in case of any issues is essential. First of all, buy the drone from a reputable seller and make sure you get a valid warranty for it. This will help cover your investment in case of any malfunction from the drone’s own technical issues from the factory. Additionally, ask questions about repairs and maintenance in case of any damage. Let’s face it, drones may be prone to a few crashes or collisions, and some spare parts may be needed every once in a while. It is advisable to buy a drone whose repair and spare parts are low cost and easily available.

• If you want a drone that will last longer without repairs, get one with a brushless motor. While brushed motors are easy and inexpensive to maintain, they do not last long. The constant need for repairs can be annoying and the costs can also pile up.

• Speed – Depending on the intended use, speed can be a major concern. If you are looking for a racing drone, you will need to pick one with high speed and appropriate controls and security features. If you simply want a drone that can take photos and videos, you may not require a top speed drone.

If you are new to the world of drones, there are a few terms that you may not be familiar with. Here is a quick guide to some of the common phrases you might encounter while trying to purchase a drone online.

• Ready to fly (RTF) drones is a phrase that is slightly misleading as the drones are not really ready to fly. You will need to replace the batteries, bind the controller and install the propeller to get the drone to fly.

• Bind to fly (BTF) drones come assembled but without controllers. Therefore, you may need to install the software on your tablet or mobile device. 

• Almost ready to fly (ARTF) drone kits do not come with receivers or transmitters. A lot of ARFT drones do not have batteries, motors, electronic speed or flight controls. It is important that you carefully read through the product description so that you know exactly what is in the drone kit you want to purchase.

• First-person video (FPV) drones come with a live stream of the drone footage to a mobile device. This drone kit, depending on the seller, also comes with a VR headset. This feature is especially essential for filming, photography and racing.

• Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are found in most drones as they last longer. While this information is important, it is equally essential to consider the charge time and flight time of the drone. Those are the features that will most affect your work.

You are now better acquainted with the terms that you are likely to encounter when shopping online for drones. Always read the product description carefully, especially the features that come with the kit you are interested in. Additionally, if you find a drone you like, search for it on several online stores and eCommerce platforms. You might find that other sellers include more accessories in the kits. You will also get to compare prices from different shops and get the best prices for the quality you want.

The best thing about most drones is that you do not necessarily need drone specific controllers as they can be controlled via mobile devices. It is important to note, however, that there are specific mobile devices that work with drones. This is because the software works only with specific mobile operating systems. Before you make a purchase, understand the requirements and any other extra accessories needed to make your drone work as you want it to.

Remember

Educate yourself as much as you possibly can before you start spending on buying a drone. A lot of people have made a purchase only to realize later that it was the wrong device for the intended use. Be sure to understand the functionality, capabilities and features of drones before purchase.

Always have an idea of the features that must be present in a drone you intend to buy. This is essential in ensuring that you do not overlook important capabilities in the drone you want to purchase. If you would like to use the drone for specific applications, always countercheck if all the accessories you will need are included in the package or if you can buy them separately. This information will help you to budget appropriately.

Additionally, watch as many tutorial videos as you can on assembly and flying drones. These videos are a wealth of information on drone use. You also get to hear some real-life issues that you might encounter from people who are already in the field. 

Rules for Flying Drones

Yes, unmanned aerial vehicles are subject to rules and regulations. The regulation of drones is important in safeguarding sensitive areas and people. You cannot wake up and just fly a drone; there are some rules that you have to conform to before you are allowed to legally control a drone. Here are some general rules for flying drones in the UK.

• All commercial drones must be duly licensed by CAA. 

• All commercial drones must be duly insured

• All drone operations must be done in a safe and responsible manner

• You must keep your drone in direct sight at all times while it is airborne to avoid collisions

• All drones must not fly more than 400ft (122m) above the ground

• All drones must not fly within 492 feet (150m) of organized outdoor assemblies of more than 1000 people, or congested areas

• All drones should not fly within 164 feet (50 m) of any vessel, property, person, structure or vehicle which is not under the drone pilot’s control

• All drones must not fly closer than 3 miles (5 km) from protected zones without clearing with the protective zone operator, air traffic control or the flight service unit

• Drones may not drop any articles attached to them unless done in a manner that doesn’t endanger anyone or anything

These are the general rules that apply to anyone who wishes to fly unmanned drones in the UK. It is important that you are aware of the regulations that govern the type of drone you intend to use.  You need to make an application to CAA. Here are some general requirements needed when applying for commercial drone flying permission. 

• For the initial application, you will need to produce the drone’s operations manual, insurance documents, NQE recommendation or any relevant qualification to that effect

• For renewal applications, you will need to produce insurance documents, operations manual and flight logs

• For variation applications, you will need to produce the operations manual and NQE qualification for the class you wish to change to

There is a lot more information on the CAA website that you can acquaint yourself with. Remember that if your drone qualifications are from another country, you will need to get clearance from CAA before you can fly your drone in the UK. You must possess a valid UK flying permission. As such, you will need to go through the application process. While your qualification will not be disregarded, you will be required to get approval from CAA and follow the UK rules and civil drones regulations that govern unmanned aerial vehicles.

Best Places to Buy Drones Online

There are countless online stores where you can buy your dream drone. It is important to note that some manufacturers have online stores where they sell directly to drone enthusiasts. If you are just starting your search, here are some great sites that will be perfect for window shopping before you make your final decision. 

Amazon

Yes, this is the perfect place to look around especially if you are a beginner. The best thing at Amazon is that you get to compare information from a lot of sellers. It also exposes you to a lot of designs, accessories and price range. Many sellers on this platform offer insightful videos and tutorials on how to use the drones. They also give a lot more useful information that helps you make an informed decision. You get to benefit from a lot of programs and discounts when shopping on the platform. Most of the drones on Amazon tend to be the lower end, which is perfect for a beginner.

BestBuy

If you are looking for reasonably priced drones, this is your plug. BestBuy has a wide collection of drones as well as accompanying guides that help you make the best the best decision. Additionally, BestBuy periodically runs impressive discounts, even on advanced units. They stock a variety of accessories so you can purchase everything you want on one platform.

Hobby King

This is the platform where you can get a wide collection of hobby drones and their accessories. They stock a variety of designs from various brands. On this platform, you also get advice on the best quality drone to buy depending on what you intend to do with it. They also offer advice on the best accessories to use with your drone.

Horizon Hobby

The Horizon Hobby platform also stocks a good selection of drones. Their products come with guides, manuals and tutorial videos that you can download. They are always on hand to provide any support you may need in your journey to being a professional drone pilot.

FPV Headquarters

When you finally get to the pro level and feel like there are a few tweaks that you’d like to add to your favourite drone, FPV Headquarters is the platform on which you should be. Here, you will get proper guidelines right from the start so that the design process isn’t intimidating or complicated. On the platform, you are allowed to make a design with as many features as you think is necessary. Additionally, the design process helps you understand drone functionality so deeply that you can even successfully repair your own drone in case of malfunction. This platform gives you options; design your own drone from scratch or tweak up some designs that are already on the platform. You are free to use any option that suits your fancy. 

Parting flight

Here are the simple rules that govern buying drones online and flying them. 

• Read as much as you can and study as many tutorials as you can so that you know the drone that you need, its features and  accessories needed before you make a purchase

• Buy from a reputable platform. Be sure to verify the security of your payment details before you share sensitive information online.

• Be a qualified drone pilot and get flying permission from CAA 

• Honour the stipulated safety guidelines and keep off restricted areas

Once you adhere to the guidelines set by CAA, you are well on your way to being an accredited professional.



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