Tuesday Train Extra: I’m learning to fly…

I’m learning to fly
But I ain’t got wings
Coming down
Is the hardest thing

Yesterday I got my drone, today, I started to learn to fly it. In the interests of my sanity, and not breaking it on the first day, we went over to the public school yard a ten minute walk across the street, a nice wide open space where I could set up in the ball diamond gravel, and have it and the expanse of grass that is the soccer field to fly over and not be buzzing anyone’s house, flying into trees or wires, or any other pratfall that would ruin my first day out with it.

Getting set to go, and a collection of shots from the Drone looking back at us, and of the area around the school we were flying at. For a tiny lens, the camera gets good shots with the 12megapixel sensor it has.

This was, a basic get to know you series of flights. Use the auto takeoff and auto landing features. Do the same manually, see how the “Quick Shot” pre-set flight patterns for videos work, and start to get a hang of the controls. I even managed to fly it far enough away that we lost sight of it in the skies, so we tested the “Return Home” GPS feature to have it automatically fly back to where it took off from. I did not play around with settings much. One I will need to look at is the Return to Home and its default altitude. It was just windy enough today, that the default of 400′, which is set to clear anything around normally, once it got back close and we spotted it, it was clear it was fighting the wind, so instead of letting the auto return finish, I reclaimed control and brought it back down to almost ground level and flew it back to base. That said, my initial impressions are, wow. A number of people I know with them said that they are super easy to fly, and they were not kidding. Even as I was fumbling to get a feel for which movement on the control sticks does what, the video I was getting was so steady.

Post fly about screen caps from the DJI App, listing of all my flights, and you can go back in and view your flights on a map, review what controls you did, etc. This was the furthest away from myself that I got (we couldn’t see/hear it in the sky).

I assembled a brief video of the days flying, a combination of footage from in the Drone, and from my wife’s iPhone of me flying it. I have to say, I am really impressed that even on a first flight, the video and photographs are really good. I can’t wait to get some more flight time in to get really comfortable with how it flies and moves, and get out trackside with it to get a new angle on some trains!

As always, when my wonky musical mind starts with a song, I leave you with the late great Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Learning to Fly”

One thought on “Tuesday Train Extra: I’m learning to fly…

  1. Return to Home has saved my bacon a couple of times! You want to make sure the RTH altitude is high enough to clear power lines because you don’t know what direction it will be coming from. It’s better to take it over instead of letting it land, if you can.

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