Drones For Dummies

Drones For Dummies

by Mark LaFay


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The fast and easy way to pick out, set up, and learn to fly your drone

Ready to soar into the world of unmanned aircraft? Drones For Dummies introduces you to the fascinating world of UAVs. Written in plain English and brimming with friendly instruction, Drones For Dummies provides you with the information you need to find and purchase the right drone for your needs, examples of ways to use a drone, and even drone etiquette and the laws and regulations governing consumer drone usage. Plus, you'll discover the basics of flight, including how to use a drone to capture photos and video.

Originally designed to assist in military and special operations applications, the use of drones has expanded into the public service sector and the consumer market for people looking to have a good time flying an aircraft remotely. Drones For Dummies covers everything you need to know to have fun with your UAV, and is packed with cool ways to expand your drone's use beyond simply flying.

  • Pick the perfect drone to suit your needs
  • Properly set up and fly a drone
  • Use a drone to capture images and footage with a camera
  • Tips for maintaining your drone

If you're interested in the exciting new technology of unmanned aircraft vehicles, Drones For Dummies helps you take flight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119049784
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Series: For Dummies Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 173,535
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Mark LaFay is a tenured entrepreneur. He started two successful businesses in the music industry, and he is the co-founder of Lectio and Roust. Mark is also the author of Chromebook for Dummies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

How This Book Is Organized 3

Part I Getting Started with Drones 3

Part II Before You Fly 3

Part III The Miracle of Flight 4

Part IV Aerial Photos and Videos 4

Part V The Part of Tens 4

Icons Used in This Book 5

IBeyond the Book 5

IWhere to Go from Here 6

Part I Getting Started With Orones 7

Chapter 1 Drones 101 9

What Are Drones? 9

Drones and the Military 12

General Atomics Predator 12

General Atomics Reaper 12

Elbit Systems Hermes 450 14

Northrup Gruman Global Hawk 14

Boeing X-37B 15

Smaller drones 15

Growth in Consumer Drones 17

Planes 18

Helicopters 19

Multi-copters 20

Tiltrotors 21

Popular Uses for Drones 21

Remote sensing 22

Commercial aerial surveillance 22

Commercial and motion picture filmmaking 23

Oil, gas, and mineral exploration 23

Disaster relief 23

Real estate and construction 23

Recreational use 23

High-Flying Drone Companies 24

Google 24

DHL 25

Amazon 25

Facebook 25

GoPro 25

Chapter 2 Picking the Drone That's Right for You 27

Knowing Where to Start 28

How will you use your drone? 28

Drone features 29

Drones with Integrated Cameras 30

Integrated camera features 31

Buying a drone that has an integrated camera 33

Drones with Add-On Camera Support 35

Action cameras 36

Point-and-shoot/compact cameras 37

DSLR cameras 38

Cinema-quality cameras 39

Flight Controls 40

RC Transmitters 41

Mobile Apps 42

Batteries 43

Other Important Features 44

Where to Buy Your Drone 45

Chapter 3 Picking the Best Camera for Your Needs 47

Knowing How You Will Use Your Camera 48

Determining What Your Drone Supports 49

Weight Is Everything 49

Digital Camera Technology 51

Picking a point-and-shoot camera 55

Deciding on a DSLR camera 57

Acquiring an action camera 60

Balancing Features and Price 62

Chapter 4 Finding Support and Resources 63

Finding and Navigating Online Communities 64

Drone discussion forums 65

Understanding forum rules and etiquette 66

Using Social Media to Meet Drone Enthusiasts 67

Drone Meetups 69

Google Groups 72

Getting Drone News with Google Alerts 72

Enabling Google Alerts 73

Deleting Google Alerts 75

Editing Google Alerts 76

Part II Before You Fly 79

Chapter 5 Setting Up Your Drone 81

Unboxing Your Drone 81

Propellers 82

Motor 83

Aircraft Airframe 84

Battery and charger 84

Protective hull and prop guards 85

Camera mount and gimbal 86

Transmitter 87

Instruction manual 88

Assembling Your Drone 88

Charging batteries 89

Checking for software updates 91

Getting Familiar with Your Aerial Camera 93

UsingaGoPro 93

Configuring your GoPro 97

Chapter 6 Staying Safe with Your Drone 101

Avoiding Propeller Injuries 102

Propeller guards and protective hulls 103

Safety indicators 104

Reducing the Risk of Drone Crashes 106

Vortex ring state 106

GPS lock 107

Safely Handling Lithium Polymer Batteries 108

Properly charging a LiPo battery 108

Avoiding dropping or crashing your LiPo battery 109

Safely disposing of LiPo batteries 110

Chapter 7 Knowing the Law 111

Know Before You Fly in the United States 112

No-fly zones 116

State and local laws 116

Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands 120

Knowing the Laws in Other Countries 121

Part III Miracle of Flight 123

Chapter 8 Controlling Your Drone 125

Understanding How Your Drone Is Controlled 126

Radio Frequency 129

Wi-Fi Controls 130

GPS 131

Directional Control 132

Standard Mode 133

Heads Free Mode 133

First Person View 133

Other Flight Modes and Autopilots 134

Chapter 9 Flight Basics 137

Pre-Flight Checklist.137

Environment 139

No-fly zone 139

Equipment spot check 139

First Aid Kit 140

Batteries 141

Inspection 141

Transmitter and ground station 142

Camera gear 142

Flying Your Drone 143

Flying with an RC 145

Calibrating your RC transmitter 146

Flying with smart devices 148

Landing 149

Knowing What to Do in an Emergency 152

Chapter 10 Choosing When and Where To Fly 155

Choosing a Location for New Pilots 156

Flying Indoors 160

Securing the area 160

Knowing your drone 161

Using an indoor hull 161

Avoiding ceilings, floors, and walls 162

Stocking up on spare parts 162

Flying in Sub-Optimal Weather Conditions 163

Rain and snow 163

Windy days 164

Freezing temperatures 164

Night Flying 164

Knowing your drone 165

Understanding advanced piloting controls 166

Attaching tights to your drone 166

Flying in Populated Areas 166

Chapter 11 Maintaining Your Drone 169

Post Flight Maintenance 169

Creating a post-flight checklist 170

Storing your drone 177

DIY Repairs and Maintenance 179

How to find replacement parts for your drone 181

Finding a drone technician 182

Part IV Aerial Photos and Videos 183

Chapter 12 Capturing Beautiful Photos and Video 185

The Importance of Light 185

Light Direction 186

White Balancing Like A Pro! 190

Working in Low Light 190

Choosing a Video Resolution 193

Choosing a Frame Rate 194

Planning Your Shoot 195

Purpose 195

Location 196

Timing 196

Execution 197

Chapter 13 Working with Shaky Footage 199

Using Camera Tricks to Minimize Shake 199

Camera adjustments to sharpen photos 200

Advanced flight modes 201

Stabilizing With a Gimbal 204

How to find a gimbal for your drone 205

Choosing the right gimbal 207

Stabilizing Footage after It Is Shot 208

Turbo Video Stabilizer 208

Adobe After Effects (AE) 208

You Tube 209

Chapter 14 Working with Aerial Images and Footage 213

Importing Images and Video 214

Importing images and video to a Windows machine 216

Importing images and video to a Mac 217

Importing images and video to a Chromebook 218

SD Cards and SD Card Readers 219

Viewing Images and Video 220

Picture Editing Software 221

IPhoto 221

Chromebook and Pixlr 222

Adobe Photoshop 223

Video Editing Software 224

IMovie 224

Adobe Premiere 225

Sharing Pictures and Video Online 226

Part V The Part of Yens 227

Chapter 15 Ten Things You Shouldn't Do with Your Drone 229

Spying On Your Neighbor 230

Walk Your Dog 230

Carry the Ring down the Aisle 231

Fly in Airport Airspace 231

Flying Under the Influence 232

Fly Over the Fences at the White House 232

Checking Extra Batteries on a Flight 233

Shoot Down a Drone 234

Fly Over People 235

Make Money with Your Drone 235

Chapter 16 Ten Commercial Uses for Drones 237

Real Estate 238

Golfing 238

Inspections 239

Agriculture 240

Security 241

Weddings & Special Events 241

Search and Rescue 242

Special Delivery 243

Land Surveying 244

Insurance Claims 245

Chapter 17 Ten FAA Regulatory Implications 247

Commercial versus Personal Use 247

Getting Approval (or Commercial Use 248

Getting Approval For Public Use 249

Gaining Experimental Certification 249

Capturing the News With a Drone 250

Knowing the Proposed Commercial Drone Rules 250

Knowing the Proposed Rules for Commercial Drone Operators 251

Following Drone Privacy Laws 252

Understanding the Proposed Regulations for Micro Drones 252

Helping with FAA Enforcement 253

Appendix A 255

Index 261

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