Learning to Drone - Chapter 1 - Whaddya Mean I Don't Getta Fly Yet?

So, I promised the CIN I would provide some storytelling and pics from my new acquisition (again, thank you CompTIA for it, it will be fun - when I get there)

To all you aspiring drone pilots out there, that have ever thought of going online, buying yourself a drone, and buzzing your friends, neighbors, and pets - well, it's easy to confuse a drone as a toy. It's light. Entry levels are relatively inexpensive. You can get 'em at Walmart or Amazon. And I always had aspirations of flying model aircraft. I fly PC based flight simulators. In fact, I'm just getting into Star Wars Squadrons, as of this weekend. I've flown hang gliders. And I have aspirations of getting a Private Pilot ticket as part of my bucket list.

But make no mistake. Drones are not toys. They are aircraft. And as such, when you say the word "aircraft" in the US, you better contact the tower, because the FAA will be watching. Of course, there are a few new things now I have to do before my new toy aircraft will see sky - a testament to the joys of government regulation and Murphy's Law. I remember a lot of this because of my time working with the US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association - and how deep the FAA was into rule making for anyone who wanted to fly anything. A few years back, I heard that drones weren't going to be that regulated, but this year, FAA has decided more rules were needed. Gotta love bureaucracies.

Seems that the FAA, in the last year, put some additional rules and restrictions on Unmanned Aircraft (UA) - drone aircraft. They want all drone pilots to now take a basic pilot exam before they fly. Probably the same level of exam as maybe the ITF+ or A+. 78pg study guide going over basic aeronautics, weather, tower communications, and airspace rules. So - add that one to my pile of things for which I'm studying. The cat is safe, for now.... 😼

This drone is an entry level Holy Stone HS120D - got great ratings for those of us who are venturing out for the first time, flying under recreational exemption. I unboxed it - it's a nice piece of equipment - well built for what it does. 18 minute battery life and a 1080p camera. Uses your cell phone (which my Note 9 was a bit of a challenge getting into the controller...lol).

Additionally, the drone itself has to be certifcated - which is basically a $5 fee and about 10 minutes of registering with the FAA. Okay, check, got that done.

And THEN - they tell you to get an app B4UFLY and find out if you have airspace restrictions. I do. My house is right near Peterson AFB and the Colorado Springs airport. Yep. Contact the tower before I fly - I think there is an automated app that will allow me to do that. Meanwhile, my house is in an area where the max ceiling is 50', with 400' available by special permission.

So, this has become something of an adventure. One I'm totally cool about - but it's one, none the less.

Pictures soon - after I pass my cert. (seems like a theme around here!)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting this thing off the ground...just might take a little longer.

Thanks, Rick for reminding me that in December of 2018 (almost 2 years ago), I bought a
Yuneec Breeze Drone w/ 4K Camera & BT Controller. It has been sitting on my garage workbench since then, finding myself too busy to figure out how to fly it. Well, since I'm semi-retired since last June, I have to admit I have no excuse and need to get the drone into the sky. I'm not new to flying. While in College and having access to my father's funding I did get a commercial pilot license. Recognizing the need to maintain current flying status and the fact that it's an extremely expensive hobby, I dropped piloting activities decades ago.

So the first step was to get the aircraft licensed (see attachment). Today, in an abundance of caution, I read the manual and started watching YouTube videos. Better to be safe than sorry and crash on my first flight. I'll continue this slow progress (while at the same time studying for the CS0-002 exam).

Looks like I face a catch 22 relative to personal licensing. Cost for a Drone license is something like $170. Since I'm already licensed under Part 61 as a certificate holder (pilot), I would need to complete a "flight review" which would cost more than the $170 to rent an aircraft and hire a flight instructor. At least for the short term, based upon an article published in August, it looks as though things remain a little mirky and it isn't entirely clear that for non-commercial purposes I need to be licensed. So, at least for now, I'm going to plead ignorance on the licensing issue. Of course, having recently taught a Security+ course and the new SY0-601 exam objectives 1.8, 2.6, and 2.7 references "drones/UAV", perhaps it could be argued I need the license. The benefit of course is I guess drone purchasing could be a tax deduction, given the apparent need to know about these vehicles.



  • UAS Cert FA3LF9X3XY.pdf
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So hear is a cool though! The CIN Drone Club! If we get enough folks to get a drone and work with it then when we all get to have group get-togethers again we can do some cool drone synchronized flying stunts like we are seeing more and more of on T.V.!

Sign me up for CIN Drone Club!