Preparation before flight. As a pilot I prepare myself for what lies ahead before each flight. With A Bird’s Eye View 4U (ABEV4U) it’s the same. So what is it I do before flying Thunder or Merlin? The preparation stage begins well before leaving ABEV4U HQ. The first thing is to choose a location to photograph/video. This might be chosen by a client, by driving past, a know landmark or just by scouring Google Earth.
Is it Safe?
Now to check is it safe? Safety includes my safety, the drones safety and everybody else’s safety. Threat management plays a big role. Are there obstacles like trees, power lines, towers around. Could people walk through my landing zone. Is someone likely to yell abuse at me for spying on them (I’m very sensitive and no, the camera was pointed the other way), if that flock of seagulls takes off will they crash into Thunder or will they attack Merlin (yes it has happened, Merlin is ok and he thanks you for caring)?
Is it legal? Big question. I must follow strict CASA rules and avoid airspace, airports and heliports. Maximum height to fly is 400ft/120m as aircraft fly at 500ft. Prisons, Emergency Services in action, National Parks are all no go places. I use my pilot publications and charts, CASA apps and the two drones have GPS signals combined with software stopping them from straying into restricted areas.
The weather is next. Strong winds hamper safe take-off and landings, consume more battery power (shorter flight time) and affect the performance of photography (think of photo taking on a roller coaster). Clouds are good for sunsets but rain not for the drones. Sunset/sunrise times need to be allowed for with travel times to the location.
All this and I haven’t unpacked the drones yet….more next blog.