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100% New to Drones - Need Assistance Please!

LGLDSR73

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Greetings!

Patently outstanding Forum you have here. Love it. And that's good (for me anyway!) because I am going to need counsel and will be picking brains for advice, lol.

I am 101% new to Drones. Retired after 40+ years in Information Technology as a Network Administrator (Lockheed, Raytheon, Qualcomm) and all the 'To Do' around the house is finally done. So it's finally time to kick back. I've always had an interest in Drones. But where to begin?

I am completely at a loss as to where to begin in terms of Brands and to a degree, features. Budget is, right now, $800 USD. I'd like a Drone capable of at least 30 minutes of flight without having to wait two hours for a battery to recharge. No brainer there, have maybe two or three spares on hand (not included in the budget but doable). Video resolution does not have to be 1080, I can do with 720 but obviously 1080 is preferred. It DEFINITELY needs to be able to return to me when it senses it's getting low on power.

I am on five acres of property and it's going to be a long time before I'm flying the miles that I've seen advertised. A long time. For the foreseeable future I want this in visible range.

I've seen Kits such as the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo that include multiple batteries, spare parts, etc. Input?

WiFi...If I understand correctly these Drones will not operate without WiFi? Given my background I can't quite wrap my head around that as WiFi is very limited in range. Any clarification greatly appreciated.

Is a cell phone 100% mandatory to use a Drone?

Insurance....I've read that State Farm offers insurance for short money. Any thoughts on that?

Thank you very much for your time!

Best,

Lyman
 
Welcome to the forum from Hauptmann in North Texas!

You'll love the flexibility of vantage points an aerial camera platform affords--you'll get shots and videos you could only dream of before! I fly a Mavic 2 Pro now, but will soon be upgrading to the Mini 3 Pro.

For you, I'd recommend at least considering the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which meets your stated needs including budgetary. With it's sub 250 gram weight, it won't be subject to many of the restrictions which affect larger drones. It's photo and video quality are superb. It has push-button RTH (Return to Home) as well as "Find My Drone" in case it crashes somewhere.

I insure my drone with State Farm for $75/year. You can include your other cameras under the same policy. You don't need existing SF business (my home and autos, etc. are with USAA). Not all SF agents know about it. If your local SF agent will not write you a policy, I'll hook you up with mine.

Our more than 150,000 members worldwide enjoy helping each other get the most out of our hobby. Many of the questions you'll have will have already been addressed, and are easy to search. New questions? Just ask!

Glad to have you with us!
 
Hello from the Crossroads of America LGLDSR73

Nice to meet you Lyman. 🤝

First you can take the TRUST test before you get your aircraft and keep a copy with you when you do fly.


It's a free, no fail test with basic information when flying, like VLOS flight and not miles. ;)

Good luck shopping and don't forget to check the classifieds here.


Welcome to the Forum. :cool:
 
Is a cell phone 100% mandatory to use a Drone?
Not necessarily but it may be useful. NONE of the 'phones' I use have sim cards in them, they are effectively just screen devices and plenty of people use tablets with out sim cards.
With DJI drones certain warnings and messages require a response on a touch screen, without such a response DJI ground some drones.
Without a screen device a DJI drone may be severely range and height limited, ditto if you are not logged into the control App ( you'll need to check both of those 'thoughts' are correct).
Logging into the App requires a wifi etc. connection, so make sure your are logged in before you leave wifi coverage. Once you are logged in you DO NOT need wifi and or cell connection unless you want to download maps for the area in which you are flying and you can apparently do that when you have wifi etc..

I would suggest looking at a second hand DJI Mini 2, but ensure it is unbound, you will need to read up on 'binding' etc.. For $800 you should be able to get a new Mini 2 and the flymore kit ( 3 batteries in total ) and still have cash left in your pocket.
I suspect that you only get a new Mini 3 and one battery for $800.

I doubt you will reach 30minute duration unless you go for a Mini 3.
 
Welcome to the forum! :)

Insurance....I've read that State Farm offers insurance for short money. Any thoughts on that?
DJI Care Refresh is likely going to be the better buy as it's easier to get a drone replacement (if ever needed).
 
I am 101% new to Drones.

Welcome from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, USA. We have a Member's Map in the Upper Right of the Title Bar. Click on "Members" and then Click on "Member's Map…" Check it out and you might find some new flying friends.


All of us can offer you suggestions on which drone is the best for you to buy, but each of us has different needs and desires and each of these were tempered by the ever present "devil," the cost…

Looking at YouTube Videos is a great way for you to access the various models available… But watch the evaluation videos, not the wonderful trips and beautiful videos… You want to know the Pros and Cons of each model. I really like my DJI Mini 2 that I bought at Costco for $440 (two batteries and a 32 GB MicroSD Card). But truth be told, my little bird is "too obedient…) if I tell it to fly toward a tree or house and I do not notice how close it is getting, it will run right into the tree or house… So, I am extra careful… But the next model up, the Mini 3, has Obstetrical Avoidance and it would not run into the house… Now, granted, the Mini 3 was not available when I bought my Mini 2, but I still would not have sprung for it…

Next, as a Newbie, will you be happy Droning? Will the shine wear off? Do you have any clubs around your location (you only listed your state, so I was unable to Google any local flying clubs for you…) where you might go see and feel the action. Where I live, there is a Drone Shop that rents drones, if you have one, it might be worth the effort…

Others have already told you that there is stuff you will need to do, but some of it is required, so it bears repeating… As a New Drone Pilot, there are a couple of Legal Things you may need to do…

If you have not already done so, you will need to get your TRUST Certificate. You can get that at the Pilot Institute Web Site (FREE…) . If your Drone weighs less than 250-grams (0.55 pounds) and you are flying under The Exception for Recreational Flyers, you are not required to register your Drone.

When I first started flying I registered my Mini 2 because the TRUST Certificate and FAA Registration established me as a "certified" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Pilot.

Link to the TRUST Certificate at the Pilot Institute Web Site (FREE…)


Link to the FAADroneZone (Optional Registration for Drones under 250-Grams…)


Since you live in Illinois, there are specific laws and rules for you to follow, please check the link below for all the Rules and Laws that are in effect in your neck of the woods and it also links you to some of the Best Places to Fly in your area… Also, if you travel on vacation, visit friends, and relatives in other parts of the country, check back here so you do not run afoul of the law.


Even if you have flown Drones before, here is some Good Old Fashion Advice…

You paid a lot of money for that Drone, put your phone number on it. If your drone gets lost or stuck in a tree and it finally comes down when you are not around, give the finders an opportunity to contact you so it can be returned.

Now, for the Fun Part, But do not let the excitement of the moment get the best of you. When you are going out to fly, do it slowly and deliberately. Get used to a set procedure and even practice it.

There are so many things I could write but these are the highlights that I feel need mentioning.

Plug in your phone/tablet into your controller; turn on the Controller and DJI Fly App (if it does not start on its own…). On the Drone, open the front legs, then open the back legs, then remove the Gimbal Cover.

The Gimbal is the most delicate item on the Drone and banging or bumping can damage it. I also fastened a short "Remove Before Flight" ribbon to the cover so it's more noticeable and I do not forget to remove it…

Turn on the drone and watch it come to "life." Watching the Gimbal go through its self-check is almost like watching a kitten or puppy opening its eyes for the first time…

Place the drone down (preferably on a Landing Pad) while it finishes its self-test (collecting satellites, etc…).

Check your battery status (Phone, Drone, and Controller), check the Signal Strength, by now the Controller should have reported it updated the Home Point.

Lift off, 4-5 feet (1-1/2 meters) or so, hover a bit, check the controls (move the drone a bit forward, back, left, right, yaw left and right). By now, your Controller will probably report again, Home point Updated.

If you go out in a rush and race thru your start up and take off before the drone has finished it prep, it may update its Home Point over that pond or that old tree you are flying over and in your excitement, you'll fly the drone long past it Low Battery point and when it engages Return to Home and lands in the pond or in a tree; it will be all on you…

Now go have fun, learn to fly the drone by sight before you try to fly it out a distance depending on the video feed, FPV.

I would also advise you to use YouTube and watch a lot of the Videos on flying and setting up the Drone. When it is too dark, too cold, or too wet, you can "fly it vicariously" through YouTube. Also watch some of the Blooper Drone Videos and learn how not to fly your "New Baby."

Fly On and Fly Safe…
 
Welcome to the forum. We look forward to your participation and your view of the world.
 
WiFi...If I understand correctly these Drones will not operate without WiFi?
Only cheap, old-tech drones used Wifi.
Real drones use radio signals that travel much further than wifi.
Is a cell phone 100% mandatory to use a Drone?
You do need a screen which could be a cell phone, of an 8 inch tablet or a controller with a built-in tablet.
Cell connectivity is not necessary.
 
I seem to remember from somewhere that a part of Illinois is connected to the”Windy City”. If where you are is on the windy side, I would not lean towards anything that includes the word”Mini”.
The 30 minutes of fly time will be the challenge based on your budget.
The Mavic2 Pro is a decent unit and in pre-owned form is close to the dollars mentioned.
Your questions here are the correct starting point and plenty of members here to get them answered.
Fly safe!
 
Welcome to Mavic Pilots! :) Enjoy the forum!Thumbswayup
 
Welcome to the forum from Hauptmann in North Texas!

You'll love the flexibility of vantage points an aerial camera platform affords--you'll get shots and videos you could only dream of before! I fly a Mavic 2 Pro now, but will soon be upgrading to the Mini 3 Pro.

For you, I'd recommend at least considering the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which meets your stated needs including budgetary. With it's sub 250 gram weight, it won't be subject to many of the restrictions which affect larger drones. It's photo and video quality are superb. It has push-button RTH (Return to Home) as well as "Find My Drone" in case it crashes somewhere.

I insure my drone with State Farm for $75/year. You can include your other cameras under the same policy. You don't need existing SF business (my home and autos, etc. are with USAA). Not all SF agents know about it. If your local SF agent will not write you a policy, I'll hook you up with mine.

Our more than 150,000 members worldwide enjoy helping each other get the most out of our hobby. Many of the questions you'll have will have already been addressed, and are easy to search. New questions? Just ask!

Glad to have you with us!
Thank you, Hauptmann! Greatly appreciated! Do you know if State Farm covers, for instance, flying into a brick wall? Just a scenario, no plans to do so <grin>. In other words, total annihilation? Best, Lyman
 
Thank you, Crossroads of America. I will get that Cert. And thank you the heads up on the shopping sites in the Forum and the Classifieds as well! Best, Lyman
 
Not necessarily but it may be useful. NONE of the 'phones' I use have sim cards in them, they are effectively just screen devices and plenty of people use tablets with out sim cards.
With DJI drones certain warnings and messages require a response on a touch screen, without such a response DJI ground some drones.
Without a screen device a DJI drone may be severely range and height limited, ditto if you are not logged into the control App ( you'll need to check both of those 'thoughts' are correct).
Logging into the App requires a wifi etc. connection, so make sure your are logged in before you leave wifi coverage. Once you are logged in you DO NOT need wifi and or cell connection unless you want to download maps for the area in which you are flying and you can apparently do that when you have wifi etc..

I would suggest looking at a second hand DJI Mini 2, but ensure it is unbound, you will need to read up on 'binding' etc.. For $800 you should be able to get a new Mini 2 and the flymore kit ( 3 batteries in total ) and still have cash left in your pocket.
I suspect that you only get a new Mini 3 and one battery for $800.

I doubt you will reach 30minute duration unless you go for a Mini 3.
Great, thank you. I have a cell phone and now understand that the WiFi is only required when logging into the App - thank you. I thought, incorrectly, that a constant WiFi connection was necessary between the cell and the Drone and that made little if any sense given the limits of WiFi. I'll also look into Binding. Great information, many thanks! Best, Lyman
 
Welcome to the forum! :)


DJI Care Refresh is likely going to be the better buy as it's easier to get a drone replacement (if ever needed).
Thank you for the Welcome! Really a fantastic Forum! "DJI Care Refresh" at this URL DJI Care Refresh
(second photograph) states in part "....after you have paid the replacement fee...". Do you know offhand or should I reach out to them for clarification? Again, thank you!
 
Welcome from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, USA. We have a Member's Map in the Upper Right of the Title Bar. Click on "Members" and then Click on "Member's Map…" Check it out and you might find some new flying friends.


All of us can offer you suggestions on which drone is the best for you to buy, but each of us has different needs and desires and each of these were tempered by the ever present "devil," the cost…

Looking at YouTube Videos is a great way for you to access the various models available… But watch the evaluation videos, not the wonderful trips and beautiful videos… You want to know the Pros and Cons of each model. I really like my DJI Mini 2 that I bought at Costco for $440 (two batteries and a 32 GB MicroSD Card). But truth be told, my little bird is "too obedient…) if I tell it to fly toward a tree or house and I do not notice how close it is getting, it will run right into the tree or house… So, I am extra careful… But the next model up, the Mini 3, has Obstetrical Avoidance and it would not run into the house… Now, granted, the Mini 3 was not available when I bought my Mini 2, but I still would not have sprung for it…

Next, as a Newbie, will you be happy Droning? Will the shine wear off? Do you have any clubs around your location (you only listed your state, so I was unable to Google any local flying clubs for you…) where you might go see and feel the action. Where I live, there is a Drone Shop that rents drones, if you have one, it might be worth the effort…

Others have already told you that there is stuff you will need to do, but some of it is required, so it bears repeating… As a New Drone Pilot, there are a couple of Legal Things you may need to do…

If you have not already done so, you will need to get your TRUST Certificate. You can get that at the Pilot Institute Web Site (FREE…) . If your Drone weighs less than 250-grams (0.55 pounds) and you are flying under The Exception for Recreational Flyers, you are not required to register your Drone.

When I first started flying I registered my Mini 2 because the TRUST Certificate and FAA Registration established me as a "certified" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Pilot.

Link to the TRUST Certificate at the Pilot Institute Web Site (FREE…)


Link to the FAADroneZone (Optional Registration for Drones under 250-Grams…)


Since you live in Illinois, there are specific laws and rules for you to follow, please check the link below for all the Rules and Laws that are in effect in your neck of the woods and it also links you to some of the Best Places to Fly in your area… Also, if you travel on vacation, visit friends, and relatives in other parts of the country, check back here so you do not run afoul of the law.


Even if you have flown Drones before, here is some Good Old Fashion Advice…

You paid a lot of money for that Drone, put your phone number on it. If your drone gets lost or stuck in a tree and it finally comes down when you are not around, give the finders an opportunity to contact you so it can be returned.

Now, for the Fun Part, But do not let the excitement of the moment get the best of you. When you are going out to fly, do it slowly and deliberately. Get used to a set procedure and even practice it.

There are so many things I could write but these are the highlights that I feel need mentioning.

Plug in your phone/tablet into your controller; turn on the Controller and DJI Fly App (if it does not start on its own…). On the Drone, open the front legs, then open the back legs, then remove the Gimbal Cover.

The Gimbal is the most delicate item on the Drone and banging or bumping can damage it. I also fastened a short "Remove Before Flight" ribbon to the cover so it's more noticeable and I do not forget to remove it…

Turn on the drone and watch it come to "life." Watching the Gimbal go through its self-check is almost like watching a kitten or puppy opening its eyes for the first time…

Place the drone down (preferably on a Landing Pad) while it finishes its self-test (collecting satellites, etc…).

Check your battery status (Phone, Drone, and Controller), check the Signal Strength, by now the Controller should have reported it updated the Home Point.

Lift off, 4-5 feet (1-1/2 meters) or so, hover a bit, check the controls (move the drone a bit forward, back, left, right, yaw left and right). By now, your Controller will probably report again, Home point Updated.

If you go out in a rush and race thru your start up and take off before the drone has finished it prep, it may update its Home Point over that pond or that old tree you are flying over and in your excitement, you'll fly the drone long past it Low Battery point and when it engages Return to Home and lands in the pond or in a tree; it will be all on you…

Now go have fun, learn to fly the drone by sight before you try to fly it out a distance depending on the video feed, FPV.

I would also advise you to use YouTube and watch a lot of the Videos on flying and setting up the Drone. When it is too dark, too cold, or too wet, you can "fly it vicariously" through YouTube. Also watch some of the Blooper Drone Videos and learn how not to fly your "New Baby."

Fly On and Fly Safe…
LoudThunder,

Wow, thank you for taking the amount of time you did to provide the wealth of information that you did, it is very much appreciated. File that under 'Understatement'. Seriously, very much appreciated.

My initial flying for sometime will be line of sight without question. And it appears that I'm going to have to go over budget as I do want the Obsteridal Avoidance. Those sensors to me would seem to be worth the extra money it will add to the appropriate Drone model. And there are allot of models to choose from.

The initial shine isn't likely going to wear off; when I sink my teeth into an avocation it tends to stick so once on my Radar it's there pretty much for good.

Your points have been taken to heart and I'll watch the YouTube Videos - both the what to do and what NOT to do.

Best,

Lyman

EDIT: ILLINOIS? I just caught that. I just moved to Northern Michigan. Waaaay Northern. And I have NO clue how on earth that happened. I may be close to 67 but I still know where the heck I live. Changing that when I'm done answering other replies. Good grief.

 
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