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100% New to Drones - Need Assistance Please!

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 from Detroit. Regardless what bird you choose, be sure to take the TRUST exam and keep your cert with you when you fly.
 
Welcome to the forum from the beautiful woods of Maine!
I would recommend checking out Flytpath’s YouTube video on the DJI Mini 3 for a reasonably priced starter drone, he has never steered me wrong!
Thank you from Northern Michigan. Originally from Taxachusetts I spent allot of time in Maine though never further North than Portland. I will check out the DJI Mini 3, appreciate it!
Best,
Lyman
 
You can get a refurbished mini 3 pro from DJI for less - I just bought one with the RC controller (which I LOVE - it is worth the extra $$$ - you don't need to use your cell phone any longer). That will increase your budget a bit though..... You can also get the RC-N1 controller that uses your cell phone to save some money.

Another option would be to get a mini 2, which are quite a bit cheaper, and are still a really good drone. You can practice on it and if/when you have outgrown it, you can get something bigger/better/more full featured.
Thank you! I'm leaning towards the Mini 3 Pro...possibly with the kit or at minimum with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.
Best,
Lyman
 
Thank you! I'm leaning towards the Mini 3 Pro...possibly with the kit or at minimum with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.
Best,
Lyman
Just know that if you use the plus battery, you will be required to register the drone since it will go over the 250 gram limit. Not a huge deal, but just something to be aware of.

FYI, I really love my Mini 3 Pro with the RC controller - a HUGE step up from my mavic mini!
 
Just know that if you use the plus battery, you will be required to register the drone since it will go over the 250 gram limit. Not a huge deal, but just something to be aware of.

FYI, I really love my Mini 3 Pro with the RC controller - a HUGE step up from my mavic mini!
Thanks for the heads up on that! I was going to ask DJI this but I see that they have no "Contact Us" (that I saw anyway). Does the "DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC) & Fly More Kit Plus" (includes the new DJI RC) require a cell phone? My guess is that it does not given the display. Again, thank you!
 
Thanks for the heads up on that! I was going to ask DJI this but I see that they have no "Contact Us" (that I saw anyway). Does the "DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC) & Fly More Kit Plus" (includes the new DJI RC) require a cell phone? My guess is that it does not given the display. Again, thank you!

If you get the RC controller, then it does not require a cell phone. The DJI RC is an all in one unit.
 
Only cheap, old-tech drones used Wifi.
Real drones use radio signals that travel much further than wifi.

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.
This new to me ... I have had quite a few DJI drones, and I have always believed that they used wifi exclusively for both control and video transmission .... my Mini 3 pro uses 2.4 and 5.8ghz for transmission/reception ... what type of signal are these if not wifi?
 
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…
As a retired doctor, I had to laugh at your term Obstetrical Avoidance. Totally agree with everything else. I think you might have meant OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE. e.g.: unless you want the drone to avoid your baby delivery doctor).

Dale
 
This new to me ... I have had quite a few DJI drones, and I have always believed that they used wifi exclusively for both control and video transmission .... my Mini 3 pro uses 2.4 and 5.8ghz for transmission/reception ... what type of signal are these if not wifi?
Suzy,
Here is a good article that explains where WiFi plays it's role

WiFi by it's very nature has very, very limited range.

Best,

Lyman
 
As a retired doctor, I had to laugh at your term Obstetrical Avoidance.
Dale,

I have to admit I am impressed, even privileged that you found that fopah… I write a lot, perhaps too much in these postings and I often wonder if the intended recipient even bothers to read it or they mutter TMI (as in "too much information…"). But you are an Uber, Ultra Well-known, Long Time Member and you took the time to read my "babblings…" I am Honored!

As a Doctor and an Ophthalmologists at that, my scribblings must be like and endless eye-chart and you saw it, my lazy, "proof-reading" where I let Spell-check do the proofing…

I always write up my ravings in MS Word where I can easily edit and spellcheck my work before copying and pasting it into whatever I am doing, as in this posting…

As I've gotten older, I've become more and more dependent on spell check to catch and replace my mis-typings… Oh I knew I blew the spelling on "OBSTACLE" but I usually get close enough for spell check to make the correct suggestion; but not this time and I was careless with my clicking the "Change" button.

But you have to admit, my posting might have been completely out of context, but it was 100% correct…

Have you ever heard of any Mini 3 visiting an Obstetrician? I sure have not!

I often refer to a Newbie's drone as their new baby and perhaps I've anthropomorphized our toys a bit. Did you notice that I also wrote, "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…"

And yes, I've even named my Drone, but with that being said, she's (yeah, that's right, my drone is a she…), she's not going to any Obstetrician and I will make darn sure that when I am discussing her gyromagnetic ratio aberrations, I do not mistype it into "Gynecological Ratio Aberrations" I don't think she would like that… LoL…

Hey, by the way, when you were assigned to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in the '70's, did you know an "Edwin Levine?" He was the Ophthalmologist I saw in the early '80s for my eye issues, I think he might have been Commander then which would have made him about the right year group to have served with you in the '70's.

LT signing off while I'm ahead…
 
Dale,

I have to admit I am impressed, even privileged that you found that fopah… I write a lot, perhaps too much in these postings and I often wonder if the intended recipient even bothers to read it or they mutter TMI (as in "too much information…"). But you are an Uber, Ultra Well-known, Long Time Member and you took the time to read my "babblings…" I am Honored!

As a Doctor and an Ophthalmologists at that, my scribblings must be like and endless eye-chart and you saw it, my lazy, "proof-reading" where I let Spell-check do the proofing…

I always write up my ravings in MS Word where I can easily edit and spellcheck my work before copying and pasting it into whatever I am doing, as in this posting…

As I've gotten older, I've become more and more dependent on spell check to catch and replace my mis-typings… Oh I knew I blew the spelling on "OBSTACLE" but I usually get close enough for spell check to make the correct suggestion; but not this time and I was careless with my clicking the "Change" button.

But you have to admit, my posting might have been completely out of context, but it was 100% correct…

Have you ever heard of any Mini 3 visiting an Obstetrician? I sure have not!

I often refer to a Newbie's drone as their new baby and perhaps I've anthropomorphized our toys a bit. Did you notice that I also wrote, "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…"

And yes, I've even named my Drone, but with that being said, she's (yeah, that's right, my drone is a she…), she's not going to any Obstetrician and I will make darn sure that when I am discussing her gyromagnetic ratio aberrations, I do not mistype it into "Gynecological Ratio Aberrations" I don't think she would like that… LoL…

Hey, by the way, when you were assigned to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in the '70's, did you know an "Edwin Levine?" He was the Ophthalmologist I saw in the early '80s for my eye issues, I think he might have been Commander then which would have made him about the right year group to have served with you in the '70's.

LT signing off while I'm ahead…
I thought your answers were outstanding! Typo's happen! Other things too....like accidently sending a Text to your Wife's Puritan Sister when it was meant for your Wife's eyes only......that went over like a lead balloon.
 
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
I was in your position last year. I looked for several months until I found a Mavic Air Zoom fly away kit for 800 and I could not be happier
It came with 3 batteries and only 2 were good. I have since purchased prop guards and lens filters and 2 more batteries and am maybe into IT for 1100 but I have learned and that was the goal HAVE FUN
 
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