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New Pilot : SF/Bay Area California

iamMysticK23

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Hello everyone! I am a new flyer residing in the Bay Area (San Francisco/Oakland) California.
I currently own a DJI Mini 3 Pro with the DJI RC remote. I have only flown it a couple of times.
I haven't had the time to practice, but now I have a lot more available time and need to figure out drone-friendly places to fly in California.
I am having a hard time doing this, as all of the parks around me do not allow drone flying. The picture below I took at a location that is very picky about flying drones and I didn't know this until after I was there lol.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
-iamMysticK23HMKPic-5.jpg
 
Welcome to the forum! :)
 
I am a new flyer residing in the Bay Area (San Francisco/Oakland) California.
I currently own a DJI Mini 3 Pro

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.


You need to do the "Due-Diligence" yourself so that you learn how to find places to fly yourself. The best advice I can give you is to reach out to local clubs and drone retail businesses. Also go to YouTube and search "how to fly legally" and other similar searches…

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…)


If you are considering acquiring your Part 107 License, here is a link to get you going…


Since you live California, 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 puppy or kitten 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, 6- feet (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."

Below is the link to all of the downloads offered by DJI for the Mini 3 Pro, including the User Manual.

After you read the Manual, read it again, you will be surprised what you missed the first time and you will be better prepared for that first "scary moment…"


Fly On and Fly Safe…
 
Last edited:
Greetings from Birmingham Alabama USA, welcome to the forum! We look forward to hearing from you!
 
Welcome to the forum. We look forward to your participation and more of your view of the world. Great photo.
 
Welcome to Mavic Pilots! :) Enjoy the forum!Thumbswayup
 
Hi, -iamMysticK23. Welcome to the Forum!

Yes, Bay Area parks are legally off-limits to drones--but the sidewalks surrounding them are not. That said, You'll see others flying drones INSIDE the parks, with cops and other city employees paying no attention whatsoever. The SF Bay Area is actually pretty drone-friendly. I should know. I'm from Central Texas, Central Texas may be a great place to live, with low taxes, low prices, few graffitists, (we cut their hands off), few stupid regs to drive you batty, and you can pack a handgun legally. But scenic, it ain't. Ergo, I do a lot of my flying in SF (part of West Texas, I think). Granted, NW Texas is dandy as well (you know--Portland, Seattle, etc.) but further away. Below is a copy of a post I wrote for another Oakland guy:

1. Try Treasure Island, just west of the dog park. You get a terrific view of the Bay Bridge and the SF Financial District. Early morning is best. You can also reach Alcatraz from there if you have Superman's vision.
2. Another good spot is the parking lot behind the Palace of Fine Arts, from which you can reach the east side of the GG Bridge (again, with Superman's vision).
3. A good spot for taking off to fly the west side of the GG Bridge is the cul-de-sac at the end of 25th St . (by now you should feel comfortable wearing Superman's cape).
4. Alamo Park will give you a good view of the "Painted Ladies", with the Financial District in the background. The streets SURROUNDING Alamo Park have several beautifully-renovated Victorian houses even more spectacular than the Painted Ladies. Again, you'll notice others flying their drones IN the park with nobody giving a rip.
5. Flying above Coit Tower is a nice shoot. You can legally take off and land on the surface streets nearby.
6. Lombard Street, with its twists and turns, is a fun shoot. You can legally TO/Land from the sidewalks by the tennis courts.
7. JapanTown has a Pagoda and a really spectacular church a block or so away. Be sure to go inside--the architecture and stained-glass windows are truly amazing!
8. Alcatraz is pretty ugly up close, but every Bay Area droner needs to fly it at least once. The best spot from which to do so is the fishing pier at the end of pier 45 ( I think that's the one). Nobody minds if you park right by the dumpsters. You'll ALWAYS find a spot there. The seagulls can get pretty aggressive while you're trying to land your drone. You're better off landing it in the parking lot, where you'll have more maneuvering room. Try it. You'll see what I mean.
8. Believe it or not, there is a drone-legal "island" within the Presidio--The Disney/ILM museum parking lot from which you can TO/Land legally.
9. The East Bay: the wood fishing pier at Port View Park is a nice spot for shooting shipping activity and the south side of the Bay Bridge.
That's all I can think of for now. There's a LOT more!


Enjoy your Mini 3 Pro! I've attached a few links below which will help you learn piloting and aerial photography easier and quicker.

Rich R (aka Hauptmann), Hurst, TX


 
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.


You need to do the "Due-Diligence" yourself so that you learn how to find places to fly yourself. The best advice I can give you is to reach out to local clubs and drone retail businesses. Also go to YouTube and search "how to fly legally" and other similar searches…

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…)


If you are considering acquiring your Part 107 License, here is a link to get you going…


Since you live California, 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 puppy or kitten 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, 6- feet (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."

Below is the link to all of the downloads offered by DJI for the Mini 3 Pro, including the User Manual.

After you read the Manual, read it again, you will be surprised what you missed the first time and you will be better prepared for that first "scary moment…"


Fly On and Fly Safe…
Thanks for the run down! A lot of that I have already done such as getting the certificate. California is very restrictive with where you can fly, especially where I live. That’s why I joined this forum - so I can see if others around me have any suggestions. Google and YouTubing this subject only got me so far haha!
 
Hi, -iamMysticK23. Welcome to the Forum!

Yes, Bay Area parks are legally off-limits to drones--but the sidewalks surrounding them are not. That said, You'll see others flying drones INSIDE the parks, with cops and other city employees paying no attention whatsoever. The SF Bay Area is actually pretty drone-friendly. I should know. I'm from Central Texas, Central Texas may be a great place to live, with low taxes, low prices, few graffitists, (we cut their hands off), few stupid regs to drive you batty, and you can pack a handgun legally. But scenic, it ain't. Ergo, I do a lot of my flying in SF (part of West Texas, I think). Granted, NW Texas is dandy as well (you know--Portland, Seattle, etc.) but further away. Below is a copy of a post I wrote for another Oakland guy:

1. Try Treasure Island, just west of the dog park. You get a terrific view of the Bay Bridge and the SF Financial District. Early morning is best. You can also reach Alcatraz from there if you have Superman's vision.
2. Another good spot is the parking lot behind the Palace of Fine Arts, from which you can reach the east side of the GG Bridge (again, with Superman's vision).
3. A good spot for taking off to fly the west side of the GG Bridge is the cul-de-sac at the end of 25th St . (by now you should feel comfortable wearing Superman's cape).
4. Alamo Park will give you a good view of the "Painted Ladies", with the Financial District in the background. The streets SURROUNDING Alamo Park have several beautifully-renovated Victorian houses even more spectacular than the Painted Ladies. Again, you'll notice others flying their drones IN the park with nobody giving a rip.
5. Flying above Coit Tower is a nice shoot. You can legally take off and land on the surface streets nearby.
6. Lombard Street, with its twists and turns, is a fun shoot. You can legally TO/Land from the sidewalks by the tennis courts.
7. JapanTown has a Pagoda and a really spectacular church a block or so away. Be sure to go inside--the architecture and stained-glass windows are truly amazing!
8. Alcatraz is pretty ugly up close, but every Bay Area droner needs to fly it at least once. The best spot from which to do so is the fishing pier at the end of pier 45 ( I think that's the one). Nobody minds if you park right by the dumpsters. You'll ALWAYS find a spot there. The seagulls can get pretty aggressive while you're trying to land your drone. You're better off landing it in the parking lot, where you'll have more maneuvering room. Try it. You'll see what I mean.
8. Believe it or not, there is a drone-legal "island" within the Presidio--The Disney/ILM museum parking lot from which you can TO/Land legally.
9. The East Bay: the wood fishing pier at Port View Park is a nice spot for shooting shipping activity and the south side of the Bay Bridge.
That's all I can think of for now. There's a LOT more!


Enjoy your Mini 3 Pro! I've attached a few links below which will help you learn piloting and aerial photography easier and quicker.

Rich R (aka Hauptmann), Hurst, TX


Thank you! This is very helpful information that I haven’t been able to find with Google. I’ll definitely be going to some of these places in the near future.
 
Hi, -iamMysticK23. Welcome to the Forum!

Yes, Bay Area parks are legally off-limits to drones--but the sidewalks surrounding them are not. That said, You'll see others flying drones INSIDE the parks, with cops and other city employees paying no attention whatsoever. The SF Bay Area is actually pretty drone-friendly. I should know. I'm from Central Texas, Central Texas may be a great place to live, with low taxes, low prices, few graffitists, (we cut their hands off), few stupid regs to drive you batty, and you can pack a handgun legally. But scenic, it ain't. Ergo, I do a lot of my flying in SF (part of West Texas, I think). Granted, NW Texas is dandy as well (you know--Portland, Seattle, etc.) but further away. Below is a copy of a post I wrote for another Oakland guy:

1. Try Treasure Island, just west of the dog park. You get a terrific view of the Bay Bridge and the SF Financial District. Early morning is best. You can also reach Alcatraz from there if you have Superman's vision.
2. Another good spot is the parking lot behind the Palace of Fine Arts, from which you can reach the east side of the GG Bridge (again, with Superman's vision).
3. A good spot for taking off to fly the west side of the GG Bridge is the cul-de-sac at the end of 25th St . (by now you should feel comfortable wearing Superman's cape).
4. Alamo Park will give you a good view of the "Painted Ladies", with the Financial District in the background. The streets SURROUNDING Alamo Park have several beautifully-renovated Victorian houses even more spectacular than the Painted Ladies. Again, you'll notice others flying their drones IN the park with nobody giving a rip.
5. Flying above Coit Tower is a nice shoot. You can legally take off and land on the surface streets nearby.
6. Lombard Street, with its twists and turns, is a fun shoot. You can legally TO/Land from the sidewalks by the tennis courts.
7. JapanTown has a Pagoda and a really spectacular church a block or so away. Be sure to go inside--the architecture and stained-glass windows are truly amazing!
8. Alcatraz is pretty ugly up close, but every Bay Area droner needs to fly it at least once. The best spot from which to do so is the fishing pier at the end of pier 45 ( I think that's the one). Nobody minds if you park right by the dumpsters. You'll ALWAYS find a spot there. The seagulls can get pretty aggressive while you're trying to land your drone. You're better off landing it in the parking lot, where you'll have more maneuvering room. Try it. You'll see what I mean.
8. Believe it or not, there is a drone-legal "island" within the Presidio--The Disney/ILM museum parking lot from which you can TO/Land legally.
9. The East Bay: the wood fishing pier at Port View Park is a nice spot for shooting shipping activity and the south side of the Bay Bridge.
That's all I can think of for now. There's a LOT more!


Enjoy your Mini 3 Pro! I've attached a few links below which will help you learn piloting and aerial photography easier and quicker.

Rich R (aka Hauptmann), Hurst, TX


Awesome post!
Thanks.
 
Hello everyone! I am a new flyer residing in the Bay Area (San Francisco/Oakland) California.
I currently own a DJI Mini 3 Pro with the DJI RC remote. I have only flown it a couple of times.
I haven't had the time to practice, but now I have a lot more available time and need to figure out drone-friendly places to fly in California.
I am having a hard time doing this, as all of the parks around me do not allow drone flying. The picture below I took at a location that is very picky about flying drones and I didn't know this until after I was there lol.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
-iamMysticK23View attachment 165390
In addition to all the other advice: #1 IMHO is to be super vigilant in observing not only the letter of local laws, but also try to be as unobtrusive and respectful of people as possible. Many people are anti-drone, quick to complain to authorities (even if you've gone nothing "wrong"), and also be as welcoming as possible to folks who ask questions (I need to keep reminding myself of this!). Be an Ambassador for safe, responsible, 'cool' drone operations & pilots.
 
Hello everyone! I am a new flyer residing in the Bay Area (San Francisco/Oakland) California.
I currently own a DJI Mini 3 Pro with the DJI RC remote. I have only flown it a couple of times.
I haven't had the time to practice, but now I have a lot more available time and need to figure out drone-friendly places to fly in California.
I am having a hard time doing this, as all of the parks around me do not allow drone flying. The picture below I took at a location that is very picky about flying drones and I didn't know this until after I was there lol.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
-iamMysticK23View attachment 165390
Welcome to the forum.
 
Howdy - I fly out the South Bay (San Jose) and find I really need to check addresses before I fly for a client. The Bay Area is just littered with airports - both large and small. In your area you have OAK and the coast guard station next to Alameda. Sky Vector - the on line sectional chart is pretty helpful with current info. For example, Prez Biden flew into Mountain View the other day and most of the area has TFR. To make it more confusing, sky vector, BFU fly (a mobile app for drone ops) and DJI fly safe all have contradicting info on where it is safe/legal/OK to fly. I think if you want wide open spaces and no hassles, head east. The land opens up there.
 
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