Monday, December 29, 2014

I got a drone for Christmas!!!

Drones should never be flown over 400 feet or near an airport.
FAA video about Drone regulations and safety. Please watch by clicking here! 


Dromida Ominus Quadcopter

Yes...  I got a Drone for Christmas.   The proper terminology is RC Quadcopter.  The Dromida Ominus to be exact.   

While flight simulations is enjoyable, there is something magical about flying your own aircraft.

How it all started
Over the past few weeks, I have mulled over the idea of trying RC planes.  This idea was further sparked after meeting some of the members of the Somerset Signal Senders.  This is a radio controlled airplane club that flies out of Somerset County North Branch Park in NJ.  A friend of mine suggested I stop by for their Chili Day event held in November.  While my friend was not there,  the members of the club were very friendly!   They shared tons of advise along with copious amounts of spicy Chili.   They really made me feel welcome.  They didn't appear bothered by my numerous questions for which I was thankful.


The club flying at the field.


Link to Somerset Signal Senders RC Club

It was fun to watch them fly many different types of RC planes.  They had big, small, electric, and gas planes in the air.  One member flew a quadcopter with FPV setup.  Just as flight simulator pilots love to fly many types of planes, I noticed the RC members showed up with 2 or 3 different planes.   


An electric powered RC plane.


Numerous times I heard the members talk about safety and flying.   They realize the dangers these craft can pose to themselves and others.  
     A gas powered RC plane.

They have a training program that is geared towards getting new pilots up and flying at the field in a safe manner.  To fly at the park requires membership to the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).  Membership to the AMA includes insurance coverage which is very important.  

Link to the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)

Dromida Ominus
A Dromida Ominus showed up underneath my Christmas tree.   This was an unexpected Christmas present from a relative that really made me smile!!!

                          

The Dromida Ominus is a small quadcopter weighing in about 106 grams.  The kit includes a 2.4 ghz controller, battery, and USB charger.   Basically everything required to fly is included in the box.  The Ominus has easy and advanced modes that can be accessed via the controller.    


The box is great for transporting the Ominus.


This copter uses three accelerometers to provide stable flight.  Before taking off, the accelerometers on the Ominus will calibrate.  When the light on the Ominus stops blinking we are ready to rock. 


The Ominus provides a flying light show!


The Ominus does not use GPS unlike more expensive quadcopters. Some have likened the Ominus to a sport drone.   From some of the videos I have seen, that does appear to be a good description


Real Flight for IOS which is about $3 for the quadcopter add on.
Great for practicing on an IPAD or IPHONE.

In easy mode the Ominus is very "easy" to control.   Keeping the central red light facing me, I can easily get my bearing.  As of now, I have only flown the Ominus on easy mode. 

Link to: Dromida Ominus Videos from Dromida.com

The Ominus is remarkably indestructible!   So far, it has hit numerous objects from a fence, to trees, to the side of our house.   Still there is not one sign of damage.   My flying is getting better and luckily the crashes are beginning to decrease.   I have flown the copter in the backyard, and a little inside the house.   The cat did not like the Ominus.


Here kitty kitty...



The supplied 700 mh battery last from 5 to 10 minutes depending on how agressive the copter is flown.  The battery can be fully recharged in an hour.  Extra batteries have already been ordered.


Stuck in a tree.... RATS!!
     
FAA, Drones, and Safety.
Of course this is a touchy subject.  Personally, I can see both sides of the story.  Unfortunately there are drone pilots who have flown near airports and over 400 feet.  My hunch is that these people are not affiliated with an RC Club or the AMA.  

The big fear appears to be new people with drones who have no club affiliation and no understanding of the regulations.  To that order the FAA and Drone partners have launched a campaign called "Know Before You Fly".





The Know Before You Fly website contains a wealth of information related to proper usage of drones.  I suggest future pilots to read the posted information. 


Upon opening the Ominus, I did not find one bit of information regarding the FAA regulations to fly below 400 feet and away from airports.  Personally it is my conviction that it would behoove these manufactures to include this information.  In turn the FAA should consider the risk a 106g drone such as the Ominus poses compared to a 50 lb drone when proposing legislation.  

The bottom line is that drones are a lot of fun.  If you got a drone under your Christmas tree then you know what I am talking about. But please consider the safety aspects at all times too.   Know before you fly!   

Links:
 FAA video about Drone regulations and safety. Please watch by clicking here!
Know Before You Fly Website
Somerset Signal Senders RC Club
American Model Association (AMA))
Dromida Ominus Videos from Dromida.com

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