Thursday, September 21, 2017

UAS Registration Deletion

So the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that all drones that weigh under 55 pounds no longer need to register with the FAA regarding Small UAS Registration if you are operating the drone as a hobbyist and still flying under FAA drone regulations. However if you are a Part 107 Pilot who is licensed to fly commercially for profit, you still must register your drone. For those who previously registered, you can file for the $5.00 refund and be deleted from the database. More information can be found at FAA Registration Deletion

Monday, September 4, 2017

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

I upgraded from a Yuneec Breeze 4K to a DJI Phantom 3 Standard and then to this DJI Phantom 3 Professional and I love it. The Lightbridge technology is way better than WiFi and the 4K video quality is beautiful but to watch in 4K, you really need a 4K TV or a video graphics card that can handle 4K video quality. Some phones can record and play back in 4K but watching aerial footage on a TV or large computer screen is way better. At Ground Up USA, I photograph and film on the ground and in the air and want the best possible gear at affordable prices.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

FAA Part 107

Studying for the Part 107 test to be a UAS licensed pilot and sectional charts are a must to know. It's a huge part of the test.
The Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement is provided to you during the test. It has the sectional charts that the test questions refer to. Most of the information is in the booklet, you just need to know how to understand and use the sectional charts.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Flying High With DJI and Low with Zhiyun

I found some time to hit the friendly skies today with the DJI Phantom 3 Professional and on the ground with the Zhiyun Smooth Q with a Samsung Galaxy S7. The view is awesome, watch it in 4K quality or as high as you check it out, thumbs up, like, share, comment.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Red Rocks, Colorado

An awesome looking B&W photo shot by Ground Up USA's photographer, RJ Maliwanag at Red Rocks, Colorado.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My First Drone...Yuneec Breeze 4K

I've always been into the hobby of photography and anything R/C related as I've owned and used many from both, however I've never owned a drone until I got one for my birthday one year.

The Yuneec Breeze 4K drone is great to begin with. For starters, it is compact with it's folding landing legs and propellers that fold too making it easy to transport and fit in any backpack or purse. It's marketed as a selfie drone meaning it does have some limitations for flying but don't underestimate it's capability when flown within reasonable range and in eye sight. But one of it's downfalls is that signal between controller and drone is operated on a WiFi signal so that there completely limits the flying range. The WiFi signal can also be poor depending on where you are and if anything in the area is causing interference. The camera is 13MP (4160x3120) resolution photos and 4K video recording. I was actually amazed with the 4K video results but not so much with the still shots that the camera produced unless you had really good light to shoot in. However one of the downfalls with the camera is it is not on a 3 axis gimbal like many other camera drones out there. The camera simply tilts straight down or levels out when flying. Any harsh movements when flying, you will see it in the results of your video but it is very stable in flight.

The Breeze 4K weighs in at 385g so registering with the FAA is needed. That shouldn't be a problem as it only cost you $5 to register and you are registering your name, not the drone itself so you can have a few drones for one registration number. The number must be attached to the drone like on a label, sharpie or whatever as long as it's on there. The drone comes with 2 batteries which gives you up to 12 minutes of flight time each, comes with a charger, propeller guards and a hard plastic case to store it in.

One thing about the Breeze 4K is that you don't need a controller to fly it, although one is available. To fly the drone, you simply use your phone or tablet with the Breeze Cam app that can be downloaded. Flying it with a touch screen phone or tablet is ok but I suggest you fly it with a controller. Using the controller allows you to connect it to your phone by bluetooth so that you have full control using the controller but also see what's going on during your flight by viewing it on your phone or tablet. It's the FPV feature that is available on the app. The FPV feature also allows you to use the goggles that come with the controller. I wasn't a fan of the goggles, but flying with the controller connected to my phone was a breeze. At first I experienced some issues using my Samsung Galaxy S7 android phone because at one point everything worked great but then Verizon decided to do an android update which then caused a few problems with the Yuneec app. But all was resolved or at least there was a way to work around the issue until it does get fixed.

Now about the Breeze Cam app...The app has several features to use for flying. It has Pilot mode which basically gives you full control in movement of the drone. Selfie mode is where the drone is facing you, you set the height, distance and it takes a selfie photo. Orbit mode is pretty cool as the drone flies around you in a circle. Journey mode is where you start off with the drone at a low level height where the camera is facing you, you set the distance you want the drone to fly to and you set the camera angle too. The camera angle matters cause you kinda want the drone to fly up and away rather than it fly straight out and away. So tilt the camera a bit down at an angle and the drone will take off from a countdown. Once the drone reaches the altitude distance you had set it to, it will then return back to you after a few seconds. Follow Me mode is where you mark a box around you on the screen and the drone will follow you, however you must have the controller app on your person for the drone to follow you. FPV is where you fly with the optional controller with or without the use of the goggles.

Below is a video I did showing how the Journey Mode worked. It's basically like a boomerang.

Overall, the Yuneec Breeze 4K is great to begin with and comes with all kinds of features that you might find available on other brand drones. Always fly safe in an open area and fly by any FAA rules and regulations.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flying near Coal Creek Peak

Found some time to go fly the Phantom 3 Pro. Before I actually flew, I stopped to check out a local R/C airfield and ended up watching a couple of the guys fly their planes. I decided to leave after being informed that the airfield was for club member use only and also drones were not allowed in the air when planes are flying. So I left and found a spot to go fly my drone. Unfortunately from the time I set up, did my pre flight check and got up in the air....I was only able to fly for like 15 mins before I started to feel some rain. So I headed back to land and pack up. Good thing I did cause a few minutes later as I was driving away from the location, rain came pouring down with thunder and lightening.

Photo and Video Gear

Some of the gear I will be using to capture moments on the ground and up in the air.