The Mavic Air

OK, so I bought a drone.

Flying the DJI Mavic Air in the saddle at the base of Mauna Kea
Flying the DJI Mavic Air in the saddle at the base of Mauna Kea
I have been flying the aircraft for over a month now, logging hours of flight time, and discharging plenty of batteries. I have practiced launch and recovery, navigation, hand catching the drone, and taken some great photos.

Describing the Mavic Air is simple… Impressive.

This is not a review, I am making no effort to list through all of the features and faults of the aircraft. What follows is more my impressions of the drone, a few things I have encountered while learning to use it.

The issue here is that I am completely new to flying a drone, the Mavic Air my first real drone, not considering the cheap $20 toy quadcopter I played with a bit to learn. I have had to learn everything from scratch. It also means I come at this little aircraft with fresh eyes having nothing to compare it with.

Continue reading “The Mavic Air”

Where can you fly a drone in Hawaii?

For a new drone pilot, learning the rules can be a bit daunting.

Hawaiʻi is a state that is incredibly attractive to a drone pilot. The scenery, from reefs and beaches, to the soaring volcanoes, just begs to be flown over and photographed from the air.

Flying the DJI Mavic Air in the saddle at the base of Mauna Kea
Flying the DJI Mavic Air in the saddle at the base of Mauna Kea

I am determined to fly responsibly, that means going through all of the various rules. The rules are not simple! They are a patchwork of regulations from federal, state, and local authorities. How do you make sense of it all?

Below is the results of my research on the subject. More than a few hours of reading state and federal websites. The process of writing this post was in itself a means of educating myself. Hopefully others will find this useful. If you know of anything I have missed, drop me a line to let me know.

This post is focused on the Island of Hawaii, home for me. But much of what is discussed here applies to all of the islands.

Continue reading “Where can you fly a drone in Hawaii?”

To Fly

While humans are unequipped to fly naturally we have always envied other creatures the freedom of the air. The dream of flight has inspired men to create ways of overcoming gravity with ever more creative machines and technological tricks. We can fly, at least with a little help.

Mauna Kea above the Morning Fog
Mauna Kea seen above morning fog
A drone allows the operator to fly, if indirectly through the lens of the camera. The drone makes it quite easy, a nominal cost and a little practice allows a drone pilot to access the air so easily. A few moments preparation and the little aircraft is a able to loft hundreds of feet above and over a mile away.

Flying the little Mavic Air has opened this means of flight to me, and I admit I have been quite captivated by the experience. I am late to the game I suppose, but this also means I am learning on a very capable piece of mature technology. The Mavic Air is a superbly designed machine that is quite forgiving to a new pilot.

My interest in the drone is really as an extension of my existing interest in photography. My motivation is to allow photos to be taken from a new perspective. Even now, with drones becoming fairly common, a view from the air adds a sense of excitement to an image.

Continue reading “To Fly”