Learning to fly the Mavic Air has been a pleasure, and actually much easier than I feared.
The purchase of a drone was a bit of leap, one I had been considering for quite some time. When you realize where I will be over the next month the time was now.
Our annual boating trip into the wilds of Alaska and British Columbia offers stunning photographic opportunities for a drone. Not that the island of Hawaii does not offer a great place to learn.
Now or never! So I put down the money and bought the aircraft.
With drone in hand I need to learn to fly it. I need practice to achieve the level of competency I feel is required. I have had a month to practice, a month I have made good use of. Regularly flying and logging quite a few discharged batteries each week.
I am taking learning to fly seriously.
To watch a thousand dollar drone disappear into the sky takes a leap of faith. Faith in the technology and faith in your own skill to pilot the drone back to the launch site. Any number of times I have piloted it far enough away that the drone itself is lost to view, even though I have a clear view of where it is. It is always reassuring to hear the buzzing grow louder and have this little aircraft reappear as it returns.
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.
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.
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.