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Drones are becoming increasingly popular, and sales more than doubled in 2016. Also known as Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV), they are cheap to buy and easy to fly thanks to improvements in technology. Most drones come in the form of Quadcopters or Hexacopters, but commercial Octocopters are also available. They have a range of practical uses from aerial photography to surveying in the construction industry. Whatever type of drone you fly, there are some important things you need to know.
1) There are laws to control flying of drones.
The rapid development of drone technology means some Governments and authorities have struggled to keep up, but most countries have introduced laws to control their use. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs drone flying in the United States. If you’re traveling to a foreign country with a UAV, always check what local laws will apply.
2) Drones present a real danger to manned aircraft.
Popular drones like the DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Phantom only weigh around a kilogram, but they are a danger to large aircraft if not flown responsibly. A UAV entering a plane’s jet engine or striking a manned helicopter’s rotor blades could cause a catastrophic accident. Flying near airports or in areas of regular manned aircraft activity must be avoided. There have been incidents of airports being closed down due to reports of stray drones in the area.
3) Visual contact must be maintained when flying an unmanned aircraft.
Modern drones have a range of several miles, but it’s very dangerous to fly them beyond visual line of sight. Most countries require that direct line of sight is maintained by law. So called ‘first person view’ (FPV) technology is popular in the world of drone racing, but this can only be used in strictly controlled conditions.
4) Drone pilots sometimes face hostility.
Even when flying legally, you should be prepared for hostile reactions. Concerns are typically around potential breaches of privacy, but some people just have a negative attitude to unmanned aircraft. Noise and fear of an accident are two other potential reasons why you may be challenged for flying a drone in public.
5) You must carry out research before traveling with a drone.
Airlines have introduced rules to ensure passenger safety when drones are carried on aircraft. The main concern is the batteries used to power unmanned aircraft, as these are potentially explosive. Always check before boarding a plane, and let the cabin crew know that you have a drone in your luggage. If traveling abroad, check that the country you are visiting allows the use of UAVs, as they are banned in some.
6) It may be worth investing in UAV insurance.
Even for experienced pilots, accidents can happen. Crashing a drone can result in expensive repairs. If it’s lost due to a ‘fly away,’ you’ll need to buy a replacement. The manufacturer DJI offers a ‘Care Refresh’ package to cover the cost of repairs or replacement for twelve months. State Farm, AIG and other large insurance companies also offer cover for drones. Liability insurance is another important consideration. If you damage someone else’s property or injure someone with your aircraft, Liability cover will pick up the costs.
7) You need authorization to use a UAV commercially.
If you use a drone for work or financial reward in the United States, you must have approval under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations. Part 107 sets out strict operational rules for commercial drone pilots. Obtaining approval under Part 107 includes passing an aeronautical knowledge test and being vetted by the Transportation Security Administration. Using a drone commercially without the FAA’s approval can result in fines and potential imprisonment.
Drones are great fun to fly, but it’s important to know the safety and legal aspects. Follow the tips in this article, and always consider the potential hazards of piloting unmanned aircraft.
The drone is very much 21st century piece of equipment – and even more so the 2010s. This product seems almost futuristic even now – despite being an evolution of existing tech.
This means that it fulfils one of the most prominent examples of consumer electronics; a product that is absolutely unnecessary and has one of the most predictable market performances to date. This is one of the many reasons why looking through the sale history of drones – as a type of product – can provide insight into the 2018 black Friday sales.
The first and most important thing to note is that the drone is a new product. This is something that makes it incredibly predictable: prices begin high during the early months and years of release, but rapidly settle to a level that we’re willing to pay for. Hype disappears slowly and is replaced by value for money.
This is even more prominent when the technology underlying these cool, popular products progresses rapidly. This is something that technology has reliably done over the last 100 years and is only going to make prices better for us as customers. This will become obvious when we look at the trends in recent years.
However, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about a type of product – not a specific set of brands/models. We’ll be talking about the general trends, but not dealing with the sales on individual products: this provides a general idea of what to expect during Black Friday 2018, but actual sales are going to vary by manufacturer and store.
Among recreational-tier drones, we have entry- and mid-tier products. These are the ones we’ll be looking at today, since the requirements for a commercial or sport drone are much greater and we’re not expecting most people to be interested in getting a drone for under $500.
The entry-level drones, available for under $50, are effectively just remote-controlled helicopters. They’re not particularly special but they make for a great gift for a teen or older drone-enthusiast – a fun plaything designed to entertain rather than serve a practical use.
The prices for these entry-level products have “settled” around $40 – with sales generally ranging between from 10-20%. There are occasional large sales, but these tend to be shifting of stock, rather than due to market forces: this type of sale is very hard to predict and very rare.
Meanwhile, the more expensive recreational drones – the mid-tier – retail around $150-250 depending on the specs and manufacturer. These are often equipped with cameras, long-range control and other tech. This is the kind of product that you should really only buy for a late-teen or adult with a serious passion for this kind of product.
With retail prices a little bit higher, the dollar value of a sale is much greater. Sales on drones are tempered by the fact that they tend to stay low once they’re discounted. This is how we’ve seen the reduction in the overall cost of these products over the last few years as model after model is out-moded.
The average saving on this type of product is between 15% and 25%. This is even more exaggerated on products that are slightly older, however, with products being reduced to around 25% of their 2016-17 prices. Some formerly-premium products are now available for $100-150 despite being introduced to the market at $500-600.
The best way to prepare yourself for Cyber Monday and Black Friday is to see what happened in previous years. If you look online, you will come across scores of past drone deals. Let’s look at a few from 2016:
This is one of the most popular and sought after drones. It is normally priced at $1200 but on Black Friday it was offered at Best Buy for a discounted price of $1000. You therefore ended up saving a whopping $200 which is big money to say the least. You were getting a product which came with some of the best features and you were also buying a drone which would never crash or which would never get lost.
Being an entry level drone, this could be one of the best gifting options to children and youngsters. If you bought during Black Friday 2016, you got some great surprises. You would have probably got it at an unbelievable price of $369 against the normal price of $499. Yes you would have saved quite a bit on this drone which also has quite a few attractive and exciting features.
Amazon offered a discount on the Phantom 3 drone. Just a shade below Phantom 4, this would also have been a good buy both as a gift as well as for personal use. This also came with an attractive special Black Friday price tag of $799 against $1259 which effectively meant a saving of $459 and that certainly was a big saving!
These are just a few of the many such offers on drones that you could have come across during Cyber Monday or Black Friday. So, if you are a drone fan, it makes lot of sense for you to keep your eyes and ears open for such offers. Once you see a good deal, act fast because you can be sure that the offers will come and go much faster than you might have expected.
This is a tough question since the product is so new. You can definitely expect a better value product than ever before – and probably the best sale prices you’re likely to see until the Christmas sales. Markets seem to suggest that Black Friday is even better for this type of product.
Black Friday 2018 will bring great reductions on toy drones which are much cheaper to make and sell at a relatively stable – we expect to see 25% cuts. Meanwhile, the best way to get your hands on a top-quality recreational drone would be to look back to 2017’s hottest models with their enormous mark-downs on great tech!
The following products always have great deals in November. Check them out:
Enjoy Cyber Monday and Black Friday!