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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aerospace Education  |  Topic: Drone suggestions - squadron
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Eclipse
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« on: December 06, 2017, 12:35:25 AM »

Looking for suggestions for a good starter UAV we can use for AE days, etc.

Something 1/2-way decent that can hover by itself, take photos, maybe video,
etc., etc.

A good ecosystem of batteries, etc., is a plus as well.
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"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Spaceman3750
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,620

« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 11:24:33 AM »

Order the STEM kit.

EDIT: It can’t do photo/video though. Never mind.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
NIN
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Unit: of issue

« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 11:45:18 AM »

IMHO, if you're looking for "more than decent" with a good ecosystem, you need to buy a "name."

I bought into the 3DR Solo ecosystem as it was going out. Thankfully, there's still quite a bit of support and parts, but that will eventually change.

At a minimum you're looking at $200 or more for a drone, controller and camera. Thats a MINIMUM, and likely won't get you into one of the sustainable names.

The DJI Spark might be a decent one, but its double that.
The Parrot Be-bop might be a good choice, but its even more than that.

After that, you're looking at $700-$1000 drones that are going to have mainstream support, batteries, props, etc.

Because if you build one from scratch (perfectly do-able) it will become a shelf queen quickly when the 1-2 guys who are "experts" don't pass on the knowledge...

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Eclipse
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 12:08:37 PM »

We budgeted $500 as a first-pass, we keep asking the cadets for their suggestions to
get their skin in the game and have had basically zero response.

The shelf-queen issue is a major concern of mine as we've got too much of those already,
and frankly, after you've gotten the hang of it, chased your pet around the house, and
broken a few rotors, I don't know what the heck people do with them.

My son has what I would consider to be a pretty nice mid-range UAV, "full" size like a DJI,
still camera, swapable batteries, etc., but it would never trim right, so controlled flight
was near impossible.  We tried some weights, which helped, but at some point it simply was "less"
fun then he expected and it hasn't moved from the shelf for a year.
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"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 867

« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 12:32:15 PM »



.....but it would never trim right, so controlled flight
was near impossible.  We tried some weights, which helped, but at some point it simply was "less"
fun then he expected and it hasn't moved from the shelf for a year.

If multiple people would be flying, as in a squadron situation, it needs to be bullet proof as possible. I have the DJI P4P I use in my business and it is so easy to fly in the gps modes, that anyone can learn to fly it in mere minutes. I very rarely fly in total manual mode. In gps mode, if you simply 'let go' of the controls, it will hover, stationary, until you start controlling again, or until the batteries get low and then it auto returns home, auto lands, and turns the motors off.

Incredible video and photos btw.
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kcebnaes
Member

Posts: 99
Unit: GLR-OH-064

« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 01:16:58 PM »

I second the DJI one. I've had mine for over a year now. Once it was put together, I was able to have it flying, and taking pictures within a couple minutes or so. So far, this picture quality is fantastic! I'm happy to send you a couple that I've take so far. As for  batteries, and support: my battery lasts well over 20 minutes(don't know the full amount because I've never been out that long on one flight.) On the support side, the DJI app has tons of information. I don't know about actual support systems because I've never needed to use them.

My unit cost around $400, and I've spent an extra ~$80 on a hard shell case to take it to Florida this past summer. Keep in mind, the base model does not come with any sort of case..
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Maj Sean Beck
Ohio Wing
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Eclipse
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 01:22:42 PM »

You got a DJI 1 for $400?
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"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

NIN
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Unit: of issue

« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 01:49:10 PM »

I'm rocking a 3DR Solo that I picked up from BB last year for about $350 (Drone, 1 extra battery, the gimbal,  extra props, and a carrying case)

Unfortunately, because I didn't own a GoPro, I didn't have the ability to fly it with FPV. I borrowed a squadron-mate's GoPro for testing.




I'm aiming to become Scott Matthews' go-to drone video guy  :)
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
kcebnaes
Member

Posts: 99
Unit: GLR-OH-064

« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 02:44:51 PM »

You got a DJI 1 for $400?


It was a Black Friday deal. I ended up with the Phantom 3 Standard for just over $400. It did not come with any spare batteries, chargers or anything. Just a spare set of blades. I've had tons of fun flying it, and taken some great pictures.
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Maj Sean Beck
Ohio Wing
Group VI Commander
dwb
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,319

« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2017, 05:26:02 PM »

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/government/dhs-drone-maker-likely-helping-china-spy-on-us/
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Panther
Recruit

Posts: 15

« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2017, 07:19:29 PM »

You got a DJI 1 for $400?

I've seen quite a few used DJI Phantom 3's for around your $500 mark on eBay and other sites. I'd highly recommend it to a beginner, as it hovers with a GPS lock, and is incredibly easy to handle.
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