What Drone Should I Buy For My Son?


Episode 1707

Robert from Virginia

Robert wants to get a drone for his son. He bought a cheaper $150 model, but it's harder to fly. What's the best one to get? Leo says to pick up the DJI Mavic Mini. The cheaper model is good for flying and crashing, but without sophisticated GPS control, it'll fly away sooner or later. The Mavic Mini not only has GPS control but also collision avoidance. And it gets better with every update. 

How can we make drone operators fly responsibly?


Episode 1203

Louis from Hollywood, CA

Louis says that drones delayed firefighting helicopters from getting to a brush fire, causing dozes of cars to be burned on a freeway in Southern California. Leo says that's not only terrible, but likely illegal. The FAA has been trying to work out rules to prevent these things.

Leo says that firmware updates to prevent flying in restricted airspace (an electronic leash) can only do so much. The chatroom says that there should be mandatory transponders on drones to be able to identify those who fly in restricted airspace. That could go a long way to solving the issue.

Drones May Look Like Fun, But They're Tougher to Fly Than You Think

Parrot AR BeBop Drone

Episode 1171

Leo says he's really interested in Drones because they're one of the fastest growing technology categories out there, but they are extremely difficult to fly. Still, at the behest of PadreSJ, Leo bought a $40 Syma QuadCopter because it was cheap and if he crashed it, nobody would really get hurt. And in 10 seconds, it disappeared. That was his first experience.

What affordable tablet can I get for viewing the camera on my drone?

Parrot Bebop Drone

Episode 1168

John from Peter Pines Park, CA

John has a Bebop drone with Sky Controller. Leo says that Parrot AR is the company that made drones popular. Leo says that they've done an interesting thing with the Bebop because it has a wide angle camera and can use software to key in on what you want to look at. The camera is f2.2 and 14MP. It can be controlled with a smartphone, or by the optional Sky Controller.

FAA Releases Proposed New Drone Rules

Episode 1162

With the recent loss of a quadcopter on White House grounds, the need for more specific FAA rules on drone use has become more important. And yesterday, the FAA released proposed new rules for doing just that. The rules include that drones must be under 55 lbs, fly under 500 feet and go no faster than 100 mph. There would be an age limit of 17 and you must pass a aereonautics exam and be vetted by the FAA. But you wouldn't need a license. The rules have a public comment of 60 days.

Tips for Flying Quadcopters

Quadcopter drone

Episode 1153

Mark from San Diego, CA

Mark's company currently enjoys an exemption from the FAA to fly drones for commercial use. Mark says the lighter your drone is, the more challenging it is to fly. It's always important to have extra batteries. Additionally, it's important to always fly with someone else because your perspective is often skewed, and a second person can help you keep track of it.

Pilots Pushing For New FAA Drone Policies

Aerial Drone

Episode 1153

Airplane pilots are pushing for new rules from the FAA to protect them from unmanned aerial drones, and according to GigaOm the pressure from aviation groups has been part of the reason why the FAA hasn't adopted formal commercial drone rules. Leo says that the other part of the problem is that the FAA, while having the authority to put forth said rules, has no way to enforce them.

Jon Miller


Episode 1102

John Miller fills in for Chris Marquardt today. He holds the distinction of flying a quadcopter at the highest altitude ever recorded on Mount Everest. John goes up with Chris every year, and he's documented their Everest adventure on stills and videos. This year he brought a DJI Phantom Quadcopter with a GoPro camera. He took it to Base Camp and flew it, making it the highest recorded quadcopter flight ever. He also brought a Turbo Ace Matrix drone which has 15 propellers for a larger payload and greater lift.

Are there private airspace rules governing drone use?

DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro

Episode 1100

Ellis from Marina Del Rey, CA

Ellis wants to know if there are air rights established over buildings and residencies? Leo says that only if he is using drones for commercial purposes. He can only use it for private and personal use. Air rights? That's a lawyer question. Air rights do extend up, but the FAA regulates it. So the FAA is probably the best place to ask. The FAA is being very hard against commercial use of drones because of the explosion of drone usage.