I love documenting my adventures with my dogs. I call myself the WooFDriver, and I have over twenty years experience as an urban musher. I harness my team of Huskies to a cart and travel on trails and streets using modified bicycles. The desire to acquire awesome footage has pushed me to take to the air using drones. I’ve been a drone pilot for about a year. I have had a fairly good amount of experience—and lots of adventures—using the Phantom 3 by DJI. In fact, I’ve got two of these drones.
Depending on how serious you are, and how deep your pocketbook is, I would suggest, if possible, buying two of any brand drone you choose. Mishaps happen for all sorts of reasons, and I don’t like to be caught in the field without a backup. I don’t want a mechanical problem to prevent me from capturing any moment of my trip.
An example of a drone mishap would be when due to any number of errors, the drone does not land properly. A bad landing can result in small structural damages. Though these are usually easily fixable, instead of taking time in the field, I would rather have one to fall back on, and fix the broken drone later at home.
Sometimes the mishap is caused by pilot error. One time, my team and I weren’t using our best judgment when we decided to take the drone out on a sunrise fly near some windmills. You might be able to imagine what we should have realized at the moment, that there would be a bit of wind. We lost the drone. The Phantom 3 got caught up in the winds and it didn’t have the power to fly back to us. You can see that footage here. [Link to FOOTAGE] You can see our footage here in our video called, “Blown Away in 4K.”
We can chalk that fiasco up to experience. Luckily, we were able to track the drone with GPS and get it back, but it was a couple miles away. It only sustained minor damage, thankfully, and we got it up and running on our next outing.
The Phantom 3 has proven to be pretty hardy and there are many parts available so when these mishaps occur you can find replacements to get it back in flying condition. Its features have made it relatively easy to fly, and it’s an enjoyable machine to use.
To my knowledge the Phantom 3 was one of the first consumer-ready drones available out there on the market for inexperienced fliers. Although, I should preface this by saying I had mingled with drone technology for six years prior to GPS-based drones, back when there were only manual ways to fly them. You had to actually balance them, as well. I own one or two of these early models and hired people to teach me how to fly them, and to also fly them for me. You can see some of that footage here. [FOOTAGE HERE]
When I first heard about the latest models in the last couple years I was very interested because of the self-hovering technology. The drone’s ability to balance itself means you don’t need any real experience to get it up in the air and start capturing some images. As they evolve, they also have programs that will orbit or follow you, or keep track of you in some way with user-defined flight paths, because of the GPS and self-hovering capabilities.
The Phantom 3 was a godsend for people like me who want to get a bird’s eye view of some of the majestic scenery around us, like this. [Footage HERE]
The Phantom 4 has been available now for about nine months to a year, and the DJI Mavic will also soon be available. These drones will add some of the features I wish the Phantom 3 had, like speed. Speed would have given us an edge on the day the Phantom 3 didn’t make it back to us when we were at the wind turbines. The new drones will also allow us to get images without the landing gear getting in the way of the picture.
On another one of our adventures we actually flew the Phantom 3 through a tunnel. That time we ran into an issue we didn’t foresee. The Phantom 3 started to kick up its own wind from the air generation of the propellers, which became an obstacle and eventually downed the Phantom 3 in the tunnel because it essentially couldn’t get out of its own way.
Let’s say we chalk that one up to experience, too. [Footage HERE]