A tight-knit group of nine (9) droners participated in the most recent Drones 101 for Adults workshop conducted on Saturday 27 January 2018 at the Emmaus Sports Complex in Dickson. The introduction and familiarisation course featured some novice UAV pilots, flyers with some experience and a group already flying DJI products but keen to learn basic flying skills.

After settling in and completing the initial seminar on RPAS language, history, some technical stuff and the all-important CASA rules and regs, we got busy unboxing and pre-flighting Syma’s fantastic little X5 drone (UC and UW variants). These inexpensive but capable toy-grade drones may seem like an overly simplistic way to start flying but they’re the perfect platform for students to ‘cut their teeth’, whether novice or experienced flyer, as they afford the opportunity for learners to focus 100% on developing their motor skills and cognitive processes as ‘pilots’ rather than on their ability to operate an app (in the case of the more advanced GPS-capable drones).

By mid-afternoon we were outside on the soccer field in a seemingly zero knot wind. Quick reference of the recommended weather apps revealed a slight breeze and as flyers discovered, it was enough to challenge their flying skills seeing many engaged in recovery flying for much of their time due to the light weight and lack of GPS on their Syma craft. A Tx-Rx confuzzlement saw one drone incur a location beyond the soccer oval – well done to Brett and Richard on the successful recovery mission ensuring no drone was left behind!

A quick fly of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard highlighted the marked differences between a toy or hobby grade drone and the more expensive, GPS-capable prosumer models. Many thanks to Col for getting his Mavic Pro in the air providing a compare and contrast opportunity between the larger but less capable Phantom 3 Standard. All in all, skills learnt by the group at the workshop easily transfer to other models of drone… whether a drone costs $50, $500 or $2,500, it’s important for a user to be a ‘flyer’ of drones rather than simply an ‘operator’.

Good luck to all in your future RPA-flying endeavours. Fly safe and responsibly and if so inclined, please recommend Drone Bootcamp to other recreational drone flyers so we can create, shape and foster a positive RPA environment en masse.


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