Drones 101 for Teachers: General Content & Resources

Pre-event registration (Google Form): https://goo.gl/forms/Yu0xKeOmSY4eLXIC3

Drones 101 for Teachers: Program Plan

CASA Resource: Drone Fact Sheet

Drone Bootcamp: 2017 Prospectus

Quick Reference Guide: https://www.airdronecraze.com/quick-reference-guide-of-drone-terminology/

Industry, Innovation & Science Maker Space Grant Guidelines: Inspiring Australia Science Engagement Programme Guidelines PDF-2




It started off as a fine, windless and clear day for Drones 101 for Newbies on Saturday 2 September but by late morning the clouds had arrived and the wind blew at about 12-13 km. Nonetheless, a great group of 10 drone enthusiasts gathered at the Emmaus Sports Complex to ‘cut their teeth’ on Syma, MJX and DJI products of varying capabilities.

After an introductory seminar covering definitions, grades of drone, flying safety and rules and regs, we got busy flying with pre-flight, arming and basic flight control exercises covered before a lunch break.

Post-lunch the group were challenged to manoeuvre their drones using pitch, roll and yaw before another seminar to provide buying advice and some insight into handy apps and resources. Despite the wind, we got a DJI Phantom 3 Standard airborne for our final flying fling and used it for a group photo. All and sundry got to have a fly of the craft whilst keeping watch of a playful hound at the end of the oval, the busy Magpies and the gusting wind.

Just to clarify a miscommunication following a question – no, the Phantom 3 camera does not have audio (but the GoPro 5 does) and the Certificate III in Aviation (RPAS VLOS) varied in length and cost depending on who offers it. See here for available RTOs: https://www.myskills.gov.au/courses/details?Code=AVI30316

A great day all in all – I hope those involved enjoyed their introduction to, and familiarisation of, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Please fly safely and responsibly.

Images from the day can be viewed and/or downloaded from Flickr.


Post-event report: Drone Bootcamp 29 July 2017

Many thanks to the great group of enthusiastic Drone Bootcamp participants from Saturday 29 July for their focus, engagement and positive feedback… what a great day.

After settling in and immediately unboxing, pre-flighting, arming and calibrating drones included in the program’s cost, we retired to the ‘bat cave’ and got busy learning definitions and terminologies, flying safety, CASA rules and regulations and handy resources and apps before a break. Post-lunch we hit the Sports Complex proper to fly the small, inexpensive but challenging Syma X5C’s and X5UC’s.

A drone captured high up in the safety net did not deter tenacious Niran with fellow participant Andrew recruited to assist with retrieval courtesy of his natural height and with the aid of the instructor’s homemade telescopic GoPro pole (thumbs up to that team effort).

I hope all involved enjoyed the chance to fly the DJI Phantom 3 despite a bit of wind making the prospect touch and go but the aircraft’s intelligent flight system made it a breeze (did you see what I did there… that’s a weather pun). Images featured here are ‘selfies’ shot by the participants first time out.

Many thanks to all that attended – you’ve earnt your ‘wings’ as recreational drone pilots – go forth to fly safely and responsibly.

The above images can be downloaded in high resolution via Flickr.

Mark Will – Chief Drone Nerd 


Which Drones Have the Longest Flight Time?


Flying a drone can be a liberating, creative and breathless experience. But there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to always bring you back down to earth with a bump: low battery.

Short flight times are something that the industry as a whole is trying to tackle. But current battery technology can only go so far. Running out of power is frustrating and can ruin the flow of your shoot. And by limiting the time you spend in the air, it puts you under more pressure to capture the perfect shot first time. So what’s the solution?

The most obvious is to buy plenty of spare batteries. Although these tend to be an expensive outlay, they are definitely your best option. Aside from that, try and use a drone that has strong battery life to start with. Here are a few examples that fit that description.

DJI Inspire 2

DJI’s latest and most impressive prosumer model…

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Post-event report: Drone Bootcamp 24 June 2017

An enthusiastic group numbering 10 ‘pilots’ participated in our adult program on Saturday, 24 June 2017.

After settling in and learning the definition of ‘drone’s, the history of UAVs, how they actually work and the CASA rules and regulations, students hit the Sports Complex proper to fly the small, inexpensive but challenging Syma X5. Participants were agasp at the natural skill of our youngest participant (Ruben) who had the Syma X5 in a perfect, controlled hover first time out enabling the safety glasses-adorned instructor to proceed forward and demonstrate the craft’s gyroscope and accelerometer by carefully trying to nudge it from it’s controlled hover – it settled back into position each time highlighting the amazing 6-axis stabilisation these ‘drones’ are equipped with.

The patience of the group was appreciated as participants took turns to conquer various manoeuvres. Mother nature presented constant 12km/h plus winds on the day making outdoor flying too dangerous but it did allow for resources and apps (such as ‘Can I Fly There’ and Wind Compass) to be referenced as handy drone-pilot tools to influence risk-management decisions when identifying if flying can occur at any given place and in any given conditions.

Challenges encountered on the day have influenced a program change going forward where all participants will operate ground-based craft (such as the Sky Walker rolling drone) enabling those new to remote control operation and Mode 2 transmitter configuration to ‘cut their teeth’ without having to conquer a flying craft at the outset.

Many thanks to all that participated – you’ve earnt your ‘wings’ as recreational drone pilots so please fly safely and responsibly.

All images taken on the day can be viewed and/or downloaded on Flickr.

Mark Will – Chief Drone Nerd