1 Here's my new drone - the DJI Phantom 2 Vision +, all ready for its very first flight! I've flown a few different model drones, but none as sophisticated as this one. I was eager to see what it could do.
2 It comes equipped with this amazing 14 megapixel camera and 3 axis bushless gimbal, which keeps the camera extremely stable. The result is crystal clear photos and video no matter how rough the flight.
3 I love the remote that comes with the drone because of its nice size and large controls, making it easy to operate while looking up at the drone in flight.
4 Another great feature of the Phantom 2 Vision + is the ability to look through and control the camera right on my iPhone, enabling me to see everything live as I fly! Pictured here is the mount for the iPhone. I just got an iPhone 6+ and it fits perfectly. Android phones are also compatible.
5 I decided to do the training session in the big horse paddock in front of the Winter house. Here is Tony Ngo - CEO, Founder and Co-owner of IntelligentUAS - showing me take-off and landing techniques.
6 Tony explained to me that the Phantom 2 Vision + can fly to an impressive 2300 feet in any direction without losing contact with the controller. That's almost half a mile!
7 If for any reason contact with the drone is lost, the built-in GPS tracker will automatically guide the drone to the location from which it took off!
8 Tony has a Ph.D. in physics and has more than 5 years experience flying radio controlled aircraft, including drones. He brought along two expert pilots from his company: Doug Bennett, Senior Technician / Pilot and Matthew Creger, Video and Media Content Editor.
9 After going through all the basics and best practices, Tony was ready to hand over control to me! How exciting!
10 The DJI software that I downloaded from Apple's App Store displays all sorts of useful information, such as altitude and battery life. I immediately took it up over 300 feet! The guys were really impressed!
11 It's at about 350 feet here! Matthew told me that most beginners take it very slow and hover between 10 to 20 feet. I thought it was very natural and easy to control, so I felt quite comfortable taking it really high.
12 I'm hovering at about 430 feet, looking at a sweeping view of my home on the far left, horse paddocks and stable in the center and the chicken coop on the far right. I'm going to take this photo.
13 What do you think about my very first photo with my new drone?
14 Doug is explaining that I should be mindful of trees and always steer clear of them. Tree collisions are the #1 reason for drone loss and damage.
15 Every Phantom 2 Vision + comes with these optional propeller guards. These add a little bit of weight to the drone, slightly affecting battery life, but I opted to have them installed because they reduces the chance of damage to the propellers as well objects the drone may collide with.
16 As I was flying around the farm and taking lots of nice photos, Matthew spotted something interesting. You can see him here pointing at it.
17 It was an old friend of mine - a hawk that I rescued some years ago! He seemed to be very curious with the drone.
18 He didn't strike at it, but he did hover around it for quite some time, trying to figure out if he could make dinner of it! Hawks are predatory birds and are very territorial - and we were in his air space!
19 Eventually he got bored and left. It was so nice to see him again. I enjoyed sharing with the guys my history with him.
20 The DJI app on my iPhone notified me that the drone battery level was getting low. I was flying for about 25 minutes - not bad. Tony explained that if I were to ignore the battery warning, the drone would automatically land itself at the original take-off point once power depletion became imminent.
21 Of course, I did not ignore the warning.
22 I began my descent.
23 And brought it in for a picture perfect landing!
24 Tony congratulated me on a stellar flight session. I marveled at how seamless and intuitive flying the DJI Phantom 2 Vision + was. I also loved how taking pictures and video was so simple with the excellent free app! http://goo.gl/OmC6Jo
25 I wanted to take it up for another flight, so Doug walked me through the process of changing the battery.
26 Simply squeeze the two clips on the battery and pull forward. Then plug the charged battery right in. Very quick and easy. I was flying again in less than 3 minutes!
27 Once in flight again, Matthew gave me great tips on how to take amazing video.
28 Another 25 minutes later, I came in for my final descent.
29 And it was a perfect landing on Tony's outstretched hand! This was so fun!
30 I got a great education from the fun and professional drone training team from IntelligentUAS. If you buy a drone from them and request a training session, maybe you will get to meet them too! You will be so happy you did!
31 Thank you for coming and bringing your expert team, Tony. It was truly an excellent learning experience!
The next series of photos are the shots I took of my farm during my training session. Enjoy!