In operating these drones you become a pilot with responsibilities and must comply with the rules found at: www.caa.govt.nz/rpas
The flight time of a drone is how long the drone can fly for on one battery charge.
Generally, the more advanced the drone the longer the flight time, but can be between 10 and 30 minutes. Changing altitude, or increasing speeds will drain the battery faster.
Recharge times can also vary between models and ranges. Check that the drone has sufficient flight time for your needs.
Auto Return Home
Many drones will come with a built in return-to-home feature which allows you to call your drone back to you at the touch of a button from your controller.
Drones with this feature are equipped with a GPS, and is a great safety feature to ensure you don’t lose sight of your drone.
Most also have a second GPS built in as redundancy in the event there is any complications.
Many drones come with built in cameras that let you record video and take photos while flying. Depending on the model of drone, video will be recorded either to an on-board SD card or streamed back to the controller.
Make sure to choose a model that has a camera that fulfils your requirement. If it’s a hobby machine a unit with a 1080p or lower camera will be fine, however if you want to make movies or do quality photography then a 4k or above would be best.
If your drone is capable of recording high quality video make sure you pick up a high speed SD card for the best results.
A gimbal is how the camera is mounted to the drone and ensures that the picture is smooth and free of shakes and judders.
There are two different types of gimbal.
Some drones will come with a gimbal that has an integrated camera and cannot be removed from the drone, and others are sold as separate units which allow you to mount your own action camera to the drone.
Choosing a Drone
A drone for the beginner will be small and light-weight, and may be suitable for flying both indoors and outdoors. The lightweight frame means they may be more affected by wind when flying outside, but they are still a great way to get the feel for flying a drone. Some entry-level drones will come with a basic camera mounted on to the drone for recording video and taking photos. These drones usually have a flight range of up to 150 metres and a drone in this category can usually fly for as long as 10-15 minutes but depends on the model of drone.
Just starting out? Take a look at these beginner drones
An intermediate drone will let you fly faster, and reach higher altitudes. Drones in the intermediate category have a much larger range of flight too, but also include a return-to-home feature to ensure you don’t lose your drone. Generally the mounted camera will be of a higher quality allowing you to record in high definition and take great looking photos. Flying range and flight time is also increased depending on the model of drone you have.
Bit of experience? These might be more your fit
GoPro Karma Drone with Hero 5 Camera
DJI Phantom 4 Drone
Drones for the pros will be even faster, yet have more stability for safer flying – you’ll even find some with 5 or more rotors for the added flying power. These drones usually come with a mounted camera that is capable of capturing 4K videos and stunning images. These drones may be used for commercial use where long battery life and very good flight stability is required. Flying range can be up to 5km and flight time can be up to 30 minutes depending on the model of the drone.
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Check out the full range of Drones here
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand has put together a list of key things you should know before flying your drone, which we have summarised below.
Drones must fly only in daylight, weigh less than 25kg, and you must ensure you take all practicable steps to minimise hazards to any person, property or other aircraft.
How high and how far can I fly my drone?
You can fly your drone up to 120 metres, but you must make sure you can see your drone with your own eyes. Once your drone is in the air and taking in all the sights, you need to make sure you give way to all crewed aircraft, and have knowledge of any airspace restrictions in your area.
Before you fly above any person or their property, you must make sure you have their consent first.
Where can’t I fly my drone?
The safest thing to do is to check with your local council as to whether you are allowed to fly your drone in the area.
In general, you need to stay at least 4 km away from any aerodrome, stay away from controlled airspaces unless you have obtained clearance, and not fly in special use airspace without the permission of the administering authority of the area.
Five Interesting ways drones are being used
Some of the models displayed below are not currently available for purchase
Recording live events – You may see drones being used to capture live events such as concerts and sports events. To capture these events in the past a camera would be hung from a cable, but a drone is able to move in many directions to give a great aerial view to the audience.
Commercial photography – Professional wedding photographers are using drones to capture those special moments with endless possibilities for camera angles. Drones are also helping to market properties for real estate companies. Drones allow agents to show interested buyers where the house is in relation to nearby amenities, or how close the property is to the beach or other natural settings.
Delivering small packages – Some large companies overseas are using drones to deliver small packages to their customers who have purchased products online.
Search and Rescue – With their ability to fly and manoeuvre in to difficult access areas, drones are being used in search and rescue missions, for example; looking for survivors after a disastrous flood. Drones are able to be equipped with HD and thermal imaging cameras to help with a search and rescue mission.
Surveying dangerous areas – Drones have made it easier to survey and explore dangerous areas that are not easily accessible for human beings. The study of volcanos for example has been made easier with drones; giving scientists closer aerial footage of the volcano and getting information to help with predicting eruptions.
Adventure at your fingertips – Reshaping all that you think you know. The next drone from DJI - coming soon.