Things to know before you start flying drones.

Whether for fun or for commercial purposes, drones are a fantastic way to get those aerial shots you’ve been craving. But before you take to the skies, there are some things you should know. Get to know your drone (and the rules) so that you’re sure to do your best to avoid a costly and perhaps dangerous crash.

professional drone photography and filming.jpg

Five things to know before you fly your first drone

1. Commercial flight is regulated

We’ve said it before but we will say it again as it’s the most important know-how you need. Commercial drone flight in South Africa is regulated by the SACAA and, if you’re going to fly a drone for business reasons, you (or your operator) need to be licensed and your drone needs to be registered. That’s quite a bit of paperwork but, don’t worry, we can help with that.

2. Read the manual

Trust us, it’s worth getting to know your drone’s capabilities before you take off. Drones come in all shapes and sizes and can be quite tricky to fly safely. Their controllers vary too. Reading the manual and learning how to fly your drone, how long the battery lasts, and how to stay out of trouble with automatic settings can help protect your drone (and those around it) and avoid a nasty crash.

3. Exercise drone etiquette

Beyond the legalities, it’s important to remember that, as fun as they are, drones are not toys. They can be dangerous, disruptive, and invasive. Take care where you fly and what you are filming – respect others’ right to privacy and air space, and treat the surrounding environment with respect. Simply put, it’s the right (and legal) thing to do.

4. Respect the weather

Drones are difficult to fly well at the best of times and they often don’t perform accurately in strong winds or rain, which can make landings particularly difficult or cause battery shorts. If you’re just starting out with your drone, it’s best to aim for clear, calm skies so you have visibility and don’t have to battle the elements.

5. Practice in the wide, wide outdoors

For the most part, you should avoid flying a drone indoors – it can cause damage to the surrounds and the drone, and be a danger to people. Rather, find a flat, wide, open space with few obstacles and slowly and carefully practice flying your drone in a standard manner. That means getting comfortable with moving the drone up, down, left and right, taking off and landing, before trying any new and exciting moves.

Want expert help on how to fly your drone yourself for commercial purposes such as aerial filming and photography? Talk to us! The team at Drone Media has experience across a wide range of industries and are SACCA accredited and compliant. We use the latest in aerial capture technology and offer the most up-to-date and relevant training (you can see a list of our courses here). Plus, if you sign up as one of our Aerial Media partners, you will be able to promote and re-sell legally procured aerial media as well as fly under our managed Remote Operating Certificate so you’ll be all-legal all the time.

Want to learn more about professional drone photography and filming?