Commercial Drones PilotsQ&A with Above Us: All about drones, and making this technology work for you

December 1, 2021by helo-10

Drones have a lot of uses, and more people every month are discovering they either need drone photography or they’d like to learn to fly them.

Chris Peura, owner of Above-Us in Clarksville, is a local expert and drone instructor, and he was able to answer several common questions about drones and how they’re used.

Drones during a flying lesson, courtesy of Above-Us in Clarksville.

Q: What are drones used for?

A: Anyone can fly a drone for fun or as a hobby, but most commercial aircraft are used for some form of remote sensing – carrying cameras for photographers, 3D scanning infrastructure and providing first responders with thermal imaging. As drones become incorporated with more autonomy, they will contribute to increasing agricultural production, private security, delivering parcels and other phenomena.

Q: How do you control them?

A: Most drones from the store will include a remote control or have an app for your phone. Commercial drones might be controlled by laptops or have artificial intelligence that can fly by itself, but virtually all drones incorporate some level of autonomy through self-leveling and GPS systems.

Q: What types of drones are there?

A: Recreational drones are flown for fun and are the easiest to fly – these are usually smaller camera drones that come with everything you need to get started and are available at major retailers. Commercial drones are used and customized by professionals and require federal licensing and special training.

A student learns how to fly using hand gestures, courtesy of Above-Us in Clarksville.

Q: How have drones changed over the years?

A: The first recorded use of a drone was during the Austrian siege of Venice in 1849, when explosives were attached to balloons and wafted over the city. Few of the drones made in the 21st century use balloons, but military research has greatly contributed to the remote-controlled technology that is now in the hands of consumers. The term “drone” comes from small airplanes developed by the Army and Navy for target practice during World War I and World War II. In 1939, the Academy of Model Aeronautics was founded to promote and organize model aviation as a sport and provide advocacy for hobbyists. Many of the earliest multi-rotor drones were do-it-yourself projects until the FAA approved commercial operations in 2017, which allowed corporations like DJI and 3DR to enter the U.S. drone markets and make flying viable for consumers.

Q: How hard are they to fly?

A: Today’s drones abound with features like auto-takeoff and land that allow them to fly themselves while only being guided by their operators. This allows personnel to focus on safety and operating equipment instead of the intricacies of flying, which makes it easier to learn than ever.

Q: Can I get into drones without any experience?

A: Remote controlled aircraft are a gateway for future aviators. The Federal Aviation Administration’s website has information about getting started, and we offer training for first-time pilots, technicians, emergency responders and those seeking a new hobby or commercial licensing.

A drone being repaired, courtesy of Above-Us in Clarksville.

Classes at Above-Us

Above-Us offers four classes with a range of prices for individuals or groups who can sign up on the Above-Us website:

  • Recreational Lessons: This 2-hour introduction to recreational drones for new pilots teaches what you need to get started, the rules of the craft, how to fly and maneuvering your new drone, and maintenance basics for $100 per attendee.
  • Commercial Training: Those needing an assist getting a commercial drone license can take our 8 hour course for $300, which teaches the commercial exam material, advanced flight theory, professional photography, and about getting a job or starting a business.
  • First Responder Training: This is a public safety UAV program for emergency organizations and features sessions on aerial mapping, direct intervention, oversight, intelligence, and integration with the National Incident Management System.
  • Technical Training: Students in this advanced class will learn how to build, fly, and program their next drone from scratch.

Above Us is offering a holiday special on classes, which would be an ideal gift for the drone flyer in your family. Lessons are $15 off. Or you can get a joint lesson for two people for $90 (one lesson is $60 and the other is half off).

Businesses needing drone services who don’t want to go through all the classes have another option: They can hire the professionals at Above-Us to handle their drone imagery needs. Above-Us offers both still image photography and videography services in addition to other aerial data solutions, repairs, and custom aircraft.

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.


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