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Remote Flight Considerations

This page is for your our clients and potential clients. So you can have an idea of what to expect on your next drone shoot, to save time and be most effective in your planning. Please watch this video interview of our chief pilot by PC Magazine if you have not already seen it to get a basic idea of what our drones are like...

Below our chief our chief pilot will touch base on various subjects.

The remote aircraft is relatively small total weight usually averages about 10 lbs and is about an average size of 3 feet across and 2 feet tall. It can be used for all kinds of aerial missions including but not limited to, aerial photography, aerial video, surveillance, search and rescue, thermal imaging, 3D rendering, panoramic aerial photography, 360 degree panoramas, showing the future view of buildings not yet made and more. The drone must always stay within line of sight of the pilot and stay clear of obstacles such as power lines, trees, buildings, radio or high frequency broadcast sites and any other hazards to flight. Typically shots are best accomplished with the pilot standing at a point behind the aircraft with the camera facing the same direction for normal orientation, although any orientation is possible. The aircraft is battery operated and has a 5-10 minute flight time before landing is needed to change batteries and fly again as needed. A clear take off area is required for safety. Live video monitors provide live view for still photos or video while in flight. All media is recorded on board. We don't fly in the rain or heavy snow and cant allow sand or dust to enter the system. Optimum wind conditions are ideal under 10 MPH. We can operate day or night. Can perform basically any aerial related task with mission planning.

The main advantage is a creative and unique one. The close range aerial filming via our radio controlled drone multirotor can access places full sized manned aircraft can not. Producing shots not possible with traditional manned aircraft. The small size and light weight aircraft allows us to fly closer to subjects with a low noise/wind impact in the surrounding environment. Many times our aircraft go unnoticed. Except at night. Can you say UFO?  Our aircraft a brightly lit for night ops.

Dusty conditions are active precipitation and or winds in excess are also considerations. Taking off at a dusty work site for example the copter can blow a large amount of dust into the air some can get into the camera and ruin the shot. Sand as well. If your location has any of these hazards please let us know. We will have to make arrangements for a water down of the site and or use of a landing platform or alternate take off area. If your site is dusty or in an active work zone or is for one reason or another un safe to take off and land in then we will try and fly from an adjacent area near by if safety permits.

Urban 360 Panoramic Photos in New York and other cities are often take from the roof top of an existing building on site, or taken from an adjacent roof top if access is granted. If the site is undeveloped then we will consider to take off and land from the site it self, or if there is a hazard adjacent to the site. Again we have seen dusty roof tops that pose potential dust into our camera. Best advice is to inspect the site first and make any needed changes.

Remote Aerial Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you do this?
A: Because we LOVE IT! Its awesome and produces breath taking results. We think you will love it too!

Q: What on earth is a multicopter, hexacopter or a drone?
A: A multicopter is like a helicopter but has several rotor blades to produce lift. There are Octocopters with eight rotors, Hexacopters with six rotors, Quadcopters with four rotors, and Tricopters with three rotors. There are also helicopters with one rotor but we have mostly transitioned away from helicopters since mulitcopters offer a more stable platform. We use mostly Hexacopters for aerial media which have six rotor blades, they have a nice balance of lift to weight ratio and are very efficient to operate. The media likes to call all these drones so ok we can call it that too.

Q:  What kind of cameras work for aerial media? How much can the helicopter lift?
A: Each class of multicopter we have is designed to lift a different payload. Our copters can lift from 1-12 lbs of camera weight. Including but not limited to the cameras listed below. Other cameras may work as well. Basically any camera under 10 lbs is supported including the RED Epic, Red Scarlet, Canon 5D Mark III, Sony FS100, Sony FS700, Black Magic 4k, Sony NEX5n, GoPro Hero 4, Canon 1D, Nikon D4, Panasonic GH4 and many more...

Supported Cameras For Productions on a 3 axis gyro stabilized dual operator gimbal

Q: Does the shoot come with the camera included?
A: If our cameras meet your specs, yes. If not maybe we can fly yours.

Q. Camera pan, tilt and roll. How is it accomplished? How many operators?
A. All our aircraft have tilt, pan and roll correction. Most of our aircraft camera mounts are gyro stabilized on all 3 axis.

Single operator set up:
(Most common) Method of pan is accomplished by the pilot by turning the aircraft left or right. The pilot controls aircraft flight and tilt. Roll is automatic level.

Dual operator set up:
A dual pilot set up allows for one pilot to control only the aircraft and the camera operator to control the independent camera mount with 360 degrees of pan and 180 degrees of tilt independent from the pilot. Roll is automatic level. The dual operator set up is for more complex shots such as when a shot is following behind a moving subject then swings around to be in front of it. A good example is race cars on a track, that would be complex movement enough to need two operators.

Q: How high can the remote helicopter drone fly? How far?
A: For safety reasons we fly at a max altitude of about 500 feet and a max horizontal distance of about 750 feet. If a chase vehicle is used this distance can be greatly increased to thousands of feet. It is very important the multicopter is always within line of sight.

Q:  What if the weather is bad the day of my shoot?
A: We will be glad to reschedule your shoot for another day subject to availability.

Q:  Is the remote helicopter gas or battery powered?
A: Clean, Quiet, Electric power. 5-10 min flight. To fly again battery reload time is about 2 minutes then is able to fly again. Charge batteries and repeat should keep us up and running as needed.

Q: What do you need to recharge batteries?
A: Two simple wall outlets 110 volts, a generator or a car battery will do. Always with someone monitoring the batteries while charging. Recharge time average 90 minutes. For large amounts of flying wall outlets are much preferred.

Q: Do you also fly full sized manned helicopter for aerial photography and video?
A: Yes, we also utilize a manned helicopter for locations (or cameras) not possible to fly with the remote controlled drone.

Q. Do you offer in house video and photo editing?
A. Yes to both. For customers who want a complete aerial video package from A- to Z we can handle that as well.

Q. Is the camera system smooth filming?
A. Yes films smooth with no vibrations.

Q Do you have insurance coverage?
A: Yes. Third party liability personal and property.

Q: Can you fly indoors?
A: Yes we can fly indoors provided there is enough room for safe operation.

Q: Can you operate at night?

Q: How long does it take you to set up at each flight location?
A: About 5 to 10 minutes.

Q: How do you get flight information, GPS?
A: Our muticopters are GPS Enabled with position hold and fly to way point ability all viewable on a 3D map with preflight planning and mission simulation via google earth. With altitude, speed, distance and other relevant data.

Q: How close can you fly to subjects?
A: We can operate safely about 10 feet of an actor or subject in optimum location and wind conditions.

Q: How much room do you need to land and take off for the Remote Helicopter?
A: About 15 foot by 15 foot flat hard surface is would be best with out dust.

Q: Do you provide a live monitor? Can what the camera is shooting be seen in real time?
A: Yes we have dual monitors on the ground. One for client/director/cam operator, one for pilot.

Q: How do you do long chase shots?
A: We use a moving vehicle (car or boat) where the pilot controls the helicopter following the subject.

Q: What is the maximum wind speed you can fly in?
A: We have operated successfully in 25 MPH winds but that is pushing it to the max. We recommended always filming in less than 10 MPH winds.