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Most of us are familiar with drones these days, and some of us even own one. They come in handy for creating incredible aerial shots for videos and can provide laughs when the cat swats them down. The drones designed for commercial use tend to be easy to fly and maneuver, and some are quite affordable.
They work via a combination of physics and wireless capabilities. Let’s go over more of the mechanics of how drones fly.
Drones have various mechanics that make them work.
Most drones have four rotors, which are propellors attached to motors that enable them to move up, down, side to side, rotate, and hover.
The rotors push the air down, which helps lift the body into the air. In order to hover, two of the spinning blades spin counterclockwise, and the other two spin clockwise.
The faster the propellors spin, the faster and higher the drone can go. All actions that the drone participates in depend on the speed of each of the propellors.
Drones are typically controlled through a wireless connection and GPS, usually through a tablet or your smartphone, enabling you to see from the drone’s perspective.
While they are on the ground, they use remote ground control systems. Many also have obstacle-avoidance sensors.
Many drones can be pre-programmed to specific coordinates and can provide you with the battery status while in flight. In order to keep them light, drones typically only use small batteries, so keeping track of the battery is important!
Drones also use the accelerometer, which provides information about the direction and speed of the drone, and the altimeter, which gives information about the altitude. These help the drone land slowly and safely.
There are only two different kinds of drones. We are most familiar with rotary drones, and the other ones are fixed-wing drones.
A rotor drone can be single rotor or multi-rotor, which includes three, four, six, or eight propellors, with the four propellors, or the quadcopter, being the most popular.
A fixed-wing drone has two wings fixed to the body. The wings are used to help in lifting the drone, but even with wings, they can take off and land vertically and don’t need a runway.
Where drones are used depends on whether they are meant for personal or commercial use. Beyond filmmaking, racing, or other entertainment venues, drones have been used for:
Drones have many advantages:
With the good comes the bad. The disadvantages of drones include:
It takes about 2 weeks to learn how to fly a drone. You could master it faster if you’re already experienced in flying model aircraft. Be sure to practice in open fields, and always keep it at a safe height and location where you can see it.
You’ll need to check with your county’s rules on this. Some counties expect everyone to have a license, while others might only require a permit if your drone is over a certain weight.
This depends on your drone, and the instructions will give you information about this. But generally, for a beginner drone, the flight time might be 5 to 10 minutes, for a mid-range drone, about 10 to 30 minutes, and for an advanced drone, maybe 30 to 40 minutes.
Most drones are not weatherproof, so it’s best to bring them inside when the weather turns.
Drones are becoming increasingly sought after, and the technology will only become more advanced over time. They are used in industries for helping others but can also be used for fun — as long as they don’t infringe on the privacy and safety of others.
Remember to check with your region’s laws about the rules for being a drone operator. If you use them safely, drones are rife with possible applications.
Featured Image Credit: Allef Vinicius, Unsplash
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Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things birds. When she was a child, thanks to her love of animals she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way. She's not strong in the sciences, unfortunately, so she uses her time to research and write about all kinds of birds and animals, and hopes to bring that detailed knowledge to OpticsMag.
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