Want to buy a drone? Have a new drone?


After reading this recent NY Times article, we developed a page with the intent of quickly raising awareness of newbie quadcopter product buyers of all ages. Below is a copy of most of the page’s content (as of this DIYD blog post). Have you seen a webpage that you prefer? If so, now is a good time to find the link(s) and share with your comments.

We know you are excited to launch your new drone.
Before you send it into the air, please take the time to follow these 7 steps:

  1. Read every step in the manual/instructions. No shortcuts!
  2. Read these brief guides from the United Kingdom,  Australia,  Canada, and the United States.
  3. Go to the middle of a large open space, far, far away from airports, airstrips, roads or buildings.
  4. Complete every step before you are almost ready to launch your new drone. No shortcuts!
  5. Look around. Hear any airplanes or helicopters? If so, wait for quiet. See anyone nearby? If so, wait until other people are far away.
  6. For now, fly it below the tree-tops. Way below 400 feet (120 meters). Practice takeoffs and landings. Can you hold your drone in one place in the air? Move it where you want it to go?
  7. Go recharge that battery, follow the manufacturer's recommendations to fix the crash damage, and remember it is your responsibility to fly as safely as possible, according to the laws and regulations of your country or location.

Why should I follow those 7 steps?

  • You don't want your new drone to fly away, never to be seen again, do you?
  • You don’t want to hurt yourself, a friend, a family member, or someone else.
  • You don’t want to hurt valuable property (a building, a car, a boat, a pet, … ).
  • You don’t want to be a painful, expensive example of what not to do with a drone.
  • You want to have some fun with the least risk, least cost, and not annoy anyone. Yes?

Where can I fly it with less risk? Ideally your drone product:

  • Shows airports, airstrips, and restricted airspaces to avoid. Today, most drone products do not automatically “sense and avoid” a collision with a hospital helicopter, a small airplane, or a commercial passenger jet that is landing or taking off. Always check one of these websites before you launch, plus search the sky and listen for other aircraft:
  • Warns you before you reach 400 feet (120 meters) altitude.
    • If not, do not fly much higher than tree-tops. 
    • It is easier to fly your drone where you can clearly see it, and where it is pointing.
  • Provides “failsafe” features to minimize your risk if or when the drone:
    • Loses contact with your remote control (RC radio, phone, tablet, laptop);
    • Loses signals from the GPS or other satellite navigation system (try entering your location in Satellite Predictor);
    • Is losing battery strength and may crash soon without intervention.

Where can I fly it legally?


John (D.) Githens with Doug (R.D.) Starwalt

(Link to full webpage content)

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  • The link above (on the now-edited blog post) is to an example from the recent experience of Slate's Seth Stevenson. Here is an excerpt: "Perhaps a wiser person would have paused at this point. I did not. Undeterred, I again followed the steps in the Quick Start Guide—calibrating, starting the propellers, nudging the drone into the air with the joystick. The events that followed are seared into my brain like freeze frames from a car accident. The drone zoomed to a height of 50 feet or so, far above the top of that tall chain-link fence I’d been counting on to limit potential damage. The airborne monster did not respond to my frantic jiggling of the joystick, or to my plaintive cries of “Come back!” Instead it rose and rose—and then suddenly rocketed sidewise at alarming velocity. I watched in terror as it flew across a busy street and crashed into the third story of a tall building. It tumbled to the sidewalk with a clatter of broken, scattering plastic."

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