I have had a lot of questions about the drone, what one I have and what I had to do to be able to fly it safely. So, I thought I would document the process I went through incase some of you are thinking about taking up this hobby for yourself. I love photography and being able to get creative with aerial photos and videos really excites me. I got the drone as a birthday gift from my husband and kiddies, I am very grateful.
My drone – DJI Mavic Mini
So, I have the DJI Magic Mini and I got it with the Combo and Care Refresh package. You can get the exact package from Amazon. The Combo package comes with 3 batteries, propeller cover and spare propellers and screws. These will come in very useful I am sure. It also comes in a fabulous case that is easy to carry around. It is so dinky, but don’t let that fool you. It is a powerful piece of kit: a 12MP camera capable of shooting 2.7K Quad HD videos and a 3-axis mechanical gimbal. It is perfect for beginners like me, who just want to shoot footage of the family as a hobby.
The main benefit of this drone is that it is lightweight, weighing at 249KG. This means, for some countries, you can fly it in areas that are prohibited with larger, more heavy, drones. I am in the UK so I follow the UK guidelines. The Care Refresh package is the DJI warranty on the product and offers u to 2 entire replacements, it will be replaced if water damaged and provides a general insurance for the product. I will probably keep paying this annually until I no longer use the drone (which will be never), it’s only £34.99 a year and definitely worth it.
Setting it up
I love the fact that as soon as I opened the box it was really intuitive to set up. The little instruction set explained how to connect up your phone to the drone and once you’ve done that and downloaded the DJI Fly app, it’s all plain sailing… or flying…from there. Really simple instructions on how to take the drone out on the first flight. How to use the inbuilt features (like a Dronie or a Rocket shot) and the DJI Mavic Mini also comes with fab shots to make video creation easy and quick to learn. The DJI Fly app has shortcuts to the DJI FAQs so you can easily read up on your new drone. I spent a good 2 hours, reading all of the FAQs and watching all of the DJI YouTube videos. It gave me a better understanding of the drone.
Getting a Flyer ID and Operator ID (License)
In the UK you need to have a Flyer ID to be able to fly a drone or model aircraft. If you own the drone, you need an operator ID too. Much like roads, there is a highway code, this is the same for the air, a drone and model aircraft code. After some Googling, I found the CAA website, this is where you can register for your license in the UK. You have to read the code, then take a short multiple choice test (40 questions) and then you can get your license. Everyone, including children, need a Flyer ID. This is free. In order to get your Operator ID you need to pay £9 for the license.
Now this is where it gets a little tricky: You have to understand what your done is before you can understand if you need an Operator ID. Only heavier drones require this part of the license. Because my drone is under 250KG I didn’t need the Operator ID, however, with the propellor covers my drone becomes heavier (I read that in the DJI FAQs) so I knew I needed both licenses. Don’t panic, I got 40 out of 40 and if I can do that – anyone can! It’s all common sense things like you have to be 150m from residential areas and you cannot fly above 120m in to the sky.
Once you have your Flyer ID and Operator ID, you need to write your Operator ID on your drone. Either a professional sticker, or, like me, I just got out the Sharpie and wrote it on the side.
Choosing the right places
So, knowing that I must be 150m from residential and I don’t want to scare people by flying over the top of them: I tend to take it to places where I know it will just be our family. For example the fields around our town. When lockdown is over, I will be taking it to the beach, on our walks like the Peak District… (I can do this with the drone when it is under 250KG). Wherever we can get some footage that will give us a different perspective of the area: we will take her. I am really excited about going out and about, learning how to use it better and hopefully inspiring others to get out and follow their creative dreams too.
My first flight with my new drone
Sounds like I am a pilot, well, I guess in some respects I am a pilot of the drone. I love it. This is my first footage from my first test flight. I walked out beyond the housing estate in my local town, where there are limited people and I was over 500 metres from the houses. I didn’t have the protectors on the drone, so it weighed under the 250kg, which means I could have flown it above people without panicking. Although I did not do this. I posted my first video to Instagram and I just love it:
What do you think? I will adding my drone journey on the blog and Instagram, you will find it in my photography section. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them below in the comments or on Instagram.