By Kathleen Hickey
So, you've found the perfect drone and you're ready to go out and fly. You've taken a look at Know Before You Fly, and perhaps you've taken the quiz to find out how safe a pilot you are. Flying a drone can be a really exciting, and fun experience.
If you're new to flying, or a seasoned pro, drone Apps are a great resource. From flight logs, to weather information, safety, and airspace maps, downloading the right App can help you get the most out of flying. Some also have an aspect of community, through forums, and information sharing. Connecting with other pilots is a great way to become an engaged member of the drone community by sharing tips, flight information, and of course beautiful aerial photography. Here are a few great Apps, with some highlighted features.
Hover is one of the most popular Apps for commercial, and recreational pilots. It is very easy to use, and covers a wide range of helpful tools and information. Here are a few features:
- Weather Data: Information includes wind speed (to avoid a Mary Poppins moment with your drone), local weather, KP-Index, current temperature, and more.
- Flight Readiness Indicator: To let you know if its safe to fly in certain areas, or under certain weather conditions.
- Airspace Map: Allows you to see if you are in a no-fly area.
- News Feed: Keep up to date on drone news, (when you can't look at my blog of course).Hover
Kittyhawk is a beautifully designed App. It allows users to track individual flight information, with an option to join or create teams. Sharing information with friends, and other pilots is a great way to learn, and feel like part of a community when you fly. Here are a few features:
- Flight Information: Record flights on Kittyhawk's cloud database. Keep track of flight time, battery cycles, and location information.
- Socially Friendly: Share information such as flight notes with your team. Support and learn from others by seeing their flight information. Make it fun by competing against your friends on various parts of your flights, like amount of air time.
- Fleet: Have more than one drone, or drones from different companies? Add your entire fleet to the App.
UAV Zones is a basic location map. It allows the user to see no-fly zones in the immediate area. Although there are no additional features, it's a simple way to see if the flight area is restricted. UAV Zones had a recent update to fix a bug for startup crashes, which occurred on 11/6/15.
- Location Indicator: Color indication of no-fly zones.
DJI GO is specific to DJI Inspire 1, Phantom 3, Matrice 100, and a new feature for the OSMO. The DJI remote controller allows the user to attach a mobile device to view what the camera is capturing in real-time. DJI has additional available Apps for their own devices to optimize each flying experience. Here are a few features:
- Real-time flight record.
- Remote video and photo capture with gimbal control.
- Instant video and photo sharing.
- Video tutorials.
3DR Solo is specific to the 3DR Solo Drone. The App allows the user to have live HD feed as well as access to flight features with a simple touch. There are available support options, and the App is very easy to use. Here are a few features:
- Access to flight settings and a satellite map view.
- Live wireless HD view from the Solo GoPro.
- Smart Shots: Single touch ability to use 3DR Solo orbit, follow, selfie, and cable cam features.
- Flight school video tutorials.
- Wireless updates.
Apps are a great tool, and can be helpful for a fun flying experience. Although Apps have no-fly zone maps, it's important to always use sound judgement when flying. There may also be temporary no-fly zones, which may not show up on an App. Although they can also be useful to track equipment, it's always important to go through flight checks before flying, to ensure the drone, batteries, and any other components are not damaged, and in full working order.
Each App has various features, and benefits. Just as it was important to recognize specific needs when purchasing a drone, it's important to consider what information and options are the best for individual flying needs when picking an APP. The good news is that all of these are free! There is no harm in checking them out, and picking the one, or more than one that works best to create the best possible experience.