Recently, Drone U’s Head Pilot Paul Aitken published a blog post entitled “Guide To The Ultimate Drone Kit—Everything I Use As A Drone Pilot”. We, along with the rest of the drone community, were pleased to see an inventory of what Paul carries on a day-to-day basis around as he pursues the Drone Life and continues to fly missions around the world. What drone pilot doesn’t love to geek out about gear, after all? We sure do.
Here at Drone U, we keep an ongoing inventory of the drone equipment we use to train pilots, shoot aerial footage and fly for fun every every day. We have an extensive list of drones, cameras, carrying cases and accessories that are vital in the process of both flying drones and operating a business. However, one aspect of the drone toolkit is often overlooked: mobile apps.
Mobile applications are both necessary and helpful in supplementing the flight experience. Drone pilots often couldn’t fly without them. In addition to the apps like DJI GO, which allow us to shoot content at all, we use a number of apps simply because they make flying easier. Whether you’re a commercial drone pilot or you just enjoy flying as a hobby, there are a number of apps that can greatly augment your flying experience. While every drone pilot you speak to will have a different opinion of which apps are vital to optimizing your drone life, we’ve outlined three of our favorites for you below.
One of the most important drone apps in our digital toolkit is Hover. Essentially a database of all the no-fly maps indicators we could ask for, every drone pilot we know loves this app. It has an interface that’s super intuitive, which makes using it to find FAA approved airspace as easy as possible.
Additionally, Hover is useful for its Flight Log features, which enable you to keep track of all your flight activity and its News Feed, which gives in-depth updates on happenings in the drone industry.
While Hover and other apps provide great updates about the weather, SailFlow takes weather data to the next level. This app compiles all of the records from each individual weather station that’s registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and gives you real-time updates on wind and gusts happening in or headed to the location where you’re flying. Whereas checking a normal weather station or asking Siri for a wind measurement will give you an update of the activity in your general area, SailFlow will provide you with a measurement of the wind at your exact, pinpointed location. Ultimately, SailFlow is a great app for determining whether or not it’s safe to fly at any given time in any given place.
Additionally, SailFlow provides info about the Kp index that can be hard to find other places. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the KP index is the indicator of how much solar radiation there is in a given area. If that number is greater than 5, you’ll want to be notified as you definitely shouldn’t be flying. In most climates, the average Kp index is around a 2 or a 3. SailFlow will give you a constant update about the local KP index, making it easy for you to determine whether or not it’s safe to fly.
If you run a drone business, have experience in the industry, or listen to Ask Drone U, you’re well aware that getting permission to fly over private property is one of the biggest hassles faced by professional pilots working right now. With Legal Flyer, however, the process becomes a lot easier.
This app allows you to create and store all of the information that’s necessary for getting permission to fly your drone over private property and get in the air as quickly as possible. Your credentials and proof of insurance can be stored within the application as a PDF, making it easy to pull out and show off as you try to convince someone to let you fly. Using Legal Flyer, you’ll then be able to pull up a timestamped contract for them to sign and photograph the location for a GPS-tracked map of the space in which you’ve been permitted to fly.
Essentially, we love Legal Flyer as it eliminates the need for dragging paperwork around to each of our shooting locations. After all, we’ve already got cases of flying equipment we have to worry about.
Check out Tools, Programs & Equipment We Use Everyday for more info out the gadgets that get us off the ground and in the air.
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