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Never used one before, so I understand I'll need a rebuild kit/parts

I'd like one that's not dependant upon cellular signal and can fly a programmed pattern and RTB as well as being directed in real time.

USB or 12V charging capability would be nice.

Was gonna get one end of summer/fall, may as well order it now and have it sent to my buddies.

I would like to spend <$500 on this, but if its clearly worth it I'll spend more.
Getting some recommendations from my buddies grandson (so he probably knows more than All of us.)
I'd like your top 3 recommendations to research/cross reference.
Thank you
 

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Well, I have a Tello, which is just about the cheapest 'good' drone.

As in, it doesn't have many features, but it does actually do what it says it will.

And at just under $100 It won't be a disaster if I get it stuck in a tree.

Probably not the drone you're looking for....but for something to learn on without a huge risk its pretty neat. You can 'hack' it with an app that allows you to change its software dictated altitude limit and actually get it up high enough to be well above the treeline.
 

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Yuneec Typhoon H - 6 copoter flies in 20 mph winds with ease, has full software programming to run surveillance has a 4 LBS grapple load adapter, also has a thermal camera switch out for more money.

DJI Mavic is a good class of drone, it doesn't provide a 6 copter, but is much cheaper unless the Yuneec is on sale(I bought mine for a grand), the Mavic doesn't fly in high winds and if you lose one rotor you are toast.

I have flown drones for years and am commercially certified. I would suggest you also get certified as it is 5 months away from being highly illegal to fly drones unless certified even as a consumer.

In 10 months according to the FAA and the push for registrations on drones, you won't be able to buy one without proving you have a license which is required to carry on you at all times starting in a few months.
 

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Over and Out
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...I'd like your top 3 recommendations to research/cross reference.
..Don't need "3": Mavic Pro, all the way.. :thumb: (or, if $$ isn't the 'fulcrum factor', the Pro2..) But the Pro '1' is doable, and Great.. ie: https://www.ebay.com/itm/333414172129? (..and Note: NOT 'endorsing the seller', per-se, simply for Ref / to say that 'carefully-vetted pre-owned' is (usually) a great way to go / save cash (vs 'brand new'..)

..More about the Pro2 / 'why' - https://www.dji.com/mavic-2 (short form: Higher Res (more detail..) and better 'f-stop' for low-light conditions.. But - honestly - the 'orig. Pro' is very good.. (what we're rocking, for now..)

..But, whatever you do / get (that's 'compatible'...) get "Litchi": https://flylitchi.com/ ..Invaluable, as it's the easiest way to create / program - reliable - 'flight plans' / pre-programmed 'surveil-loops', and at <$25. it's a no-brainer add.. :thumb:

..Let me know if ya want more info, but.. Highly recommend the Mavics, for 'entry level surveil'.. :cool:

.02
jd

PS - re:
..In 10 months according to the FAA...
..a solid, and valid point - however - I am betting in the 'context' of the OP's post, either a) we're talking 'WROL' (where the "FAA" will be about as relevant as the TP he flushed that am..) and/or b) Considering his 'BOL' is, is pretty, uh... 'remote', so.. I'll shut up, now, and let Him speak for himself, but.. I'd put my money on 'No worries, m8'.. :thumb:
 

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..Don't need "3": Mavic Pro, all the way.. :thumb: (or, if $$ isn't the 'fulcrum factor', the Pro2..) But the Pro '1' is doable, and Great.. ie: https://www.ebay.com/itm/333414172129? (..and Note: NOT 'endorsing the seller', per-se, simply for Ref / to say that 'carefully-vetted pre-owned' is (usually) a great way to go / save cash (vs 'brand new'..)

..More about the Pro2 / 'why' - https://www.dji.com/mavic-2 (short form: Higher Res (more detail..) and better 'f-stop' for low-light conditions.. But - honestly - the 'orig. Pro' is very good.. (what we're rocking, for now..)

..But, whatever you do / get (that's 'compatible'...) get "Litchi": https://flylitchi.com/ ..Invaluable, as it's the easiest way to create / program - reliable - 'flight plans' / pre-programmed 'surveil-loops', and at <$25. it's a no-brainer add.. :thumb:

..Let me know if ya want more info, but.. Highly recommend the Mavics, for 'entry level surveil'.. :cool:

.02
jd

PS - re:


..a solid, and valid point - however - I am betting in the 'context' of the OP's post, either a) we're talking 'WROL' (where the "FAA" will be about as relevant as the TP he flushed that am..) and/or b) Considering his 'BOL' is, is pretty, uh... 'remote', so.. I'll shut up, now, and let Him speak for himself, but.. I'd put my money on 'No worries, m8'.. :thumb:
Except you won't be able to connect to the GPS satellites, so yeah there is that. Good luck, remote ID tagging for drones. So you won't even be able to take off.

I live around maybe 400 people in an area that spans hundreds of miles. I still need a license approved by the FAA once it is applied.

I get around this by having a corporation that is located in another state, because the drone isn't technically owned by me. When I was grandfathered in(which you are still able to do) you won't need to fill out all your personal details.

You will need to in the future, so unless you own a residence that isn't where you live. You won't be able to get around this requirement.
 

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Dog Lives Matter
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Ditto for the DJI Mavic Pro. Very easy to fly and has 4k video.

Be aware of changing drone regulations. Even recreational fliers will have to take an FAA test and your drone may require a transponder (so the FAA can identify you through Remote ID) or you may be restricted to a limited number of designated flying fields. The worst-case may require you to pay for a monthly subscription so the FAA can access a record of all of your flights.

The new rules are not yet finalized. There are no grandfather clauses in the new FAA regulations, which means any drone over the minimum weight (0.55 lb) will be restricted to designated flying fields in three years if it does not have a Remote ID transponder.

See this article:

We Strongly Support Drone Remote ID. But Not Like This.

The DJI Mavic Mini may skirt many of the new regulations because it's under the minimum weight limit for regulations. You might want to take a look at that.

DJI Mavic Mini
 

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Comic, not your lawyer!
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Tagged. Been wanting one and putting it off.

The current pandemic might be a good reason to get one so as to have a birds eye view of the neighborhood and local streets.
 

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I have a Mavic Pro and it's been great. Though if I were to buy another I'd get a Phantom 3. They're pretty inexpensive used, and DJI got rid of the fish eyed camera lens that the Phantom 1 and 2 had. The camera being nestled between the landing gear do a good job protecting it from damage. The Mavic camera is exposed and doesn't take much to damage it.
 

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Swirl Herder
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I have DJI Phantom 3, Mavic and Mavic 2 Zoom.

If you are going to get a Mavic 2, buy the Zoom variant as the ability to stand off something you are looking at (beyond the distance at which your drone's rotors can be heard), but still see it well is important.

With a Mavic 2 Zoom, you can orbit the subject you are looking at without it knowing you are doing so....

A more expensive but cooler option is the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual.

It has two cameras - one optical and one thermal.

The thermal provides airborne thermal sensing for S&R, Firefighters and would be able to spot heat sources from people trying to hide - day and night.

Here is one being used to track hogs in a field:

 

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Stop YOLOing
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Well, I have a Tello, which is just about the cheapest 'good' drone.

As in, it doesn't have many features, but it does actually do what it says it will.

And at just under $100 It won't be a disaster if I get it stuck in a tree.

Probably not the drone you're looking for....but for something to learn on without a huge risk its pretty neat. You can 'hack' it with an app that allows you to change its software dictated altitude limit and actually get it up high enough to be well above the treeline.
Just looked up a review...that's pretty cool. I might get one of these for the same reason I have a fleet of Baofengs.

 

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I have Mavic Mini. Total flight time so far, about 5 minutes. Soon it will be more.

Not much daylight combined with nasty weather pretty much all the time, I don't want to do my first flight and drop it into a puddle. My only test flight so far was at my parent's place and lasted about 5 minutes before it started to rain again.

I can't fly at/near my own home, local airport is too close and this is restricted airspace.

Those first 5 minutes showed me: it is really easy to fly.
 

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This was a cool one. He installed extra batteries and 4G modem into fixed wing drone. Now that would be a scouting device.
 

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. . . Getting some recommendations from my buddies grandson (so he probably knows more than All of us.)
That was probably the smartest thing you did. Kids today: might not be able to skin a buck or drive a stick, but they know their tech. Understanding them is a whole 'nother issue . . .
 

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That was probably the smartest thing you did. Kids today: might not be able to skin a buck or drive a stick, but they know their tech. Understanding them is a whole 'nother issue . . .
I've actually found that kids these days are totally tech illiterate.

Oh, they know how to use the internet, but actually making it work....they have no idea. The concept of problem solving is completely lost on them. If it doesn't just work out of the box it may as well be magic to them.
 

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Just bought this Tello kit with extra batteries, props, etc. Appreciate you bringing it up in here.

I'll use it to scout coronavirus zombies coughing around the neighborhood.... :D:
Got the Tello in this weekend and played around with it - fun little thing! It's super lightweight so the wind pushes it around more than the bigger ones, but it's also super lightweight so it's not too much to carry in a pack.

I practiced flying between the trees in the backyard (and only got stuck once), checked out the snow and ice on the roof (recon mission already!), and practiced flying it up to my front door to see who's there (or who may be around the corner where the doorcam doesn't see). Tonight, I'll practice throwing it out the window, reconning the house from corner to corner (including the front door), and recovering it through the window.

It's a little bit loud for its size, which is not good or bad...it's just a consideration. Maybe I want the noise to catch somebody's attention and let them know they're being watched. Causing a bad guy to reconsider the plans is preferable to the hassle that comes with resolving their plans in my favor.

So this is a great starter drone, IMO...but I suspect a Mavic Pro is in my future.
 

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Generally you want to head over to some RC forum and built something yourself.

Much more bang for the buck. Especially if you want longer flight times flying wings are the way to go.
 

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Got the Tello in this weekend and played around with it - fun little thing! It's super lightweight so the wind pushes it around more than the bigger ones, but it's also super lightweight so it's not too much to carry in a pack.
Yeah, its just a few ounces. I took mine in my carry on bag to Sierra Leone.



What amazes me though is just how stable the thing is for being so small and cheap. Stick in the air and it will stay within 6" of that spot until the battery dies all on its own.

You can tell my age I guess but I grew up with lots of crappy RC toys that barely worked so something like the Tello that just does what it says so well is really amazing to me.
 
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