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Ask Steve

What Kind of Drones Have White, Red, and Green Lights?

A reader asked, “What kind of drones have white red, and green lights?” Again, it is another UAS question with no great answer. Facts About Lights Under CFR 107 A drone is not required to have any lights on it to fly except for an anti-collision light when flying between civil twilight and night. Manned aircraft have a requirement for …

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What is the Payload Capacity for the Skydio 2 Drone?

A reader asked me what the payload capacity is for a Skydio 2 drone. As is usual, there is no clear answer because several factors impact the payload capacity of any drone. Environmental Air density impacts the lift component of an aircraft. The thinner the air, the less lift is available. Thin air can be created by altitude or temperature. …

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Do Drones Work Better Without Propeller Protectors? – Ask Steve

Today’s question from a reader is “Do drones work better without propeller protectors?” If you have a question to ask, click here. That’s a Loaded Question There are two issues we have to deal with regarding propellers. One is safety and the other is performance. Propeller Safety On one hand, it really doesn’t matter if a drone propeller operates better, …

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How Far Can I Fly at Night Using My Strobe Lights? – Ask Steve

“How far can I fly at night using my strobe lights?” is a question many just get wrong. Let’s look at the facts. Your UAS is required to have anti-collision lighting on it that can be seen for three statute miles. Unfortunately, some incorrectly assume that means they can fly for three miles at night. To fly within the regulations, …

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What Are Our UAS Maintenance Responsibilities as a COA Agency? – Ask Steve

Here is another great question – “What Are Our UAS Responsibilities as a COA Agency?” If you have a question you’d like to ask, click here. As fast-paced and modern as the public safety drone world is, the current FAA guidance and rules departments should follow have not moved at the same pace. Yet, these are the regulations and directives …

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How Long Should Your FAA Drone Preflight Take? – Ask Steve

You would not believe the questions I get regularly. Many of them wind up being innocent-looking rabbit holes that lead to an underground maze of tunnels. Take, for example, the question, “How long should my preflight take?” I Guarantee Nobody is Going to Like the Preflight Answer According to FAA Advisory Circular 107-2A there is a long list of preflight …

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How Far Can I Legally Fly My Drone and Maintain VLOS? – Ask Steve

Day VLOS Flight Data

Here is a question I get on a regular basis. Question: How far can we fly our drone at the incident scenes and how far beyond the line of sight can we go? Answer: You would think there would be a simple answer to this question. There actually is but the facts get clouded with a lot of incorrect assumptions …

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What is Your Experience With Time Between Failure of Matrice Drones? – Ask Steve

Question: We are in Europe and flying a DJI Matrice 600 for delivery of items. I love your ambition and the work you are doing with reportdroneaccident.com! Since I consider you a very well-informed person with great subject matter expertise, I’d like to ask the following: As you know, DJI are more than reluctant to disclose any Meantime Between Failure …

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How Do I Deal With Flying the Drone Near Uncontrolled Airports? – Ask Steve

Question: Dear Steve, I am a Part 107 licensed UAS pilot and, like you, have difficulty understanding exactly what is expected of me as a pilot regarding radio communications. I operate mostly in orthomosaic / photogrammetry mapping flights. Some of them are in rural areas near grass strips and uncontrolled airports. I listen on CTAF freqs and have been in …

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What Should We Plan for in the Upcoming Drone Budget? – Ask Steve

A reader asked me the following question: Question Steve, Our department is currently in the budget planning phase, and they’ve asked me to put in anything and everything I can think of we might need for our drone program. Currently, our program consists of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, and Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones. Can you …

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