UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems, commonly known as drones – are in most cases flying cameras (although other forms of payload are of course possible and already in use). They can be small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, or as big as actual airplanes.

Drones come in two main types: multicopters (typically quadcopters with four props, but there can be more of those) or fixed wing, looking much like traditional remote-controlled planes.

Drones are used in many contexts, e.g.

  • Recreational / Toy
  • Aerial photography
  • Real estate photography
  • Videography
  • Construction site surveillance
  • Cell tower surveillance
  • Windmill surveillance
  • Package deliveries
  • Agriculture spraying
  • Search & Rescue
  • Post-disaster damage assessment
  • Law enforcement
  • Enemy surveillance in conflicts
  • Wedding ring presentation

My experience spans mainly DJI, Autel and Skydio drones (I have one from each of these manufacturers 🙂 )
I use them mainly out of curiosity, but also managed to earn a little bit by offering drone services – I’m open for more, but still need to learn and practice quite a bit more to effectively carry out manual and automated flights.

Since drones are flying objects and need to be controlled so that they don’t interfere with aviation, they have been officially integrated by the aviation authorities around the world. Here in the US, every drone pilot needs to have at least basic knowledge of airspaces and regulations, and either have a TRUST certificate (for recreational flights) or a Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate (that allows for commercial operations) – I have the latter (which includes the privileges of the former).