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About Drones

Everyone has heard about Drones.  They may be called Drones UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), or several other terms used, especially for the military.
A lot of people have a negative impression of "Drones".  They identify drones as used mostly with malicious geeky behavior  with a primary purpose of invading privacy, harass people or animals or interfere with traditional aircraft.   Although this less than ethical behavior can occur; professional drone operators are bound by laws and licensing prohibiting the use of their UAV devices for such purposes.
Like it or not, drones are becoming a part of modern life and will continue to grow in popularity amongst the masses; as more beneficial uses are discovered in the future.   Some beneficial uses for drones are aerial photography, inspections, surveys, crop inspections, law enforcement, parcel deliveries, disaster surveys, search and rescue, wildlife monitoring and tracking, mapping, etc.  The list goes on and on and will only continue to grow.
What do Drones Cost?
Drones can be purchased for as little as under $50 for non-commercial recreational purposes.  While professional drone pilots and enthusiast can easily elect to invest $1000 or greater; often ranging in many thousands of dollars to effectively provide the consumer with an outstanding aerial results.
Where to buy Drones?
Depending on the quality of drone you desire or require; drones can be purchased at neighborhood locations like hobby and toy stores. And, of course, you will find an array of drones with varying prices online.
Registration and Licensing
Due to the exploding trend for owning and using drones for commercial purposes, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has created drone registration and licensing criteria for commercial and hobbyist drone operators.  Even noncommercial users are required to register their drone to legally fly them.  There are categories for recreational, commercial and business licensing for drone use.
In addition to registration for drones there are FAA licenses for commercial and business users.  These licenses require written tests, called Airman Knowledge Test, administered by the FAA to make sure the drone operator is aware of all regulations governing the safe and responsible use of flying drones for any commercial or business purpose.  Even licensed pilots for manned fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft are required the take and pass the FAA drone pilot test If they want to use drones commercially.  This is known as the Part 107 drone pilot test.
Drone Image Quality Basics
Any photographer grounded or airborne will of course want the best image and video quality available  equal to thier investment budget.
If you want an easy way to gauge what quality video you are purchasing you should prefer 4K to 2.7K.
Although 4K requires an UHD monitor to get the full quality, 4k can be viewed at 1080p and will look better than the basic 4K

Some standard image resolutions measured in p (pixels) are:
360p - Considered low definition
720p - Considered high definition
1080p - Considered full HD
2160p - Considered ultra-high definition
The highest definition is not always your best choice although the higher the definition the better the quality will be.
But keep in mind how you intend to use the finished product.  What will most viewers use to view the video?
If you go for 2160p the viewer will require a UHD device for viewing.  Not many people have UHD devices. 
Basically, 360p should not be considered for any type of commercial presentations.
720p and 1080p will work for the vast majority of commercial presentations such as real estate, weddings, inspections, etc.
2160p will, of course, give you the best quality but is mostly overkill for anything other than professional film production for TVs, etc. due to the fact that there are fewer UHD capable devices for viewing.
If this sounds confusing, you are not alone.  The best option is to talk to your professional drone operator and view comparisons.
Safety, Regulations and Drone operation.
Here are some basic regulations currently required by the FAA
Note:  These regulations are subject to change and often will change as this industry matures.
  • Do not fly above 400 ft.
  • Keep the aircraft within sight.
  • Never fly near other aircraft or airports.  The guideline for distance from airports is 5 miles.
  • Be aware of any airspace requirements in your area
  • Do not fly above crowds
  • Do not fly under the influence.
Note:  Although the drone pilot is responsible for adhering to these regulations you may have some liability if you hired the drone pilot
Check your drone service provider to find out if they carry insurance for accidents or complaints while performing the services for you.
No one can avoid stupid or frivolous lawsuits but the best bet is making sure you understand your liability even if you have to consult an attorney.