Travel with a Drone

Inaugural Flight - Droning Abroad; The Departure.

The Department of Homeland Security is reminding us over the PA to be mindful of our belongings and to not leave our baggage unattended. Nestled between the bottom of my elbow and propped on my knee rests a well-crafted pelican case. I’m guarding my possession very well. I’m nervous that I’m in over-my-head.

Sitting with my very-own DJI Phantom 2 packed neatly in its case, I sit in a cold and dark terminal destined to board a flight to the icy north.

Since I was a child, my daydreams have always taken me into the possibilities of warp-drives, food replicators and hoverboards. I never thought that I would sit on the verge of such an incredible industry, nonetheless that I would ever be trekking alongside a vision of things to come.

My name is Eric Davis, and I am Technology Manager at UAV Direct. This weekend I am flying to Iceland to surprise my close friends and attend their last concert… and to take advantage of having my own UAV… my drone; my silent b-cam.

Hello and welcome to our little drone blog on her inaugural flight!

Today we’ll talk travel.

It’s 6:57am in Keflavik, Iceland… and my rental car is somewhere between the ice and another fjord. Bjarni at the Avis counter has assured me that when the Reykjavik office opens at 9:00, that my little VW will be ready for me to abuse. I think Bjarni is lying to me.

I have traveled (between two layovers) for 20 hours to reach where I am, and now I’m missing some awesome morning light to capture sweet, sweet aerial shots with my Phantom 2. That’s okay, though… it gives us a little time to reflect on the time leading up to now.

You may wonder… what perils face the traveler taking one of these UAV’s… drones… cylons through the picket fences of the TSA, way-too personal Xray selfie machines and baggage mishandlers we’re all accustomed to when just trying to get from point-a-to-g?

Surprisingly, little… if you’re super-awesome.

To be super-awesome isn’t a great feat. You already own or want a drone if you’re reading this, so you’re at least somewhat cool.

That being said, know your aircraft and know these handy tips for traveling through airports.

- Lithium batteries have risks associated them due to the very real fact that they can be volatile in extreme pressure and temperature changes. As a result, the FAA mandates that you keep them stored in your carry-on possession.

Fire-bags can be purchased from many hobby shops for the storage of these batteries to double-up on the safety factor, and are relatively inexpensive.

-The case you choose to store and carry your aircraft is either going to be a forgettable experience for you because it goes unnoticed, or you will hate life. Buy a travel-friendly case if you like life… and the lack of bruises.

-You may only travel with so many batteries, as well… and that is dependent on individual airline policies… as well as import regulations determined by country (for traveling abroad).

-Know your drone! Be ready to answer questions honestly of where you purchased it, why you have it, and what you plan to use it for. Sounds scary, right? Nope. You will find that your delays in the security line will come from people curious to know more about something that they want; that you already have.

-Know where you are going! This one isn’t funny. Iceland is cool (ha ha) about UAV’s, but that doesn’t speak for the rest of the world. If your going to drop the cash on such an expensive tool/toy, don’t risk losing it to Customs-abroad because you didn’t research the laws-of-the-land.

These simple key-facts will insure that your experience traveling through airports and transit stations should be met with very little difficulty, so long that you are knowledgeable and honest when traveling with your prized little drone-buddy.

--In my next post, we’ll discuss what can be expected flying your wing-man in far-away lands.

Stay tuned--

-Eric Davis

Read Part II

Joel J.
Joel J.