Best Drones for 2019
Summer is coming, and that means drone (well.. technically RPAS) season is upon us! The good weather is going to lead to a lot of fantastic opportunities to get footage with your RPAS but it’s important to make sure that when you fly, you are obeying all the local laws. Starting June 1, 2019, Transport Canada will be rolling out new regulations regarding RPAS to make sure that everyone in the air has the skills and knowledge they need to fly safely. If you are flying a drone over 250g, these regulations will apply to you.
Starting June 1, the type of certification you need will be separated into two different categories depending on the type of operations being performed. The new certifications will be based on the location of your flight and the level of risk associated with it. When deciding what drone you need, it is also important to evaluate what type of certification you will need for your flight operations.
For most low risk operations, all you will need to fly is a basic operations certificate. A flight is a basic operation if it:
- Is not in controlled airspace
- Is more than 100ft away from bystanders (anyone who is part of your crew is allowed)
- Is more than 3 nautical miles from the nearest airport
- Is more than 1 nautical mile from the nearest heliport
If you are taking phots for real estate photography, doing surveying far from populated areas, or just flying in the mountains for fun, a basic certification will often be all you need! If you aren’t sure about the airspace of the location you’re flying at, this app can be used to pick it up. Coastal Drone Co. offers online ground school and exam preparation to make sure that you have the information you need to successfully pass the basic exam. You can sign up for exam prep here.
If the operations that you need to do don’t fall into the Basic certification category, then you are going to need to get an advanced certification. Advanced certification requires you to take an advanced exam covering a wider array of knowledge as well as an in-person flight test with an accredited instructor (advanced training can be found here). Additionally, advanced operations can only be performed using “compliant” UAVs which have been approved by the government as safe to fly. If you want to see which drones are cleared to fly advanced operations, a list of approved drones can be found here. Depending on your needs, certain drones may be better for you than others. We’ve included a list of our favourites below!
f you are someone who likes to fly drones recreationally, it can be overwhelming to choose from the massive variety of them out on the market. While many of the features on larger drones may be more than you need for getting some good pictures, it is still important to have a high-quality drone that will perform the way you need it to. Here are some of our top picks for recreational drones in 2019.
- DJI Spark
When it comes to light and efficient, there is no comparison to the DJI Spark! Weighing in at a mere 300 grams, the Spark is lighter than a can of soda and will take up about the same amount of space in a bag. The Spark shoots 1080p video on a 2 axis mechanical gimbal that is perfect for streaming, real estate photography or just getting great shots of the sunset. While it may not get the 4k footage necessary for some high-quality photography and video, the Spark provides a versatile and lightweight tool to anyone looking to take aerial photos. Coming in at just $320, the Spark is an affordable and effective option for anyone looking to get started with a drone.
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
If the video quality of the Spark isn’t quite high enough, the Mavic 2 Pro may be the drone for you. While it is a little larger than the spark, the propeller arms fold to the side allowing it to be packed easily into a carrying bag or case. It shoots the highest quality video of any drone in its class using a 4k Hasselblad camera and 1-inch CMOS sensor. While it is one of the smallest drones around, the Mavic does not compromise on quality with an amazing 31 minutes of flight time and an abundance of sensors powering an effective detect and avoid system. The higher quality does come with a higher price tag, however. The Mavic 2 pro is the most expensive of the lightweight drones coming in at just over $2,000. While it may be overkill for casual fliers, the Mavic 2 Pro is ideal for those who want a drone that is accessible to use without sacrificing the quality of results.
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Based off a classic design, the Phantom 4 Pro is the perfect drone for drone for basic photography. Shooting 4k video at 60fps and getting up to 30 minutes of flight time, the Phantom 4 Pro can be used to reliably get great photo and video footage. Based off the provable and durable design of the Phantom 3, what sets the Phantom 4 Pro apart is the software that it uses to assist with photography. The Phantom’s ActiveTrack tracking system allows for intuitive, safe, and precise steering which is further assisted by the front and rear collision detection systems.
If you are looking to use a drone professionally, you may need something that is more specialized for the needs of your business. These are some of our favourite drones for use in industrial work.
- DJI Inspire 2
The Inspire has developed a reputation as one of the most versatile drones in the RPAS industry. Whether it is being used for photography, inspections, or data collection, the Inspire 2 can be customized with the tools needed to complete the job. The Inspire can be equipped with a variety of Zenmuse cameras that can be swapped out depending on the needs of the operation which gives it utility in a wide variety of circumstances. The Inspire 2 is easy to fly, and comes with a wide array of sense and avoid technology to help make sure that flying is intuitive and easy to pick up right from the first time. When looking for a general all purpose drone for your business, it is hard to do better than the inspire 2.
- DJI Matrice 200
Boasting tons of endurance, a flexible payload, and a durable design, the Matrice 200 is an ideal all-purpose industrial drone. Designed as an enterprise surveying drone, the Matrice boasts 3 sense and avoid systems, weather resistance, and an impressive 38-minute flight time. The Matrice also has a 5lb payload capacity which allows it to carry a huge variety of sensors, from high end cameras to advanced sensor arrays. The versatility of the payload and the drone’s ability to fly in difficult conditions makes it a fantastic choice for a variety of inspections operations such as offshore rig inspections, search and rescue, site mapping and a huge variety of other industrial applications. While it is probably overkill for many casual pilots, the Matrice 200 will serve as a reliable workhorse for those who have need of it.
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro Enterprise
If you are looking to take pictures for real estate, agriculture, or just general advanced purposes, there is no drone better than the Mavic 2 Pro Enterprise. A modified version of the Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Pro comes with even more features designed for those looking to get the best possible aerial pictures. The Mavic Pro also comes equipped with AirSense which will alert you to the presence of nearby planes and helicopters to insure that your flight is safe. The 12 MP camera is designed for high quality photography, featuring 2x and 3x zoom, lower latency and higher resolution during operations. It also comes with optional add-ons like a megaphone, beacon, and spotlight for emergency situation applications.