The DC Area Drone Users Group (DC Drones) is a group based in the Washington DC metro area that promotes the responsible use of drones. Yesterday I attended the Maryland fly in near Frederick MD. It was a wonderful experience! The fly in started at 2pm but I arrived late around 3:30. I was skeptical if anyone would still be there. Bad assumption. The fly in was held at a park and the parking lot was stuffed. Even better than the turn out, was the friendly greeting I got when I showed up. We were greeted, provided the basic flying rules of the field and made to feel welcome. I had brought my wife and two children along and they were warmly greeted as well.
The UAVs on hand ranged from micro quads up to a massive 4ft octocopter. All of the pilots had their vehicles setup on display and were readily available to discuss them. It was a festive environment with people strolling the flight line snapping photos, trading setup tips and answering questions. I had brought my DJI phantom and its FPV setup. I also brought my sons Air Hogs Helix X4 quadcopter and my wife’s Blade 180 QX. Many of the attendees walked up and wanted to learn more about my setup. My sons X4 got a surprising amount of attention. I think its small size, foam body and ducted fan motors was unique enough to draw questions. Unfortunately, much to my sons disappointment, it was too windy to fly the X4. My Phantom has a custom Thundercats skin on it that also got a number of appreciative questions.
I did manage to fly my DJI Phantom in the strong winds but it struggled. I had just upgraded to 9443 carbon fiber props and I’m still working on dialing in the adjusted PIDs. Several of the other attendees took a look at my setup and offered suggestions. It was great to talk shop to other pilots who spoke my language. We discussed the merits of carbon fiber props vs the stock DJI plastic props.
I wandered around the flight line and snapped shots of other pilots UAVs and setups. I also got a video of the giant octocopter in flight as well. The only down side of the entire event was the high winds and cold temps. Still, it was a great experience and I am eagerly awaiting the next fly in.