Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A new addition to MWN - #MWNDrone1

MWN has a new addition in the family - a Mavic Air 2 drone from DJI! The drone is quiet, flies fast, is very stable and takes great photos and video. Why the Mavic Air 2? 2 main reasons: affordability and quality. The quality is comparable to professional photography drones at a reasonably affordable price.

Some quick specs on the Mavic Air 2: it is 1.25lb/570g (anything 0.55lb/250g or larger has to be registered), has a foldable design that folds down to 7 x 4 x 3 inches, uses GPS and GLONASS satellites for positioning, has wind resistance of up to 25 mph, and has AirSense Technology which senses nearby manned aircraft (using ADS-B) and alerts you to their position on a map in the app.

Some other features include:

OcuSync 2.0 - live video transmission back to the pilot up to 6 miles away at 1080p

Obstacle sensing - forward, backward and downward sensors to detect obstacles

Advanced Pilot Assistance System - when an obstacle is detected, the drone will bypass the obstacle rather than just stopping

Dual-Frequency Flight - dual-band communications that automatically adjusts to find the least interference - it uses common WiFi frequencies (2.4GHz & 5.8GHz)

Battery life - up to 34 minutes of battery life


The camera itself is on a 3-axis gimbal which allows for very steady shooting. The camera is 12MP with a 1/2" image sensor, a fixed 24mm focal length, and can shoot up to 48MP photos. You can shoot using auto or manual modes, which allows for adjustment of white balance, ISO and shutter speed. For video, it can shoot up to 4K at 60fps, but also supports up to 8K in some modes. These features rate right up there with many professional cameras and video equipment! The drone is able to make an amateur photographer look professional with it's built-in capabilities. The drone streams 1080p video to the pilot through the app and allows you to see what the camera is seeing.

Shooting modes

Active Track 3.0 - follows you, vehicle, boat, etc. from behind or from the side, and will keep the subject in frame, as well as avoiding obstacles

Spotlight 2.0 - allows you to select a subject and keep it in frame while you fly the drone

Point of Interest 3.0 - creates an automated flight path around a subject and flies the drone automatically

Hyperlapse - a timelapse feature that allows you to use automated flight or hand fly to create a timelapse video

QuickShots - automated flight sequences that can be initiated with a single tap

DJI Fly app

The DJI Fly app is used in combination with the remote controller to fly the drone. Using a smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android), you connect the remote controller with the supplied cable to the mobile device then start the app, which allows you to view the live video from the drone, as well as take videos and pictures. The photos and videos are saved to a microSD card on the drone. Photos and video can also be downloaded in real time to the app. The app also allows you to edit photos and video, as well as post them to social media.

The app also includes a map that shows the home point (where the drone took off), the pilot's location, and the current location of the drone. A dedicated button on the remote as well as a button in the app called "Return To Home" allows you to have the drone automatically return to the home point.

So why did I get it and what's in it for MWN?

The plan is to use the drone to take photos and video of everything from sunrises to sunsets to cool weather phenomena. I've always been interested in capturing weather photos and video and the drone is an awesome tool in my arsenal. I'm most interested in severe weather, so expect plenty of that when we do finally get into severe weather season (as long as it isn't at night, cameras don't do too well then).

I hold a Commercial Drone Pilot Certificate (Part 107) from the FAA, so I'm certified to use the drone and the images and video it produces “in furtherance of a business.” 

So I hope to bring you professional quality photos and videos for all you weather weenies out there. Below are a few photos from a test flight at Overton Park and a hyperlapse of a recent sunset, just to whet the appetite!

Richard Hoseney

MWN Meteorologist & Drone Pilot

Sources & Images:





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