Often called “UAV” (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), drones have steadily increased in popularity in recent years. Although commonly used in military settings for surveillance and reconnaissance, they are also used in civilian settings to do a variety of tasks. Taking video shots of the ground has never been so fun!

Camera Drones

Have you ever stumbled on a Youtube video of aerial footage? Camera drones are both fun and useful—fun for civilians wanting to see what life looks like from above, and useful for companies (and the military) wishing to gather ground surveillance. This type of drone is very popular on the civilian market. Camera drones are usually outfitted with HD or higher resolution cameras, and range in level of complexity from amateur to high-complexity professional. DJI is currently the largest manufacturer of camera drones.

Toy Drones

When you think of an RC (remote control) airplane, you’re thinking of a toy drone. These drones are cheap, easy to use, and easy to get your hands on. Some even come outfitted with tiny cameras. Toy drones are useful not only for adding life to a party or providing an afternoon diversion—this modern version of the kite can be used in teaching RC skills so that users can advance to more professional drones.

FPV Drones

FPV stands for “first person view”–and the view can be breathtaking. Although technically a camera drone, FPV drones are different in their style and capabilities. They typically fly with four rotating “rotors” each outfitted with their own mini camera. Pilots on the ground wear a set of goggles that receive live feeds from the cameras. FPV drones are set up for racing, which is where the alternate term “FPV racer” comes from: these drones have been known to get up to speeds of about 95 miles per hour (150 km per hour). FPV drones are one of the most popular types of drones on the market today.

Drones are interesting in the way they blur the lines between play and professionalism. For example, they have started to present air traffic safety risks, compelling the FAA to step in and classify them. Whether you want to play with an RC airplane, capture aerial views of your house, or race your own personal aircraft, drones are a fun way to pass time in the modern age. Just watch out for actual airplanes — the FAA wouldn’t like even a small collision very much!