We interviewed Mario Schimanko, aka RCSchim to find out more about the man behind the blog and the youtube channel. This drone pilot/videographer from Austria shared with us how he got started flying drones, and some great tips for those getting started on how to develop their skills. He also recently took a trip to the Maldives and took some awesome footage while there with his drone, and shares some useful tips on flying with drone equipment. Here’s the interview …
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I’m 37, live in Austria and work as an IT manager. I was always fascinated by remote controlled stuff and videography.
How did you get started flying drones?
I started FPV in 2008 just after I learned to fly RC planes. Range was very limited, video quality was poor.
What type of drones and gear are you flying?
I began with planes but now I fly multicopters (Naza, KK2) most of the time because of their simplicity (start/land everywhere). I have had many flights with TBS Discovery, Phantom2 and lately the XuGong2 from ImmersionRC.
“MiniQuads and MiniRacing will be a huge thing this year!”
What is your favorite drone to fly and why?
There are too many options! For the last few months it has been a simple MiniQuad (Droneframes + KK2). Just pure action, fly everywhere, find new places / obstacles, gaps.
MiniQuads and MiniRacing will be a huge thing this year!
What are you using the drones for?
For fun! Sightseeing; to get in the air without endangering myself.
What does it take to become a great drone pilot?
Ask Juz70, Boris B., Prometreus, Charpu, Metalldany,…
I guess good reaction, a feeling for 3D space and how the radio waves will spread, practise, and good equipment.
Share an experience of a failure (involving drones) and what you learned from it.
Not long ago I hurried to start my Discovery to fly with a friend. I acquired GPS UNDER a tree, forgot to mount my ezUHF antenna (on Radio)… After 50m it went into failsafe and flew directly in the tree. NEVER hurry to get in the air – have a checklist!
What are you doing to continue developing your skills and knowledge in the drone field?
This comes as a side effect if you like your hobby. You get overwhelmed with new tech inventions almost daily and if it’s cool, you gotta have it 😉
Skills are not so important as long as you can cut out the mishaps in the video (or for fun, cut a compilation of all the mishaps!).
What’s the best way to educate oneself about drones?
Find some decent youtube channels (Flitetest, RCTestflite, XJet / RCModellreviews), Facebook groups and visit the forums (RCGroups, FPVLab, FPV-Community, etc.).
“The footage is more important than your copter.”
– David Windestal
Do you have any tips, tricks or practical advice to share with our readers?
Keep track of your batteries! I always note the actual flying time and % left in battery after each flight (take a pic with smartphone). This I enter in my flightlog. This gives you a good average flying time (this can be set as stopwatch on radio). So you don’t even need telemetry or OSDs, you will know how long/far/fast you can fly…
Choose good equipment. Don’t have more tech goodies on your system than you need. Simple is better. I did many flights without OSDs, GPS,…
Too complicated systems will fail or at least keep you from the actual fun (flying in the air!).
David Windestal once said: “The footage is more important than your copter.” He’s so right. Try to change SD cards between flights – so you don’t loose all your footage if you crash 😉
“Start with something small, but not the cheapest crap.”
What advice would you give to others who want to get started flying drones?
Start with something small, but not the cheapest crap. Get things from major brands that have an upgrade path so you don’t spend your money twice (eg. get a decent charger and Radio from the beginning).
Where do you see drones and drone technology in the future? Give an example of a real-world application of drone technology that you envision.
Of course commercial aerial imaging, measuring, search & rescue, inspection of hard to reach constructions. Delivery? Don’t think this will work soon. Racing – definitely.
On a bigger scale: construction with large multicopters. Personal transportation as soon as good energy cells can provide enough flight time.
Share a story about your recent vacation in the Maldives. Anything interesting happen while over there? Did you bring a drone with you?
Of course! I took the XuGong 2pro with me. I asked the resort for permission via email and they were positive about it! At security check the Xray officer had some question marks over his head while he studied my suitcase. I let him guess and he thought it was a lamp 😉
No problems however. After unpacking my equipment there I did very small steps in testing everything (I had time but only one copter). First test flights on soccer field, second LOS and 3rd was a spectacular FPV flight. Had to watch out for Waterplanes (got the flightplan) and was nervous about a Naza flyaway (while sitting on a tiny island surrounded by nothing but water! All systems worked very well, brushless gimbal had some work because it was always windy there.
How do you travel with a drone?
Check your destination country for regulations. Ask proactively if you can fly there (before you take all your stuff there!).
Get a small highly portable system (FPV Goggles with int. RX, foldable Copter).
Triple check your item list (you don’t want to forget the one important screw that keeps you from flying in a perfect spot!). Best have everything in one hand luggage (a must for LiPo batteries). Protect your LiPos (fire safe bag, short circuit protection on cables). Check airline regulations (no single batteries larger than 100Wh for example). If needed, take two batteries in parallel if you need a bigger battery.
“Security is not about where you fly – it’s about how you fly!”
Thank you so much for your insights. Is there anything else that we haven’t touched on that you would like to share?
I see drone law really getting enforced in Austria now. The US will find hobby regulations after this Phantom crash on the White House soon. So hobby pilots should think twice before they risk something to get a cracking youtube video (yes this comes from the right person 😉
Bad drone pilot behaviour not only spoils the show for yourself (think of your insurance that finds some good reasons not to pay on that expensive mishap you never thought would happen to you) but also for others that play by the rules (which get tighter every time).
“Security is not about where you fly – it’s about how you fly!” (Trappy)
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