Get Started Flying Your Own Drone

Author: Stockpile Reports

WASTO 2019 Annual Conference | Event | Stockpile Reports

Drones are easy and efficient tools for measuring stockpile inventory at your company. However, most companies do not know where to start with implementing an in-house drone program. In this guide, we break down the essential gear, software, and certifications needed to get started today. We will show you where to get started with flying your own drone for stockpile inventory.

What You Need to Get Started Flying Your Own Drone with Stockpile Reports

Here are the items Stockpile Reports recommends purchasing to begin performing drone flights with Stockpile Reports for inventory measurement:

  1. Apple iPad Mini or Apple iPhone
  2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Drone
  3. Extra DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Drone Batteries
  4. Memory Card
  5. Drone Landing Pad (Optional)
  6. Sunshade for iPad (Optional)
  7. Drone Registration
  8. Drone Software
  9. FAA Part 107 Drone License
  10. Insurance

Choosing a Compatible Apple iPad & iPhone for Stockpile Reports

Stockpile Reports supports the following Apple iPhone devices: iPhone 5, 5S, 5SE, 6, 6 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, Xs, Xs Max, Xr. We recommend an iPad Mini (version 4 or newer) over the standard iPad or iPad Pro because it is lighter, smaller, and easier to handle as a controller for the drone. Plus, full-size iPads are more susceptible to overheating in the sun.

We recommend opting for the cellular-enabled version of the iPad Mini. If you already have an iPad Mini or opt for the one without cellular, you will need a hotspot-enabled device such as an iPhone for setting up flight missions and submitting airspace waivers. Alternatively, you can create flight missions and submit waivers via an iPad Mini in your office wifi before traveling to the worksite.

Order iPad Mini

Choosing a Drone for Stockpile Inventory Measurement

Stockpile Reports supports the following drones for use with our service: DJI Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Advanced, Phantom 4 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro V2, Mavic 2 Pro, Inspire 1 or 2 with X3, X4S, X5, or X5S cameras (with default DJI lenses).

While we support the above-mentioned drones, the one that we recommend is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 drone. This drone enables you to fly your worksites for frequent inventory measurements without breaking the bank. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 drone will cost you approximately $1,600 on Amazon. You also have the option of buying it directly from DJI.

Order DJI Phantom 4

Important Accessories to Consider

Extra DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Drone Batteries

Grab a few extra batteries if you are planning to fly one or more sites on a given day. This ensures that you never run out of battery!

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Memory Card

You will need a memory card or two for your DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 drone in order to save footage and images. We recommend a 64GB, U3 speed class memory card for storage. Depending on how often you are flying and how many worksites you have, you might want to consider buying a couple of memory cards. The price is approximately $15 each on Amazon.

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Drone Landing Pad

A landing pad is a great investment to ensure dust and small rocks do not get lodged into the drone motors. Landing pads are collapsible, come with a carrying bag, and stakes to keep the pad in place. Landing pads cost around $15 on Amazon and are a great investment in keeping your drone safe from rock and dust kickup.

Order Now

Sunshade for iPad Mini

The sunshade for your iPad Mini is an optional accessory that you will want to consider. If you have a hard time seeing your phone screen outside, you will likely experience the same trouble with your iPad Mini. When you are controlling the drone, it’s important to be able to see the screen of your iPad and it only costs $15.99 on Amazon.

Order Now

Certification and Insurance: Important & Non-Negotiable

When you are implementing a drone into your inventory measurement processes, make sure that your drone pilots are Part 107 remote pilot certified and insured. You’ll also want to make sure that you have registered your drone with the FAA. It is against the law to fly an unregistered drone weighing over 250 grams.

It is the law to FAA certify each pilot that flies a drone at your company. Each pilot will have to study for and pass the 60 question Part 107 Remote Pilot certification test. There are several ways to prepare for the FAA Part 107 drone certification test. Stockpile Reports offers onsite Part 107 remote pilot certification test prep course for individuals or groups. There are also other books, online courses, and in-person training programs that you can purchase.

Stockpile Reports Live & On-Site Training - Paid Online Class Through Drone Pilot Ground School - Paid Self-Study Guide - Free, Self-Guided

The test requires a minimum of 8-12 hours of study time regardless of the method of learning you choose. The on-site course time or online class time can be deducted from the hours required as that is a hands-on learning process. It’s important to note that none of the above teach you how to fly a drone and none of the questions on the test are drone flying knowledge-based questions. However, if you opt for the Stockpile Reports lead option, there is an option to add drone flight lessons taught by a Stockpile Reports team member.

The test is composed of 60 multiple choice questions and you must visit an FAA test center to complete the exam. To find a center near you, click here.

We recommend this test prep workbook from Amazon. Included are instructional text and illustrations, questions, answer stems, correct answers, explanations, and references for further study.

The Remote Pilot Test Prep 2020 workbook also comes with a copy of the FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement – Sport, Private, & Recreational Pilot and also the digital PDF copy can be downloaded from the FAA. The testing center will provide you with a copy of this supplement at the test as you will be asked to answer questions about charts, graphs, and illustrations in the book during the test.

If you have Stockpile Reports on-site for test prep and drone training, we provide a copy of the Airman’s Guide as well as a PowerPoint Synopsis of what to study and memorize and common trick questions.

Remember: You must renew your certification every 2 years. This requires you to take a knowledge review exam.

Step 2: Purchase & Register Your Drone

Once you have completed your exam, the next step in the process is to purchase your drone, recommended add-ons, and register your drone. It is illegal to fly an unmanned aircraft (a drone) without registering it. There are some exceptions, but as a commercial business, flying for commercial purposes, you will not meet the requirements for exclusion.

Register Your Drone

Step 3: Purchase Pilot and Drone Insurance

You’ve invested a lot of money into your drone program and the ability to fly drones for the purpose of measuring your stockpiles. Pilot insurance protects your pilots from the liability of damaging personal property or physical harm. Inquire with your current insurance broker to see what coverage is available.

You can also insure your drone from the rare crash. Stockpile Reports recommends the DJI Phantom 4. DJI offers a comprehensive and reliable service plan to protect you and your drone. It covers two replacement units in one year, so you can fly with confidence.

Purchase Drone Insurance

Step 4: Update Your Drone Software for iPad

Now that you have your license and drone, you’ve registered your drone and purchased insurance, it’s time to set up your drone. One of the first steps is to download or update your drone software, ensuring it is running on the latest update.

You can download the software onto your iPad Mini for free on the Apple store. DJI GS Pro (Ground Station Pro) is an iPad app for drone operations. Plan automated flights, manage flight data on the cloud, and build teams and projects.

Download App

Step 5: Begin Flying & Uploading to Stockpile Reports

You made it! You are now a licensed drone pilot. You have the ability to fly most of your worksites with your drone. Click here for restrictions. Stockpile Reports offers a cloud-based service that allows you to monitor and track your inventory levels from a convenient dashboard. Implementing Stockpile Reports into your inventory management process improves the consistency and reliability of the data, builds trust and transparency between company departments, and allows companies to make better business decisions.

Whether you choose to use your own drone, use our drone pilots (U.S./Canada), the iPhone app, or a combination, we are here for you. To get started, please schedule a demo with our team and we’ll connect you with a stockpile inventory expert.

Schedule a Demo

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