The Chicago Drone Racers demonstrated their skills at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Their members navigated their drones at high speeds with impressive precision. It was cool, but something was missing from the scene: women and girls. Which (spoiler alert) is the top reason you should buy drones for your girls this year.
Five Reasons to Buy Your Daughter a Drone
Drones, also referred to as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), and UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems), and are hot right now. But drones aren’t merely a trend, they’re an emerging technology that is becoming widely available to consumers. Why should your daughter (or niece, etc.) sit on the sidelines while this movement grows?
- A drone will help her develop her hand-eye coordination in a fun new way. (This was a recurring theme of my childhood.)
- It will literally up her photography game and her video production skills. Leave the unboxing videos to the neighbor kid (seriously, why are unboxing videos even a thing?) while your girl creates dazzling displays of the world from above.
- It will boost her business skills. If you’re of a certain age you may recall a time when 15-year-olds were making a killing coding websites for middle-aged folks who needn’t to get on this World Wide Web thing, but didn’t know how to go about it. In addition to monetizing her photography or video skills. Who needs a dog-walking business? She she can inspect roofs and gutters. Plus, drone savvy girls gain access to a growing world of career opportunities.
- It’s fun, exciting and challenging! I’m fond of the line “The goal of life is to have fun* and learn new things.” Starting her off with a new drone hobby will accomplish both.
- Ensure that she, and other women and girls, have a place at the table as the UAV market and opportunities grow.
Drones for Girls
Drones for girls are like drones for boys except for…nothing. Drones and propellers come in a variety of sizes and colors. Style should be less of a consideration than ease-of-use and price.
What to Look For in a Starter Drone
First off, look for a quadcopter (they have four rotors) that’s ready to fly, or RTF. You want something easy to use pretty much right out of the package. Some drones come with spare parts or certain part guarantees because the one real guarantee is that newbies are destined to crash. A lot.
As a general rule, more expensive drones tend to be easier to control. If you want your child to get hooked on flying drones, you don’t want to learning curve to be too steep. On the other hand, I bought myself a starter drone for around $55. I figured it’s more affordable (though yes, worse for the environment) to crash and burn a few of these if need be, than spend $500 on a drone that I could easily destroy. Seriously, despite the impression I may give here, I’m a technospaz. See also point one above relating to poor hand-eye coordination.
Keep it Legal
What do you think this is, 2013? As drones have proliferated, so have the number of laws regulating them. Be sure to check the laws in your area.
Update: as of May 23, 2017 registration is not required for recreational dronesMay 23, 2017 registration is not required for recreational drones.
According to Women and Drones, the FAA requires registration of all drones over .55 pounds and under 55 pounds. The process to register a drone is easy. It costs $5.00 per drone and takes only a few minutes. Simply go to the FAA website to complete the registration process. Registration must be completed by the owner within 30 days.
Weigh your drone on a postage or kitchen scale if you can’t find the weight listed on the packaging or inserts. Even if your drone doesn’t require registration, Women and Drones suggests you check out these basic safety guidelines and review them with the drone recipient.
Women and Drones did not sponsor this post, but they’re in my area and we’ve traded a few emails. Their December e-newsletter shared a few tips on buying drones for first-timers. you can read more here. The more affordable models include the UDI U818A Quadcopter.
And the Sky Viper (these are affiliate links).
Start or Join a Community
There’s this fantastic-sounding group called She Flies, but alas, it’s an Australian program. Hopefully, there will be a US equivalent soon. Thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, you can download a flight sheet on which your girl can log her flying hours. In addition, they promise a resource guide for teachers that will be out in early 2017.
*Or make that fun and funds.