It was late 2015 and I had just taken possession of my first drone. The mighty X6SW complete with FPV HD camera. I had agonised for months over which was the one for me. Was it the Syma X5SW or the X5HW? So after hitting some review sites I decided the X6SW was the better choice. Sure enough it takes two weeks to get from China to my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Sitting in the lounge I open up the box and after a few minutes of assembly, I am good to go. Batteries in, drone on, controller on and it's ready for lift off! Watch this!
So out comes the manual. Turns out it is filled with all the information I needed to know to allow me to get my drone off the carpet! After a few hours spent hovering and calibrating, recharging and laughing at the cat's reaction, I feel proficient enough to take it into the backyard and fly the drone out in the breeze.
Now, we had plenty of trees in our yard so I made sure I stayed well clear. Our 5 year old was full of advice, "Go higher", go faster", "give me a turn" "do a flip" "give me a turn. Again a few hours were spent flying and recharging, flying and recharging. I spend the next few days practising flying my drone. I seem to have a thing for the trees. Several times I fly it into them, but they are not large and I am able to extract my drone from them each time.
Confidence is growing. I can hover. I can fly in a figure of eight. I can land it right side up. I can do flips. The one thing I have not done is fly my drone above 5 metres for fear of landing it on the neighbours garage roof.
So it's off to the park with our 5 year old in tow. He is as excited as I am. I am standing in the middle of a cricket pitch with all the airspace in I need to give my X6SW Camera Drone a good fly. Up and up it goes then out and out it goes. people are watching. I feel so proud! I am controlling that drone up there! So majestic. I can still recall the tears of laughter rolling down the wee fellas face as I am clinging to a thick branch 15 feet up poking at my now wedged drone with a broom handle, trying to knock it out of the tree I had flown it into. People walking below me giving me curious looks, some shaking their heads, others making snide remarks and one pleasant person encouraging me "just a little bit further" she said.
A few weeks go by and the drone sits on my shelf mocking me. It's Xmas and we are at the lakeside bach. My plan? To fly over the bach and take an aerial photo to frame and put on the wall. "Who took that""? they would ask. "JD did. With his drone" others would reply. I never did get that photo. There is still a space on the wall where that image isn't. Nobody says anything, as they walk up the driveway under the drone, stuck at the top of the tree, at the start of the driveway. It has been there for 18 months now in high winds, torrential rain, intense UV rays and it still remains intact. It also has a new role.
I began my career as a builder and progressed through to the owner of Mojo NZ Ltd. The first drone I owned is to this day lodged in a tree on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. We now provide drones to all industries from toys to racing drones to professional camera drones. This blog is a look at ourselves and the industry in general.