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The Saga of Shipping A Drone (almost) Coast To Coast – There Was A Better Alternative

NOTE: If you want to skip my ramblings and just watch the videos, (yes I said videos as there two of them today!), just keep scrolling. But if you do, you’ll miss what could be a very entertaining post! Here goes:

I guess you probably figured out that with the name Videos By Andy, that I enjoy photography.

You’re assumption is correct in that I do enjoy photography/videography, but maybe not for the reasons that you may think.

It seems that for decades I wanted to like film photography, but I simply wasn’t that good at it. I had an eye for composition, but things such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO and other complicated terms seemed to do nothing more than confuse me. And, no matter how hard I tried, other than when using the most basic of cameras, many of my photographs came out blurry or filled with subjects with red eyes. Yes, I was happy when digital replaced film and I could start using cameras that are smarter than I am and allow me to focus (pun intended) on things such as composition and content.

With digital photography came digital videography and once extremely complicated tasks such as editing became easier than ever. There was also the instant gratification factor. With digital cameras or camcorders, you simply click a button and then click another one to see the finished photo/video. Then, if you choose, you can use any one of a seemingly endless array of computer programs to enhance your work. But that brings with it another problem…

…keeping up with all of the digital files we create each and every day. But that’s another story for another day. Today, we’ll talk about shipping a drone from Florida to Nevada.

Understanding that a consumer drone is simply a flying camera, sometimes it’s nice to take it with you when going on a trip. That was my thought when planning a trip to Las Vegas. The only problem was: How do I get it there?

The included carrying case is too large to fit in an airline’s overhead bin and too fragile to ship as luggage. There are travel cases available (and I ordered one), but holy crap, they are huge and heavy. Since I was traveling solo this trip, there’s no way, even with the wheels and handle, that I could have transported it from the luggage carousel at LAS airport to the Hertz counter. (If you’ve been to LAS airport, you know what I’m talking about!).

So, what did I do? I shipped it via three day FedEx.

Allow me to point out a few facts about shipping something via three day Fed Ex:

1) It’s really not three days…unless you ship it on a Monday or Tuesday as it’s Three Business Days.

2) Shipping a carton sized similar to a jumbo piece of luggage is expensive.

3) It’s expensive. (Yes, I wrote that twice).

Yes, there were less expensive shipping methods, but I was using my copter before my trip and if I wanted to absolutely, positively have it with me in Las Vegas, I had to pay the price or lug it through the airport. So, I shipped it. But looking back, when you compare the relatively affordable price of these consumer drones vs the cost of shipping such a large box, there was an alternative I didn’t think of prior to the trip…

I could have simply purchased a new model in Las Vegas from a reputable dealer, flown it in some scenic areas during my trip, returned it to the dealer and had them ship it back. After all, when you order from these dealers, they typically either include shipping costs or offer a reasonable rate. And, the bonus would be that I would get to add yet another drone to my growing fleet!

That’s what this week’s video is about…opening up a box that just made a 2,500 mile journey and seeing if it arrived in the same condition it was in when I packed it up. Sounds boring, huh? Hey, I’m doing my best!

But wait, there’s more!

There’s a Part 2 of this video and that’s actually flying it in Las Vegas…but it’s not what you think as I didn’t fly it in the famous strip area as that’s within a No Fly Zone. Yes, others do it, but that’s like saying if little Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? My Mom would be proud that I have enough common sense to play by the rules when flying a object in the air that has spinning blades that many people think should be banned from usage.

Hey, I’m trying to do the right thing, after all, it’s only a flying camera!

Here’s Part 1 of this story:

And, here’s Part 2…and I actually get to fly it in this one!

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