Views of Coeur d’ Alene Lake

Here are some views of beautiful Coeur d’ Alene Lake with the drone. This area was first seen by a European in 1807 by David Thompson. The city of Coeur d’ Alene was preceded by Ft. Sherman in 1878 right after the Battle of Little Bighorn. I got these down near Beauty Bay (east end) and from Arrow point which is at the elbow of the lake. The development around the lake is quite astonishing. I started going to this lake when I was a teenager and the area has become a world class destination since those days, with multi-million dollar homes, condo’s owned by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and lots of tourism in the cozy little city of Couer’ d Alene. It’s always beautiful just to drive to or around and the scenery never dissapoints.

Review of DJI Hard Shell Case for Phantom 3 Drone

The hard shell case from DJi is a pretty penny at $250.00. Is it worth the money? I’ve had mine for several months and what I like about it is that it is extremely durable and it has room for everything….the tablet, the charger, 5 batteries, propellers, a couple small cubbys for miscellaneous stuff and of course the aircraft and remote. It has latch holes for a padlock on each side and the latches themselves are big and sturdy. Inside is foam padding including a small piece of foam under the camera to absorb any shock or jarring. What I don’t like about the DJi hard shell case is it’s size which requires checking it through the airlines where it’s safety is compromised by security and baggage handlers. It is also fairly heavy but the durability is an equal or better trade off for those issues. Overall, I would recommend the case highly and am happy with my purchase. You will like the case if you travel around in your vehicle a lot with the phantom to areas and places that you don’t have to far to go after leaving the vehicle. You might not like it if you have to carry it a long ways or it is you’re only case for flying the airlines with.

Review of Phantom 3 Drone

The Phantom 3 has landed !!
The Phantom 3 has landed !!

Now that I’ve had the Phantom 3 for over 3 months I’m getting a good feel for the quality, durability and user friendliness of the model and have formed some opinions about it. I can tell you right off that it has met all my expectations and I would recommend it if your just wanting to be a hobbyist or if like me, you have greater ambitions. Here’s what I have found:

Quality: I have not had any issues with the camera, motors, propellers gimbal, battery, remote controller, firmware or software. I’ve had 2 instances where the aircraft went upside down due to pilot error. The worst damage I had was a chipped and cracked propeller which is very minor. I had to replace a couple of them but they are really inexpensive. The camera is a really sensitive piece of equipment but I have taken great care not to jar it or land in or on any surface that might damage it. It hangs from the body with about 2″ of clearance from the ground or launch pad. Overall I would say the Phantom 3 has a very good quality in all aspects.
Durability: I typically transport the Phantom 3 in the GPC Hard shell case that I bought for travel purposes. I also have a Koozam dji back pack which works well for hiking and is also compact enough for the carry on requirements for the airlines. The backpack is no where near as protective as the hard shell case though. The overall durability of the aircraft is really pretty good. It’s super light and the battery is actually the major weight factor of the drone. Like I mentioned, I’ve had the drone upside down a couple times and suffered minor issues limited to the props. I do have a friend though that purchased a phantom 3 and while showing off to the neighbor, crashed into the side of his house and ruined the camera which cost him $600.00 to have repaired.  This was a pilot error again. My conclusion is that flown properly and safely, the phantom is quite durable.

User Friendliness: Details, details details…….. There seems to be a million of em with everything we do now technologically. The Phantom 3 is no different and it really is a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment. That being said, getting through the initial learning curve of the DJI software and hardware isn’t too bad. Every detail is important though and one missed could result in a spendy lesson. In terms of actually flying the aircraft it couldn’t be easier. While flying, when you let off the controls it just hovers in place until you give it another command. After learning to fly the Holy Stone remote control helicopter or quad copter, the Phantom 3 is a breeze.


Liberty lake and Golf course shots

The lake and golf course are beautiful from the air. Especially when the sun is dropping and the colors start to pop a little. The 36 pan shows the valley and Pavilion park to the west and North. It starts out facing south. The water feature and rise to the lake is North to South. I originally went over there to try and get the symphony playing in the park but I guess it got cancelled or i missed it. They rescheduled twice this weekend due to rain.

Wedding in the Woods – Blanchard , Idaho

My old buddy Phil’s daughter Amanda got married last weekend and I thought I would grab a few shots with the drone. I was not the photographer or video taker for the event but did get some clips and stills of the area and the old “Hitching Barn” where they were married in the Blanchard, Idaho mountains which is just behind Mt. Spokane to the North. The wedding ceremony was held precisely when the 20-30 minutes of rain fell that afternoon so I got zero footage of that piece. I did manage to get some aerial vies and pan shots of the area as well as some of the friends and family hanging around the barn and camping/parking area. Learned some stuff as far as ISO and different angles I keep missing and trying to refine my technique for zooming in & out and panning the 360 views. The Phantom 3 Advanced continues to perform well and I’m just having alot of fun with it. The skies were filled with smoke from the weeks of NW wildfires going on here as seen in the aerial views. Had a great time at the wedding & saw some folks I haven’t seen for awhile. Congratulations to Amanda and Brian. Best wishes for a happy trail ahead !!

Amanda & Brian's Wedding from Jed Vaughn on Vimeo.