At the time of writing this blog, I have just a week to go until I sit my operational assessment and the nerves are starting to build slightly.
I have, however, been out practicing as much as the Scottish weather has allowed. The switch in mindset from being a hobby flier to that of a future commercial pilot has been the biggest change for me.
I was so used to just grabbing my backpack with the Phantom inside, whenever the weather was good, and just heading out wherever I wanted to fly. My only concern was that I had a battery or two charged and the area is was intending to fly in wasn't going to be in breach the 50m rule.
In fact, I only realized a few weeks ago that in almost 3 years of flying DJI Phantoms, my Go app had not recorded a single flight, I'd never checked it!
I hadn't signed in correctly to the logbook section of the app, and I had no record of my flight time at all, not good!
This is where the training and the fundamentals taught by Fly Icarus have changed my whole approach to flying the quadcopter, whether it's just for a hobby flight or going forward for future aerial work.
I now sit before each flight and take the time to research the site, double checking my distances and any potential hazards. I have been taking all the ancillary equipment with me too, and setting up as if on a commercial job. So the cones are out, landing pad in place as well as warning signs.
The quadcopter is now checked over thoroughly, where as before a quick glance would do.
The flight times and battery logs are updated at the end of each flight and all the other relevant housekeeping duties done also.
While at first it seemed a lot to go through just to get the bird in the air, practice and repetition has made the whole process fairly quick to get through , and I now have my own wee system mapped out for use in the future.
In terms of the flying, I've almost exclusively used ATTI mode for each flight. I've lost count of the amount of figure of eights I've done, plus orbits, hovering at different orientations and the big one for me landing manually. I always used hand catch the drone for fear of it tipping over on landing, but I'm pretty confident in landing on the pad now without any issues.
As I stated before I'd unknowingly not been logging my flights previously, so I could only guess how much flight time I've amassed in three years. The last 6 weeks however I've managed to log 17 flights and just over 3 hours in the air! Which I hope will be enough to see me through on assessment day.
Hopefully my next blog post will be as a newly qualified pilot!