Learning to stay calm when people are watching?

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I've had my P3P for around 4 months now and I noticed after flying many times by myself that I am generally very calm and everything is smooth as hell. But when I show people what I am doing they all freak out like holy crapy this thing is amazing! Obviously I showboat it because it truly is an amazing creation. But I tend to want to show off more than be safe and do the right things. Almost hit a tree the other day because I was talking and not worrying as much about how far I went.

Also, in public areas, how do you cope with random people coming up to you? I'm a bit of a computer science guy that isn't into talking to people and tend to shy away from social contact. How do you just go out and fly it and handle everyone coming up to you loving what you are doing (or saying that drones are bad, in some cases). Also, a lot of people ask me why the hell would I spend $1,300 on a "toy drone" just to fly it around? I usually tell them that it's an amazing product and it's not a toy. I just hate when people jump into stuff like that and that is why I usually avoid social contact.

Sometimes that basically comes down to it's my money and I'll do with it as I choose, and I chose that I wanted to buy something that would change my life and add some spice to it.

Share some good and bad experiences you've had, I'd love to read them.
 
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I started flying kites about 15 years ago and in moving up to large kites, got used to getting approached with a lot of questions. We all kind of know the standard questions that people are going to ask; how much does that cost, how high can it fly how far can it fly, how difficult is it to fly, how long does the battery last, how many bombs can it carry, etc. I work out the answers to most of these questions before hand. Think about where they are coming from... not know anything about drones. So you don't need to go into details, keep it simple.

You can also try to throw in a little education at the same time. If asked about the camera, mention that it does not zoom. When mentioning GPS, perhaps mention that they are adding no fly zones where the props won't start. When asked how high it flies, mention that the Go app limits altitude to 500m but almost everyone flies under 400'. How far will it go... 1.2 miles but most of the time it's flown within line of sight.

If the person seems interested I let them know that I enjoy flying because it allows me to get photos and video from an angle that is usually not seen and that I also enjoy putting together videos to share with people.
 

N017RW

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As far as staying calm...
Remember you are most likely better at flying than they are or they would not be asking questions so there's nothing to be nervous about.

If you don't want to engage at the time just tell them you need to focus and concentrate while flying and wait until you have landed.

Definitely be an 'Ambassador', be polite and know that your demeanor and answers may help to allay their fears and paranoia. This they may even pass on to friends and relatives in the future.
 

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Very well said by N017RW above. Remember your first priority is to fly safely no matter what else is happening. If you tend to get distracted by people talking to you then you have to either learn to focus or force yourself to land and then engage with the people there. Also you must resist the temptation to perform a "Hey yall watch this" type of flying style. At some point it will bite you in the tail and that is the last thing you want to happen with an eager and potentially loud mouthed audience. Safety is paramount. Instead show them how smooth, steady and coordinated you can fly as well as how steady the aircraft is held on one spot when flying aided by GPS. Focus on those aspects and don't try to yank & bank with an audience.

Approached:
* When I get approached (and it almost always happens) while flying at a job my wife is there to answer questions and help to keep the people at a safe distance (you'd be surprised how many people will literally walk up and lean over your shoulder to see what's on the screen). She is my safety observer and it makes everything so much easier and exponentially safer. Unfortunately that may or may not be feasible in every scenario.

* When I'm flying for training or just for fun without my SO and someone approaches me I will engage but I do so in a way that indicates I am very focused on the task at hand. I'm not rude but I will be short with my answers and not take my attention (or my eyes) off of the aircraft. Once I have landed I gladly answer any and all questions and then of course give out my business cards.

Always play down the video/image capabilities. Offer to show them some of your recordings and how it's very unlikely and unhelpful that your aircraft is or ever could be used to "Spy on them". Show them the proof and hopefully the next time someone says "I bet they are using those drones to spy on us" they could say, "I don't think so. I saw one first hand the other day and I doubt anyone would like the final product from a spying drone".

Remember you will get those people who say "Isn't that illegal" or something like "I heard you couldn't fly those here" and handle those with caution. Don't get defensive and don't let them back you down into a rabbit hole. Explain that you fly in a safe, controlled, and SAFE manner and offer to explain to them what the current "guidelines" are. I actually have printed copies in my logbook and have them to hand out just in case someone is extra intent on discussing rules etc. Just remember to stay calm, don't get defensive and conduct yourself in a diplomatic and professional manner. This will get you a lot further than putting on the boxing gloves and going toe to toe with them. If they keep on just politely explain you respect their "opinion" but you disagree and that's just how it goes. They are merely guilty of drinking the "Media Kool-Aid" and they can't help themselves and they haven't taken the time to research the facts themselves.

Good luck and happy/safe flights.
 
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I agree. Most people are obnoxious. I like having my wife around to fend them off. Plus she enjoys talking to anyone who will listen. When I'm on my own I just say "sorry I can't talk while I'm flying. If you wait for me to land in X minutes we can chat"
 
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I put together a little book with some of the amazing photos taken and some pulled from the videos. Show them that and they are in AW. Again a picture is worth a thousand words. They really love the sunsets.... And cloud formations. Seems to be the favorites. After that they have better understanding. Works for me. Helped when the cops came up to. Answers a lot of questions just by them looking at a few photos in color I printed out.
 
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I'm (as of now) doing easy flight, just exploring at 100 feet (higher than any obstacles) in Miami.

I don't mind showing them the screen, because the phantom is so easy to fly that I can take my hands off the controls :)
 
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ImageUploadedByPhantomPilots - DJI Phantom Forum1443932418.852462.jpg

I just bring ma lady. Very well trained. If the people want to be nice then we have a conversation. If they think it might be a good idea to lecture me or try to start trouble, she will remind them very quickly that it might not be a good idea. Works like a charm.
 
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Fortunately I tend to have only had good experiences with people. In three years of flying I have only had one negative comment from a couple walking saying it was noisy, which is wasn't as I hadn't powered it on yet - admittedly it got noisy shortly afterwards but once it’s up 50 feet the noise starts to fade. In situations like that I tend to stress that everyone has cameras on phones these days and you'd be amazed what a little height does to change your perspective of a location and that I use it to mainly record my family doing a fun activity.

Just the other day I was flying over a nearby lake, I landed it by the back of my car and looked around to see a family of a dozen people including an 80 year old lady saying "that’s great, are you going to fly it again".

I also used Autoflight Logic down on a local beach this weekend and a family gathered around looking at it orbit around my position. I looked back at the footage and realised I was talking for a good 5 minutes with it orbiting. It was not quite the epic shot of a beach in hazy morning sunlight I was hoping for that morning but they went away with a positive experience.

One thing I always do is say to people is I will happily email them some pictures from the flight if they would like or hand them a business card of my own I had made up with a link to my social network sites.

This reminds me actually, I was using Autoflight Logic with my family again on the beach this weekend. It was doing a zip line with it flying from one end of the beach to another and focusing on us and it flew over. The beach was empty apart from a few dog walkers. One apparently flipped it the bird while it flew overhead, she then realised I was controlling it and apologised profusely saying she hadn't realised it was filming us as a family. We had a quick talk about it and I explained I tend to just use it to record the family and she left happy, still apologising.

I think the upshot is bring the family or rent one ;-)
 
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I think the upshot is bring the family or rent one ;-)
Oh great... I shell out money for the quad, then more money to add FPV, now I gotta shell out money to rent a family???

(just kidding, of course...)
 
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I haven't had any problems yet in the South, people are more friendly/tolerant perhaps....

But how about wearing an orange reflective vest and a lanyard with a big ID type document hanging in front, even if it was just some nonesense thing or backstage pass or something.

I bet that would fix most of it.
 
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BigAl07

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I haven't had any problems yet in the South, people are more friendly/tolerant perhaps....

But how about wearing an orange reflective vest and a lanyard with a big ID type document hanging in front, even if it was just some nonesense thing or backstage pass or something.

I bet that would fix most of it.
We fly with company shirts, warning signs, and our credentials in a lanyard. I can't help but believe this helps a lot.
 
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I HATE it when people ask why i would spend that much on a toy. Makes me wanna turn around and slap them
 

BigAl07

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Remember you will get those people who say "Isn't that illegal" or something like "I heard you couldn't fly those here" and handle those with caution. Don't get defensive and don't let them back you down into a rabbit hole. Explain that you fly in a safe, controlled, and SAFE manner and offer to explain to them what the current "guidelines" are. I actually have printed copies in my logbook and have them to hand out just in case someone is extra intent on discussing rules etc. Just remember to stay calm, don't get defensive and conduct yourself in a diplomatic and professional manner. This will get you a lot further than putting on the boxing gloves and going toe to toe with them. If they keep on just politely explain you respect their "opinion" but you disagree and that's just how it goes. They are merely guilty of drinking the "Media Kool-Aid" and they can't help themselves and they haven't taken the time to research the facts themselves.

Good luck and happy/safe flights.
So many think these are likely illegal including everyone I work with. I own and built a full sized RC R2-D2. 2 of them actually as 1 of them is a black imperial droid. They each cost about 10 times what a P3P costs and I can't take any of them anywhere without a huge crowd surrounding them wanting photos. Its like owning a Lamborghini in a way, everywhere you go with it it causes a scene. Most people are cool but about 1 out of 300 people there is some little kid trying to rip the robot apart.

So I'm used to people saying 'you spend how much on that?' as my hobbies aren't cheap. I often reply back that some people like to blow $10 grand on jet skis and boats they'll almost never use in the AZ desert, or go to Hawaii every year for 10 days. Some of us build, drive or fly robots and love the technology.
 
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Buy a custom shirt that says "don't talk to the pilot" or "don't disturb the operator" on the back. It's good safety anyway.
 

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