Software & Hardware Reviews

Educational, Business and Entertainment Software Reviews

May 2015 . Vol. 21 No. 5

Recent Software Reviews

April 2015--TurboTax® Personal & Small Business 2014 Federal & State Returns plus Federal E-File
March 2015--Vipre® Internet Security 2015 from ThreatTrack Security
February 2015--Presence: A Fee Free Home Security System with Video Monitoring from People Power
January 2015--The Incredible Foldscope(TM)--an Orgami-based Optical Microscope from Prakash Lab, Stanford University
December 2014---The Best Paranormal Apps for Your Apple or Android Device
November 2014--Royalty Free Stock Photos and Images from US Government Sources
October 2014--Best Free Streaming Music/Audio/Video Apps for iPhone and Android Devices
September 2014--Some of the Latest and Greatest iPad/iPhone/Android/iPod Touch Apps

Game of Drones: Laws, Legal Issues and What to Buy

By Howard Berenbon

If you’re in the market for one of those new neat remote control (RC) flying machines that fly like mini helicopters with four engines—sometimes referred to as drones, called quad copters, then this is a must read for technical, and even legal information.  If you’ve been researching Google or  for pricing, you’ve seen toy-like quad copters from $17.49 to $80 for indoor and outdoor use, some with and without cameras, and more sophisticated models from $1200 or more equipped with high resolution gyro stabilized cameras and GPS controls that will bring the copter home (to your start position) when the battery gets low, or the RC signal connection is lost.  With the more expensive units, you can fly for up to a half hour on a single battery charge, and you can view and video in flight, via the copter’s camera, on your iPhone or Android device.  Sounds like fun. And if you’ve watched some of those demonstration videos on it makes you want to go out and buy one immediately.  In fact, in the next few months I’ll be buying and testing a DJI Phantom 2 Plus with all the bells and whistles, priced at just over $1,000.  Not too pricey for what it can do: a stabilized HD GoPro camera with one half hour flying time that can soar to 1,000 feet or more sending impressive aerial videos to your mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.).  If you’re a professional photographer, this quad copter capability can enhance your professional services with video fly-bys for the entertainment or advertising industries. If your business is construction, you can use a drone to examine and inspect your work for defects as it progresses. But, if you’re serious about the more advanced quad copters, either for business, or personal use, before you buy, you need to know the current laws regarding restrictions and use of that neat new toy, now gaining popularity in the RC hobbyist market.

Possible Legal Problems for Drone Owners

Considering buying a drone, quad copter for some RC flying fun? You should know the current laws before making the plunge, especially if you plan on spending over $1,000 on one of those DJI Phantom 2 Plus drones.  Before making your decision, it would be best to consult an attorney in your area to find out what legal options exist.  If you are a professional, and require a quad copter for business use, you’d want to find out about licensing if required. Again, consulting an attorney would be in your best interest.

You may not be aware of the restrictions, but currently, you are not allowed to fly a quad copter within 5 miles of an airport, in US National Parks and near Military Bases.  Restrictions may apply locally as well because people are concerned about privacy and many of the drones have high definition cameras that can stream videos and spy on individuals.  It may be safe just to fly on your property, but be aware that FAA regulations do not allow quad copters or model aircraft, for recreational use, to fly above 400 feet.  However, some cities are now banning quad copters and it may be unlawful to fly your RC toy at your own home. Because the technology is so new, laws are now being crafted to address this new and growing use of these flying machines.

Now, if you buy one of those DJI Phantom 2 Plus quad copters, they have built in software to prevent you flying their machine in restricted areas using the built-in GPS. If you’re not sure it’s okay to fly your quad copter above or near your home, call your local city offices and find out. You may be allowed to fly your copter at a nearby park, but be aware that there are still privacy and safety issues when flying near people. Injuries and property damage can result from crashing quad copters, and that can be a serious problem. If you find it’s legal to fly your quad copter near your home, you should avoid flying near power lines and where people congregate.

Searching Amazon for Quad Copters

Searching on with the key word “quad copter” I found several inexpensive toy RC crafts for indoor and outdoor use from $17.49.  I also found one of the best RC quad copters, the DJI Phantom 2 Plus, a sophisticated programmable RC flying machine with a gimbal stabilized GoPro camera and GPS for finding its way home for around $1,000. If you're searching for the best performing consumer quad copter on the market, in my opinion, the DJI is what you want and need. For information or to order click to visit

Quad Copters by Price from Low to High

quad copter

Cheerson CX-10 Mini 29mm 4CH 2.4GHz 6-Axis Gyro LED RC Quadcopter Bright Orange $17.49<

Syma X5 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter $34.39

Hubsan X4 (H107C) 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quad Copter with Camera - Red/Black, Red/Black $45.59

Syma X5C 2.4G 6 Axis GYRO HD Camera RC Quadcopter RTF RC Helicopter with 2.0MP Camera By E-Trade Deal $47.99

UDI U818A 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter with Camera RTF Mode 2-$51.99

Syma X6 Super Ship 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quad Copter w/ Gyro - $78.95

Heli-Max 1SQ RTF Quadcopter with 2.4Ghz Radio $87.82

Air Hogs RC Helix X4 Stunt, 2.4 GHZ Quad Copter $89.90

Ei-Hi S911C Huge 2.4GHz 6.5 Channel 6 Axis Gyro LED Light RC Quadcopter UFO with Camera $154.95

OLOGY® Quadcopter Live Video Feed Video Record Quadcopter FPV First Person View Camera Multicopter Aerial PhotographY $197.99

DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro $384.95

Parrot AR Drone Quadricopter, 2.0 Elite Edition, 720P $349.99

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0 Quadcopter with FPV HD Video Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal (White) $924

quad copter

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0 Quadcopter with Gimbal-Stabilized 14MP, 1080p Camera + Extra Battery and a 32GB microSDHC $1099

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