Drones are cool. Flying a drone around a warship at sea is scary as what.
- We may have been the first ever (!?) to legally flying a drone around a US Navy ship while underway at sea. (Definitely to fly one as close as we did.)
- The ship has to turn off the spy radar, otherwise it could "fry the drone's electronics" and it would fall into the sea.
- Drone's are programmed to fly from a fixed point on land.* If the controllers loose contact with the drone, and the ship is sailing forward at 16 knots, the drone thinks it's "home" is miles behind you, by default it will fly back to it's "home" point and splash down in the sea.
- Landing on the deck of a ship is tricky. You've got wind, pitch, roll and it's moving at 16 knots.
We're flying a pro drone, if we lose it we kiss about $8k in gear goodbye. Also, we flew in sport mode which means top speeds of 65mph, (awesome for big moves) but flight times last roughly 20 minutes.
So get out your hanky and wipe the sweat off your forehead, because this is a high stress filming environment. :-)
*Attention drone nerds: There's a GPS transmitter that you can buy that makes your controller the "home" point. We didn't have one.