On our drive back from Sedona to Phoenix, we noticed several cactus fields along the main highway. We decided to pull over and fly our DJI Spark drone in the open desert landscape in Black Canyon City, AZ. This area is on the edge of the Sonoran Desert and offered some incredible views of cacti and mountains. This was our first time flying a drone in the desert!
Since flying a drone in Sedona is heavily restricted, we knew that we might not have the opportunity to fly on our trip. However, we were excited that our spontaneous stop resulted in some beautiful footage.
One thing to note is that the area is very dusty and hot. If you are planning to fly in the area, I would suggest using a landing pad (unless your drone is capable of a palm take-off and landing, like the Spark). The temperature in the desert is extremely warm, so you will want to be cautious of your drone and screen (i.e., phone or tablet) overheating. Keeping your screen in the shade not only helps to reduce the heat, but also makes the screen much more visible.
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If you want to get even more serious about drones, consider getting an FAA 107 certification. While you can study for the test without a prep course, we recommend the Drone Pilot Ground School course taught by UAV Coach. We completed the course in January 2018 and passed the certification test with a 95%. Getting your FAA 107 certificate is not required for hobbyist pilots. However, you’ll learn a lot of fundamental aviation concepts that will make you a better drone operator and pilot.