They’re the big boy toys taking the skies by storm.
Drones are the latest must-have item for the tech-savvy and are increasingly being used for both recreational and commercial purposes.
Add a camera and they can gather breathtaking aerial images and video.
Essentially, it’s like a large-scale video game – except the controller is in charge of a real drone that is flying over a real world capturing real-time imagery.
Anyone can own one, but they are subject to a host of aviation laws and you need a remote licence if you want to fly them commercially.
Star Weekly speaks to four people about the rise of drones.
The business owner
Mark Playdon caught the drone bug a couple of years ago when a friend bought him a drone for Christmas.
The Williams Landing resident crashed it inside his house a couple of days later then went out and bought another, attached a Go-Pro camera to it, and was hooked.
These days, Mr Playdon runs Drone Addiction, an online store selling drones and drone equipment. He also takes aerial photography and videography for fun.
Vision that he took of Trentham Falls caught the eye of Places Victoria, which republished his work on social media.
“You shouldn’t fly any further than line of sight,” he said.
“You should still be able to see the machine – even though they can go much further than that.”
Mr Playdon’s drone – a DJI Inspire – has been decorated with black, white and grey camoflague stickers and retails for about $7000.
He said drones were particularly popular among men, admitting that he had yet to sell one of the devices to a woman.
Mr Playdon is one of the members of the DJI Wyndham Owners Club. Its members get together once a fortnight to fly their drones and share tips.
Member Troy Hixon, 42, owns a DJI Phantom 3 and tries to fly it at least once or twice a week.
“I had a friend come out from the UK who had one, and I took him around Wyndham and different places to take photos and he was doing some pretty good video,” the Tarneit resident said.
“It’s a nice little toy to have – an expensive toy, but it’s pretty cool.
“You can get up high and get a good view of things. I like taking photos anyway, so this is just another way of taking different photos.”
Werribee’s Brendan Gill agrees.
“It’s something to do for myself – it’s good fun,” the 48-year-old said.
“I’ve always had an interest in photography, and this is just photography at a different level.
“There’s quite a complex range of rules and regulations that you’ve got to stick by – the safety side of it is the big part. There’s no room in this hobby for people that want to be cowboys.”
Mr Gill said Werribee South and along the coast were his favourite locations to take his DJI Phantom 3 Advanced out for a spin.
Drones in real estate
The real estate industry has jumped on the bandwagon, using drones to capture aerial photos and video to market properties.
Samantha McCarthy, from hockingstuart Werribee, said the agency had been using drones recently to market “lifestyle properties”.
The senior sales consultant said aerial images and videos gave interested buyers a good perspective of property sizes and their surroundings.
Ms McCarthy said the videos had received a positive response among buyers.
“I don’t tend to use it on every single home,” she said.
“It obviously doesn’t suit every single property – but it definitely works incredibly well to highlight the features of prestige properties, and larger homes.
“Every little bit of extra marketing that’s well thought out will definitely help sell the home quicker and for a better result.”