Knightdale man uses drone to get birds-eye view of First Night festivities
Posted January 1
Updated January 2
Raleigh, N.C. — While thousands of Triangle residents watched the acorn ring in 2014 from below on Tuesday night, a Knightdale man with a five-pound flying machine got a bird's-eye view of the First Night festivities.
Marty Miller built his drone at home and brought it to Raleigh on Tuesday so it could be the first to fly over First Night. The amateur drone builder and pilot said his desire to fly over downtown Raleigh is simple.
"I like taking video, aerial video of cool things," he said.
Because it has six rotor blades and electric motors, Miller calls his device a "hexacopter."
"I spent about four months studying YouTube videos to learn how to make this," Miller said. "In five minutes, you can be flying and filming."
Miller says he and many of his friends have built their own drones for as little as $1,200.
As he took in the First Night festivities on Tuesday, Miller made sure to keep his drone away from the crowds so he could use its wide-angle lens to capture the scene. He flew above downtown Raleigh buildings for about 13 minutes.
"It does take a while to learn how to fly. I am still not the best pilot," Miller said. "I like to take it slow and easy to do the video."
Miller said his next project will be filming a Fourth of July celebration at Nags Head.
"I just have a good time doing it," he said. "It is pretty exciting stuff."
Miller's hexacopter has a range of about 3,000 feet, but the Federal Aviation Administration has a 400-foot limit on such devices.