By Andrew Wroblewski
Dave Tuohy never officially got into the air as a private pilot. After trying to get a private pilot license (PPL) for some time, the East Northport resident had to call it quits when he just didn’t have the time to get it done.
That didn’t, however, mean that Tuohy would never get that bird’s eye view he was looking for – he just had to get it through a drone.
Thanks to Phantom 2 Vision+ flying camera, Tuohy has been able to combine two of his favorite hobbies – photography and aviation – to form a series of web videos showing off the luscious landscapes of Northport in a way that typically only birds get to witness.
“When they first came out, the drones interested me,” Tuohy, 46, said. “I had flown remote control planes in the past… but two summers ago I purchased the first-generation model of the drone which had a GoPro [camera] mounted to it.”
That model ended up crashing into Lake George, he said. A second-generation model replaced it, and Tuohy was back in the sky.
“Slowly I got used to flying it around in the fall and I had some background in video so I threw some music onto the footage,” he said.
After 5,000 shares on Facebook, Tuohy found that he was on to something. People love Northport, he said, and he found that many were linking to his video, tagging their friends and asking for more. On Feb. 2, another video emerged – this time on YouTube (youtube.com/user/Fly2e) – and sparked nearly 6,000 views.
“People definitely seem interested in it,” he said. “With more people watching them… it’s definitely given me more interest in [making more].”
An Allstate Agent in Huntington by trade, Tuohy said he received quite a few messages by viewers interested in utilizing the technology in a commercial fashion.
A few real estate agents have beckoned him to shoot aerial footage of homes on the market; a local movie producer has asked for the same help in conjunction with an upcoming film. But while he’s not opposed to making some money on the side, Tuohy is making these videos as a hobby.
As for the technology itself, Phantom 2 Vision+ is produced by the China-based company DJI. On DJI’s official web store, the drone camera sells for $1,299. Tuohy said the model boasts a maximum flight time of 25 minutes, has special “return-to-home” technology – so to prevent any missing drone conundrums – and supports smartphone and tablet connectivity for users to see what he drone sees in real-time from the ground.
“The technology is pretty interesting,” Tuohy said.
Interesting, indeed, especially to people at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
On Feb. 15, the FAA proposed a framework of regulations in regards to the routine use of unmanned aircrafts. Tuohy said that he, and any other users of drone camera technology, should best abide by those regulations, which govern certain aspects of the technology and require a visual line-of-sight with the aircraft to always remain intact.