December 4, 2015
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
Drones are generating a lot of buzz as one of this year’s hottest — and most talked about — holiday gifts for first-time fliers and avid aviators alike.
The Consumer Electronics Association expects about 700,000 drones to fly off retailers’ shelves this year, up 63 percent from a year ago, and the Federal Aviation Administration says sales could top 1 million. Best Buy Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly even bought one recently.
Whether you’re looking to fly for fun or capture jaw-dropping photos and video, Best Buy makes it easy to find the drone that’s right for you. We offer an unmatched selection of the miniature remote-control aircraft, and our Blue Shirts are experts on how to use them — and use them safely.
We sell about a dozen different drones in our stores and nearly 40 models online, ranging from $50 for beginner-level toys to more than $1,000 for high-tech flying machines for “pro-sumers.” Plus, we carry dozens of accessories, including batteries, propellers and propeller guards.
And we’re making sure we sell drones the right way. Best Buy employees who sell them are required to complete an online training course to master this emerging technology and learn how to fly safely and responsibly.
On Friday, we announced that we’re teaming up with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) to teach shoppers about drone safety with “Know Before You Fly” safety brochures in all U.S. stores. Receipts for drone purchases will have regulatory and safety information printed on them. We’re also selling AMA memberships, which give consumers access to up-to-date information on potential drone-related regulations, as well as access to local clubs where consumers can take their drones to fly and receive instruction from experienced operators.
Here’s a quick look at the products you’ll find at Best Buy.
For the First-Time Flier
Entry-level drones are a great way to get your feet wet in the hobby and learn the basics of flying. These drones are small and light, and sometimes maneuverable enough to fly safely indoors. However, their size and basic technology can make them difficult to control outside, especially when it’s windy. Some can capture images and video when paired with an action camera.
Example: Parrot Bebop
For the Avid Aviator
Advanced drones offer a wide array of added features. You’ll move beyond quadcopters into drones with six or eight rotors for added lift and more stability, and some of the included cameras can take stunning photos and 1080p video or better. Some models offer advanced flight controllers and GPS to control your drone in practically any way imaginable, including premapping flight paths.
Examples: Yuneec Typhoon, 3DR Solo and DJI Phantom 3.
For more information about drones, stop into your local Best Buy store or check out the Drone Buying Guide on BestBuy.com.