Flying a Drone Over Uganda

On a recent trip to Uganda, I took my DJI Phantom 2 Vision drone (equipped with a video camera) with me.  I wanted to demonstrate possible applications of the aerial technology to developing country problems and needs.  Possible of uses of a drone in Africa include:  habitat studies (deforestation, desertification, wildlife surveys, etc.), refugee camp dynamics, crop investigations, aerial footage for videos and other presentations, etc.  One interesting side effect was the tremendous interest it generated in the local residents.  The children were particularly fascinated with the flying camera.

The first places we flew the drone were in rural areas around the city of Masaka, located 120 kilometers southwest of Kampala.  At a small community south of city, we demonstrated how the quadcopter could be used in forestation/deforestation studies.  The drone was flown by my son-in-law Bryan Berrett; I’m not a very good pilot.

Bryan Berrett, My Son-in-Law, Controlling the Quadcopter

Bryan Berrett, My Son-in-Law, Controlling the Quadcopter

As we got ready to launch, a crowd (largely children) surrounded the quadcopter.  As the drone took off, the crowd scattered.  But they soon reassembled around Bryan.  The kids were able to watch the video footage in real-time on a smart phone attached to the drone’s controller.  Bryan gave several of the children a chance to maneuver  the quadcopter.

Drone Preparing for Launch

Drone Preparing for Launch

We were able to get good footage of not only the compound which served as our launching pad, but also of the surrounding forested terrain and of a nearby water-well drilling operation.

Aerial Image of the Outdoor Playground in the Compound

Aerial Image of the Outdoor Playground in the Compound Located South of Masaka

A day later we flew the drone over an orphanage school located north of Masaka.  Unfortunately school was out, but the flight still caused quite a bit of interest.


Orphanage/School Compound Located North of Masaka

Aerial Image of Orphanage/School Compound Located North of Masaka

A few days later, we flew the drone in Murcheson Falls National Park (wild game reserve).  We were able to get video footage of the waterfall, park habitat, and animals.

The Top of Murchison Falls from the Air

Murchison Falls as Seen from the Air

This entry was posted in Africa, drones, Environment, Playground, Technology, uganda and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Flying a Drone Over Uganda

  1. can a drone deliver medical supplies like drugs? say of less than 5kgs

    • rogerdhansen says:

      The drone I use carries a camera about the size of a GOPRO. But I’ml sure there are drones out there that can carry heavier payloads. Delivering drugs is certainly possible. Amazon is currently testing drones to make product deliveries.

      There are issues with making long-distance deliveries. For example, how to power the drone and how to handle communications? The drone I have can only fly for about 15 minutes and communication systems only works for a relatively short distance. I’m sure someone has worked out possible solutions to these issues. But solutions that have general application may be a few yours away.

  2. Brian says:

    How higher can that drone fly?

  3. ninnyscafe says:

    Hi there I am looking to possibly film aerials using a drone in Uganda. How did you go about bringing the drone into the country? it seems from my research that it is quite hard to get the battery’s into the country (Lithium polymer battery’s 22.2v) how did you go about doing this? any help will be appreciated.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      My drone fits in a backpack. The one time I took it to Uganda, there were no issues getting it in or out. So far there have been no issues with transporting lithium batteries.

      I’ve made about a dozen trips to Uganda and never been searched at the airport in Entebbe. But things are very fluid and things could change in the future.

  4. Inke says:

    Hi, just wondering whether you needed a permit to fly your drone in Uganda? Thinking about taking my drone but wondering if I would need to get a clearance before flying it. Thanks so much.

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