DJI Phantom 3. Hubsan X4. Blade Nano QX.
These aren't names of new characters in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
They are the most popular personal drone models available.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that hover in the air, guided by GPS to collect imagery. You can buy drones for personal use and customize them with various modifications, including a GoPro camera, a WiFi signal or apps.
According to DroneLife.com, the drone business has been booming since 2010. Drone manufacturer 3D Robotics estimates at least 500,000 drones were sold in the U.S. in 2014.
Drone take flight in Laurel Acres Park
The FAA estimates the drone industry will total over $90 million by 2020, as more hobbyists emerge and more companies receive permission to use them commercially.
Drone models are selling for as little as $30. However, many hobbyists spend upwards of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on modifications.
Drone hobbyists, like the members of the Oaklyn Rotor-E Drones Club, frequently meet to discuss the physics of flight, go over safety tips, share drone stories and — of course — fly their drones. The club formed in 2014 and has hosted several successful gatherings in New Jersey.
"The drone movement in the United States isn't just a hobby," says club President Lavon Phillips.
He says it has a significant impact on technology development and growing local economies. One of the ultimate goals of the Rotor-E Drones Club is to enhance community engagement with technology and facilitate connections among New Jersey residents.
"We started it just to have fun but also to introduce the community in large to this technology and help them fix things," Phillips said.
According to Phillips, one of the reasons drones are so appealing is because there are so many different shapes, styles and sizes.
This past Sunday, the club gathered at Laurel Acres Park in Mount Laurel to meet new friends and see new custom drones hover over the park.
"Generally, we fly anywhere we are allowed," Phillips said. "You need to have at least a 300 yard radius around where you fly. We prefer to fly in places that have no trees, wires or things like that."
The Federal Aviation Administration has strict rules when it comes to commercial and personal use of drones.
According to Dronelaw.net, the FAA says you can buy a model plane or helicopter with a camera attached and shoot video for personal use, but trying to sell the video or use it to promote a business is strictly prohibited.