What Is a Drone?
Basically a drone can be described as a flying robot and the term drone is widely used to describe unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They can fly autonomously with software controlled flight plans that work in conjunction with GPS or from a remote control device.
How To Fly a Drone?
You’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to fly a drone in the following sections. The professional pilots make flying a drone look like a breeze. However, the truth is that flying a drone for the first time can be quite a challenge! But don’t worry, because this guide will show you everything you need to know about how to fly a drone and the best part is that you’ll have complete control over your aircraft.
Understanding Basic Transmitter Anatomy
You first need to understand the basic functionalities of a drone’s transmitter if you’re going to learn how to fly a drone safely and precisely. The transmitter is the hand-held controller that you’ll use to pilot your and all transmitters come with two joysticks – a right and a left. You can send your drone in a specific direction by adjusting these sticks.
These are all the controls for flying a drone and how each control works:
- Roll controls the right and left movements of your drone by speeding up the rotors on one side and slowing them down on the other.
- Pitch controls the forward and backward movement of your drone the same way that roll does. When learning how to fly a drone this is something you have to master.
- Yaw controls the clockwise and counterclockwise rotation of your drone by speeding up all of the rotors spinning in on direction and slowing down all of the rotors spinning in the opposite direction. Understanding yaw is easy on paper. However, it becomes much trickier to understand when you’re actually flying!
- Throttle varies the overall speed of the rotors and controls the up and down axis. In order to achieve your desired hovering position it is important that you become comfortable with fine tuning your drone’s throttle. Pushing the left joystick forward causes the drone to lift higher off the ground by bringing more power to the propellers. Likewise, bringing the left joystick to its original resting position will cause your drone to stop flying by cutting off all power to the propellers.
How to Take Off with Your Drone
The takeoff is one of the first things you need to master when learning how to fly a drone. Here are a couple of simple steps that you can follow to perform when learning how to take off a drone:
- Locate the Throttle: You’ll only be using the throttle (or left joystick) for this exercise.
- Place Your Drone Down on a Flat Surface: You should place your drone on an even surface about 1.5 meters in front of you and make sure you have plenty of space available. Also, weather conditions should be suitable for flight if you’re flying outside.
- Bind Your Transmitter to Your Drone: Almost all drones require that you “bind” your transmitter to them prior to takeoff and this is typically done by powering on your drone and transmitter, followed by moving the left joystick up then down.
- Push The Throttle Stick Up Slowly: It is recommended to start at the 10% throttle and work your way up slowly and repeat this a couple of times until you’ve become comfortable with the throttle sensitivity for your drone. The aim is to get your drone a few inches off the ground, and then go back down.
How to Hover with Your Drone
You should perform the following exercise to learn how to fly a drone, a hover it successfully:
- Use The Right Joystick to Make Fine Adjustments – The point of the right joystick is to make fine adjustments to keep your drone where it currently is so don’t maneuver it away from its hovering spot.
- Get Airborne by Using The Throttle – You should try to get at least 60 centimetres off the ground and look down at your transmitter’s LCD display once there and take note of your current throttle position.
- Cut the Throttle Slowly to Land – Slowly lower the left joystick (throttle) when you’re ready to land until you’re back on the ground.
How to Fly Right/Left and Forwards/Backwards
It’s time to graduate to a more complicated step once you’ve become comfortable with taking off and hovering – maneuvering your drone in a specific direction. You’re going to use the right joystick to control all left, right, forward, and backward movements when learning how to fly a drone. You can follow these simple steps to help you learn how to fly a drone in the direction of your choosing:
Bring Your Drone to a Steady Hover – You should maintain an eye-level hover about 1.5 meters in front of you.
Fly Forwards – You should gently push forward on the right joystick and the drone should automatically start to fly in a forward direction. The aim is to maintain a steady throttle position while you maneuver your drone in a specific direction so it is very important that you keep an eye on the throttle. You can let go out of the right joystick after flying forwards for a couple of meters.
Fly Backwards – You should gently push backward on the right joystick and the drone should automatically begin to fly towards you. After flying backwards for a couple of meters, let go out of the joystick.
Fly Side-to-Side – You should move the left joystick right to fly left, and move it to the right to fly right.
When Your Drone Is Facing You
When you’re learning how to fly a drone and it’s facing you things can get a little tricky because all of the controls will be reversed:
- Direct your drone to fly backwards by pushing the right joystick in a forward direction.
- Direct your drone to rotate in a counterclockwise direction by pushing the left joystick to the right.
- Direct your drone to fly to the right by pushing the right joystick to the left.
There are 3 main stabilization modes for a drone:
- Rate (aka hard or Acro)
- Attitude (aka self-level or Auto-level)
- GPS-hold (aka Loiter)
Before You Fly
If you want to have the best experience while still flying safe these are the things you should do when learning to fly a drone:
- Reduce the chances of flying in wind by flying in the morning
- Go to a large grass field or park
- Stay away from buildings, people and animals
- Don’t fly your drone with distractions
- Don’t go too far past your limits and take it slow
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Drone?
Buying a drone is a decision which requires more than just choosing the aircraft that best fits your needs. There are many things you should take into account when buying a drone for the first time. You will be sure to buy a drone which you won’t regret if you cover all these factors. It is very important to be aware of this information with so many new drones being constantly released into the market.
You must consider the 6 following factors before buying a drone:
Some drones come with their own camera. On the other hand, some drones need a camera such as a GoPro or another action camera attached to them. It is recommended to buy a drone that comes with its own built-in camera because built-in cameras are often more functional and are also lighter than most other cameras.
A few other considerations are:
- The video resolution
- The camera distance
- Is the camera angle controlled?
You will need a camera that is more suited to your needs if you plan on capturing video or images when flying your drone.
- The quality of the material
If you are purchasing a drone of course you will want it to be durable so the quality of the material is one of the first things you must pay attention to. Low-cost drones’ material ranges from ordinary plastic to strong ABS plastic. On the other hand, higher-cost drones are made of fibre glass and carbon. If you are looking for a low-cost drone you should go for ABS plastic. In case of higher-budget drones you should avoid aluminium and look for fibre glass and carbon fibre.
However, quality also relies on its shape and not just the material built. This is an advice particularly aimed to Toy grade drones. Landing gear and propellers often tend to break or bend after a couple flights. That’s why you should look for a toy drone that has these parts mounted in a reliable safe angle.
- Controllable Range
The range that you can control the drone is very important and many drones only work with a remote distance of 30 meters.
Knowing the range may not seem vital for casual users. On the other hand, you will need to know the range at which you can control your drone if you want to take aerial footage.
Typically, the more expensive drones will have a further controllable range.
- Battery Life
One of the most important factors to consider before buying a drone is definitely battery life. The average flight time of a low-cost drone is between 6 to 9 minutes. On the other hand, high-cost drones’ flight time is between 15 and 25 minutes. However, batteries may not endure all the flights you wish to constantly perform and flight time might not be enough for what you intend to do. That’s why it is recommended to all enthusiasts to have some spare batteries to change between flights. Replacement batteries are essential whether for a battery that is no longer holding a charge or for a spare that can be used when a battery has died.
If you want to prevent the motors from hover-heating you should let your drone rest for about 10 minutes before plugging in another battery.
The high-end drones are now being offered with GPS capability. This feature allows the drone to adjust for wind and even call the drone back to its base. Typically, drone designs are most utilized because when flying they allow for refined balance and control.
Dimensions and weight are also important factors to consider when buying a drone. The heavier a drone, the more power it will need to fly and heavier drones also normally do better when gusts of wind are present.
- Replacement Parts
Your drone won’t last forever if you don’t care of it. You should do an online search to see how easy it is to find replacement parts before you decide what drone best fits your needs.
Some drones will not allow for an easy replacement. This means that if anything breaks they are virtually useless.
Instead, it is recommended that you purchase adequate replacement parts that are easily installed. The most common replacement parts are gears, propellers and batteries. It is also recommended to consider what type of maintenance will be needed. For example, if you want to keep your drone in tiptop shape oiling the blades may be a necessity.