The History of Drones – Timeline from the first made drone to today

If you click a link on this page and make a purchase we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Drones have helped people to take to the air in new, profound way and they have revolutionised flight. Modern drones come with outstanding capabilities and the flight is the least of these. These amazing devices enable augmented reality game playing and allow us to capture amazing aerial images.

Drones are able to reach inaccessible places which are too costly or dangerous to be accessed by humans, enabling them to do much more than thought possible.

It’s really fascinating to see how drones have developed over the years.

What Is a Drone/Quadcopter?

Drones belong to a class of aerial vehicles known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). These devices can take to the air without human pilots. This feature makes drones flying robots. Encompassing both quadcopters and planes, drones have software-controlled flight plans integrated into their systems. These systems work with GPS to guide and track their movements.

The quadcopter is a newer Unmanned Aerial vehicle. As its name implies, quadcopters depend on four fast-turning rotors to give it thrust. Two rotors spin clockwise and two rotors spin counter-clockwise. To help the process, quadcopters are equipped with two sets of identical, fixed pitch propellers. Flyers achieve control of the quadcopter by changing the speed of its rotor discs using remote control transmitters.

Quick knowledge flash

Q: Who made the first drone?

A: During World War 2, US military member Reginald Denny made the first remote-controlled aircraft under the name Radioplane OQ-2. This is marked as the first massed produced UAV product in the U.S and world.

Q: Why are drones called drones?

A: This term – “drone” was first used in Old English to define a male bee whose only job is to mate with the queen bee. Since this type of bee is considered idle bee, not a working bee, drones have also been identified as idlers, hovering around and waiting to mate.

Q: When did drones become popular?

A: Military drones are in use since WWII as very efficient means of enemy removal. Commercial drones have been around less than 15 years and enjoyed real expansion since 2006 when the industry leader DJI was formed in China.

Who invented the first drone? And why?

Quadcopters and drones have a very interesting history. They have developed in astonishing ways with the help of advanced computer engineering and technology.

Drones were initially used only by armed forces. The Austrian army first developed these vehicles for war purposes. The Austrians attacked Venice in 1849 with unmanned air balloons filled with explosive. Some of these balloons worked, while the wind blew others back into Austrian territory, so these balloons showed potential.

Unmanned pilots appeared after WW1. Elmer Sperry of the Sperry Gyroscope Company developed the Hewitt Sperry Automated Airplane. It was the early version of today’s aerial torpedoes.

The US army turned Standard E-1 planes into drones. Larynx was one of these planes. It was a small monoplane, and after being launched from a warship it could fly on autopilot. The US and British army soon developed many other automated aircrafts.

The first mass-produced aircraft was the concept of Reginald Denny, a famous Hollywood actor. He pursued his interest in remote-controlled drones and set up Reginald Denny Company. This company produced the radio plane, which he improved for the US army in WW2.

The American military experimented with these drones and constructed a variety of aerial torpedoes. The US army used these aircrafts as target drones during the Cold War. These drones were also capable of collecting radio-active data.

The First Quadcopters

Quadcopters were among the first VTOLs (Vertical take-off and landing) aircrafts. Earlier helicopters used tail rotors to counterbalance the torque generated by a single, main rotor. This was ineffective and wasteful.

To solve the problems that helicopter pilots had with performing vertical flights, engineers developed quadcopters. The first quadcopter was the Omnichen 2. It was invented by Etienne Omnichen in 1920. This aircraft flew a recorded distance of 360 meters and made over 1000 successful flights.

The Convertawings Model A quadcopter appeared in 1956. This quadcopter was designed by Dr. George E. Bothezat. The Convertawings Model A quadcopter was first to use propulsion to control an aircraft’s yaw, pitch and roll. In 1958 the Curtis Wright Company developed the Curtis Wright V27.

Current Developments in The Drone Industry

Technology has advanced quads and drones dramatically. In the past ten years, companies such as Heli-Max, Blade, Walker, Parrot and DJI have produced micro and nano drones which use up-to-date computer technology for aerial photography and flight control.

Drones and Quadcopters Top Features

Remote-controllers drones and quadcopters have qualities that make them popular among enthusiasts and they gain new qualities almost every day.

Quadcopters have the characteristics of co-axial and pitched helicopters. Pitched helicopters are wind resistant and agile and co-axial helicopters are more stable because they depend on two layers of rotors. Quadcopters are a comfortable combination of both. Three-axis gyro technology stabilises many of the latest quadcopters. Quadcopters are agile, but steady and they are perfect devices for aerial photography. They carry aerial gimbals and cameras to make this possible.

Centre of Gravity

The quadcopters rely on a strong centre of gravity. Their CG (centre of gravity) is in the middle of its four rotors and keep them balanced. Putting loads on the quadcopters may affect their centre of gravity and stability. However, flyers can counteract this by adjusting the quad’s load.

Drones ad Quadcopters Have Different Aerodynamics from an Airplane

Quadcopters and drones use different aerodynamics from an airplane for flight. Quadcopters have four rotors, two rotating clockwise and two rotate counter-clockwise and they negate any torque or force on the fuselage. They stabilize function and movement.

Vice versa, a typical helicopter’s single rotor that rotates clockwise forces the fuselage to move counter-clockwise. The resulting torque makes pressure on it and makes it weak.

Remote-Controlled Transmitters

Flyers use joysticks on remote-controlled transmitters to control the drones and quadcopters. A receiver on the drone processes the flyer’s commands. The flyer’s signals combine with output from the drone’s altitude sensors. After that, the flight controller signals the ESCs (Electronic Speed Controllers), which in turn move the drone’s motors.

Simple and Beautiful Design

Quadcopters and drones have simple but beautiful design and this quality wins over many flyers.

Quadcopter and Drone Applications and Uses

Quadcopters and drones are not only a flyer’s flying toy. They also have other beneficial applications and uses. Companies are constantly looking for methods to harness their capabilities.

Ways to Use Drones and Quadcopters

History of drones in Community, Law Enforcement and Military Agencies

Law enforcement agencies use drones in search and rescue operations because they can reach inaccessible areas for disaster survivors. Law enforcement agencies also use drones to uncover criminal activity.

Military scientists in different countries invented drones for reconnaissance and combat purposes. They still serve these functions.

Augmented Reality Games

Pilots can play augmented reality games with their drones. Augmented reality games give them a perspective of the real worlds, with a couple of exciting enhancements. The real-world simulation makes the games attractive for teenagers and older kids.


Researchers at universities, who work in different fields, use the drones as a research tool. They collect information needed for work on real-time systems, flight control and robotics.

Drones and quadcopters make suitable test platforms, because they are relatively small and inexpensive. Anyone can fly them and this is the reason why they are considered to be suitable tools for researchers.

Apart from this, drones and quads can survive harsh environments. They can reach inaccessible and dangerous places on behalf of researchers. This helps solve many problems with logistics and cost.

Aerial Photography and Commercial Use

Enthusiasts and beginner flyers adore drones as their amazing aerial stunts make great conversation topics.

Today, many people use drones to capture aerial videos and photos. Built-in three-axis gyro technology stabilises many of the newest drones, allowing them to take these photos without a shaky, „jello“ effect.

Professional flyers regard GoPro camera as the best ones to use with drones. Flyers of DJI, Blade and Walkera drones can make use of their GoPro cameras, the GoPro app and GoPro channel on their smartphones. These cameras can simply be attached to the drones for filming. Flyers can take more amazing photos by loading drones with GoPro cameras.

The Future Evolution of Drones and Quadcopters

Quadcopters and drones already have extensive uses. However, companies have already found ways to stretch their potential.


Environmental protection agencies and governments can tap into the aerial imaging capabilities of drones for environmental conversation. Conversation drones can fly over landscapes and take photos on the ground without creating disturbance. They can capture images of wildlife in remote places and provide information which tells environmental protection agencies if wildlife is under threat. These drones can drastically reduce conversation costs.

Delivering Medicine and Food

Quadcopters and drones are able to reach places that people cannot. In future, community agencies may use these vehicles to deliver medicine and food to inaccessible places. Andreas Raptopoulous, a researcher at Matternet introduced a system of flying vehicles and landing stations, controlled by routing software. He called this system Matternet. He explained how the drone can transport around 2kg of medicines to inaccessible places in around 15 minutes.

Quadcopters and drones can navigate into ground stations, in secure places, to deliver medicine and food. The routing software guides the vehicles through adverse weather. This can help people in inaccessible places to recover and progress.

Solving Motion Issues

People with disabilities and athletes often encounter issues with movement. Drones may help alleviate their problems.

Raffaelo D’Andrea, a researcher at Ted Global, demonstrated how drones can do difficult, physical tasks human beings cannot. In a demonstration, he balanced w glass full of water on top of a drone. The drone flew without spilling water out of the glass. The high speed of the drone nullified the aerodynamic effects and gravitational pull on the water. Also, the drone’s propellers are pointed upwards, in the same direction as the glass and this was helpful too.

Such discoveries help athletes to develop better posture and greater speed to overcome issues with aerodynamics and gravity.


Quadcopters and drones, with extensive capabilities and history, are the vehicles of the future. In time to come, people will find it almost impossible to imagine life without them.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart