So, you decided to become a drone pilot.
Congratulations. Now what?
Now you need to get a plan of action and outline what’s next.
Before jumping into a new hobby, you should figure out some of the Do’s and Don’ts of drone flying. Getting your ducks in a row will help you save time and piles of money.
1. Choose the Right Drone
Research, research, research! Do your homework.
Don’t buy the first quadcopter you find. You will most likely regret it.
The market is flooded with drones of every size and color. Zooming around the neighborhood at top speed and recording movie quality footage sounds enticing, but leave that to the experts. Beginners need to take baby steps. Choose the right drone that will acclimate you to the world of quadcopters. So start slowly.
Frustration will set in quickly if the drone you choose is too complicated. Choose a smaller quadcopter as your first drone. Smaller, at this point, is better. A smaller aircraft is less expensive. It’s lightweight and could survive a crash with less damage than a heavier one could.
Each aircraft will have its own specs and capabilities.
Beginners should focus on answering these questions:
- What’s the altitude limit? (Just how high do I really need to go?)
- Is this drone meant for indoor or outdoor flying?
- How expensive are replacement parts for this particular quad?
- Does it have a return-to-home feature?
- Can I fly it at night? Or just daytime?
- Do I really need a camera? Or a GPS? (as a beginner, probably not)
2. Set a Budget
Quadcopters vary drastically in price so choose carefully. Set a budget, and stick with it. At this stage, you really only need an aircraft that has basic flight capabilities. All the perks and extras can be added later.
Shop around at different sites and compare prices. Try not to get swept up in the “I gotta have it now!” moment. Figure out what you can afford and stay in that price range.
3. Read the Drone’s Instructions
No, this is never fun. But it is necessary.
Instructions are included in the package for a reason. Some drones require a bit of assembly. Read the instructions and make sure that you put it together correctly. If not, you have a higher chance of a malfunction that could cost you. Burning out a motor, damaging the internal computer, or incurring a fatal crash landing could bring your drone flying to an abrupt halt.
Instructions open the door to understanding your drone.
The instructions provide a wealth of information at your fingertips if you take the time to simply read them.
Plus it never hurts to watch a few tutorials to cover whatever the instructions may leave out.
Like this one……..
4. Become Familiar with the Remote Control
The remote control for the quadcopter may not be as easy to operate as it first appears.
Get a good understanding of how the transmitter works before flying. Find out how to take off and land before trying to do mid-air flips. Figure out what button combinations are used for flipping, turning, and going straight.
Understand what each of the buttons and joysticks do and how to use them. Try to get a feel for them in your hands before even powering up the drone.
Watch the next video to master the remote control……..
5. Indicator Lights are Important
Pay close attention to the instructions that deal with the indictor lights on your drone. Those little different colored lights are pretty, but they actually serve a purpose. Know what each one means and the function they serve. Blinking lights have a totally different meaning than an unblinking one.
Indicator lights help to orientate the pilot so you know which way is forward. For example, your drone may blue lights on the front and red lights on the back. If the blue lights are facing away from you, you know that you have to turn the drone around to have it fly back to you.
These lights may be tiny on some drones, but they are oh-so-useful for night flights. No streetlights or flashlights necessary for an evening mission. Power up and the lights come on. Your incognito night op has begun.
6. Check the Battery
The most important light on any drone is probably the battery. Find where it’s located and what it does when the battery is low – does it blink? Does it have a blinking rhythm? Or is it a steady light?
Some drones give very little warning when the battery gets low. Once the power is gone, they simply shut off and drop out of the sky like a rock. Avoid smashing your quad to pieces by always checking the battery level.
Always start your flight with a full battery. Beginner quadcopters usually have a rather short battery life that allows for a flight of about five to ten minutes. That’s with a full battery.
7. Learn to Fly Before You Crash
Rushing into flying the quadcopter before knowing how to fly it is a guaranteed crash waiting to happen. Assemble the aircraft, read the description of each part and the function it plays in the flight aspect, and become familiar with each part of it before you toss it in the air.
So you’ve assembled the drone, read the instructions, and bonded with your new best toy. It’s now time to actually fly it. Find a large, open, empty space. Activate the flight mode, and slowly take off.
The first thing you want to completely master is taking off and landing. Go slowly. Practice taking off and landing several times before flying. A smooth landing is the perfect ending to a great flight.
Another major skill a beginner should master is how to hover. The instruction manual will cover this so make sure you read how to do it. Different quadcopters have different sets of controls for hovering.
8. Don’t Focus on the Extras
Quadcopters are loads of fun to fly and have some amazing capabilities. Some can fly as high as 900 feet in altitude. Some come with dual remote controls so you and a buddy can fly the drone and operate the camera at the same time. Others can do a range of aerodynamic flips and turns that would make the Air Force take notice.
But as a beginner pilot, do you really need all of these flips and switches? Not really. Learn the basic rules of flying first. Get comfortable with your quadcopter before sending it out on a special ops mission. Create that stable foundation of understanding the chief principles of quadcopters, flying, and capabilities. Then build upon that foundation as you evolve to the next level.
9. Be Wary of the Wind
A rogue gust of wind has been the culprit of more than one drone being snatched out of the sky and lost forever. The bigger the aircraft, the more space needed for flying. It only makes sense to fly it outdoors. The wind factor plays a huge role in when and where to fly.
As a beginner, realize that the wind is your enemy. It can come out of nowhere and quickly kidnap your quad. Take your first few flights in an area that has little or no wind. This way you can focus on learning how to fly without the added intrusion of wind.
As you progress, you can use the wind to your advantage. It can increase your flight speed and help you gain altitude. The wind will eventually become your friend, but until then try to avoid it.
Here’s a video of what can happen………..although some of these crashes are just plain bad flying
10. Find Your Drone Zones
Rules apply to everything – even drone flying. There are usually designated areas used solely for drones. They are wide open spaces that are specifically open to drones. These areas have no obstacles such as trees, telephone poles, or small children playing in sand boxes that you may accidentally crash into.
Some drones have cameras that can take still photos and video footage. Recording your neighbors can be illegal in some states because it’s considered an invasion of privacy. You could be issued a fine, or even have charges brought against you for flying in an undesignated area.
Be aware of your local drone zone laws. It’s your responsibility as a pilot to be aware of the laws and regulations pertaining to your drone and where you fly it.
Resource : View the No Fly Zones in the US – View Map
So in conclusion…..
You picked a great way to occupy your time and fill it with an interactive titillating hobby. Take your time and enjoy the thrill of piloting your very own drone. Don’t rush anything. You’ll have plenty of time to advance to the next level when you perfect being a beginner.