So we have our brand new drone. And I’m sure that we all followed the rules and if our new drones weigh more than .55 pounds, we registered it with the FAA, because, we are all now pilots!
And I am wondering how many new drone pilots have lost or broken their drones already? I’ve seen the posts, the ones where the drone flew too high or too far and they lost it. Or they’ve crashed hard into something, like a tree, power line or this thing called the Earth.
Before I bought my Hubsan X4" target="_blank">Hubsan X4 drone (pictured above), I did not want to fly it off into space or create a micro-crater. I want it to last, no matter how little I paid for it. I also researched the crap out of what would be the best beginner drone for myself before taking the leap.
After buying the drone, instead of jumping right into it, I dug around on the web and found a few YouTube videos that helped me attain my goal of drone non-destruction.
My first week I spent indoors.
First I learned to take off, hover and land. I would take off and hover around the room until I felt good about containing the “air ship” in the room.
Then I left the room, and moved around in a hallway, going out, then coming back (without turning around.)
Once I got going back and forth reasonably, I started getting to the end of the hallway and turned around, and flew back at myself.
When the drone faces you, that’s when all reasonable sanity leaves the room when you have to think backwards to manuever your new drone back towards yourself.
It’s crazy when your drone faces you and you need to maneuver around. Just bonkers crazy.
So getting a lot of practice before you head outdoors seems reasonable. Also while I was playing around indoors, I switched from beginners mode to “expert.” That way I knew what to expect when I moved outside and how I will be able to deal with the elements.
Once outside, there is an entirely new world to deal with… that world being made up of dogs, humans, trees and… wind!
By the time you go outside, you may have learned to try and be gentle with your controls. Try not to overreact and keep your direction changes as smooth and subtle as possible.
Also, by the time you are outside, you will realize you need to move to ‘expert’ mode because the trainer modes will probably not let you react or lean far enough into the wind to maintain position or your flight path. It’s almost funny to watch your drone take off, then no matter what you do, watch it fly away… from you.
Once outside, it feels slightly more liberating because you now have more room because you’re not crowded by walls and furniture. And maybe you’ve developed enough control to be able to flit around confidentally.
Once outside, not only will you be dealing with windage, but also much greater distances.
Distance is really important if you don’t have a FPV drone or a tiny drone like the Hubsan X4" target="_blank">Hubsan X4. Sure, my X4 has a 300-foot range, but once it gets over 100 feet away, I can’t tell which end is up or forward.
I know it sounds simple enough to go straight out then back, but as you get farther away and start to deal with cross-winds, you may not be oriented the way you need to be.
So keep that in mind if you want to avoid having your drone drifting over the freeway or train tracks.
When in doubt, LAND and walk over to it. Too many times I’ve tried testing which way the drone is facing, only to have it move farther away from me.
After a while, you’ll get the hang of it and you would have reduced the chance to lose your brand new bird/toy/quadcopter.
After a few weeks, this is one of my simpler test flights videos from my 2MP X4:
Below are the videos that I pulled up to help me on my way to keeping my quad in one piece and in my possession.
If you punch in “youtube learning to fly a drone” in your search, you’ll find plenty of other videos.