How to Fly a Drone

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Everyone had that one friend in class or neighborhood whom he envied because he had a helicopter toy (that he probably crashed beyond repair). The rest of us only dreamed of getting a chance to play with it someday. Some kids had parents who liked to build small plane models and they were satisfied with that. But those times have passed and a lot of things have become widely accessible, including technology. Even if you can’t afford the fancy things on the market, you can follow an easy step-by-step course on YouTube to build your own unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – the so-called drone. And suddenly, everybody wants to have one.

But what happens when you get your drone is that you realize that controlling it is not as easy as you imagined. It’s not a toy and real life flying conditions are not mimicked very well in the video games you’ve played. There’s a high chance that you might crash and destroy your drone just 10 minutes after you unpacked it.This can also be very dangerous for people around you, or you might damage someone else’s property, so you should take this very seriously. For example, there are many places which are marked as a no-fly zone for drones, and in some countries, you need to have a UAV Pilot License if you want to fly commercially or in some restricted areas. So, here’s all you need to know in order to fly your drone!

There are Great Schools and Courses Which You Can Apply for

For some of the drones, like fixed-wing and single-rotor UAVs, there’s no better way to properly learn how to control them than taking a course or getting a degree on some university or college, especially if you want to make a living out of it in some of the well-developed countries. These types of drones are made in the form of planes and helicopters, which are also hard to control – especially helicopters! That’s why people prefer buying a multi-rotor drone (most commonly a quadcopter) – controlling it can be self-taught.

Drone Flight Simulators

The drone flight simulators are just the best thing ever! You can practice executing any part of the flight on any kind of drone, and not just that! There are also modes for upgrading your skills in recording videos or taking pictures with the camera attached to your drone. If you need to buy a fixed-wing or a single-rotor UAV and no flying courses are available to you, there are some great programs that will help you learn enough to start flying safely. If you’re looking for a serious program to buy and you’re not interested in free or trial versions, don’t forget to check if you can install the simulator you like on your operating system.

Getting Started

Choose a place where you’ll be flying your drone wisely. You have to have enough room and proper terrain for takeoff and landing. Also, always check if it’s allowed to fly in the area you’ve chosen. When you get there, don’t rush into getting your drone in the air because it might get back down sooner than you’ve planned – always double check if everything’s attached properly and if there are any loose parts and missing screws. Also, be sure that you’ve read the instruction manual carefully and that you know everything about your controller and the integrated programs – like when you can turn the autopilot on, or if your drone has an emergency landing mode.

Takeoff and Landing

 If you have a multi-rotor drone, takeoff will be relatively easy. You just need to use the throttle stick on your controller to slowly increase the power supplied to the engine. The rotors will turn faster and faster and at some point, there will be enough lift to get your drone of the ground. But do this very slowly and carefully because you’ll need to balance your UAV by using the trim buttons for every movement – follow these instructions and you’ll get it into the hovering state. During this flight phase, you should practice hovering (while you’re close to the ground). One of the greatest advantages of multi-rotor drones is their ability to hover, so it’s very important for you to learn how to do this. For example, you won’t be able to land until you’ve set your drone to a hovering state. When you achieve this, you need to reduce the power flow to the engine (by using the throttle stick). When the drone is very close to the ground, just close the throttle completely and you’ve landed!

As for the fixed-wing drones, you can launch some of them by throwing them with your hand, and this is also something that you need to practice beforehand. But most of these drones need a launcher designed for that’s specific model and you just need to learn how to use it. Also, if your fixed-wing drone takes off like a real airplane does, by speeding up on a runway and getting the lift by adjusting the angle of the wings – you’ll need some kind of a runway, as well as a lot of practice before you try it for real. These drones also have their difficulties when it comes to landing. Some of them can land on their belly, but it’s usually not that simple. You’ll need a lot of practice to execute each of these maneuvers.

Helicopter drones are not very easy to lunch or land, and it’s not easy to describe anything either. Our recommendation is to use a simulator or a good training program. With helicopters, you need the most experience because they are the hardest to control.

Navigation during Flight

 During the actual flight, the easiest way to navigate your multi-rotor drone is to keep it facing forwards (so you and your drone are looking in the same direction). You can set the direction which your drone is facing by using the left stick (the rudder or jaw stick). This will give you more intuition and, at first, you should only fly it like this. To move it forwards or backwards, as well as left and right, just move the right joystick in these directions. When you move your quadcopter in any direction from the hovering position, it will drop a little. To prevent this, push the throttle stick just a bit and the rotors will generate more lift. We won’t discuss fixed-wing and single-rotor drones, simply because it takes a lot of practice and experience to navigate them properly, as explained above.

Using the Autopilot

 Drone technology has gone far and beyond most of us are capable of understanding. You may not be aware of the fact that the autopilot on your drone is constantly stabilizing it, enabling you to enjoy your flight so much more! But some of the coolest drones on the market have awesome integrated programs that will relieve you in many situations. For example, you can check if your drone has the option to maintain the height that it’s at. This is very useful for photographers – they can set the drone to hover and just turn on this altitude maintaining mode and take as many pictures as they like. Also, you can buy a quadcopter with a GPS system and the ability to memorize the location from which it took off, and to come back to you on its own if you lose it or in case something similar happens. Some of the newest autopilots enable drones to fly completely autonomously.Basically, this means that you can set the points that your drone has to fly to, and sit back and relax: it will take off, execute its commands, and come back and land safely.

In Conclusion

Have patience and take that extra time to properly learn to control your drone, and you’ll be the first to benefit from that effort – your drone will buzz around happily for a very long time! Drones have become extremely popular surprisingly fast, so there wasn’t enough time to warn and inform the public of the precautions that need to be taken and the dangers of flying them without experience, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to be irresponsible. Especially if you spent a lot of money to buy a drone, don’t be sorry to spend some more on a nice training program or a great simulator.