Drone Daze: The Beginner's Guide to Flying a Drone
Flying a drone sounds like a real blast and it most often is.
You have an opportunity to capture stunning aerial photos and dominate the skies above. These small daredevils are amazing for sport, hobby, and commercial uses. There’s only one problem— achieving flight proficiency isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Many people struggle to properly pilot the drone at the beginning. Yes, you may get airborne, but where do you go from there? Well, poor handling can result in damage to your precious drone or injure unsuspecting passersby.
To avoid this trouble, you have to do your homework first and consult a pre-flight checklist. Then, you can embark on the adventure following a cautious, step-by-step approach.
We’ve compiled a guide on how to get started in the world untethered by gravity.
Drones are remote-controlled, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that come in many shapes and sizes.
The main parts most models contain are:
- The frame
- Electronic Speed Controls (ESCs)
- Flight Control Board
- Radio Transmitter and Receiver
- Battery and Charger
You should have a general idea of what each one of these does. This knowledge should help you spot any irregularities and abnormalities before the flight.
For example, the frame is the mainstay of structural integrity. It basically holds all other components together. The motor powers the propellers, while the ESCs connect the motor and the battery.
The flight control board is a base of operations that oversees gyroscopes and accelerometers. The battery is a power source for the whole vehicle and charger gives you multiple-flight capability. You get the point.
Of course, not all drones have the same components and configuration. Most consumer products are multirotor aerial vehicles. Quadcopter, which is one of the most popular multirotor models, has four propellers.
But, there are other types of drones, such as fixed-wing drones, fixed-wing hybrids, and single rotor helicopters. Your first task is to identify what category your drone falls into.
Figuring out the Controls
The next order of business is grasping the basic controls on the remote.
This handheld device enables you to maneuver the drone and adjust its settings. It essentially gives signals to the vehicle to tell it what to do next. The sensitivity of these controls depends on the model and how hard you push the sticks.
Usually, the left stick manages throttle and yaw. The right stick puts you in charge of pitch and roll. This is to say that there are four main controls:
Roll command maneuvers the drone left or right. Pitch causes tilting and allows for forward and backward movement. Yaw control rotates the vehicle clockwise and counterclockwise, changing the direction of flight.
Lastly, throttle alters the altitude of the drone. It’s what gives propellers power to lift the drone to the air.
Apart from these main controls, you may notice some trim buttons on the remote. What they do is adjust the aforementioned controls. You want to do that when your drone is off balance.
To set the stage for your aerial endeavors, rely on our pre-flight checklist.
Firstly, check the weather report with the emphasis on:
- Chance of precipitation (percent)
- Wind Speed (mph)
- Visibility (SM)
- Cloud base (feet)
If the conditions are unfavorable, it’s wise to call off the mission. Let’s say wind speed is more than 20 mph and visibility reduced to less than three statute miles (SM). Pros could still fly without trouble, but beginners better not risk.
Next off, you need to inspect the whole area. We would recommend making your first steps in a big open location, certainly not enclosed spaces. This strategic decision minimizes the likelihood of impacts and crashes.
A park or a field should do the trick.
Just check whether there are any obstacles in the form of tall trees, buildings, wires, towers, etc. Confirm there are no pedestrians and animals that could get in the way of a drone. You don’t want to hurt anyone with that small flying lawnmower.
Once the inspection is over, you can designate a suitable take-off spot, as well as emergency landing and hover zones.
From Theory to Practice
To successfully take off, use a throttle stick and fly the drone to the eye level.
Yaw, roll, and pitch a bit to do some control response testing. Rotate your drone around and hover for 10-15 seconds. If everything seems fine, proceed with the mission.
One typically combines yaw and throttle to sustain continuous flight. In general, you constantly have to use the throttle to remain airborne. You disengage completely only when you’re close to the ground.
Once a stable trajectory is accomplished, it’s possible to make various patterns and circular movements. You want to start with gentle pushes and see how the vehicle responds. Then, start mastering individual controls but also to understand how they come together.
Make sure you have a line of sight at all times. In case you mounted a UAV camera, you can also observe everything through a first-person view. Some products come with a camera, while others allow users to attach them later.
If you want to go in that direction, check out DrDrone accessories and aerial photography systems. You could wow people on social media and even earn some money while at it.
The sky is the limit in terms of possibilities!
Flying a Drone Done Right
Flying a drone is both fun and challenging.
To maximize the first aspect, familiarize yourself with the model of drone you have. Get to know the remote controller so that operating it becomes your second nature.
Become accustomed to basic flying techniques and control sensitivity. Observe how the vehicle behaves in the air and stay aware of your surroundings. Do slight adjustments before trying out anything more ambitious.
At the same time, take safety precautions to protect yourself, your property, and the others. You want to be a responsible and smooth operator. In due time, you will hone your skills through practice and start doing mighty impressive maneuvers.
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