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How to Fly A Drone: Everything That You Need To Know About!

Fly a drone
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Flying a drone has become one of the most sought after hobbies off later. More and more people are taking to drones and experimenting with their flying skills. It is no more just about enthusiasts who are finding their interest in how to fly a drone.

Professional photographers are also showing interest in drones to have a new and different perspective of aerial photography. Whether it is a small tricopter for indoor use, or a quadcopter for stable flights or even the more powerful hexacopters and octacopters, drones have indeed become famous and quite popular. These remote controlled devices give you the real pilot experience with all the exciting controls and features.

Flying a drone

Even though this is an exciting prospect for a hobby, flying a drone might not be the easiest activity up front. This will require some sort of practice to get your hands skilled and used to controlling an aerial object from the ground. So here, we are going to tell you the tricks for flying a drone.

Understanding the transmitter

The first step towards learning the art of flying a drone is getting the hang of a transmitter. The functions and controls of the transmitter are essential for achieving a good flight. This is the hand held device that will help you control the aircraft in the air. Almost all transmitters have a predefined structure and this includes a set of two joysticks.

Transmitter

These are the controls for the drone and when you adjust these joysticks, you are able to change the direction of the drone in motion. Let us now look at what the two sticks indicate and work for.

The right stick is that part of the transmitter that lets you control the drone’s movement and direction. It controls the ‘roll’ and ‘pitch’. So these controls include the forward and backward movement, left and right movements. The latter is controlled by the roll of the stick.

When you try to roll the drone towards the left or the right, you are basically adjusting the propellers to change the direction of the device. On the other hand, the ‘pitch’ of the drone is responsible for controlling the movements forward and backward. Mastering the control of the pitch is one of the first few steps towards learning to fly a drone.

The other important part of the transmitter is the left stick. This is responsible for controlling the ‘yaw’ and ‘throttle’ of the RC drone. While the right stick aims to bring about motion or movement in the drone, the left stick is working towards maintaining the height of the device or even rotating the drone, maybe for capturing better aerial footage.

Drone transmitter

Let us first look closed into the ‘yaw’. This control works towards giving your RC device a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. These controls are a lot simpler. When you move the joystick to the right, the drone is made to move in a clockwise direction. On the other hand, a leftward movement of the joystick guarantees a counterclockwise direction for the drone. Some drones claim to have a higher thaw rate. This basically means, moving in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction is faster in these devices.

Next up is the throttle. This feature works towards taking the drone to a height desired by you. On adjusting the throttle, the propellers start spinning at very high speeds and this causes a downward pressure on the air leading to an increasing height. Since the throttle and yaw are controlled by the same joystick, it becomes difficult to manage both the functions simultaneously for the beginner. This is when you need to give some time to allow your hands to get set.

Taking off

Once we have understood the intricate working of the drone transmitter and how to make the basic changes in the course of the drone’s flight, the next point is about taking off. Once you are able to get your drone off the ground, you will be able to perform all the functions and the likes.

Taking off

Till that time you will have to master the art of having the perfect takeoff. Here are some points you could focus on while you get ready to take your drone off for the first spin.

  • Working with the throttle. As explained in the previous section, the throttle is the part of the transmitter that will give the drone the necessary power to go off the ground and take its flight in air. This is the left joystick on the transmitter. It is advisable that you practice operating the throttle before you go out to fly the drone.
  • Set up the drone on a suitable surface. The next important task at hand is setting the drone. It is essential to set it up on a flat surface as this will hugely aid in takeoffs. Ideally, you should place it around 5 feet from you and there should be sufficient space around the copter so that it doesn’t hit anything while taking off. Also, it is best that you don’t take the drone out for a spin on days with bad weather conditions including rainy and stormy environments. There are chances that you might lose control of the copter.
  • Binding the transmitter to the drone. One important lesson to be learnt before you first fly the drone is to bind the transmitter to the drone. How is this done? This is done by switching on the transmitter and the drone and then moving the left joystick up and down till it seems alright to fly.
  • Pushing the throttle. It is necessary to be comfortable with the throttle to fly the drone. For this purpose, try to get the drone a few inches off the ground and then come back down again. You could repeat this a few times to get yourself accustomed to changing the height and using the throttle function.

Hovering with your drone

Hovering basically means holding the drone at a particular position at a particular height. It might not be the easiest jobs at first, but you can reach perfection with some practice.

Let us see how one could go about it.

  • Get airborne. The first step towards making the drone hover in midair is to get it airborne. It would be a good start if you could take it around 24 inches off the ground and then take a note of the drone’s position.
  • Make adjustments. The main idea here is to hold the drone in its position. So, the best thing here is to make some minor adjustments with the right joystick to mark its position. However, don’t take the drone too far away from its spot. For starters, you could try holding it in hover mode for about 10 seconds for practice.
  • Land. After a few seconds of hovering, you could bring back the drone to the ground level to land. For being a good pilot, it is essential to know how to get the landing right. This should always be done slowly to avoid putting huge impacts on the drone.

This exercise can be repeated a few times in order to get a good idea and experience for managing you drone in midair.

Moving the drone around

Once you know how to takeoff and how to hover at the same position in midair, it is now time to look ahead and learn how to maneuver the drone around. This would include taking the drone forward, backward, right and left.

Moving the drone around

However, before you reach this stage, it is imperative that you get enough practice so far. Let us find out how we can maneuver the drone around.

  • Let the drone hover. The first step to controlling the movements of the drone is to get it to hover around. Follow the steps given in the previous segment, and keep it at a distance of about 5 feet from you and let it become stable there. It is also advisable to maintain an eye level height. Plus, don’t get too near the drone during this phase.
  • Forward movement. How to move forward with the drone? You use the right joystick to control the direction. The main aim here is to keep the drone moving in a forward direction without changing the height. That means, you have to keep an eye on the throttle to maintain the height from the ground.
  • Backward movements. This is pretty similar to the last point. You will be required to control the direction with the help of the right joystick. The drone should be moving backwards, all the while maintaining the hover height. After some time of flying backwards, release the joystick and let it hover.
  • Flying sideways. This is the last aspect about controlling your directions. Using the same right joystick, you can move either towards the right or to the left. However, don’t go too far away from the original position. Remember, this is initially just for practice.

The primary challenge you will face here as a beginner is being able to maintain the height of hover while controlling the straight and sideways movements. It is also imperative to know that you shouldn’t get demotivated when you face a few hurdles early in the trial. As a flyer, you should keep trying till you have sufficient control over the directions and the height together.

When the drone faces you

This might sound like a very easy thing to do.

However, flying a drone when it faces you can get pretty difficult. Why? Because the controls all get reversed since the orientation of the drone has now changed. So you need to be mindful of a few points here before proceeding with the flight.

  • Pushing the right joystick forward gets your drone to move in a backward direction.
  • When you push the right joystick backwards, the RC controlled copter will take a forward plunge.
  • The right hand side movement of the joystick will bring the drone more towards the left hand side.
  • The movement of the right joystick to the left will allow the drone to move towards the right.

Since all the controls get reversed, it might be a little difficult up front. Yet, it is not one of the first few things you need to know for flying a drone. So, it would be best if you could practice all the other aspects of hovering, maintaining the position, moving back and forth, right and left and having complete control over the drone before you can move on to dealing with a drone that faces you.

When the drone faces you

Here we have listed some of the steps you can follow in order to get control of your drone and have experience in flying.

Video guides (5 basic lessons)

Day 0 – “TIPS AND GUIDELINES BEFORE YOU START FLYING”

Day 1 – “HOVERING”

Day 2 – “FLYING FORWARD AND SLOWING DOWN”

Day 3 – “TURNING AND ADVANCED BRAKING”

Day 4 – “THROTTLE CONTROL AND HEIGHT MANAGEMENT”

Tips for flying a drone

Some important things have to be mentioned:

  • Never take the drone to fly over people, crowded places, tall buildings or even public areas like the airport. Your drone must not harm, disturb or interfere with the activities of the public. Even residential sectors should be avoided so that there is no invasion of privacy.
  • Always remember to keep your drone within the line of sight. This is especially true for cities.
  • It is advisable that you never take the drone at a height more than 400 feet off the ground. This can cause serious problems.
  • When you first start off flying a drone, remember to fly in open spaces and areas. There should be minimal trees and fewer people. This will ensure that your drone moves without much disturbance and even if it collides against something, it will not result in any serious injury.
  • It is best to avoid flying your drone when the wind speeds are 15 mph or more. This might cause damage to your device.
  • Start off your flying career with small steps. You could try maintaining the hovering position at 5 feet at first and then keep increasing with experience.

So all-ready to take the plunge? Do share with us your flying experience in comments.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • John Miller

    Very good guide for beginners. You can actually learn a lot more than any guiding book that comes with your purchased product. I absolutely loved learning a bit more from this article. However, experience is far better teacher than any book.

    • Definitely. The real grasp comes only after when you do it practically.

  • sarah spencer

    I’ve already started trying out different drones, but I still found this to be helpful. Plenty of things I could do differently. I found a few helpful youtube videos that did the trick as well.

  • Dennis Hughes

    One more thing is not to try your first flight without an assistance of an experienced friend or someone else, who can help you with your first steps. And don’t forget about the wind!

    • Correct, or else don’t complain about crashes and collisions!

  • Mike Walker

    Just finished the videos and I’m pretty sure that anyone new to drones will find them helpful. But as John said experience is better than any book, and in this case, video.

    • Jack Brown

      It is always best to learn from your own experience, but learning from other people’s experience is not bad as well 😉 Thanks for the comment!

  • Jason Mendez

    Taking your drone with you on vacation or travel? For safety, it is important to first check existing local regulations for drone-flying as they may vary from one place to another. But the most common and basic rules are—fly below 400 feet, always keep aircraft within line of sight, don’t fly within five miles away from the airport, avoid crowded places, don’t fly a drone heavier than 55 pounds.

    • Jack Brown

      Yup, those rules are pretty much the same anywhere you go. But, still, it would be a smart move to check all the rules of the country where you are planning your vacation.

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