Step 1: Before you begin, read the instructions.
The first thing most people do before flying is to read through all of the information supplied with the drone. The largest part will be a list of safety precautions and warnings, which must be taken into consideration, as they are often there for a reason. For example, if a model comes without a prop guard or camera mount, avoid putting them on until you have learned to fly. It is also considered good practice for beginners to find some kind of training wheels such as cheap mini drones which can keep your quadcopter off the ground while you learn.
Step 2: Connect the Battery Charger to your Drone Battery
The next step would be charging the battery so that it has enough energy stored up for when it’s needed. It’s best to charge it immediately before flights because the batteries usually only last for a limited number of charges before they start losing their efficiency.
Step 3: Quadcopter Placement
After you’ve charged the battery, the next thing to do is to take it out and position your drone somewhere suitable. Find a large open area with no trees, buildings, or other obstacles within several meters, but make sure there are no people around either! If possible, ask everyone in your immediate vicinity to stand well clear too – there’ll be enough room where you’re going to fly anyway. Don’t assume that the place you intend on using will always remain empty though, as someone may come along at any time. Make sure your quadcopter is not just visible, but also perfectly safe.
Step 4: Push the throttle of the drone down
Make sure you’ve done everything necessary to make your quadcopter ready for take-off. Quadcopters don’t need a runway and won’t stop moving until they hit an obstacle or run out of battery power. Once you’re sure it’s safe, give the throttle stick a quick downward push. The motors should spin up and lift your drone into its intended place in the air – congrats – you’re now officially a pilot! Because most people fly with enough space around them that there isn’t too much risk of anything going wrong, this can almost be considered as ‘flying’ rather than ‘piloting’.
Step 5: Rotate the drone
Now that you know how to fly your model without too much trouble, the next step is learning how to rotate it. This may not sound important but in fact, is a crucial skill since being able to move forward and backward isn’t anywhere near as valuable as being able to turn from side to side or upside down. The best way I can think of to describe this technique is by thinking about a tennis ball spinning around on your finger! Just remember that there are limits – depending on your specific model, moving too far in one direction will mean the other three propellers have nothing to support them and the drone will no longer be able to stay in the air. If you do lose control, simply give it a quick burst of speed again to regain altitude.
If there’s one thing about piloting a drone that I’ve learned, it’s that keeping it in level orientation with whatever direction you’re facing is incredibly important. Whenever you turn or rotate, your model will inevitably have to compensate for its current position relative to earth – this means that even just turning around on the spot with altitude lock activated will mean it ends up pointing upward! The easiest way of rotating without accidentally rolling toward or away from you is by using two fingers positioned next to each other on the either handlebar. This gives your model the same amount of turn/pitch for each push and pull so it won’t drift away from you. It’s also worth mentioning that you can adjust the speed at which your quadcopter turns by pushing or pulling on the either handlebar.
Before you start flying your drone around yourself, make sure that you know what direction is “forward” according to where it’s facing. This will seem intuitive for some people but others might find it hard to figure out without trial and error! The easiest way I found of doing this was by pointing my controller directly at myself then slowly turning around on the spot. All of my drones’ forward direction is always in the same direction relative to me, regardless of how they’re facing.
Step 6: Make a mental image
Your drone may seem pretty complicated, what with all those motors and propellers and suchlike. In reality, though, it’s surprisingly simple as long as you remember that everything revolves around your throttle stick. This is because it’s the only thing controlling both which direction your model goes as well as how fast it travels through the air. The rest of its functions like changing between beginner and expert modes or practicing stunts can easily be mastered by experimenting on your own without needing too much technical know-how.
Once you’ve done all of the above, you’ll find it much easier to fly during future sessions since everything is now second nature. However, with this increased skill comes to an increased risk of making mistakes – flying inside will be much harder if you don’t know what side is “up” relative to where your drone is facing, for example! To help prevent this, I strongly urge everyone reading to create their mind of how their controller works about the physical world around them. Whether this is by drawing a diagram on paper/in your diary, or simply going out and spending some time figuring it out in a large open space with no obstacles in sight.
Step 7: Get to know your quadcopter controls
There’s a reason why you’re now flying without any help from automated flight modes, and this is it. You can’t be expected to learn how to fly a drone effectively if there are safety features built into the controller that prevents you from doing anything wrong! The first thing you’ll need to do here is to identify which components of the controller correspond with each part of the model itself. For the sake of ease, let’s divide these up as follows: – left handlebar = pitch control – right handlebar = roll control – front trigger = yaw control – back trigger = throttle First two first though, as we need to understand what each direction on our controllers does before we start trying to fly. When you pull back on the front trigger, your model will start moving in the direction it’s facing. This means that if you’re flying towards you with its left side closest to you, pulling this trigger will make it rotate clockwise.
With regards to the right handlebar though, things are a little different. If you pull or push this forward or backward while keeping everything else constant (that is, not turning), your model will move out toward infinity in whichever direction it currently faces. This may seem confusing at first since there is no actual distinction between which way it’s pointing when looking at its “front” or “back”, but think about it in terms of this analogy: imagine yourself riding an old-fashioned bike. With this in mind, turning your handlebars left or right will cause your bike to rotate on the spot (and change the direction it’s facing) whereas pushing forward and back will move you either toward or away from a stationary point.
Step 8: Make a successful landing.
A lot of people tend to want to take off as soon as they get their hands on a drone for the first time – this is not an advisable thing to do! In all likelihood, you’ll crash it before even getting anywhere near flying. The best way I can think of describing this is by using an analogy with cars – trying to drive without being able to stop is going to result in disaster no matter how many times you try it! This is why your first step should instead be to push your throttle up until it’s at its highest point. From here, slowly bring it back down again until you can just feel resistance on the throttle itself. You may even need to take a finger off of the control completely for this to work – do so if necessary but don’t worry about practicing this step more than once or twice.
Step 9: Remove the drone from your hands and hold it in place.
Once you’re sure that you’ve trimmed out your model correctly (you can use GPS mode if available for this), then you’ll want to do something similar with your altitude. Slowly start moving the throttle stick upward, taking care not to yank it upwards as this will result in the drone flying too quickly. You want to do this gently so that you can adjust your positioning as soon as possible once you start moving forward.
Step 10: Getting to know drone controls
At this point, you should be able to see how important it is that you master each of the basic control functions before attempting anything else. The best way I found of doing this was by pushing forward then pulling back gently using two fingers positioned next to each other – try not to jerk your hand away from its current position once you’ve made contact with the handlebar since this will change the orientation of the drone. Don’t bother practicing this for long since you won’t have enough power in your battery to keep it in the air for very long at this point. Once you’ve got a basic idea of how much movement is linked with each action, try moving your fingers independently of each other – there’s no need to worry about precision or keeping position at this stage. You just need to get used to the way each handlebar behaves.
Step 11: Push the drone throttle down
Now that you know what each control stick does (assuming you’ve spent lots of time testing this for yourself), try pushing your throttle stick down slowly as I mentioned before. If you’ve done everything correctly up until this point then your drone should rotate around itself until it’s pointing downwards – please note that there’s no need to panic if it doesn’t do this since some models simply don’t have automatic altitude lock! Simply adjust your throttle upwards by moving your controller gently toward yourself using two fingers once again .
Step 12: Take off and land
To take off, simply keep the throttle stick pushed down and push your controller upward – you should find that your quadcopter will gain quite a lot of altitude fairly quickly. If all of the above steps have gone to plan then it shouldn’t be long before you’re at least 10 meters up without any of the control inputs for rotating/pitch etc. As soon as you reach this height, gradually reduce your thrust by depressing the throttle stick until your drone is hovering at its current position.
The moment of truth has arrived. All your careful consideration before the flight now comes down to this one simple motion – once you’ve given the throttle a quick push, slowly pull it back up again. The motors should shut off and your quadcopter will begin descending towards the ground. It’s at this point that you’ll need to be able to think fast! Without thrust from the propellers, the only way to control your model is by shifting its center of gravity using varying amounts of lift from its four corners. If you find yourself getting out of control, quickly give it a bit more speed by pushing the throttle further forward again. If it starts going too far in the other direction, you’ll need to slow it down by pushing the throttle slightly backward instead. It may take some practice before you get the hang of controlling your quadcopter for this maneuver though.
Step 13: Take off and hold drone position
The final step on launch day is to use two fingers on the either handlebar to pull back gently on both together until your drone reaches its hover point away from you (it might not go exactly where you want it to at this point but that’s okay since everything is new and unfamiliar). If done right, your drone should try and stay in roughly the same position relative to itself (please note that if your drone starts descending then simply push the throttle stick forward slightly until it stabilizes).
There isn’t too much skill involved here; simply push the throttle up as far as it will go once you’ve taken off. The model should rise into the air without drifting too much left or right. One last thing before we move on – if your propellers spin in different directions (the majority of quads do), there is a small trick you can use so that they all react at the same time when making a turn or changing direction This technique requires a lot more practice before it becomes second-nature though, so don’t worry if it doesn’t quite come together for you right away.
Step 14: Take care of your quadcopter
To keep yourself and everyone around you safe while flying drones, there are a couple of things I recommend doing:
- Keep your drone within your line of sight at all times! You can get away with briefly turning away or looking up toward the sky every so often but anything longer than a few seconds could be dangerous. This will also help you maintain an accurate mental picture of where it is and what it’s doing at all times.
- Always use an additional battery! Flying your drone to its maximum potential will quickly drain the battery but please remember that this is extremely bad for your drone’s health and longevity. You should always carry a spare so that you can switch them out when needed – on some models, failing to do this could result in permanent damage or even sending your drone completely out of control!
- Try not to fly over water if possible since drones are generally waterproof unless stated otherwise. If they do get dropped into water then try flying them back out again while holding them level/horizontal relative to the surface just in case there was enough electricity built upon impact to cause an issue later on down the line. Please note that doing this will only work if the surface was perfectly flat, with calm water of course.
- Please maintain safe distances from yourself and the people around you! You must always be aware of how far your drone is away from you at all times since even small pebbles etc. could cause serious damage if thrown high enough. This also applies to anyone nearby – it’s always better to keep everyone further away instead of closer since this means there’s less chance of something hitting them directly or causing a distraction that might make them more likely to walk into the path of your drone.