Drone Beginners’ Guide
Whatever level drone flyer you are, you should think about your main goal for flying a drone. Every flyer starts out as a beginner and progresses. Even if your goal isn’t to become a “professional flyer”, you need to know why you want a drone. People are looking for drones for the best camera to take scenic views, drones for surveillance, drones for sport, and drones just for the thrill of flying! Here I outline important information in our Drone Beginners’ Guide for the beginners looking to get into drone flying.
First, what is a drone? Drone, UAV, UAS, are all remote controlled or programmed aerial machines. For the masses, drones purposes are for recreation purposes, but are great for professional purposes. Being in 2017, drones aren’t a far-away dream, anyone can get their hands on one. Because of their popularity, the FAA is creating new regulations to fit the parameters of drone flying.
Quadcopter Drones and Fixed-Wing Drones
There are quadcopters and fixed-wing drones on the market. Quadcopters are designed in an X or H square frame and are powered by four propellers. A fixed-wing drone is designed like an airplane (two wings and a body). I recommend quadcopters for beginners. They are stable, hover easily, and lift off straight from the ground. It is more complicated learning to take off and land with these drones. The quadcopters automatically (and manually) adjusts themselves to balance, hover, take off, and land.
What is your budget? There are misconceptions that if you buy a “cheap drones” you are sacrificing quality and features in other areas. This is not true. Drone prices can vary from the low price of $30 to $11,000. As a beginner, you do not need to spend even close to the highest price.
Here is some advice if you don’t even know what a good starting price point should be for you. The DJI Spark Mini Drone comes in at $500, and it has so many amazing features, and it is small enough to take anywhere (it fits in the palm of your hand). In this case, investing $500 is great; the camera takes high quality images, you can command the drone using hand signals, it flies well in windy conditions, and more. You can go even lower than $500, with so many camera drones under $100.
It is not hard to find quality beginner drones for photography and videography. There is no need to spend more money and buy an external camera, like a GoPro, because drones come with cameras and good companies offer warranties on them.
Hubsan H502S “DESIRE” is an inexpensive beginner quadcopter that displays video in real time on your tablet or phone.
The Parrot Rolling Spider has a mini camera for aerial selfies.
DJI Phantom drones are great for videography. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has intelligent sensors to track and record subjects as they move. Professionals love using the DJI Inspire 1 V2.o to take 260-degree aerial images of their real estate properties.
Some useful extra tips we wish we had known before our first flights
- Have spare batteries. Drone battery life does not last very long, and smaller drones even less. Time ranges from 6 minutes to around 27 minutes. Having spare batteries allows you to enjoy the hobby of drone flying for longer and allow you to finish your job with the drone.
- Go slow. Be patient with learning how to fly the drone. Read over the manuals and watch YouTube tutorials. Learn the basics of the drone, and once you have mastered that, you can get into their more complicated flying features. When you go slow, you avoid crashing and injuring your drone.
- Get the drone controller and fly it using your tablet or smartphone (if the drone has this option). See which method is more comfortable for you.