Flying a drone does take some practice. Those just getting into the hobby must know the essentials of this expensive gadget. Instructions do come with most toy models and there is a handheld remote control. However, it is not at all that easy. So how to fly a drone? Worry not, here’s your guide.
Know the Lingo for How to Fly a Drone
In order to fly, it is important to know the language. Some of this is simple to remember when it comes to the drone, but you will most likely have to remember much more than just a few initials and what they mean. Let’s start with a few of the easy things you will have to remember in order to fly a drone.
Important Acronyms For Flying a Drone
A drone is also called a UAV. RTF means ready to fly, but this does not mean you will not have to charge the batteries or make the connection between the remote control and the drone when you get the package opened. BNF means bind-and-fly. This means that the drone does not come with a transmitter and you will have to find one that uses the same manufacturer’s protocol. If you are not sure about what you are looking for here, then ask someone either who knows or purchase an RTF. An ARF is similar to a kit and means almost-ready-to-fly. This one should be left to the enthusiast and hobbyist who know what they are doing and what they are going to need to complete this drone. Most likely, this one will be missing a few things.
The line of site is the distance that you can still see your drone. First Person View (FPV) is what you see through the drone’s camera.
Remote Controlling Your Drone
The transmitter or remote control is the part you hold on to in order to direct and adjust your drone. The propellers spin by the control of the transmitter. When it comes to controlling the drone, most have the remote’s left stick controls throttle and twist at a vertical axis, and the right sticks control roll and pitch.
With the remote control, pushing the right stick to the left or right will roll the drone. Pushing the right stick forwards or backward will pitch (or tilt) the craft. This will operate it to move backward or forward. To twist (yaw) the drone, push the left stick to the left or to the right. The throttle is engaged when the left stick is pushed forward.
Trimming (or ‘trim’) means you can adjust any of the above directions if you are off balance. This can be done by using the buttons on the remote control. When you hear the term ‘rudder’, it means the same as a twist (yaw). ‘Aileron’ means the same as a roll. When you hear ‘The Elevator’, it simply means controlling the pitch.
Before the flight, it is always in your best interest to make sure that everything is in full working order. One of the main reasons that this is so important is the possibility that you could lose the drone if something were to fail, if it was not checked, prior to flight. A simple example would be that you could have inadvertently placed a battery in your drone that was not at full charge. You should always check:
- SD card securely in place for camera drones
- Fully charge battery in remote control
- Completely charge the battery in drone
- Battery inserted correctly and secure
- Propellers secure
- Check for missing or loose parts and screws
- Make sure your drone is calibrated
- Make enough room for launch
- Throttle (left stick) should be in down position
- Turn on remote control
- Give your drone plenty of space for launching
- Keep your eye on your drone at all times
Finding Space to ‘Lift Off’
Beginners should always start by finding an open area, away from other people and pets. A drone is an RCMA (Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft) and depending on the model and your location may register with the FAA.
*Before trying any of this, remember, there is no time limit to learn, just feel comfortable here. Go at your own pace.
Important Tips for First Flight
1. The best idea is to practice with one control, at first, the throttle. The left stick can be very sensitive or may take a bit to engage your drone. Either way, you need to know how your craft is going to react to your remote when you push the throttle up slowly. Once you are comfortable with the throttle, check for any imbalances. Use your trim buttons to even your craft.
2. Now, add hovering as your next step. Use the throttle (left stick) again to gain altitude and then use the roll (right stick) with small adjustments to hover. You may need to use the left stick to yaw (twist) by slightly adjusting to keep the drone from flipping. Cut back on the throttle slowly to land. Practice this a few times. Once you feel comfortable with this, it is time to fly your drone.
3. Go through the steps above and hold the right stick in the direction you want the drone to go. Do not let the drone get away from you. Therefore, you need to stay in control of the craft.
Once you feel comfortable and feel that you are able to control the drone properly, you are well on your way to enjoying a new hobby!
Also, read the drone safety tips.