Drones – remote-controlled quadcopters that seem to be everywhere at the moment. Most often used to capture stunning images and video footage, but also famous for being used to cause mayhem and disruptions at airports around the world, drone purchases continue to be on the rise.
With drones set to dominate the airspace for years to come and with so many options available to consumers, it can be hard to know what to choose. That’s where companies like DrDrone come into the picture to help, offering not only a versatile range but also professional knowledge and expertise to help you pick the drone of your dreams.
If you plan on getting your hands on this popular piece of equipment, or just fancy test-driving one to see what all of the fuss is about, here are a few tips and pointers for beginners to keep in mind.
Register and learn the rules –
First things first, if you are a brand new recreational drone user and reside in the United States, then as of a law passed on January 3rd 2018, you need to register your new toy with the FAA and learn the rules and regulations that come with having a drone.
These regulations came into place due to the recent mass purchasing of drones, and are aimed at protecting others, as well as the user, as it is quite likely that you will be flying your drone in a public space.
While it can feel like a certain amount of fun and freedom has already been taken away at the first hurdle, having to register is actually a good thing. It holds individuals accountable when people get hurt, property gets damaged, or laws are broken, and airspace gets abused.
Once registered, the drone will need to be marked with the given registration and number and, as the owner, you will need to carry proof of registration every time you fly. Think of it like you would a drivers license.
Once registered, you will receive a certification which will last you for three years. All you need to register is:
- An email address
- A credit or debit card
- The make and model of your drone
- Your physical address alongside a mailing dress should this be different from the physical
Now that you’ve got the boring part out of the way, it’s time to have some fun.
Fly in open spaces –
As a beginner, you are still learning the basics of how to fly and control the drone, so you don’t want to be operating it in built-up urban areas. If you live in a city, then travel to somewhere that has a substantial amount of open space. This lets you get familiar with the equipment without having to worry about any distractions or crashing it into any objects if things come to worse.
Just like you were probably first taught to drive a car in an empty car park, an empty, open space really lets you get to grips with the machinery, helping you to gain confidence quickly.
Get familiar with drone behaviours and RC sticks while flying in different flight modes and practising various flying patterns. While practising, always make sure that you can see your drone and never operate it out of eyesight range. Note that you should always be extra vigilant with the drone during take-off and landing. This isn’t only to protect others, but also the done – you don’t want to have to be searching frantically for the guarantee after only a few days since buying it.
Check the weather and plan ahead –
It might seem like an obvious one for out-door drone flights, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to do this. Even if the weather forecast is bright sunshine for the entire day, make sure to check for wind if you don’t want your drone to fly away forever, as winds can have a massive effect on light UAVs. Also bear in mind that most drones are not 100% waterproof, so try to avoid flying it during rain but also when it is foggy or misty due to the moisture that’s in the air.
Before any outing with your drone, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for contingencies in case there are any mishaps. If you are flying to take a specific photo, for example, make sure to do your research and take a walk around the area beforehand. This will give you a better idea of how you will need to fly your drone to ensure that you get the shot that you envision. Always stock up and pack spare parts and accessories in your bag in case the unexpected happens. While it’s unlikely that you’ll end up with a fried motor or bent propeller, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Pack some extra batteries, memory cards and rotary blades and invest in a protective case or backpack.
Practice, practice and practice again –
As they say, practice makes perfect, and in the case of learning how to fly a drone, that’s never been more true. Becoming good at anything requires patience and practice, like with any other skill. Getting to the level of competency that others have mastered, unfortunately, doesn’t happen overnight. Practice in a safe and low-altitude space and learn what each button and function does on its own, but also when combined with others.
Take your time over the next few weeks and learn with enthusiasm. The tricks, speed and maneuvers you will end up with as a result are well worth it! If you still feel a little unsure after a few practice rounds, try purchasing a cheap and smaller drone to practice with indoors. Have fun and think outside the box – just because you have a drone that doesn’t mean that you have to fly it at the maximum height for everything. Using the drone for filming and photography? Then why not experiment and fly the drone down low for interesting perspectives and different angles.
And last but not least – avoid birds at all cost.