How to fly drones for beginners

If you have recently purchased a drone and are eager to learn how to fly it safely, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will cover the basics of flying a drone, ensuring that you have a successful first flight without any crashes. While this post will provide you with a good foundation, if you are interested in diving deeper and learning advanced techniques, such as battery care and handling different types of drones, I offer a paid course that you can find in the description.

Before we jump into the specifics of flying a drone, it is crucial to ensure that you are in a suitable location for flying. There are various apps available, such as AirMap and Before You Fly, that can help you determine if it is legal and safe to fly in your chosen area. Additionally, it is essential to find a large, open space, such as a field, where you won’t have to worry about obstacles like trees, poles, or buildings.

Once you have found a suitable location, it’s time to turn on your drone’s controller and familiarize yourself with its functions. To turn on the drone, double-tap and hold the second push on the controller. Once it beeps and turns on, open the app on your phone or connected device. Now, let’s discuss the basics of the controller.

The left stick on the controller controls the drone’s altitude and rotation. Pushing the stick up will make the drone ascend, while pushing it down will make it descend. Turning the stick left or right will rotate the drone in the corresponding direction. It’s important to note that these movements will keep the drone in the same position relative to its hovering point.

On the other hand, the right stick controls the drone’s movement in relation to its takeoff position. Pushing the stick left or right will make the drone move sideways in the corresponding direction. Pushing it forward or backward will make the drone move in those respective directions. It’s crucial to understand these controls as they form the basis for all drone movements.

Additionally, your controller may have additional features such as a pause button or a return-to-home button. The pause button can be useful if you find yourself in a tricky situation and need to stop the drone’s movement temporarily. The return-to-home button, as the name suggests, brings the drone back to its takeoff position. However, it is recommended to manually fly the drone back to yourself instead of relying solely on the return-to-home function.

Furthermore, there is usually a switch on the controller that allows you to select different flight modes. The modes can vary depending on the drone manufacturer, but they typically include cine mode (or tripod mode), normal mode, and sport mode. Cine mode is the slowest mode, allowing for smooth and precise movements. Normal mode is faster, and obstacle avoidance is active. Sport mode is the fastest mode, but obstacle avoidance may be disabled. It’s important to understand the capabilities and limitations of each mode before using them.

Most DJI drones have a record button and a gimbal control wheel on the back of the remote. The record button allows you to take pictures or start and stop video recording. The gimbal control wheel enables you to tilt the gimbal up or down, depending on the direction you push the wheel.

Now that we have covered the basics of the controller, let’s move on to unfolding the drone and taking off for your first flight. Different drones may have varying unfolding mechanisms, so it’s essential to refer to your drone’s manual or search for instructional videos if needed. Start by removing the gimbal cover to allow free movement. Then, unfold the front or top two legs by moving them forward, followed by unfolding the back two legs downward. Once the drone is unfolded, you can power it on by double-pressing and holding the second press until it beeps or turns on. Wait for the drone to complete its boot-up process, indicated by a tone, before taking off.

For your first flight, it is recommended to take off from a hard surface area that won’t get your drone dirty and provides a safe distance from any obstacles. Before taking off, ensure that your video recording settings are set to auto, which will generally provide good results in most situations. If you are unsure about using manual settings or ND filters, it’s best to stick with auto mode for now.

When flying the drone for the first time, it’s advisable to have the drone facing away from you. This way, you can practice basic movements such as ascending, descending, turning left, and turning right. Remember that the left stick controls altitude and rotation, while the right stick controls movement relative to the drone’s takeoff position.

Once you feel comfortable with these movements, you can turn the drone around to face you and practice flying in this orientation. It may take some time and practice to adjust to the reversed controls, but with patience and repetition, you will build muscle memory and become proficient in flying the drone.

As you gain more experience, you can start combining different movements to perform more advanced maneuvers, such as orbiting around a subject. However, it’s crucial to maintain visual contact with the drone while also monitoring the screen to avoid any obstacles that may appear unexpectedly.

While flying a drone, it’s important to remember that obstacle avoidance systems are not foolproof. They may miss small branches or objects and may not provide complete coverage around the drone. Therefore, it is always recommended to learn how to fly the drone manually and not solely rely on obstacle avoidance systems. Manual flying skills will make you a better and safer drone pilot, and obstacle avoidance can serve as an additional safety feature.

Finally, if you are interested in capturing great videos and photos with your drone, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind. Using the auto mode for both photos and videos will generally yield good results in most situations. However, if you want to experiment with manual settings, remember to keep the ISO as low as possible, set the shutter speed to twice your frame rate, and adjust the white balance according to the lighting conditions.

While this blog post provides a solid foundation for flying a drone, it’s important to note that mastering drone flying takes time and practice. The more you fly and familiarize yourself with the controls, the better you will become. If you have any further questions or want to learn more, feel free to join my live stream on Wednesday nights at 4 pm Alaska time or 8 pm Eastern time.

Drones are incredible tools that offer endless possibilities for capturing unique perspectives and exploring new horizons. However, it is crucial to use them responsibly and safely. Take your time, learn to fly smart, and enjoy the exciting world of drones.

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