No one likes a lousy drone operator. Period. Not bystanders, not other drone operators. No one.
If you’re going to put an unmanned aerial vehicle into the air, you need to know how to fly it safely. After you get the basics of drone flying down and can operate a drone safely, it’s time to start taking your skills up a notch.
Use these tips to go from a being a novice operator to a solid pilot.
1. Give Yourself Time to Graduate to a New Drone
Chances are, you took the advice in our drone beginner’s guide and bought a simple drone that was easy to handle. Once you get the hang of things you’ll probably start hatching plans for what you can do with a mid-range drone or fancy on-board camera setup.
Just like when you learned to drive a car, give yourself time to step up to a more complex drone. It might be hard to resist the urge, but there’s plenty of time to upgrade once you have a little more experience under your belt. Protocol stunt drones are a good stepping stone since they take skill to fly but are still affordable.
2. Delve Further Into How Drones Operate
The more you know about the inner workings of a drone the easier they are to operate. Spend time learning about the mechanisms and controls that power your drone. Learn what variations exist between drones to gain a better overall understanding of how they work.
3. Practice and Perfect Hovering
The first thing most new drone operators focus on is flying. Once you’ve got a handle on that hovering should be the next skill you master. Being able to hover with little movement can help you get better shots when you’re using a camera. Hovering takes a little more control than going back and forth. Practice hovering at a distance of 4+ feet off the ground for the best handling.
4. Practice Landing in Place
Another skill every serious drone operator should master is landing in place. It’s all about learning throttle control. Pair it with your hovering practice to improve both.
Ready to take the training up a notch? Start practicing with landing markers. Find yourself an open field and place the markers random distances apart. Now practice going from marker to marker. Start on the first marker, lift up and hover for a few moments, fly over to the next marker, hover for a moment and then land. Repeat the process until you land on each marker.
5. Practice Cutting the Throttle
An out of control drone or one that’s crashed can be extremely unsafe. And eventually it’s going to happen to every drone operator. The only thing you can do at that point is cut the throttle to minimize the damage. That’s when practice pays off.
During an emergency our brains go into overdrive. Panic can set in and we may make knee-jerk decisions based on instinct alone. If you’ve practiced chopping the throttle quickly and run through the scenario a few times it could save precious time getting the situation under control.
6. Watch YouTube Tutorials to Master Special Moves
Banking and figure eights are fancier moves that new drone operators can pull off, but it helps to know the proper flying techniques. YouTube tutorials make it possible for any operator to learn from the pros. The expert drone operators make it look easy, however don’t count on mastering special moves after a few tries. It can take time to get the feel of it.
7. Share the Skies
Drone operators get a bad wrap because a few people can’t learn to be respectful of other people’s space. Just because your drone is up above people, places and animals that doesn’t mean you should practice your hovering right overhead.
Many municipalities also have rules and regulations regarding the use of drones. Most of them are focused on protecting people’s privacy and ensuring safety. It’s a serious matter that all responsible drone operators take seriously.