Tips for Drone Beginners

Click here to read our guide on the best drones for kids, beginners, and cheap quadcopters!

Drone technology is on the rise and the constant innovations have given way to more affordable toy-grade models. Now there are models that will rightfully suit not only serious hobbyists but photographers, videographers and beginners as well. Whatever your motives and plans are for getting into this pursuit, you will have to dip your toes somewhere, and operating your own model is the greatest method to familiarize yourself and appreciate the unit.

Drones are great entertainment and they are also fun to collect. It is a pleasure to see them whiz by high up in the sky, but if you are not careful, these nifty flying mechanisms can also land you in hot water. In this article we are going to discuss crucial facts you need to know in order to keep trouble out of reach as you get into your new hobby.

Standard remote control, or RC, model aircraft are a long time recreational pursuit that obligates collectors or user’s utmost dedication and, of course, patience. A true remote control enthusiast is willing to splurge thousands of dollars and time on their hobby. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), popularly known as drones, are simple to operate and are most of the time affordable to a lot of individuals.

However, drones also obligate utmost skill, training and patience in order to master operating the machine. Then again, their user friendliness can be misleading, and this leads to plenty of beginners to operate them recklessly, irresponsibly and look at their machines with unnecessary expectations.

Thus it is important that if you fly drones, you should be informed of the UAS rules or else you might find yourself in some kind of trouble if you bend any of those rules. You will be forced to face the law and deal with felony charges if in case you have flown the drone in a prohibited area at the wrong time. You will also deal with significantly huge fines in case your drone hits or puts others at risk.

Bad things can take place if you are not knowledgeable of flying drones, and you are not aware of the rules involved in safe drone use and practices.

FAA registrations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), due to the number of instances related to unsafe drone use, have recently come up with new rules regarding the use of said mechanisms. Anybody who wants to operate his or her drone has to register their models with the FAA before they can use it. Here are the facts:

  • The registration concerns drones that weight more than 250 grams and less than 25 kilograms.
  • Users must include their name, home address and a valid email address to register. Upon registration procedures, they will be given a distinctive identification number which should be placed noticeably on the aircraft.
  • Users can only register once and their respective identification numbers will apply not only to one, but all of UAS they own.
  • The registration is authorized for 3 years and must be renewed.
  • Users should be at least 13 years of age in order to register.
  • Failure to undergo registration could lead to criminal penalties of up to $250,000 plus 3 years’ imprisonment.

Now if you want to use your drone to make movies, commercials, YouTube videos, photography or any undertaking where you will be compensated, you are required to register with the FAA for commercial immunity. Even if you are only planning to accomplish mapping duties in your locality or making site surveys, you are still obligated to seek support or agreement.

Safe drone use tips

The FAA says that people who operate drones must not fly their mechanisms more than 400 feet above the ground. They should also keep track of them at all times and must not control the unit within 5 miles of an airport without first and foremost notifying the operating personnel of the airport or its control tower.

The distance you can fly is limited to the line of sight and the area you are flying the drone in. Flying hobby drones out of sight compounds the tendency for the pilot to lose control of the drone and crash. It is wise if you not fly the unit by way of devices like tablets, the smartphones or the radio controller’s screen. Furthermore, you only have a narrow field of view and you will not be capable of witnessing anything and everything around your drone. The drone might pause and this can block reaction time. In addition, the user’s length of capability to control his or her UAS will rely on its antenna and controller.

You are allowed to fly outside your line of sight but then again there are risks involved in this undertaking. You can end up harming a passer-by with the drone, harm property and face the law. Hence if you want to be safe you can fly the drone within a 400 ft. ceiling and keep track of the unit all the time except if you have acquired an exception from the FAA.

Steer clear of flying the drone in areas with large populations and residential areas because they have a tendency to increase privacy issues. Do not fly them in prohibited areas like airports, stadiums, churches, schools, busy roads, power stations, water treatment locations, and prisons. Recommended areas to fly your UAS are wide open spaces.

Fly your drone during good weather conditions, whenever the skies are clear and there are fewer winds. Drones are light and they can be affected even by a moderate breeze. Do not fly them in poorly lit conditions since you might not be able to keep track of them in the dark. Do not drink alcohol and operate your drone at the same time.

Operating drones and other kinds of toy-grade UAS are popular because compared to other remote control mechanisms, like model airplanes and aircraft, they are way more affordable. There are reasonably priced models that are sold under $1,000. For ordinary folks, the price rate might sound out of reach, but for serious collectors, this is good news, especially for beginners who want to know more about the pursuit.

Then again, drones obligate responsible usage. Not everybody around you will be fond of your new pursuit, hence you should follow those established rules to a tee. They were provided by the powers that be to keep everyone safe, secure and minimize accidents and problems related to UAS use.

Drones For Beginners

Quadcopters

There is a wide variety of drones available out there but you might want to first try out a basic quadcopter as a starter unit. Drones for beginners often focus on quadcopters, and quadcopters are drones designed in an H or X shaped frame to take in four motors and four propellers. Two of these propellers are capable of revolving in a clockwise manner while the other two revolve in the opposite direction. This motion allows stability for the unit. The transmitter is used to control the unit, and the accelerometer or gyroscope sends power to a certain group of motors and is also responsible for sustaining the speed of every propeller.

Quadcopters are ideal for beginners because they are often dependable and comes with affordable price rates. They are always accessible and you can play with them right out of the box after purchase. Check out our guide on the best cheap beginner quadcopters.

Prices

Now we have arrived to the subject of prices, we all know that the cost of a product is always something to consider. When it comes to drones for beginners, it is not bad to get one that is less expensive. As soon as you start operating your drone, you have to expect that crashes will inevitably happen and it is all a perfectly normal part of the learning process. The less money you spend while you are starting out, the fewer regrets you will encounter later.

RTF models

In addition, most beginner drones, as mentioned earlier, can be used right off the bat. You won’t have to fiddle with parts or buy additional components for the assembly before using your aircraft. While assembling your own aircraft is always an option, buying a ready-to-fly or RTF model is actually the most feasible and cost-effective method to learn the basics of operating your drone.

Size

You may also contend with a drone model’s size. Starter-level drones are typically smaller and lighter than intermediate models. High-end models are heavier and feature propellers that revolve faster. Remember to stick to a model with a smaller size first to be safe. If you want to use your drone out of doors, reduce damage by purchasing a model that is small and lightweight. However small a drone can be, it can still cause harm to individuals and property thus always use your drone responsibly whenever you have the chance.

Durability

Because you are still in the learning process, the durability of a model is another factor that you have to deal with. A drone that is capable of taking a dive then continue operations normally right after is important in drone operator practice, thus, manufacturers often give priority to durability factors when selecting material for their models. Models constructed of ultra-dense foam material are known to be durable, and are capable of enduring run-ins with furniture and walls if you use the unit indoors. Bumpers situated all over the rotors can also offer additional durability because propellers are always prone to damage during crashes.

Cameras

A camera is another factor that you have to consider if you are selecting drones. If your plan involves just flying the drones, and nothing extra, you can get by with a normal beginner drone. Cameras can add up to the overall cost of a drone and it will also add some weight to the aircraft, which can influence the flying capabilities of the unit. The extra weight and power required for the camera can also affect the battery’s lifespan, which can limit the aircraft’s flight time. But if you want to use your drone for in-flight photography and videography, then you have to choose a model that comes with a camera. Do not worry, for there are beginner types with cameras that are reasonably priced.

A word about features

All in all, the fewer features the model has, the faster and better it will be for first timers to learn how to pilot the unit. High-end drones are usually a bit complicated since in addition to managing the aircraft, users will also get to deal with other features like return-home functions, automatic takeoff and landing, GPS and other high-tech features. The features are fun to learn once you are quite experienced with drone operations and are comfortable flying one. Beginner drone features are quite basic but additional features will only distract you as you practice.

Batteries

Battery life is also another thing to consider. It is known that beginner drones have batteries with shorter flight times thus be on the lookout for models that include a spare battery in its assembly. Then again, you can always buy additional batteries to save you from the frustration of recharging your drone every 10 minutes.

Flight modes

The capability to switch between several modes of flight is a great feature on starter drones. These modes usually control the unit’s maneuverability and control sensitivity and this allows users to get into practice mode.

Conclusion

There is plenty of take into account when it comes to drones, especially if you are a beginner. However, keep in mind to keep your expectations in check and buy a unit that is reasonably priced, small and lightweight. There is a wide selection of affordable drones for you to check out and once you have your preferences narrowed down, purchasing a model will be easier for you.

Practice first on your beginner drone and once you get the hang of it and have more experience operating it, you can then graduate to intermediate drones and maybe invest in something that has additional features that you want to try out. You may also try out taking pictures and videos with models that take quality images and include built-in stabilizing mounts.

Click here to read our guide on the best drones for kids, beginners, and cheap quadcopters!

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