When I first watched someone fly a drone, I was blown away at how easy they make it look. But is it really that easy? Are drones difficult to fly as a newbie?
Bigger drones such as the DJI Mavic Air are not hard to fly because they have GPS, VPS, (visual positioning system,) and collision avoidance technology. This helps the pilot to maintain control. However small cheap drones such as the Hubsan X4 are harder to fly because they lack these features.
That being said, if you’re new to flying a drone I actually HIGHLY recommend starting with a cheap remote control car before you get a drone. Keep reading to find out why.
Best Way To Learn To Fly A Drone For Newbies
01. Train with a remote control car first.
Get some practice in with a remote control car if you have one. This will get you used to control an object on a 2D surface relative to where you are standing. It will also train you to drive the car back towards yourself without getting the left and right control stick mixed up. I found that this took me the longest to learn.
This might sound simple, but getting used to orientating yourself from the object you are controlling is a useful skill. Once you get used to it, all you have to learn when starting to fly a drone is how to make the drone fly up and down.
You really don’t need to spend a lot of money on this and it could save you thousands of dollars. Pick up a cheap toy car on Amazon for under $20, and once you’re done with it, give it to a kid in your family. So it won’t even go to waste.
02. Next, learn how to fly a small and cheap drone.
Now that you’re comfortable driving a toy car, its time to move on to your first drone flight. DON’T let an expensive drone be your first unless you have a ton of money to waste.
Start with a smaller cheaper drone. Smaller drones can be more difficult to fly because they don’t automatically compensate for wind etc, however, your mistakes will be a lot cheaper. And, if you can successfully learn how to fly a smaller drone then when it comes to flying a bigger drone it will be a walk in the park.
I recommend starting out with a small Hubsan X4 drone that only costs $26 on Amazon.com.
Another benefit of starting with a smaller drone is they are a lot more durable. Manufacturers had to make them as tough as possible because they get crashed a lot more often simply because they are that much harder to control.
03. Choose your drone training grounds wisely.
Whether you’re starting out with a bigger more expensive drone, or a smaller drone, choose your location to learn how to fly wisely. You need as much open space as possible with as little people around as possible.
Here are some areas you want to avoid:
- Inside your home. I tried to learn here, and it didn’t end well. As soon as the drone lifted off, it started drifting towards a wall so naturally, I froze and didn’t have time to try to do anything before it smashed against the wall.
- A body of water. Imagine lifting off your drone for the very first time, it drifts off over a lake, and splash. Your drone is gone after its very first flight. This happens more often than you might think. Don’t be that person!
- A tiny back yard. If you have a tiny yard then it’s most probably not a good idea to do your training there. drones can lose control quickly, you need a lot of space.
- Around a lot of people. If you’re in a park, make sure there are very few people around. The last thing you need is a rogue drone flying into a group of strangers. It’s not fun for them, and certainly not for you.
- An area with a lot of trees. This will increase the chances of crashing. More drones meet their end from trees than anything else.
There are a few reasons why you want to avoid these areas.
Your attention needs to be on learning how to fly the drone, and not on trying to avoid a crash. As soon as there are objects close it distracts you and causes you to make mistakes.
You need to focus with as little distractions as possible. Drones attract attention and people get curious. Attracting a group of children around you could cause injury and potentially…a hefty fine.
Here are some recommended locations to train your drone.
Sports fields are probably my favorite areas for training. They are spacious, have a lot of grass and people generally don’t use them when there aren’t any sports games going on. Call up the owner or manager of the sports field and I’m sure they will be more than happy for you to use it out of hours.
Public parks are also on my list of favorites. However, you need to make sure you time it right. Parks usually get busy when kids get out of school, and after parents get out of work. So I usually avoid them anytime after 1 pm. The best time you can get there is around 9 am. Also, keep in mind when you do train in a public park, find an area that’s as open as possible with ZERO body of water.
How Long Does It Take To Fly A Drone?
The time it takes to learn how to fly your drone all depends on what technology you’ve used throughout your life.
If you have a PlayStation, and been around remote control cars, for example, all your life, then learning might only take you a few hours.
However, if you’re a bit of a technophobe and you’ve never been into games or remote control cars etc, then the process might take you a few days. If you’re in this group I highly recommend you get a remote-controlled toy car first. Once you feel comfortable with that, then only move on to a drone.
The Easiest Drone To Fly?
The more expensive and bigger drones are ironically the easiest drones to fly.
Bigger drones such as the DJI Phantom and Mavic series have GPS and VPS which makes them a lot easier to fly because they compensate for any wind and drift. They also have smart flight controls such as collision avoidance detection that help the drone pilot maintain control during flight.
On the other hand, smaller and cheaper drones might not have these more advanced features. So every time a slight breeze pushes them off track you need to constantly readjust the drone with the controller. Which takes skill and practice.
That being said I almost always recommend new drone pilots to start out with a smaller and cheaper drone. I have two reasons for this.
- You WILL crash no matter how smart the drone, it’s apart of the learning curve. When you crash a cheap drone that only costs $20, you have very little to lose. BUT crash a DJI, and it could set you back $1000.
- Smaller drones are harder to control so you will learn how to fly a lot quicker. If you can fly a cheap drone successfully, then once you move on to your more expensive drones it will be extremely easy to fly.
While flying a drone can be difficult for some people, if you can learn how to ride a bike or car, then you can definitely learn how to fly a drone. Like anything, it just takes a bit of time and patience.
That being said, the real question that you should be asking is how much will it cost you in destroyed drones? And that simply all depends on how much you’re going to spend on your first drone. My recommendation? Spend as little as possible!