Have you ever had a chance to fly a quadcopter, also known as a drone or UAV? If not, you have no idea just how exciting it is to fly these machines with precision accuracy, using a remote controller. However, once you do attempt to fly one, you will encounter many problems in the beginning. This is because this type of an aerial machine is extremely sophisticated and it requires a good number of trial-and-error attempts to master the skill of handling it perfectly. Whether you have already tried your luck on UAV flying or you yet have to take your first drone in air, this article will help you learn the basics of UAV flying and refine your skills so that you can tremendously enjoy this pastime.
Here is a step-by-step guide to mastering the art of drone piloting to impress others or simply have a great time flying recreationally.
Parts and Controls
First of all, you need to gain knowledge about various parts and components a quadcopter is assembled with. Mainly there are three parts of a quadcopter or drone:
A remote controller or transmitter allows the pilot to control the quadcopter and change its settings according to your skill level. This device needs batteries to operate. Propellers spin and make the drone take off; the faster these spin, the faster the drone moves. A quadcopter consists of four propellers. A camera is an optional part for many quadcopters that are designed just for fun. However, if your drone comes with a camera, you should be very careful in its handling because a lot of collision and failed landing attempts might break the camera lens and render it useless.
There are four controls that allow a person to maneuver a quadcopter in air. There are known as roll, pitch, yaw and throttle. Roll and pitch make the machine move left or right and forwards or backwards respectively. As it is clear from the name, roll makes the quadcopter roll. Yaw, on the other hand, means rotating the machine left or right. Throttle is used to adjust the altitude of the drone in air. You can move it either backwards or forwards.
The remote controller comes with a few buttons that can be pressed to adjust flight modes. Basically there are two flight modes available with any quadcopter: manual and auto. In manual mode, when you tilt the drone using the roll control and then let go of the stick, the copter will not return to its initial position. Instead, it will stay tilted to the angle where you left the stick. On the other hand, in auto flight mode the drone auto-levels itself back to its original stance once the sticks are centered.
Make sure you practically experiment with your drone to learn all the controls separately before moving on to the next section. If you’re not familiar with the controls, you will never be able to fly a quadcopter in peace. It will either move too fast or go upwards and hit the ceiling. Also, see how slowly you need to throttle in order to take the machine off the ground safely and expertly.
You also need to remember that a quadcopter has a front side and a back side. If the quadcopter is facing you, the above-mentioned controls are switched. If previously pushing the right stick to the left made the machine roll to the right, now it will make the machine roll to the left. All other controls are also adjusted accordingly.
Features of a Transmitter
A transmitter, also known as the remote controller, comes with a number of parts, buttons, antenna and handle. There are two sticks: right and left. The right one controls roll and pitch and the left one controls yaw and throttle. Recall that throttle adjusts the altitude of your drone and yaw allows you to rotate it in either direction. Then there are trim buttons with each stick that are used to balance out the controls. You will need to fly your drone by pushing the throttle stick upwards and then see if it tilts automatically or flies itself to some direction without you even pushing the other controls. When this happens, you will need to use the trim buttons on your transmitter to adjust the controls.
Before Your First Flight
Once you have learned all the controls and gotten yourself familiar with the main parts of a quadcopter, it’s time to get ready for your first flight. However, before doing that it is a good idea to check a few things in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable flight. Here are a few steps to follow:
Let’s Fly the Quadcopter!
In order to take off, you only need to push the throttle up but make sure you do it very slowly till the copter lifts off. Push it back to zero to see how the machine will land once the flight is over. Remember this is the most important step so master it by repeating it many times and then checking if the copter tries to move on its own. If you are not pushing any control and the machine is still rotating, rolling or moving, you need to use the trim buttons to balance it out. Without doing this step, you won’t be able to get a smooth flight so don’t overlook its importance.
To hover in mid-air you will need to experiment a little with the controls. When you decide your flight is over and the machine now needs to land, slowly start cutting back the throttle. Remember there is nobody aboard the copter, so even if it drops to the ground it’s perfectly all right. Just make sure you push the throttle suddenly to zero only when the machine is only an inch or two up from the ground.
Learning the Directions
Once your quadcopter is in the air, you can fly it forwards, backwards, to the left and to the right. You need to hold the left stick (throttle) at all times to keep the machine airborne. The right stick will then be used to move it to any direction you want. The basic four directions are easy to learn; however, once you have mastered these controls, you should move on to experiment with yaw to rotate it in mid-air.
These are the steps to make your first flight successful. With time and practice, you will learn more advanced functions to fly your quadcopter in various patterns and thoroughly enjoy the experience. Some examples of various patterns include flying the drone in a square pattern or in a circle. You will need to hold down on one of the controls to make this happen repeatedly. Changing directions and rotating at the same time allows you to fly your copter continuously in the air. It’s a good practice to fly up to an altitude of a few feet in the beginning so that your drone doesn’t get out of control.
There are some safety precautions to protect yourself as well as the machine from damaging itself and crash landing and also other people to get hurt. Remember to pull down the throttle to zero if you see your quadcopter going out of control and about to crash or collide with something. Always stay away from spinning propellers or do not handle a quadcopter when the propellers are rotating. This happens when you’re trying to teach someone else to fly a drone and then try to pick it up. When the transmitter is in someone else’s hands and it is on, the propellers can start spinning anytime, so be very careful!
Not everybody can fly a quadcopter with confidence because of a number of different controls, its sophisticated design and intricate machinery. Even taking it off the ground and keeping it in the air without damaging objects that come in between is an art to master. Beginners especially find it really hard to fly a quadcopter without experiencing crash landing. Follow the above-mentioned guide if you are trying to polish your drone flying skills or wish to master this art to enjoy the activity to its fullest.