As a first time flier, the last thing you want to do is crash your brand new drone. Which is why beginners will most likely come across the advice to practice their piloting skills on a cheap quadcopter first before they fork out the money to buy a quality drone. While this advice is standard throughout the drone community, there is a more efficient and cost-effective way to fly a drone – investing and practicing on a quality drone from the very start.
Quads vs. Drones
Learning to fly a drone with a quadcopter is like learning to drive a car by practicing in a golf cart; both are entirely different in both function and flight.
A quadcopter is similar to a small toy helicopter. It functions with four rotors and a simple flight controller. Quads are inherently unstable, have a short battery life and are only capable of flying short distances. Most popular quads also do not have a GPS system, compass, or autonomous flight capabilities.
Drones conversely operate with powerful computers as flight controllers, are highly stable, and have self-directing capabilities like ‘return home.’ They have a longer flight range and battery life compared to a quad, and function with the most advanced technologies in the industry including ultrasonic and optical flow sensors.
Even though a quad can get you used to the flight controls it will not get you used to piloting an actual drone. With no GPS system a quad will drift and consequently be easier to crash. Long term, it is more cost-effective to buy a quality drone once – rather than buy a quad, crash it, and purchase a new drone afterwards.
Proper training and preparation is better than practicing on a cheap model
For a beginner, buying a drone with the most up-to-date technology and controls will make the process of learning to fly faster and easier. Investing in a good drone and training with a professional will ensure you avoid a crash; not to mention save you time and money otherwise wasted practising on a toy quad. Listed below are three steps that will guarantee an optimal flying experience.
1. Read the manual
Once you unbox your drone we recommend thoroughly reading the operators manual. This first step is the least exciting yet essential part of garnering a complete understanding of your drone.
2. Practice with a flight simulator and watch how to videos
Practicing on a flight simulator is a great way to get comfortable with the controls on your drone. Most drones will come with flight simulation software, however if they do not, there are many apps available to download free online. Multitudes of how to videos are also available online that will further assist you in learning how to become a master of aerial acrobatics.
3. One-on-one training
Working one-on-one with an expert is the most effective way to get the proper education behind working your drone. Find a qualified company that offers instruction and training for your drone. Although big box stores are a good place to buy your drone, they offer little or no instruction on how to fly or operate your drone. A company with good customer service and ongoing support would be a better choice.
Make one quality investment
A great drone that is beginner friendly and easy to fly is the Phantom 3 Standard for $629 CAN. It comes with all the latest technologies in the market including; a GPS system, a compass, a camera that captures stunning 12 megapixel photos, a live HD video feed and an app that makes learning to pilot a breeze.
The old fashioned advice of starting off with a low priced quad to practise on is an out-of-date way of thinking. By the time you learn how to use a quad your skills will be virtually irrelevant when it comes time for you to fly a full-scale drone. By purchasing a quality drone and learning from an expert before you hit the skies, you will save money and have a smooth take-off when it is time to take to the air.
By Alissa Crane
A DrDrone Article