Sep 1, 2016

Drone Talk & Tips!

Prospective pilots, come one come all. There are many different types of drones within the category, but all require a pilot. What are some tips or tricks that help when first starting to fly drones? Are there any drones that are particularly easy to fly? Any that are harder than others to master? Are you an FPV racer of Aerial Cinematographer? We want to hear about your experiences, the aircraft that your flying and would recommend!
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I work for Drone Services Hawaii and we get asked this question everyday. As a drone pilot since 2008, I can say for the most part it doesn't matter what you start off with. There are two schools of thought.

1) Starting off with the cheap "toy" drones.
When you start off with the cheap ones (Think Cheerson/Hubsan/etc.) A lot of the <$200 lack the fancy features the higher priced drones have (GPS, Tracking, etc.) This isn't necessarily a bad thing. They force you to learn stick control and helps build muscle memory. These skills are crucial if you intend to transition to cinematography or FPV racing. By mastering these smaller drones, you gain the skill you need that would take you longer to learn if you started off with a Phantom that does all the work for you. Crashing isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Would you rather crash a cheap $50 quad or a $1400 P4?

2) Staring off with a higher end drone (P4, X-Star Premium, etc.)
These cost more initially, but you get a good bird off the bat. Muscle memory is learned on a bird that you will have for a long time. They are easier to fly because they do have GPS and are much softer on the controls. Thus, you can let go of the sticks and it will patiently wait for you to figure out what you are doing and what you need to do. The smaller, cheaper ones aren't as forgiving. You will never have to deal with sourcing 1S (1 Cell) LiPos from HobbyKing, wait for the slow boat from China, lack of parts and the constant fight with weather conditions.

With these things said, I recommend to all my customers who are unsure, to start off with the cheap toy ones first and learn how to actually fly a drone. Crash it, bang it up, push your limits on these. I see many pilots who don't know how to fly a Phantom because they never learned muscle memory. They end up mashing the sticks everywhere they go and their footage is useless because they're jerking around all the time. Yes you end up spending more in the long run, but an extra $50 early on is worth the skills you pick up. All of it translates in to silky smooth movements you NEED for FPV racing and cinematography.

Other than that, follow all local laws (Especially if you're in the U.S.) Don't be "that guy."
If you wanna get paid flying drone, get licensed!
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-get-drone-license-to-make-money-faq/
I started with an AR. Drone 2.0. its cheep ($200) and easy to fly. Also easy to repair if you crash it. I had to replace the whole frame and it cost $40 and took less than an hour. The down side is that it uses wifi instead of a radio so you have very little range. Also don't expect it to be used for photography, the camera is glued right on to the frame so it has no gimbal. After spending lots of time with my AR. Drone 2.0, I got a phantom 3 professional. It is great. Huge range (flew 5 miles away and still had perfect footage coming back.). The camera is amazing! I was amazed by how smooth it was. Over all its a great drone to fly and takes great photos and video. Some of the cons are that you wont get the 5 mile range if you don't have a direct line of sight to where it is. i got around 2 miles flying it in a lightly wooded area. NOTE: I would not recommend the phantom 4. Its just not worth the extra money. Finally if your into something cheep that you can fly inside or outside, you should get a hubsan H107D. It flies great, easy to fix (or mod) and its cheep.
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