In this post, we will be sharing everything you need to know about how to fly a drone like a through professional. Veteran pilots make flying a quadcopter look ridiculously easy but in reality, it is a hard nut to crack for a novice. Do not be afraid, since we will be discussing with you all the basic steps that will help you get into grips with the art and science of flying a drone. Moreover, you will be able to exercise complete control over your gizmo. Without much ado, let’s get started.
Please note that this tutorial is formulated based on the following configuration of the transmitter: the yaw and throttle are controlled with the left stick while the roll and pitch are controlled with the right joystick.
Part 1: Basic Anatomy of a transmitter
If you want to learn how to fly a drone in an expert manner, you should get yourself acquainted with the fundamental features of a transmitter. It is the handheld controller that is used by a drone pilot to maneuver his/her device. Generally, transmitters have a couple of joysticks: the right one and the left one. By moving these joysticks, you can make your drone fly in the requisite direction.
The right joystick controls the roll and pitch which means that it makes the quadcopter move in the forward or backward directions as well as to the right or the left. Let’s delve into more detail with respect to these functionalities:
Roll is responsible for the right and left motion of the quadcopter. In the figure below, you can see the quadcopter rolling to the left or to the right. You will notice that when the quadcopter rolls to the left, the two left propellers dip towards the ground and while it rolls towards the right, the right propellers dip towards the ground.
Rolls is an essential movement to master while flying a drone. If you roll your drone too far to the right or too far to the left, you could have your drone crash down into some nearby building or trees.
Pitch is responsible for the forward and backward movement of the quadcopter. Like roll, this is yet another important aspect that you need to master in order to learn how to fly a quadcopter. When you pitch the quadcopter forward, the two front propellers dip to the ground while the rear ones are raised up. On the other hand, when you pitch backwards, the rear propellers dip to the ground while the front ones are raised up.
As long as the orientation of the drone is correct, controlling the pitch is not all that difficult. You just have to move the joystick up and down to pitch the quadcopter forward or backward. However, if the orientation of the quadcopter is lost and it is not facing in the direction as you are, it will not pitch forward or backward simply by the upward or downward motion of your stick. It will move at an angle which is not desired.
Yaw and throttle are controlled by the left stick which allow your drone to fly to a specific altitude and to rotate along its central axis. Here’s a deep insight into Yaw and Throttle:
Yaw is responsible for the clockwise and counterclockwise rotation of a quadcopter. A disc-shaped unidentified flying object rotating clockwise is Yaw. Owing to the fact that yaw is controlled by the same stick that tends to control the throttle, so novices find it hard to control the two simultaneously. However, if you put in extra hours of effort, you will eventually master this trade.
Moving the right joystick to the right makes the quadcopter rotate clockwise while moving it to the left, makes it rotate counterclockwise. This is a tricky business and you will get to know how hard it is once you start doing it practically.
Nano drones such as Cheerson CX-10 and FQ777-124 Pocket Drone come with incredibly swift yaw rates which means that they are able to rotate faster in comparison with other devices.
It transfers power to the propellers and makes them spin. As the propellers spin at a higher rate, a downward flow of air is created that finally lifts the quadcopter in the upward direction. This is a control that you will be using all the time while flying your quadcopter.
So, it is important that you become familiar with fine tuning your drone’s throttle so that you are able to make it hover over a certain location with relative ease. Moving the left stick forward imparts more thrust to the propellers and helps the drone lift in the upward direction while moving the stick back to its original position will exterminate all the power to the propellers and your drone will stop flying.
Part 2: How to take off with your quadcopter
Taking off your quadcopter in the right way is vitally important. This is one of the most important aspects of learning how to fly a drone. Following steps will help you get better at taking off with your quadcopter during your quest to learn how to fly a drone.
- Identify the throttle: For this exercise, you will only be using the left joystick. Keep in mind that throttle imparts thrust to the propellers, thus allowing the drone to take off from the ground. During this exercise, forget about all the other controls, buttons and switches involved and focus just on the throttle.
- Place your drone on a flat surface: Set your drone on a flat smooth surface just about five feet in front of you. Make sure that there is lots of space available and the weather conditions are appropriate if you are flying outdoors.
- Pair your transmitter with your drone: All the drones require their transmitter to bound before the takeoff. This is done by powering on your transmitter and the quadcopter and then pushing the left stick up and down. At this point in time, you are ready to take off.
- Move the throttle up gently: Begin at the 10% throttle and gently push it hard. The aim is to get your drone lifted off the ground and then bring it back down. This should be repeated again and again until you are confident that you have got a hang of it.
Keep in mind that if your drone starts drifting during the takeoff, do not use your right stick to adjust its motion. Simply stop, reposition the quadcopter at its original location and repeat the exercise. This exercise has been designed simply to get you acquainted with the quadcopter’s throttle only. You will get plenty of opportunity to try other controls out.
Part 3: How to hover with your quadcopter
By hover we mean that the drone is able to remain stationery over a certain location mid-air. Hovering over a particular location is quite a complex task. However, if you put in the hard yards, you will be able to master it as well.
This exercise will help you get better at hovering over a certain location with seamless ease:
- Takeoff your drone with throttle: Try to lift your drone to a height of 24 inches from the ground. Take a look at the LCD display of your transmitter and make a note of the throttle position (10%, 30% etc.)
- Use right joystick to make fine adjustments: Do not take your drone away from its hovering position. Use the right joystick to make subtle modifications to ensure that it keeps hovering over the desired location. Try and hover the quadcopter of the desired position for about 10 seconds and gradually increase the hovering time.
- Gradually cut the throttle off to land: Gradually lower the left stick to get the quadcopter to land until you get back on the ground. Landing slowly is very critical when you learn how to fly a drone.
Repeat this exercise again and again until you become adept at hovering over the desired location for as long as you want. The key is to maintain the same throttle position (10%, 30% etc.) each time while using the right stick to make subtle adjustments.
Part 4: How to Fly Forward/backward and Left/Right
As soon as you become acquainted with hovering and taking off, it is time you graduated to a more complex stage of learning how to fly a quadcopter. At this stage, we will discuss how to move your drone in the desired direction. The right joystick will be used to control all the left, right, forward and backward movement. Following steps will help you learn how to fly forward/backward and left/right:
- Hover over a certain location steadily: Make the quadcopter hover about five feet in front of you keeping the drone at a height equivalent to your eye-level.
- Fly forward: Gently push forward on the right joystick. The drone will start moving forward. While doing so, keep an eye at the device. Ensure that you maintain a steady throttle while the drone is maneuvered in the forward direction. After flying forward for some distance, let go of the stick.
- Fly backward: Gently push backward on the right joystick. The drone will begin to fly towards you. After making it cover some distance in the backward direction, let go of the joystick.
- Fly sideways: Move the right stick to the right to make the quadcopter go right and move it left to make it go left. During all this process, do not make your quadcopter go farther than a specified distance.
The basic principle behind this exercise is to remain cognizant of your altitude. The most difficult thing I felt during my learning stage was to maintain a particular height while moving the drone in a specified direction. All this process is bound to take time and real hard work. So, do not get discouraged and keep working hard.
Keep in mind that the left stick controls yaw or rotation. When you quadcopter starts rotating in clockwise direction, move the left stick to the left to produce anticlockwise rotation. This will ensure that the drone gets back to its original hovering position. This is a crucial tip that will help you out a lot in your learning process.
Part 5: When your quadcopter is facing you
Things can be a little difficult to handle when the quadcopter is facing you. This is so because all the controls get reversed in this scenario:
- Pushing the right joystick in the forward direction will make the drone move in the backward direction rather than in the forward direction
- Moving the left stick to the right will induce counterclockwise rotation as opposed to clockwise rotation
- Moving the right stick to the left will make the drone move towards the right as opposed to the right side
This will make things confusing. The best advice here is to practice as much as possible. It will take you lots of time and effort before you become an expert.
- How to Fly an Aerial Drone (By David A. Cox)
- How to Fly a Quadcopter – Part 1 (By MyFirstDrone)
- Lesson for Flying a Drone with Video Camera Made Easy (By Comal Ripple’s Channel)
- Quadcopter Drone Flying Lessons (By Quadcopter 101)