Learning To Fly A Quadcopter
Aerial photography drones have gotten much easier to fly over the past few years but you still need to know how to fly one manually for a number of different reasons. Landings and Take offs in difficult terrain often involve flying around and avoiding objects and you need solid remote control skills to do this.
Becoming a good pilot requires a cheap quadcopter drone like the Hubsan X4 and about a week of practice flying a few battery packs a day. Of course, the more you practice the better you will get. I wrote a short guide to flying that has the following 10 drills in them but all the best information will just be in the following 3 posts and youtube videos so you do not need to purchase it.
When you can complete a drill 3 times you are probably ready to move on to the next one. If you have played video games or have flown other remote control aircraft you will probably progress through the first 3 drills quickly but go ahead and stick to the plan because things get much more difficult when you change the orientation of the drone! Side and nose in hovering are particularly tricky but important to keeping you from crashing your nice new shiny drone later on!
Take off smoothly and raise your drone to eye level, holding it there for a count of 5. Use tiny adjustments on the right stick to keep it in the same spot. You want it go up smoothly and hang directly in front of your face; then smoothly cut the throttle to land back in the same spot you took off from. As you become more skilled, you can add a small amount of throttle just as you are touching down to "flare" and have a smoother landing.
Take off smoothly and bring your drone to eye level again. This time, fly the drone 5 feet to the left by pressing the right stick left. Fly back to a place directly in front of you and stop. Next, fly 5 feet to the right and stop before returning to a place directly in front of you. You will need to make minor adjustments in every direction with both the right and the left stick in order to keep the drone at the same altitude and orientation. Don't worry about getting it perfect, the goal of this drill is to control where there drone is going and to get it back to where you started.
Take off smoothly and bring the drone to a steady hover in front of you. Next, fly it away from you by pushing the stick forward and have it stop 5 feet away. Hover, and return your drone to its original position. Now would be a good time to start paying attention to how the drone looks as it flies away from you and towards you, because this will become much more important as you start flying further away.
The End of Part 1
These 3 drills are great for learning how to fly but they are also great for getting warmed up or getting the feel for a new drone. Part 2 will cover some more advanced drills!