Flying a drone for the first time can be overwhelming, tricky, and downright scary! So since you’ve made the investment into this incredible technology there are some drone flying tips you should know before you try it. From which beginner drone to buy to the camera and even what drone rules to know, this article will help you learn to fly before you even take it out of the box!
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12 Easy Tips for Flying a Drone
1. Start With a Small Drone
It’s important when learning how to fly a drone that you start with an easy model. For us, that was the DJI Mini 2. While there are plenty of cheaper companies DJI is known in the industry as the best for its size and price point.
Even though it’s one of the cheaper models, you should realize that buying a drone is still a big investment! The DJI Mini 2 is compact, lightweight, and simple to maneuver. Additionally, the size of your beginner drone will make it easy to transport and carry in your bag.
→ Shop for the DJI Mini 2 and More Awesome Drones!
2. Practice Makes Perfect
This one should be obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway. Get some good practice in to learn to fly a drone. That means don’t make your first time flying a drone over a massive cliff or in the woods around a bunch of trees.
Drive to a big parking lot with no one around, or even better a grassy open field. This will not only let you get a feel and practice your skills, but it will save you the embarrassment of flying a drone in public for the first time!
3. Look up Drone Rules & Restrictions
Unfortunately for new users, there is a lot of drone rules, laws, and restrictions for flying a drone. One of the biggest no-no’s we can tell you right off the top is don’t fly near airports or military bases! The good news is the app you download on your phone to use the drone should tell you if you’re in a no-fly zone.
4. What Country are you Flying in?
Also, certain countries have different regulations on drone usage including the size/type you may be bringing in. For example, on our recent travels to Thailand drones were allowed in but we had to buy insurance and fill out a lengthy form. Surprisingly, it took almost three weeks to get our application approved! Be sure to check the drone rules and laws when you’re traveling.
5. Charge Everything Before Flying a Drone!
One thing we didn’t realize when learning to fly a drone was how fast the batteries go. On average, I would say we only had about 20-25 minutes of fly time with the DJI Mini II. That’s why it’s SO important to have every piece charged. This means your extra battery pack, controller, and the drone itself.
Drone Flying Tip: Buy multiple batteries and change them out to increase your flight time. We always travel with two!
6. Take-Off and Land on Flat Surfaces
One of the most basic tips for flying a drone is that you need to start on a completely flat surface. In fact, your drone won’t even take off unless you do so! The reason being is that the wings need to be unimpeded as they’re very fragile.
Some of the best drone shots come from hard-to-reach places on mountain tops and beaches. Do your best to find any patch of concrete or tree stump to take off from when you first learn to fly a drone.
We even recommend buying a solid mat or something you can fold out to take off your drone from. You may see some skilled drone pilots taking off and landing from their own hand… But don’t try that move until you’ve got way more experience flying a drone!
7. Utilize the Return to Home Feature
Out of all functions to master when you learn how to fly a drone, this may be the most important! The return to home button does exactly what you think it would. Simply press it and your drone will come flying back to you.
This is especially useful if you lose sight of the drone (happens more than you think) or when you’re running out of battery. Set the return home altitude to something low or it will go shooting up into the sky unnecessarily. Additionally, you’ll want to confirm you set it to where you’re standing before taking off.
8. Experiment with Quick Shots
For photographers, the quick shots feature will become your best friend after learning how to fly a drone! Choose from several quick shots once the drone is already in the air, and it will perform the selected pattern.
Some of our favorites include the circle, boomerang, and rocket! This means it will auto-fly around you and take shots without controlling it.
9. Check Your Settings
Always check to make sure your settings are correct before flying a drone! You don’t want to get it up in the air and realize you did something wrong, have to land again, and have to start all over.
Here are some of the most basic settings to check when learning how to fly a drone:
- Shoot in 4k
- Set Return Home Altitude
- Take the Plastic Cover off the Camera
- Review Drone Rules for Area
10. Watch Tutorials on App & Youtube
Before you even take off for the first time you’ll want to watch some informational videos for how to fly a drone. Lucky for you, there are literally thousands of them out there!
We recommend starting with the videos that come with your affiliated app. Then when you need more specific instruction simply look up a “how-to” video on youtube. You’d be surprised how much time you’ll save instead of trying to figure it out yourself.
11. Don’t Go Out of Range
Aside from your battery being low, this is the alert that no drone pilot ever wants to see! If you get a warning that your drone has lost signal you’ll want to immediately bring it to a lower altitude towards you.
Technically the drone is supposed to return home automatically when it loses signal. Still, we’ve heard so many horror stories of people getting the lost signal alert and then never seeing their drone again! Keep it at a safe distance if possible.
12. Weather Warnings
The last of our tips for flying a drone is to keep an eye on the weather. Ideally, you’ll want clear and sunny skies for pictures and video content anyway, but that’s not the only reason to consider the weather.
Flying a drone in high winds or rain is not a good idea. This is just another chance to lose signal or have something heartbreaking happen. If you have any reservations about the weather know that it’s not worth it.
Have any questions about how to learn to fly a drone or want to share your own drone rules and tips? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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