The Basics of Rotor Copters 101

The Basics of Rotor Copters 101

If you’re considering getting into drones, chances are you would do well to pick up a less expensive model to practice with. Aerial photographers at weddings may make their craft look easy, but what you’re seeing is the product of hours of practice. If you’re interested in the basics and how to get started, keep reading.

The popularity of quadcopters has been picking up as the technology and applicability increase. Drones can be utilized for photography, videography and agricultural purposes. Security and transportation applications are being tested by various companies as well. Assuming the drone isn’t unmanned, there will be some things you need to know before you leave the launch pad.

Choosing a multirotor or quadcopter

Before we get into controlling you should know what kind you plan to buy. If you’re not interested in too much research and just want a cheap quality quadcopter read more here. If you prefer to do homework, have at it. I’d suggest looking for some hobby grade models. You may want to jump directly into a high-quality expensive model, but that may not be the best choice for an inexperienced copter pilot.

As a beginner quadcopter pilot, you’re likely to crash heaps. Any of these crashes can be become expensive depending on what it is you’ve crashed. Spare parts can become expensive and you’ll likely be buying a few, so stocking up initially may save you time. While the auto-balancing high-end models may be tempting, learning the basics on a hobby model would do you a great service going forward.

If you’re not sure exactly what type of drone you want. Consider what it is you’ll be using the drone for. If you’re using it for commercial purposes, chances are you’ll need a bigger quadcopter with a good camera. The same goes for social media content creators, but they get a bit more leeway on camera quality.

If you plan to race, prepare to buy a lot of parts, often. First person view or FPV racing drones are made to be highly customizable and their pilots take full advantage constantly tweaking their builds until they fly just right. You should definitely get a lower-end model and work your way up, but be prepared to give a lot of time, money and effort to your new hobby.

The hobbyists get the most options because they aren’t locked into any specific tasks. So, what I would suggest is picking a medium-sized high-end model and building a budget version with lower specs to train on until your comfortable. This way, their skills and balance would transfer over better and they’d need to adjust less if they choose to go bigger or smaller.

If you’ve committed to doing the research be adamant. Don’t simply buy what everyone else does because different quadcopters have different feels and control options. There is a ton of variety out there and unless you need race specification parts it’s truly up to you. Make it your own and have fun.

Controlling your vehicle

When controlling your drone, you’ll be freely moving in three dimensions, whereas in driving, there are only two. The three directional terms in flight are pitch, roll, and yaw. Roll tilts your drone left or right, pitch tilts your drone forward or backward and yaw rotates your drone clockwise or counter-clockwise. With those understood all that’s left is the concept of throttle which is to ascend or descend in the case of quadcopters.

There are multiple “modes” available for drone controllers but this varies depending on the model you purchased so it won’t be discussed in this article. However, there are some simple things to look out for when practicing, so below are some guidelines to follow.

Be sure to check your flight conditions

When practicing, especially as a beginner, there are ideal safety conditions. These can easily be met by picking a sunny day with no rain or wind. The chances of crashing or losing your quadcopter go up drastically in serious wind and it just isn’t worth it.

If possible, find a large, flat and open field. You want to avoid power lines, buildings and hopefully picknicking people that wouldn’t appreciate you flying overhead. The lack of obstacles also means minimal obstruction so you’ll be able to practice in peace and spot your drone if it goes down.

I can’t emphasize this enough, please don’t fly too close to other people. Depending on the country you’re in drones may be illegal and annoying bystanders won’t do much to keep them legal if they are where you’re from. Just treat people with the same respect you’d want them to treat you with if you were on a date.

It’s about good times

The most important thing that you need to know about drones is that you should have fun.