If you’re new to flying a drone, you might be a little nervous. I know I was. I stared at my drone for a long time, then the first few flights I just hovered it right above the ground, right in front of me. Too afraid to do anything else. Whether you already have a drone or not, here’s some of my tips to getting off the ground and feeling good about it.
Trust The Drone
I have flown quite a few DJI drones, so I can only speak specifically to those, but I imagine that all the other big name brands function very similarly. If you are getting or have a photography drone, something like a DJI Mavic Pro or Spark as I have, these things basically fly themselves.
My advice here is to not do anything crazy. If you don’t touch any of the controls, the drone will hover in it’s place, and not do anything. Is your drone headed towards a collision? Take your hands off the controls! Stop trying to fix it! The drone will stop and just hover. Learning to fly a drone and know which direction the drone is facing can be a long and confusing process. Know that with the technology in these drones, they will stop and sit still the second you take your thumbs off the sticks.
Know The Controls
Speaking of taking your thumbs off the sticks, once you’re ready, put them back. Being comfortable with the controls of the physical controller as well as the smartphone app you’re using is super important.
I mentioned above that I hovered for a very long time before I actually flew anywhere with my DJI Phantom 3. And I promise, the first time I went more than 10 feet off the ground, it was slowly and mostly using one stick at a time. Take your time, try out the sticks, and learn what your drone is going to do when you push a stick a certain way. Fly in a lot of circles and make sure that these movements become second nature before trying anything fancy.
Also get familiar with the app you’re using. If you’re flying a DJI drone, the DJI GO App is probably what you’ll be using. As soon as you power your drone on, you can connect the app to the drone and check out all the settings. Before you get into the air, you should know what settings are in the app, which camera options you might be wanting to utilize during your flight, and what types of settings your drone has turned on. Things like, is the Return to Home feature turned on or off?
Know Where You Are Flying
Here’s another tip to remember before you even take off. And this goes for newbies and veterans, always know where you’re flying, before you get there. Make sure you know where the trees, powerlines, buildings, people, and other unexpected things in the area are before you hit them. This is not only a safety tip but can also double as a cinematography tip. By knowing what types of shots you want and what types of flight paths you’ll be taking, you’ll spend less time aimlessly flying around and more time appreciating your amazing shots!
Try Out The Flight Simulator
You’ll need one of the newer DJI remotes and a computer that’s capable of running it, but DJI offers a pretty cool flight simulator. There is a free trial, but the full version is quite expensive. So is that worth the cost of training? Probably depends on how much extra money you have and what your plans are.
Check Out DJI’s beginner tips as well
DJI also has a few tips for beginners. Check them out here!