The fashion for quadcopters is growing – now not only children, but many adults want to learn how to fly drones. This does not require any serious skills: it is enough to buy a drone with an intuitive interface, hold a couple of training sessions at home – and you can launch the device in the open air. To make sure you are not disappointed in your first flight, we have compiled a selection of tips for choosing a quadcopter for beginners.
What drone to choose: a more expensive or cheaper?
The more features and functions, the longer the flight time and the more reliable the drone is. But even a cheap model with a minimum set of functions will do for a novice flyer. The point is that to use more expensive devices, you need experience and skills. And budget drones have a simplified design (RTF kits), they are less complicated to control. And it is not so frustrating to break or lose an inexpensive device when trying to land.
If your budget is limited and you are just trying to pilot a drone, you should not overpay for high quality photo and video capabilities.
Devices with good lenses require more dexterity in operation. At first, a copter with 2-5 MP cameras will be enough for the user. But you can pay extra for reliability and protection from mechanical damage.
Which quadcopter for a beginner is better: a small or a big one?
Mini and micro drones seem to be easier to control. But this is not true: it will be difficult for a beginner to maintain a stable flight of the device on the street because of its tiny size. Even at a small distance from the operator, the small quadcopter becomes almost invisible, and at the slightest gust of wind it changes its trajectory. The best option for the novice user is a medium-sized copter.
If you’re not planning to train outside, a small drone will do just fine for flying around the house or apartment. With it, you will learn how to hover in the air and master elementary tricks.
Medium-sized devices are resistant to gusts of wind and have a good protection against falls. And the speed and duration of flight of such models is noticeably higher. Large copters, though they look more attractive against the background of their medium and small counterparts, are designed for professionals or experienced amateurs.
3. Resistance to falls
Which drone to buy: with or without protection?
Crush resistance is one of the most important characteristics. A beginner’s quadcopter should have a robust design and propellers with additional protection. Otherwise there is a risk of breaking the copter at the start of the flight. Additional protection may increase the cost of the product, but it will allow the drone to work longer and to undergo more falls and bumps. And there will be a lot of them, especially at first.
By the way, a drone with protected propellers is suitable not only for novice adult pilots, but also for young schoolboys-beginners. Such a device reduces the probability of injury from contact with the blades, and also lives longer than unprotected models.
Which quadcopter is better to choose: ready-made or requiring assembly?
There are four types of drones: RTF, BNF, PNP and ARF. Each of them is designed for a particular group of users.
ARF (KIT-kits) – quadcopters for advanced users. Models marked ARF come completely disassembled. Not only you have to assemble drone, but also solder wires, load and install the firmware. Standard ARF/KIT kit includes: frame, controller, antenna and receiver, remote control, speed controllers, circuit board, and video transmitter. The battery and other options for some models have to be purchased separately.
Drones marked BNF come without remote controls. BNF stands for “zabondi and fly”: you can connect this flying machine to the existing remote control. However, such devices may seem complicated to novice pilots, because they require at least a little experience under the user’s belt.
PNP-squadcopters – devices, partially similar to the BNF-drones. Only BNF models come ready assembled, and in the case of PNP the owner will have to buy a remote control, battery and charger, propellers (some models) and a receiver. Such a drone is already equipped with a camera, controller and other options (except for the above). You can buy PNP drones even for beginners. But for the assembly and configuration still requires the help of an experienced person.
RTF quadcopters are fully ready to fly. There is no need to configure or connect anything. This is the best option for the novice user. In the kit already has everything you need for the first launch and control. There is no need to buy additional options and batteries. Except as a spare.
What drone to choose: with 3-axis or 6-axis stabilization?
A smooth flight, hovering in the air, transmission of images from cameras – all this depends on a good stabilization.
3-axis gyroscopes are equipped with inexpensive quadcopters. Such models easily cope with pitch and roll stabilization – angular movements of the drone relative to the main transverse axis of inertia, allow you to learn simple tricks. Although the devices are suitable for beginners, they still require pre-calibration.
On the 6-axis stabilization with built-in accelerometer drones are much easier to control, because the 6-axis system compensates for the lack of experience in piloting, helps prevent serious damage from falls. In addition, built-in gyroscopes together with an accelerometer make the drone more maneuverable and obedient.
For the novice pilot, the 6-axis stabilized model will help you quickly learn tricks and give you the opportunity to enjoy flying without serious control problems.
What battery should a quadcopter have?
With a battery capacity of less than 800 mAh you will not be able to fly, as well as to develop control reflexes. Such inexpensive models are more of a toy: you shouldn’t expect a flight with a good duration. But devices that are equipped with 900 mAh batteries give more interesting indicators of autonomy. Drones with batteries 900-2000 mAh and more, of course, are heavier, but the weight is justified by the battery life: from 10 to 45-60 minutes of continuous flight.
If you choose the best quadcopter in terms of autonomy, you still need to stock up on extra batteries. In this way, you will protect yourself from the degradation of the original battery and you can replace it at any time.
7. Easy to control
What should a quadcopter remote control be like for a beginner?
At first glance, the more functions a drone has, the more interesting its operation is. But not in the case of beginner pilots. A beginner needs maximum clear control without unnecessary frills. According to advanced users, the remote control should have an ergonomic form factor, similar to the joysticks of game consoles. And the controller itself should have a minimum set of buttons: so the pilot will learn the maneuvers faster and it will be easier for him to navigate the controls.
Pay attention not only to the convenience of the remote control, but also to the availability of flight modes for the beginner. The automatic return home function, switchable dynamics (fast/slow/medium speed) allow you to learn the basics even without basic skills.
8. Photo and video capabilities and FPV
Does a beginner need the FPV feature and quality photo/video shooting?
Definitely, yes. Even if you are not going to take photos and videos all the time. Even if you need the drone for racing. However, what lenses your quadcopter will have depends only on your budget.
Inexpensive copters are equipped with cameras for 1.2-5 MP. This is quite enough for a beginner. Mid-budget models are more interesting: here you can find drones with lenses for 8 and more MP. Some of them even have good image stabilization. A picture with such devices under skilled control turns out bright and detailed. Professional drones shoot video in 4K format and have a large amount of internal memory (128 GB).
If everything is clear with photo and video capabilities, then with FPV for the beginner still have to understand. This function is a must have quadcopter. Why? FPV stands for First Person View. With its help, the pilot can watch what is happening below from a bird’s-eye view, track the exact location of the device. The drone transmits real-time images from its video camera to the monitor, glasses or a user’s smartphone. The signal is transmitted via 2.4 and 5.8 GHz analog signal or 2.4-5 GHz (5G) digital Wi-Fi.
The best choice for a beginner is an inexpensive quadcopter with 5G Wi-Fi. Devices with analogue 5.8 GHz FPV transmission are more expensive, but the picture from the drone is transmitted without delays and interruptions.
9. Flight range and automatic altitude retention
How high should the quadcopter fly?
Some particularly advanced models are able to rise to 5-6 km. However, a novice user does not need such a height, because at the beginning it is important not to lose the quadcopter out of sight.
The optimal variant for the beginner – a copter that rises to a height of 25-200 m.
The drone must not only be able to climb high, but also hold a given altitude well. Medium-budget and expensive models are able to do this in automatic mode. This feature allows you to hover in the air and shoot video from a fixed point. Some inexpensive quadcopters also have this feature, but it is not well implemented.
The best drones – The selection includes 5 popular inexpensive and mid-budget drones. They are easy to set up and operate.