Tips for Beginner Drone Pilots
Here are some tips for beginner drone pilots from a fellow new drone pilot on how to fly your drone. I had some trouble flying a drone at first but got used to it as I kept practicing. It’s become a lot more fun actually.
As the pilot in command (someone who controls the drone) you have to look out for obstacles and potential hazards you may encounter. You also have to check the airspace you’ll be flying your drone in, so you don’t accidentally fly into an airplane. If you are a hobbyist, you may not know about the different types of airspace you can fly in (A – G), but that’s okay since there are apps for that.
Let me share my experience as a new drone pilot that has flown for less than a month. I fly a DJI Mini 3 Pro for reference.
Controlling a Drone
First is getting the hang of controlling your drone in flight. When you fly, it’s easy to just focus on the screen seeing what your drone is seeing. That’s a habit you should avoid developing when flying as there are obstacles that you can see that your drone can’t. Spatial navigation has a bit of a learning curve.
I recommend going to an open field that doesn’t have a lot of people to get used to spatial navigation. My joystick controls are the default ones my drone came with. The left stick controls consist of up to ascend, down to descend, left to turn the drone to face left, and right to turn the drone to face right. The right stick controls 2-dimensional movement of the drone that consists of up to move forward, down to move backwards, left to move left, and right to move right.
Mastering these controls and getting comfortable with flying comes first as a total noob. It’s worth taking the time to do. One key tip is having a mat or small table to have your drone take off and land on in the event that there isn’t a place to do that naturally. This is so your drone doesn’t get caught in grass or fall off the take-off or landing point.
Fiddling with the camera
Once you get the hang of flying a drone, you can start fiddling with the camera. There are extra controls on your controller that with have different effects on your drone. Aside from the photo capture and the video capture button, there are scroll wheels and buttons that effect your drone camera. I generally use the defaults.
The left wheel dictates the angle at which the camera is pointing. Depending on your drone, you can set a button that automatically sets its angle. The right wheel controls camera ISO for me by default and when used in conjunction with the left button, it controls the shutter. You can set the buttons to do whatever you want within the controller settings.
It’s all up to your preference and as you fly your drone more and more, you’ll know what settings feel right to you. You can browse YouTube to find a video for settings then tweak them to your liking. That’s what I did. Settings include the speed a drone flies in different modes.
Social Stigma with flying a drone
One of the hurdles I had to overcome didn’t even involve practicing how to fly a drone. It more or less consisted of being worried about what other people around me thought as I flew my drone. That hurdle is quick to get over when you realize no one cares about what you’re doing. At most they will say “oh look a drone, that’s cool” then go on their merry way.
I have not had a bad encounter with anyone so far. If anything, it has been positive. If you’re planning to be a commercial pilot and getting certified, it would actually be beneficial to carry around business cards. People are more or less interested in what you’re doing than not. At first, it’s weird having people around as you learn to fly a drone, but you get used to it. Getting over the anxiety is a tip for beginner drone pilots that I stumbled upon.
Flying a drone can be intimidating at first but it becomes really fun once you get the hang of it. Learning to control the movement of your drone overall is a must before you practice controlling the camera. Once you get comfortable with all the controls and have all your drone settings set to what suits you, you can capture the beautiful scenery around you. Then you can get to editing your images or videos. If you don’t know how to edit, just YouTube how to do it and I’m sure you’ll find your way.
I hope my tips for beginner drone pilots has helped give you some direction. Thanks for reading!