Before learning how to fly a UAV, more than likely you discovered different controller flight modes such as altitude hold and head-free mode. These flight modes are basically assistive features which provide you easier control of your UAV. For example, altitude hold keeps the height of your UAV constant so that chances of a crash
Before learning how to fly a UAV, more than likely you discovered different controller flight modes such as altitude hold and head-free mode. These flight modes are basically assistive features which provide you easier control of your UAV. For example, altitude hold keeps the height of your UAV constant so that chances of a crash are reduced while head-free mode helps in keep track of the UAV’s orientation.
That said, in general it’s not recommended that you start off with these modes as they may prove to handicap you in future flights. Why? Well, imagine learning to drive a motor vehicle in a car with automatic transmission – transitioning to a vehicle with manual transmission after that would be rather difficult. Likewise, if you have learned to drive a manual car, driving an automatic one is usually not a problem.
The same is true with UAVs. If you start off using assistive modes, you’ll likely feel handicapped in challenging situations as a result, may experience massive failure. So how do you get around this?
First of all, before starting the learning process, it is important that you have a drone which is capable of withstanding a few bruises. The easiest way to learn how to manually fly a UAV is to get a cheap micro quadcopter such as a Hubscan or a Syma. These are basic 4-channel UAVs and are quite resilient to crashes. Also, due to their low price, damaging one will not put a huge dent on one’s wallet.
Alternatively, select a mini quadcopter with a carbon fiber frame. An example of such a frame is the ZMR250. Not only can these take a lot of hits, they generally only lose props in a crash – a common occurrence for those first learning to fly a drone.
Yet even if you start off with a more advanced drone such as the DJI Phantom or an AEE Toruk, learning how to fly safely in manual mode is possible. Do this by turning off the assistive modes and switching to the manual mode once the drone is in the air. Also, since these drones come with safety features such as return to home, in the event of an imminent crash, simply flick the button to prevent catastrophe.
Regardless of your equipment, learning to fly in manual mode can prove to be extremely fun. After some practice, you may even be able to switch to using rate mode, which disables the auto leveling feature and allows you to make crazy maneuvers such as flips and rolls. A person who has learned to fly solely with assisted modes can only dream of performing such maneuvers. So we recommend that you give manual mode a try as the best way to start in order to get the most out of your drone – and enjoy your experience to the fullest.
Image via: Carsten Frenzl