Flying a drone is tons of fun and very exciting because it tends to be different from other RC vehicles. But, at the same time, flying a drone isn’t really that easy and simple especially for those who are first-time RC flyers. That said, if you are a beginner or if you are simply bad at flying a drone, don’t worry because we have 11 tips that are sure to help you improve your drone flying skills.
1. Go and take a training course
Let’s be honest. This is the best and fastest way for you to actually improve your drone flying skills. There are no two ways about it, as taking a course is sure to improve your skills in a very short time to the point that you can go from beginner to expert in a hurry without too many growing pains.
The reason why a training course is great for you is that there will be multiple drone pilots coaching and training you along the way. Of course, the skills that they will be teaching you come from experience and training through the many months or even years that they have been piloting drones. And there is no better way for you to learn than to have the best of the best coaching you.
That said, taking a training course will allow you to absorb a lot of great information from the different styles and preferences that these coaches have. Of course, their personal experiences and mistakes will also help you along the way as having a coach will allow you to shorten the learning time that you need to improve your skills. Just make sure you have the money to invest in a training course.
There are plenty of different training courses that you can consider, and these courses may vary in terms of the techniques and skills that they teach you. Some courses are also personal training sessions while others are online. A simple search may reveal to you some of the available training courses that are close to your location. Check out some of our recommended training courses here.
2. Practice with a smaller and cheaper drone
You remember practicing shooting a basketball with a smaller ball when you were a child, don’t you? Then it follows that you may be able to improve your drone piloting skills by starting with a smaller and cheaper drone even though some people don’t really believe that this works.
There are some that would say that a smaller drone is harder to maneuver because of how they have weaker motors. Meanwhile, some would say that controlling a smaller drone is easier because of how light they are. For my part, I would say that practicing with a smaller drone is more economical because, let’s face it, bigger drones are more expensive and power-intensive. You don’t want to end up losing a lot of money when your expensive drone crashes.
In that regard, I suggest going for a smaller drone not necessarily because they are easier to pilot but because the investment you need for a smaller drone tends to be a smaller hit to your budget. So, in that case, if ever you do indeed crash or break a small drone while practicing, you won’t have to deal with losing a lot of money.
After you have already mastered the cheaper drones and have learned to fly properly while minimizing the crashes, that is when you might want to consider going to your more expensive drone.
3. Forget about photography at first
We get it and we believe that it is completely natural for you to want to improve your drone photography skills in line with your piloting skills. After all, piloting a drone is not only about actually flying one but also learning how to take great photographs of landscapes or even selfies while you are flying the drone.
But you have to understand that you need to master your piloting skills first before you learn how to take great photos with a drone. After all, you don’t learn how to drift without first mastering how to actually drive a car. The same concept applies to when you are piloting a drone as you need to focus more on the fundamental aspect of flying instead of skipping straight to taking photos with the drone.
Moreover, thinking about photography elements such as exposure and composition can distract you from what is more important, which is making sure that the drone is actually flying well. But the good news here is that experts say that knowing how to use the drone’s camera becomes second nature to you once you have mastered piloting because you are now better at positioning your drone and at making sure it is as steady as possible.
4. Watch training videos
If you can’t afford drone training courses, then the next best thing is to watch training videos online. The great thing about the internet is that there are plenty of people willing to lend their expertise and knowledge for free. That means that you can go to YouTube and search for a great drone training video and use it as a guideline for how you fly your drone.
The truth is that reading through articles will be more difficult for you to learn how to fly a drone because you don’t have a visual interpretation of what is happening. But videos will give you both the visual and audio experience you need to learn more skills and improve as a drone pilot.
5. Join a drone club or find friends who fly drones
Even though when you fly a drone, it’s one person at the controls per drone, flying drones doesn’t have to be a solo activity. It can be a ton of fun to get out and fly together with a few other friends who are into the same hobby. You can stage races or other games, or just hang out and talk about your adventures with your drone.
Having a club or some friends who share your interest in drones is a great way to learn new skills, as you watch what others are practicing, and ask them questions about how they are able to do certain things. It’s also a good way to keep yourself motivated to advance your own skills when you see others learning and progressing as well.
6. Take things step by step
Like anything in life, unless you are a natural-born prodigy, you need to take things step by step when it comes to piloting a drone. You don’t have to take things to the next level right away by doing difficult aerial maneuvers and tricks that only the experts can easily pull off. There is also no reason for you to take the drone 50 feet up in the air the moment you take it out of the box.
Instead, take things slowly by starting out just a few feet off the ground. In most cases, 10 feet should be high enough for beginners. Make sure that you learn how to do simple and basic flight controls from that distance. And, from there, you can steadily work your way up until you can fly the drone to higher altitudes and more complex scenarios.
Some people start by hovering in place and learning how to take off and land repeatedly. They also try to get a feel of how sensitive the sticks are at first because learning more about the controller is the essential part of knowing how to properly fly a drone. You should be able to get to the level where the sticks and the controller themselves feel like they are extensions of your hands so that you will feel more natural while controlling the drone.
7. Set a landing spot
Landing can be just as difficult as any part of flying a drone. Of course, you need to make sure that you land the drone properly because a bad landing can spell doom for your drone and all the money you spent on it.
That’s why we recommend that you try to use landing spots or landing targets that will help improve your landing precision. This will allow you to have a target for landing your drone until you get the hang of properly landing your drone with or without a target. You have to get to the point where the landing target becomes an imaginary spot in your head as you are landing the drone safely onto the ground.
Having a landing target also improves your confidence because you are now aiming to make sure that you land your drone safely on that spot. The best landing target should ideally be in an open field that is free of people, animals, poles, and other obstructions. Then, place markers to use as landing targets for the drone.
8. Fly around in a perfect circle
A great way for you to instantly improve your drone piloting skills is learning how to fly around in a perfect circle. This can be difficult to do for a lot of beginners but we recommend that you try to find a point of interest such as a house or a pole and try to make that the center of the circle.
Once you have found a point of interest, the next thing you need to do is to try to circle it with your drone perfectly. Mastering this skill takes great control at the sticks, and can be a benefit for you because some commercial drone pilots may be tasked to take photos of an entire building or house from all angles.
9. Upgrade to figure eight
While a figure eight is not as practical in the real world as a perfect circle, we still recommend that you master the skill of forming a number 8 in the air while flying your drone not because it can be useful but because it helps improve your skills.
Knowing how to fly a figure 8 can be a great way to improve your coordination with your drone as you will have to have perfect control over it while trying to draw a number 8 in the air.
10. Use the first-person view
While we did say that you need to forget about photography first, you may want to use the first-person view or the FPV, which allows you to use your drone’s camera as your eyes. You are essentially seeing what your drone sees, just by looking at your screen.
The best part about this view is that it allows you to put yourself in the shoes of the drone so that you will be able to see what it sees while it is flying. This allows you to improve your overall photography skills alongside your flying skills as you are now looking at things from a different perspective.
However, when practicing using FPV, take things slowly and start from the bottom once again. Start by flying the drone from a few feet off the ground before you take it up in the air slowly and steadily as you practice more and more maneuvers. Don’t rush into the more advanced piloting skills when you are flying the drone using FPV.
11. Set yourself small goals each time you fly
Nothing improves your drone piloting skills more than good old practice. Just continue to practice as much as you can so that you will be able to progress through your skills every single time you take flight with your drone.
But make sure that you challenge yourself a little every practice day by trying out newer tricks and maneuvers or by taking the drone higher up in the air. You won’t be able to improve if you are only practicing basic skills without progressing from there. Having an idea of what your practice goal is for each flight will help you keep making progress.