The Sky's the Limit With This Beginner's Guide to Drone Flying

Fly away with these drone tips.

Jul 1

Photo via Guillaume Issaly on Unsplash

The emergence of affordable drones with high-end cameras has made a once high-budget cinematic tool accessible to content creators and hobbyists everywhere. If you want to get into the hobby, you should know how to operate one!

This beginner's guide to drone flying breaks down how to take to the skies, discover amazing views, and capture unforgettable images while always ensuring a safe return to Earth. 

Learn to Fly a Drone Safely

The Federal Aviation Administration is the main authority you need to look to for answers to your drone safety questions.

In its guide on how to fly a drone for beginners, the FAA includes specific rules for recreational flyers, FAA-recognized community organizations, direct links to the UAS Safety Test (Trust), and links to drone registrations. 

Can you fly a drone without a permit? 

No. According to the FAA, if your drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds and you're using it recreationally, then you need to register it under the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations, which costs $5 and works for three years. You'll also need to pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST), which is a free online exam that demonstrates your knowledge of the rules for recreational flying, which are available via the FAA. 

For a larger drone that weighs up to 55 pounds and those used commercially, you can register it online at the FAADroneZone

Drone Flight Basics

One of the best beginner's guides to drone flying out there comes courtesy of UAVCoach, which breaks down in detail drone flight basics, essential pre-flight checklists, how to get off the ground, hover, fly forward, backward, and in a circle. 

For starters, the guide breaks down these four main drone controls that are key to understanding how to fly: 

  • Throttle adjusts the altitude of the drone. The operator increases the throttle by pushing the left stick forward and decreases it by pulling it back. 
  • Yaw points the front of the drone one way or another to help the drone turn. Pushing the left stick to the left or right tilts and turns the drone in that direction. 
  • Pitch tilts the drone forward or backward. Pushing the right stick forward or backward helps guide it when going up or down. 
  • Roll turns the drone over to help turn it left or right. The operator rolls the drone by pushing the right stick left or right. 

Consider These Beginner Drones

Once you've gone through the UAVCoach guide and FAA regulations, and chosen a drone that suits your needs, then you can combine what you've learned with your drone's specific features to start flying. Here are some options to consider: 

4K dual-camera drone for beginners with Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance

This 4K dual-camera drone for beginners comes with a one-key start/stop feature, which holds the drone in place at 1.5m above the ground to begin or end a flight smoothly. While still requiring a basic knowledge of drone flight, it does automate part of the process, which many beginners appreciate. 

This same drone features gesture control capabilities, which enable users to take photos and videos with simple palm movements—like making a fist. 

In addition to its one-key takeoff/landing capabilities, this 4K drone's three-way obstacle avoidance perceives the distance between the drone and potential obstacles to avoid collisions automatically. 

This 4K dual-camera drone for beginners with Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance is on sale for $75 (reg. $119.99). 

GPS 4K HD Wi-Fi dual-camera drone

With a built-in GPS and lightweight build, this drone is another one that's well-suited for beginners. Its altitude hold mode keeps the drone stable when you're ready to snap a photo or take a video. It's small and portable, features headless mode, and other useful components to help you capture stunning 4K aerial footage.

Pick up this GPS 4K HD Wi-Fi dual-camera drone with two batteries for $75 (reg. $129.99). 

Wi-Fi FPV selfie drone

As you get more comfortable flying drones, you may want to spend more time out on shooting days. With three included batteries, this small and foldable drone comes with all of the beginner-friendly features mentioned above plus more power storage. 

Throw some power into the sky with this Wi-Fi FPV selfie drone with two 4K HD cameras and three batteries at a discounted rate of $80 (reg. $110.99). 

Finding Great Locations and Adventures 

Learning how to fly a drone and capture great images is just the beginning for serious enthusiasts. At its heart, a drone is a vehicle to explore viewpoints and perspectives that we can't reach with our own arms and legs. 

From finding locations to planning out camping trips—the amount of research and adventure you can cultivate to complement your newfound drone abilities is theoretically endless. All there's left to do is take to the sky and have fun. 

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