Whenever you purchase a quadcopter, you’re getting two things: four propellers and a big learning curve. There will be bumps in the road (or sky?) for first-time fliers, so Buy the Best Drone is here with your guide on how to fly a quadcopter. We’ll give you the steps to be safe, the know-how to master your transmitter, and some basic exercises to get you on your way to becoming a quad ace.
When learning how to fly a quadcopter, keeping safety in mind will help avoid injuring yourself or others and make sure your quadcopter stays in one piece.
Choosing the right setting to learn is key in flight safety. Consider picking a place where any mistakes will have the least amount of impact.
A large, open space like a field or park is best, since grass provides a cushion for crash landings and more space helps avoid injuring other people or animals. Watch out for wind when flying outdoors or you’ll be making it more difficult to learn the controls necessary for flying.
Learning how to fly a quadcopter indoors isn’t ideal, since the chances of damage only increases. If you’re learning indoors, tying the quadcopter down or putting it inside a smaller enclosure can help minimize these dangers.
Next, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the remote control (transmitter) and understand the effect of each stick movement as you learn how to fly a quadcopter.
There are four main controls involved in learning how to fly a quadcopter, all initiated by pushing your transmitter’s right or left sticks in different directions.
Roll (Aileron) – The right stick control used to tilt the quadcopter to the right or left. Right on the stick angles the quadcopter down toward the right, and left is down toward the left.
Rolling decreases power to the two propellers on the side of the roll direction, while increasing on the opposite side. For example: if you’re rolling right, the right two propellers’ power is increased and the left is decreased.
Pitch (Elevator) – Another right stick control, pitch moves the quadcopter forward or backward. Pushing the stick up tilts the quadcopter’s front end downward for forward movement, while pushing the stick down tilts the front end upward for backward movement.
Pitch decreases the power of the two propellers in the pitch direction. For example, pitching forward decreases the power of the two front propellers and increases the back.
Yaw (Rudder) – By using the left stick, yaw rotates the quadcopter counterclockwise or clockwise. Left on the stick is going to rotate counterclockwise, while right rotates clockwise.
Whatever way the quadcopter is rotating, yaw increases the power of the propellers spinning in the opposite direction. So, for rotating counterclockwise, power to the two propellers spinning clockwise is increased and the two spinning counterclockwise is decreased. The opposite is true for rotating clockwise.
Throttle – A simple but important control, throttle is used with your transmitter’s left stick to control height (altitude) while learning how to fly a quadcopter. Forward on the stick moves the quadcopter upward, while pushing backward moves it down.
Throttle works by controlling the overall power to all four propellers: engaging increases the power to lift, disengaging decreases the power to land.
* One important note to remember while learning how to fly a quadcopter is the controls’ directions are switched when the quadcopter is facing you, so always think of the controls from the quadcopter’s perspective, not how it is oriented to you.
We’ve gone over flight safety and you can handle the controls, so it’s time to take what we’ve talked about so far and apply it with some simple exercises on how to fly a quadcopter.
Taking Off – Getting into the air is the first step. Start simple by slowly push the throttle up. Get used to how much you need to push the throttle to get the propellers going, gradually increasing to lift the quadcopter off of the ground and finally decreasing the throttle to allow a landing.
Hovering and Landing – Now that you can take off, we’ll go into hovering mid-air and landing from a greater height. After using the throttle to get airborne, keep going to hover a foot or so from the ground. While keeping the throttle engaged enough to hover, take the chance to make adjustments with the roll, pitch, and yaw controls. Once you’re ready to land, back off the throttle until it’s a couple inches from the ground and then cut the throttle completely to set the quadcopter down gently.
Left, Right, Forward, and Backward – You can keep the quadcopter steady in the air, so now it’s time to move in the four basic directions. Once you use the throttle to take off and hover, use the roll (left and right) and pitch (forward and backward) to move in different directions and then back to the original hovering position.
Rotating – You’ve probably been using the yaw to make small adjustments, but full rotations are key for more advanced maneuvers. First, engage the throttle to hover. Now, use the yaw to rotate the quadcopter a full 360 degrees one way and then the other.
Continuous Flight – The last exercise is going to be more complicated, using both sticks to control direction and rotation at the same time. As usual, get airborne with the throttle. After you’re hovering, use the yaw to rotate the roll and pitch to fly different directions from different angles. Once you’re comfortable flying at different angles, go ahead and try flying continuously by increasing the throttle while also using simultaneously using the roll to go left or right. You’ll next want to throw in the pitch for forward and backward movement when you’re up to it, and then use the yaw to rotate and change the direction the quadcopter is facing. Finally, start using the throttle to move up and down in conjunction with controlling direction and rotation to really get the hang of continuous flight.
Well, you’ve made it to the end of our guide on how to fly a quadcopter, and we can only hope we’ve inspired another pilot to take to the sky. Preparing yourself with the correct safety steps, understanding the effects the controls have on the quadcopter, and practicing flight techniques will get you carving and flipping through the air like a pro in no time.