If you have opened a package with a new drone among Christmas gifts, you probably have many questions and doubts about how to fly a drone, where you can do it, how to improve your technique or what possibilities your new gift offers you, as well as maintenance issues or Where to find spare parts or how long can drones fly. We have the complete guide to getting started in the drones.
Where Can I Fly My New Drone And How Long Can Drones Fly?
If we assume that your new drone, more or less complete, will be used exclusively for your leisure, we would actually be talking about a recreational purpose that for now only has a series of recommendations but also a general legislation that we must comply if we do not want to face to penalties or fines by the authorities.
Under current legislation, the use of drones recreationally must comply with the legislation and follow AESA’s recommendations
For the State Air Safety Agency (AESA), an agency that depends on the Ministry of Development, drones (even when we use them recreationally) are legally aircraft and for their specific case indicate a series of recommendations to follow to avoid sanctions but also to fly the drone safely and without risk of accidents.
The main considerations that we must follow when flying a drone are:
- Always have it in sight (no more than 500 meters away) and not exceed 120 meters high during the flight even if our model allows a higher flight.
- Do not fly the drone when the weather conditions are unfavorable, such as with a lot of wind that makes handling difficult. It can never be done at night.
- The flight is prohibited in areas close to airports or places that have reserved airspace.
- For the flight, you must use suitable areas, preferably those reserved for aeromodelling tests. It is very convenient to find out about local or regional regulations about it or much better, contact a nearby model airplane club that will have all the information for a safe flight.
- You cannot fly the drone over crowds of people, including parks, beaches, and other outdoor sites. There should never be a risk for people. And you have to take into account that the damage caused by the drone is the direct responsibility of the driver, so if you are going to fly frequently it is advisable to have civil liability insurance.
If our drone has a camera capable of taking photos or recording video, there is more legislation to comply. If we want to make use of the ability of our drone to register images, we must respect the Data Protection Law since it is likely that during our flight with a drone with a camera, images of identified or identifiable natural persons will be made.
If these third parties are involved directly or indirectly, we have the obligation to inform them (indoors we can do so directly or through informational posters) as well as to the Data Protection Agency.
Preparations Before Flying A Drone
Once you are clear about what you have to do at the level of security and legislation to start flying your brand new drone, it is time to turn it on and start flying it. Although your expertise and the technology associated with your specific model will mark how agile and durable your first flights are, there are a number of tips, recommendations, and tricks that you can start putting into practice as soon as you take the drone out of the box.
It may seem broken, but you should contain the emotion of the moment and stop for a while before flying your drone to read the device manually. Maybe not everything but the pages that talk about its possibilities, options, modes but above all the controls and physical buttons of the remote. I assure you that you will not want to play trial-error with the options and possibilities of your drone in full flight.
The most immediate thing before flying your drone is that you learn and be clear about what each element of the command is and does. The control may resemble the control of your console, your remote control car from childhood or be a touch screen … But perhaps it has nothing to do. In some models, you can configure those controls or contain some specific ones that you have never seen. Learn them
Once you have complete knowledge of the drone’s options and its control, you have to check that all the elements are in perfect condition. This step should not be taken only the first time you fly a drone but before each flight. The blows, the intensive use or that there are pieces that you can exchange yourself require some routine checks.
The main ones have to do with the fact that there are no loose elements, that there are no missing screws or fasteners, that the protections (if we decide to put them on) are well secured and do not interfere with the movement of the propellers , and that they rotate in the sense that they should. Having done this check we can turn on the drone and confirm that all the engines are in perfect condition without lifting the flight yet.
If not, we will proceed to change it before flying it. In fact, if we see that it does nothing, it is probably because of a broken engine or about to do so, and the control system does not let the flight begin.
If your drone is handled with a smartphone, it is very likely to include some type of initial calibration. The routine of calibrating your drone’s flight system at the start of the flight is also convenient and will help make the flight more faithful to what you are looking for.
Typically, the applications associated with the drones will indicate step by step what you should do before starting the flight. You don’t get this help that the manufacturer puts at your disposal.
Finally, you should not forget the batteries. Since flying a drone will not be something you do regularly and that charging times tend to be great, more than once you can find that you want to make a flight but the batteries are discharged. A routine that you can incorporate after each flight is, in addition to cleaning the drone, charge the batteries before storing your equipment again.
In any case, before leaving for a flight session, make sure that both the battery of the remote control and that of each element of the drone that uses one are correctly installed, at full capacity and without visible damage. You should pay special attention to external batteries, which you can exchange yourself or if you have included any of more capacity on your own. You can do it but you must make sure that they are not swollen or have openings that could cause a fire or damage during the flight.
How To Fly A Drone For The First Time
Once you have the drone ready, if it is your first flight, you will need a kind of flight baptism that should be as safe as possible for your drone, for you and for anyone who can be close if we have decided so. The time required to take control, the so-called learning curve, varies according to the size of the drone, sensors and also our skill.
If your first flight is going to be outdoors it is highly recommended that it be in a wide area, with no obstacles on the ground or at heights, and with no one nearby. It is also better if you choose a day with good visibility and above all, without wind. There are drones that can be easily handled with the wind but it is not recommended to start.
The first flight with your new drone should try to do it alone and in a safe and wide area, either indoors or outdoors
If, on the other hand, your drone is for indoor flight (usually the smallest in size), do not be tempted to make an acrobatic and fast flight for any room in the house because it is likely to end in an accident. Use a room as clear as possible of obstacles, wide and where there is no one. A garage would be ideal, but if you don’t have one, choose the living room if it is the most spacious room in your house.
The first steps with a drone should be to get used to the controls and calibrate them, as well as to know their sensitivity. The beginning of every flight is to make the drone take off, either manually or through some specific function. This places the drone at a sufficient height, above the height meter. If we leave it at less height we would suffer the so-called ground effect and it would become unstable, so it is important to always start the flight from a sufficient distance.
Before accelerating the drone to raise it, it is advisable to separate from it a prudential distance that avoids that in case of having the uncalibrated controls or a control error, we have an accident. It is also important that we have a direct vision of the drone.
If your drone does not have automatic takeoff, make sure to do it manually that the height is enough to avoid the ground effect or it will become unstable
Already at a safety height, we will be testing the different controls one by one. We will go up and down controlling the height, and it will be time to locate the front of the drone (usually it includes some type of indication or light). Once correctly oriented with respect to the drone, we can start the lateral maneuvers (slide), advances or setbacks (head) … In this phase, it is important to see if it is necessary to calibrate the controls and our control allows it. If so, we must adjust the levers called TRIM to compensate for movements that do not correspond faithfully with those we are doing in the command.
Once we have the calibrated control and have internalized the controls, we can combine some simple movements and get to work with the landing phase. Be very careful at first because an abrupt landing can end our newly released drone.
The first few times we land we must gradually lower the height, even below that meter that we have indicated as safe to avoid the ground effect. When a few centimeters remain, the first few times it is advisable to reduce the speed of the propellers little by little at this height to cause the drone to drop over the ground. If we tried to land it “by hand” without the necessary ease we could cause one part of the drone to touch the ground before another and cause an accident. Do not hurry. When we have taken more ease we can already look for a controlled landing until the end.
If your drone supports it, try also to start some flights with the so-called assisted mode. It is a good way to get hold of the controls in a controlled way.
Drone Maintenance And Repair
The task with a drone does not end when the battery runs out or we have decided to stop flying it. If we want to extend its useful life, we should carry out maintenance and cleaning tasks thoroughly and regularly. It will depend on each drone and manufacturer, but there are some tips and tricks that we can use.
Cleaning is essential and inevitable after a flight in some situations such as when we fly in dusty terrain or places like beaches. In those cases, we can use pressure air cleaners, which cost no more than about $11.08, and that will leave us without dust areas of difficult access with other cleaning elements. In addition, we can spray on the engines some oil that also protects against corrosion.
If necessary and only for certain models and with a high level of mechanical knowledge, we can perform a more thorough cleaning of each engine.
In addition to compressed air, for the plastic parts, we can use different cleaning products to remove dirt as with any other product of said material. And let’s not forget to carry out a more thorough cleaning and maintenance from time to time, for example of the engines, although a certain expertise and knowledge of mechanics are already required.
In addition to cleaning, something that you will have to do often with your drone especially when you are starting to test it is to replace or fix damaged or broken parts. A simple propeller with some damage can easily ruin a flight.
The main parts of a drone that are going to require actions on your part are the propellers, protections or even motors. They are not complicated to replace or revise by oneself and in fact, they are quite affordable and easy to get parts if our model is well known. An example that will sound too many: Syma X5C, one of the most well-known affordable drones, and for which it is very simple to buy almost any type of spare, be they propellers, motherboard, motors, camera or housings.
In this type of drones, a game of four propellers is around $5.5 and the engines do not cost more than 10. Mainly of the first thing we should always carry with us some spare parts so as not to ruin an exit to the field to fly it for a small incident with those drone parts
That said, you just have to get down to work and start enjoying with your new drone.