This article will look at everything you need to know before purchasing your first drone. We’ll be focusing on camera drones in particular, but there’s still a lot of good advice for DIY drones and toy drones.
If you’re considering buying a drone, then there are some things you should know ahead of time.
Where to Buy your Drone
Drone Madness is the best place to find reviews for the best camera drones, hobby-grade racing drones, and toy drones. Don’t worry if you still aren’t sure where to buy your first drone though. There are plenty of online stores that sell drones and ship them out around the world. If you’re interested in toy drones, then just check out Amazon and see what they have.
Stay Out of Trouble
You don’t want to find yourself on the news because you crashed your drone into a plane or flew over restricted airspace. All new – and experienced – drone pilots should educate themselves on the airspace regulations for their country. You should also understand the general safety rules for flying. To get started quickly though, here’s a quick rundown of the best practices for drone pilots that apply for the United States and most other countries;
•Make sure to register your drone through the FAA
•Keep the drone at least five miles away from all airports
•Avoid flying over 400 feet into the sky
•Don’t fly over people without their permission
•Don’t fly drones in national parks
•Don’t fly drones over government facilities
•Don’t fly drones over private property
•Don’t fly drones over fires and other crime scenes
•Always be polite if approached by law enforcement
Some Assembly May be Required
There are some acronyms you’ll likely run into while shopping for a drone; ARF, BNF, and RTF. Almost all camera drones are shipped ready-to-fly. In general, toy drones are also shipped ready-to-fly. Racing drones will generally require some tinkering and assembly before they can fly though.
RTF means Ready-To-Fly. RTF quadcopters don’t require much, if any, assembly. You might need to do something like charge the battery ready or bind the controller to the quadcopter or install the propellers but that’s it.
BNF stands for Bind-To-Fly. Like RTF drones they are shipped pre-built, but they don’t have controllers. You’ll need to have a controller that you can use or purchase a spare one separately. Keep in mind that transmitters and receivers aren’t automatically compatible because they are on the same frequency. That used to be the case, but the shift to digital has changed all of that. These days, transmitters and receivers must use the same protocols to communicate even on the same frequency. Be sure that you buy a controller that will work with the drone.
ARF means almost-ready-to-fly. This covers things such as drone/quadcopter kits. They generally don’t come with receives or transmitters and they may require some assembly. ARF drone kits can also need other components like ESCs, motors, battery, and flight controller. ARF covers a broad range of different standards, so make sure to read through the description of any ARF drone you consider buying.
Flying a Drone is Easy – Crashing Them is Easier
Some people are putt off of flying drones because they think it’ll be difficult. It’s actually quite easy to fly a drone. If you can use a phone, you can use a drone. That doesn’t mean they are easy to keep in the air though. Even the most advanced drones – such as the ones from dJI – require a bit of general knowledge to avoid crashing, which could result in total drone loss. Don’t be too worried though. Master the basics and you’ll be a great pilot in no time.
Join the Community
Drone pilots and aspiring pilots alike should consider joining a community – whether it’s a physical one or an online. There are an endless number of online forums out there for drones. Some of these forums are for more specific subjects, such as certain parts and products, while others are more general and laid back. You shouldn’t join every community you see, but join a couple and see how things go.