As drones keep growing in popularity, some do the number of new drone pilots. And these novice pilots, being the humans they are, are suffering through the learning curve of mastering their new toys.
Thus, there are some basic mistakes that beginner drone flyers are making over and over again. It’s very helpful and beneficial to learn some of these common mistakes before making them with our brand new drone.
Four common rookie drone flying mistakes
While there are certainly many more foul-ups that beginners make, perhaps learning about the most common will make the learning curve less painful.
Not fully understanding external conditions
Weather and external conditions do more than affect your comfort. It can drastically alter your drone outings.
It is natural to assume that your battery will have a specific charge and that the charge will always last a specific amount of time. But this is not true.
The fact is that your battery uses a different amount of power in different scenarios. Weather conditions determine how long your battery will last. It is possible for a battery that lasted twenty minutes in ideal conditions to only last three or four minutes in harsh conditions.
While this is an extreme example, it does happen. Be mindful of this – don’t crash your drone because its battery charge drained out prematurely.
Conditions also affect your drone hardware too. If you are accustomed to getting 10-12 hours of flight on your propellers, understand that harsh conditions could shorten their life.
Instrument calibration unawareness
Whenever you change anything on your drone that affects navigation – like a firmware update – you must do an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and compass calibration.
Should you update your firmware and fail to calibrate your IMU and compass, then you are asking for a flyway.
You should also understand that cell phones can create calibration problems as well – since many drone operators are using them to fly their drones.
For instance, let’s suppose that you perform a calibration while having your cell phone inside your pocket. You could end up getting the wrong GPS readings due to interference from your phone. And the next thing you know, your drone flies away immediately after takeoff.
Whenever your drone lifts off and your eyes are pointing in the same direction as your drone’s camera, then both you and your drone share the same orientation. This means that when you roll to the left with your controller, the drone rolls to the left – and so forth.
However, whenever you turn your drone around 180 degrees so that the camera is facing you, then you are not oriented the same way. Since your controls are now inverted, your drone goes left when you roll to the right and vice versa.
Most newbies do not understand that it takes many hours of practice to master the different orientations between them and their drones. Inverted controls are not intuitive.
No awareness of their surroundings
A veteran drone operator once told a beginner, “Don’t fly near stuff.” While this may sound painfully obvious and trivial, it’s exceptional advice. But it’s so trivial that it’s taken for granted.
This awareness of surroundings really links back to maintaining a visual line of sight with your drone. If you buy a new drone and fly it straight out of your backyard, then it’s very likely that you’ll hit something.
However, if you find a big open field and practice controlling your drone, learn to bank your turns, get used to changing orientation, and fly entirely by line of sight, then you’ll learn much faster. And you won’t crash into stuff.
Developing a keen awareness of your surroundings comes with practice. But you have to set the right conditions for awareness – namely places where line of sight is not an issue. Do not fly in limited or confined spaces that will place unnecessary challenges on your lack of skill – nothing good ever comes from that.
It is safe to say that nearly everyone that buys a drone will make at least one of these four mistakes.
The good news is that by reading about them, you’ve probably avoided 30% of any associated mistakes that you would’ve otherwise made. Well done!
Just be patient with yourself and put in the time required to become an expert drone operator – you’ll be glad you did.