Researchers are Using Virtual Reality to Train Drones

May 2018


5 Quick Tips For Beginner Drone Pilots

1. Flying drones is a more expensive profession than you think.

I talk to a lot of drone-preneurs. People who want to start a drone business. Most people I speak to underestimate all the costs that go into doing this the right way.

It's not just the aircraft. It's extra batteries. A travel case. Liability insurance. SD cards. Post-processing software like Lightroom or Final Cut Pro X.

These costs add up. 

I like to tell folks that, all-in, you should budget around $10,000 to successfully launch an aerial services company (assuming you already know how to fly, which leads me to our next tip).

2. Flying drones takes more time to train than you think.

The battery life of multirotors in the sub-$150 range is only about 5-10 minutes.

And if you're flying a more advanced drone, it's not just the flight orientation you need to master, it's learning about your various flight settings, calibrations, fail-safes, etc.

Too many people skip the user manual. Too many people fly in riskier environments without properly taking the time to train.

If you're devoting yourself to this industry, safety needs to be a top concern, and it takes a while to to train to the level you need to reach to be considered a smart, safe, drone pilot.

3. Flying drones is addictive.

Not much to say here. If you're still reading this email, then you're already hooked.

Welcome to the club. These things are SO MUCH FUN to fly :)

4. Flying drones attracts a lot of attention from the public.

This is one of the first things that caught me off-guard when I started practicing multirotor flight outdoors. Complete strangers would swarm in with their questions.

  • How much does that drone cost?

  • What's the battery life and range like?

  • Is it legal to fly here?

  • Is your drone registered with the FAA? How does that work?

  • Do you do this for money? How much do you charge?

And while I was a little nervous at first and tried not to do too much talking mid-flight, particularly if I was in the process of taking off or landing, I was happy to chat with folks and to spread the drone love where I could. Not too many negative encounters. Mostly curious and inspired folks wanting to learn more.

Just know that when you're flying, people are going to come up to you. Be prepared to educate, because the questions will come!

5. Start small, build confidence, then upgrade.

First-time automobile drivers likely aren't going to get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini when they're learning how to practice highway driving or parallel parking. Wouldn't that be something!

So why do you think that you should learn to fly on a $1000+ UAS?

Too many folks jump the gun and head straight for prosumer or professional models from companies like DJI, Yuneec, and 3DR.

My advice?

Start small, with one of these training drones. Buy a few extra batteries, propeller guards, and spend a dozen or so hours on the sticks, learning how to master multirotor orientation, how to calibrate, how to trim, etc.

Gain a foundational knowledge of manual multirotor flight, then upgrade to a more advanced system once you feel comfortable navigating the skies.

I hope this advice was helpful. If you haven't already, make sure to connect with us on our free community forum or our Facebook page

Until next time.

Blue skies and safe flying,

Alan Perlman
Founder, UAV Coach // Drone Pilot Ground School