If you’re new to the world of drone technology, you’re about to learn the basics – everything you need to know before buying your first drone and putting it into the sky. If you know a little about what you’re buying, it can save you time, frustration, and money and get you off to a flying start.
What is a Drone?
Although drones seem like a recent phenomenon, their history goes back a long way, all the way back to 1849, in fact. At this time, there was a war happening between Venice and Austria, and the Venetians used hot air balloons equipped with bombs as an unmanned ariel attach strategy.
Fast forward to the present day, and drones look a bit different from their early prototypes, but the idea remains the same. Small unmanned devices are used for aerial photography and military strategy, but they have other applications, such as amateur photography and rescue missions.
How Does a Drone Work?
Drones might look like advanced futuristic technology, but they are relatively simple; they have two operating modes – flight mode and navigation mode. Firstly, drones need to have a power source; this can be a battery or some fuel. Most of them have a light frame and rotaries to fly.
Like a radio-controlled car, boat, or aircraft, drones use radio waves to connect to a controller in the hands of a drone user. This controller is used to launch and navigate the drone. Drone controllers can be simple or complex; it all depends on the purpose of the DJI M30 and device.
Components and Features
The old adage that you get what you pay for applies when it comes to buying a drone. Cheaper drones are made from plastic which is light and good for aviation, but unfortunately, it’s not very durable and can break easily. The alternative is to buy a drone that’s made from carbon fiber.
That said, carbon fiber is not the only durable material you can invest in when buying a drone; devices are available that are made from fiberglass and ABS plastic. Drones can be expensive, and it’s a risky investment, so make sure you get the right price point and material for the drone.
Range of Devices
All drones use radio waves to communicate with their transmitters, but some drones have a longer range than others. In general, more expensive drones have a longer range, and shorter-range ones are cheaper; that said, radio waves are somewhat unpredictable at times.
Think about the application of your drone, is it going to be for aerial photography or flying for fun. In the case of areal photography, you want a drone aircraft with a longer range to reach more interesting places, but one that flies thirty meters is all you need for the local park.
Another consideration you have to make when buying a drone is the flying time. Flying time has often been an issue in aviation because powered flight requires fuel, but fuel can weigh aircraft down and reduce its time in the sky. Luckily, drones don’t have this problem, thanks to batteries.
While batteries allow drones to stay in the air for longer, they don’t all have the same efficiency. For instance, a cheap battery might only provide you with five minutes of flying time, while an expensive one gives you an hour. A typically flying time for drones is around thirty minutes.
For many people, the whole purpose of buying a drone is to put a camera into the sky and capture images that would be impossible to capture otherwise. There are two ways drones facilitate this; some of them have cameras built-in, while others allow you to mount a camera.
If you choose the mounting option, make sure your camera is compatible with the drone, and if you choose the built-in option, check the camera’s features to make sure they are adequate for your purposes. Features to check include shutter speed, frame rate, aperture, and stabilization.
Drones are designed to head up into the sky and disappear for a time, and while you might be in full control of the device while it’s flying, you might not beagle to see it, so the last thing you want is for your expensive time to get lost somewhere in the unknown. So they have a GPS system.
The GPS navigation system tells the drone where it’s going and signals when you need to bring it in; this system also has some preprogrammed settings that allow you to plan routes and switch off your brain while you fly the device. This feature can support amateur photography.
GPS Home Function
As mentioned, most quality drones have a GPS home function that brings your drone home if it encounters some interference from a tall building or hill or if it’s running low on battery power. This is an excellent feature to protect your investment and best if you choose a pricey drone.
If you have a home mode on your drone, it can be easy to use it every time you fly the device, but this is not recommended. Think of the GPS home function as an emergency backup and only rely on it if you have no other options. Alternatively, keep your drone in your line of sight.
There are two types of drones on the market, those with headless mode and those without headless mode, so what exactly is it, and why is it important? If you’re new to flying drones, your need a bit of training; pressing left doesn’t always mean flying left if the drone is turned around.
On the other hand, you could buy a drone with a headless mode which means that whatever way you press the controller, the drone will fly in the direction you expect it to. Those new to flying drones should definitely consider headless mode or invest in some drone flight lessons.
When buying a drone for video or photography, most people only think about putting the device into the sky and forget about the problem of keeping the camera steady. Luckily, the smart drone designers have done the thinking for us and invented the 3-axis gimbal to help us out.
A 3-axis gimbal is a device that holds your camera in place and allows it to pivot steadily as your drone flies to your places of interest. The three-axis refers to the three motions that any aircraft can go through – these are pitch, roll, and yew. Capture perfect pictures with advanced features.
Types of Drones
Ready to Fly
Ready-to-fly drones are a popular type of drone that is excellent for beginners. As the name suggests, these drones come with everything you need to get airborne right away; you don’t even need any experience or lessons, unpack the box, switch it on and take off with the control.
If that all seems a bit too simplistic, remember that some drones require assembly out of the box; for instance, you might be required to assemble the rotary blade and charge the batteries. But overall, a ready-to-fly drone is the best option for beginners and less experienced drone users.
Bind and Fly
Bind and fly drones, sometimes called BNF drones, are ones that don’t have a transmitter. You might be wondering why you would buy a drone device that doesn’t have a way to communicate with the controller, but there’s a good reason for it, these drones are for advanced users.
More advanced drone flyers often have personal transmitters they are comfortable using and don’t want to replace a transmitter on a new drone. Instead, they buy a bind to fly drone they can set up themselves. These drones are usually cheaper than RTFs as there is less to buy.
Plug and Play
Plug and Play drones are similar to Bind and Fly drones in the sense that you have to install your own transmitter and receiver, but Plug and Play are different because it doesn’t include a receiver charger and battery. This gives you the flexibility to build your personal drone model.
Although Plug and Play sounds as though you can get your drone airborne in a short time, that isn’t always the case; in fact, you have to build it first and know a little about what you’re doing. This might be a disadvantage to beginners, but to advanced users, it is an advantageous option.
Almost Ready to Fly
Again ARF drones sound much simpler than they are in reality; beginners should steer away from these self-build projects and opt for an RTF drone instead. AFT drones come with basic infrastructure and a high level of customization, making the drone perfect for advanced users.
Drones offer a ton of fun for all the family, and if you like photography, they give you another dimension of possibilities but make sure you know what you’re buying. Like most electronic products, you get what you pay for, so choose wisely and don’t forget some flying lessons.