DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.



The use of small drones for FPV and autonomous map­ping is becom­ing more and more pop­u­lar, espe­cial­ly as the pop­u­lar­i­ty of FPV drones and the avail­abil­i­ty of parts increase. This arti­cle dis­cuss­es sev­er­al con­sid­er­a­tions regard­ing whether an air­craft is suit­able for use as a drone and, if so, how to choose the right type.

Multicopter vs Airplane

What advan­tages can an air­plane offer over a mul­ti­copter? While a mul­ti­copter is great for fun FPV/autonomous flight, its pay­load and flight time are still lim­it­ed because the rotors must be con­stant­ly spin­ning (and thus expend­ing ener­gy) to fight grav­i­ty and keep the drone in the air. Air­planes, on the oth­er hand, use their wings to cre­ate lift. So which type is best? Apart from the elec­tron­ics such as trans­mit­ter, receiv­er, FPV equip­ment, flight con­troller, the fol­low­ing fea­tures seem to be the most rel­e­vant to answer the ques­tion:


  • Capa­ble of tak­ing off and land­ing ver­ti­cal­ly, as well as hov­er­ing in place.
  • They don’t require a lot of space to fly and are essen­tial­ly “omni-direc­tion­al” capa­ble of chang­ing direc­tion and speed very quick­ly.
  • The thrust gen­er­at­ed by the pro­pellers is what keeps the ship in the air.
  • Less intu­itive in flight giv­en that the craft can change ori­en­ta­tion and fly in almost any direc­tion, and gim­bals can eas­i­ly cause dis­ori­en­ta­tion.
  • “Medi­um sized” mul­ti­copters rang­ing from 400mm to 600mm in diam­e­ter are the most com­mon and typ­i­cal­ly cost between US$200 and US$1,000 for a (con­fig­ured) ready-to-fly rig.
  • Despite the fact that mul­ti­copters have sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er mov­ing parts than heli­copters, almost any mal­func­tion of the quad­copter leads to an acci­dent.

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.


  • Launched by hand, run­way or cat­a­pult and usu­al­ly lands on rel­a­tive­ly flat grass or run­way.
  • A large open space is required to fly, as the maneu­ver­abil­i­ty of the air­craft is lim­it­ed (i.e. always mov­ing for­ward).
  • Wings cre­ate lift.
  • High­er load capac­i­ty.
  • Foam mod­els can be for­giv­ing in the event of an acci­dent and most can be restored/repaired.
  • Mod­els with a wingspan of 500mm to 1.8m are the most com­mon for hob­by use, and a com­plete set typ­i­cal­ly costs between US$200 and US$1,000.
  • In the event of an engine fail­ure, it is still pos­si­ble to land with­out dam­ag­ing the air­craft.

VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing)

  • Designs include wings and pro­pellers (not many commercial/production prod­ucts at the moment).
  • The con­trols are still quite dif­fi­cult to tran­si­tion from ver­ti­cal to hor­i­zon­tal flight.
  • Designs are very dif­fer­ent from winged quad­copters or using/extending the sup­port arms (arms) of a drone to include wing pro­files.
  • Will not be dis­cussed fur­ther in this arti­cle.

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.


  • Launch loca­tion: Due to the ever-present pos­si­bil­i­ty of caus­ing injury or dam­age to per­sons or prop­er­ty, UAVs/UAVs are pro­hib­it­ed from being launched over build­ings, in dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed areas or in crowd­ed areas. Air­planes ide­al­ly require large open areas, while mul­ti­copters can be oper­at­ed in more lim­it­ed spaces. If you don’t have open space to fly, it’s best to use a small mul­ti­copter.
  • Appli­ca­tion: A mul­ti­copter is more than ever suit­able for aer­i­al pho­tog­ra­phy / FPV. Car­tog­ra­phy and long-range flights are best done by air­craft.
  • Inter­est: This should be one of the biggest con­sid­er­a­tions when choos­ing one type of drone more than anoth­er.
  • Bud­get: The most com­mon mul­ti­copter (500mm) is like­ly to be slight­ly more expen­sive than a com­pa­ra­ble air­craft (with a ≈1.5m wingspan), but not by much. How pre­pared are you to lose the drone due to a sud­den crash or loss of con­trol caus­ing it to fly out of con­trol?
  • Flight time: An aver­age mid-sized quad­copter will stay in the air for 10–15 min­utes (although some man­u­fac­tur­ers may increase this time to 30–40 min­utes), while an aver­age mid-sized elec­tric air­craft will pro­vide about 20–60 min­utes + min­utes at ” nor­mal use (i.e. not full throt­tle), but in both cas­es there are many dif­fer­ent fac­tors to con­sid­er.
  • Flight con­troller: Not all con­trollers are capa­ble of con­trol­ling all types of air­craft. Before choos­ing one of the many, make sure that the type of air­craft you are inter­est­ed in is sup­port­ed by the flight con­troller (if you intend­ed to use one). How to set up the flight con­troller will not be con­sid­ered in this arti­cle.

Common Types of UAV/Drone Wing

There are many dif­fer­ent air­frames used to build drones, but some designs are much more com­mon than oth­ers. As more and more man­u­fac­tur­ers start pro­duc­ing cus­tom aero frames for stand­alone use, unnec­es­sary details such as cock­pit lay­outs that were com­mon­ly found on RC planes in the past are dis­ap­pear­ing.

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

Delta Wing (Delta Wing / Flying Wing)

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

The fly­ing wing is by far the sim­plest (and pos­si­bly the most pop­u­lar) design. A simple/rudimentary frame can be made using inex­pen­sive expand­ed polypropy­lene foam (EPP) and a basic Klein-Fogle­man (Kline-Fogle­man or KFm) air­foil. They clas­si­cal­ly have only two con­trol sur­faces, which means that all turns are rolled. The pro­peller is usu­al­ly at the back (which allows the cam­era to be mount­ed from the front), but it flies just the same with the motor locat­ed in the cen­ter or in the front, pro­vid­ed the cen­ter of grav­i­ty is cor­rect. An excel­lent design for its sim­plic­i­ty and tends to fly at high speeds.

Motorized glider/glider

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

If you want to stay in the air for as long as pos­si­ble (i.e. the longest flight time), this design is the best choice. It typ­i­cal­ly has a medi­um to high wing, and the tail is often T or V shaped. All of the frames shown here can be used for fun fly­ing (or more), how­ev­er if you want to keep your drone in the air for as long as pos­si­ble you need to con­sid­er a large winged air­craft and this is where glid­ers excel. They are not designed to be the fastest (rather the slow­est) and car­ry the largest pay­load (they should be as light as pos­si­ble), but a good design can stay in the air for many hours. Almost all pro­pellers are mount­ed on the front, so in cas­es where a cam­era is required, it is usu­al­ly mount­ed on the bottom/belly of the fuse­lage.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

The design is built on a push­er pow­er plant, the pro­peller of which is installed just behind the wings, and the tail sup­port, so as not to inter­fere, is locat­ed a lit­tle low­er. The wing is usu­al­ly trape­zoidal or rec­tan­gu­lar. An alter­na­tive design uses two beams (one on each side of the pro­peller, “Twin Boom” type) to sup­port the tail. For the size of the fuse­lage, the design is a com­pro­mise between a large winged glid­er and a con­ven­tion­al air­craft. The fact that the main rotor is at the rear means that the front can be equipped with a cam­era (unob­struct­ed view). The suf­fi­cient­ly high rotor posi­tion facil­i­tates man­u­al launch­ing, and the pro­peller in a nor­mal land­ing (with or with­out land­ing gear) will nev­er touch the ground. Such designs are gen­er­al­ly good for max­i­mum pay­load, decent speed and flight time, and offer the most ver­sa­til­i­ty.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

Con­ven­tion­al RC air­craft are still fre­quent­ly repur­posed for use as drones, with designs rang­ing from Mus­tangs (Sport) to Piper Cubs (Train­er). Almost all have a front mount­ed pro­peller (puller or puller). The wings usu­al­ly have a straight leading/trailing edge (rec­tan­gu­lar), but for fight­er air­craft copies the wing may be more trape­zoidal. Such designs are most com­mon­ly used because they are the most com­mon and eas­i­ly avail­able RC air­craft. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the air­craft are not suit­able for mod­i­fi­ca­tion and include aes­thet­ic ele­ments that are not need­ed when used as a UAV. In addi­tion, this is not the most con­ve­nient design in terms of choos­ing an unob­struct­ed place to install the cam­era. Most are based on a tree that does not for­give acci­dents.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

Sev­er­al cus­tom designs are avail­able, one of which is the “Drak” (almost invert­ed delta). This par­tic­u­lar design has wings in an almost for­ward swept posi­tion, and a pro­peller at the rear. The advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages vary depend­ing on the mod­el, although their unique appear­ance often attracts a lot of atten­tion.

The size

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

So how big should your plane be? A cri­te­ri­on that pre­de­ter­mines the future mode of trans­porta­tion, which is often referred to even before appli­ca­tion. Planes are (almost) always larg­er than mul­ti­copters, and since the space you plan to fly may not be near your home or busi­ness, trans­porta­tion will most often need to be done by car. Because of this, the frame size for this type of drone tends to be lim­it­ed to 2 meters (wing span), and in most cas­es the wings must be remov­able. If the fly­ing wing can­not have detach­able wings, then the span will be less than 1.2 meters so that they can be eas­i­ly placed on the back seat of the vehi­cle. Clas­si­cal­ly, stan­dard size RC planes have a wingspan of 0.5 – 2m, so the avail­abil­i­ty of parts for this size (motor, ESC, bat­tery, ser­vos, etc.) is very good.

Flight duration

The sec­ond ques­tion you could ask your­self is how long the plane should stay in the air. If you are plan­ning to remote con­trol an air­craft, it is worth con­sid­er­ing that after about 20–30 min­utes of fly­ing, most peo­ple get tired physically/mentally and try to com­plete the flight. For long-term flights, it is rec­om­mend­ed to con­sid­er a glid­er with a wingspan of at least 2 meters (with a small pay­load).


And the third con­sid­er­a­tion, of course, is the poten­tial appli­ca­tion. In the list of com­mon ones: FPV flight, map­ping, as well as ful­ly autonomous flight using sen­sors. For autonomous flight, you need a flight con­troller with GPS, and it is also pos­si­ble to add sen­sors.

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

Kit types

Design­ing a cus­tom air­craft is rarely a pri­or­i­ty for those who just want to get air­borne for FPV or autonomous flight, as it usu­al­ly requires either seri­ous research or rel­e­vant knowl­edge of aero­dy­nam­ics. For this rea­son, frames designed specif­i­cal­ly for FPV/UAV are becom­ing more and more pop­u­lar. How­ev­er, giv­en the wide­spread pop­u­lar­i­ty of con­ven­tion­al RC air­craft, many enthu­si­asts are still turn­ing to exist­ing RC mod­els (not nec­es­sar­i­ly scale mod­els) and adapt­ing them for FPV/offline use.

RTF (Ready to Fly) — such a kit includes every­thing you need to use the prod­uct for its intend­ed pur­pose, and, as a rule, it includes a ful­ly assem­bled frame (wings can be dis­man­tled for a more com­pact deliv­ery) with pre-installed work­ing stuff­ing (motor, ESC, ser­vos, flaps etc.), as well as trans­mit­ter and receiv­er, bat­tery and charg­er. Usu­al­ly you con­nect the fuse­lage to the wing (or wings), charge, install and con­nect the bat­tery, and you are ready to fly. This is the fastest way to get into the air, but at the same time, such kits do not allow a sub­se­quent upgrade.

BNF (Bind and Fly) – the drone is deliv­ered almost com­plete­ly assem­bled (wings can be dis­man­tled for a more com­pact deliv­ery). The kit does not include a receiver/transmitter. The assem­bly is very fast con­sid­er­ing that all parts are already mounted/assembled. You will need to con­nect the receiv­er to the ser­vos and pow­er plant, install the bat­tery and check the CG (Cen­ter of Grav­i­ty / Cen­ter of Grav­i­ty), and then go through the pre-flight launch check­list, cal­i­brate. Please note that you may need to adjust your con­trol equip­ment for this UAV mod­el. This is the sec­ond fastest way to get air­borne.

PNF (Plug and Fly) — the air­craft is most­ly ful­ly assem­bled (wings can be dis­man­tled for a more com­pact deliv­ery). The kit includes ESC, pro­pellers and ser­vos. Kit does not include trans­mit­ter, receiv­er, bat­tery or charg­er. It will be nec­es­sary to con­nect the receiv­er to the ser­vos and pow­er plant, select and install the bat­tery (check CG), and then go through the pre-flight start-up check­list, cal­i­brate. Please note that you may need to adjust your con­trol equip­ment for this UAV mod­el.

PNP (Plug and Play) – same as PNF kit.

ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) — prod­ucts in this con­fig­u­ra­tion usu­al­ly include a frame and some hard­ware. Sup­plied par­tial­ly assem­bled with vir­tu­al­ly all parts/components of the frame need­ed to assem­ble it. Some bond­ing may be required. The user needs to choose their own trans­mit­ter, receiv­er, motor, ESC, pro­peller and ser­vos as they are not includ­ed.

KIT — These days KIT planes include build plans, but it will be a long time before a plane is worth fly­ing. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you have some pilot­ing expe­ri­ence before fly­ing a KIT air­craft, as one crash (usu­al­ly on the first flight) can result in many hours of UAV recov­ery.

DIY (Do It Your­self / DIY or built from scratch) — which, speak­ing of air­craft, usu­al­ly means a com­plete­ly non-stan­dard design, which, per­haps, was designed by the pilot. It is usu­al­ly nec­es­sary for the design­er to select all suit­able com­po­nents, and assem­bly is often a tri­al and error process.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

There are many dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als used to build the frame, wings and tail of RC Aircraft/Drones. While manned air­craft often use fiber­glass, alu­minum, and even car­bon fiber, drone man­u­fac­tur­ers have yet to use these mate­ri­als in small craft. Below are the most com­mon mate­ri­als you will find in the indus­try:

EPO (Expand­ed Poly­Olefin) This type of foam is lighter, stiffer and more durable than expand­ed poly­styrene (EPS). In the man­u­fac­ture of molds allows you to achieve a fair­ly smooth sur­face. In the event of an acci­dent, such foam is com­pressed, and if the force is exces­sive, the weak­est points will be sub­ject to destruc­tion. As a rule, parts made of EPO remain intact, and if the acci­dent is not seri­ous, the affect­ed ele­ments can be sub­se­quent­ly glued.

EPP (Expand­ed PolyPropy­lene) — This type of foam is flex­i­ble and resilient, and although slight­ly heav­ier than EPO, it is vir­tu­al­ly inde­struc­tible (for prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es).

EPS (Expand­ed PolyStyrene/Expanded Poly­styrene) – This type of foam is com­mon­ly used as a pack­ag­ing mate­r­i­al for tele­vi­sions, elec­tri­cal appli­ances, in the man­u­fac­ture of hel­mets, inside ice box­es, and for road and home con­struc­tion. EPS con­tains about 95–98% air.

Bal­sa Wood (Bal­sa, bal­sa, bal­sa wood, chrome) – In the past, most RC air­craft used bal­sa as their base mate­r­i­al. It is an incred­i­bly light yet remark­ably tough and easy to work wood, ide­al for frames, wings and tails. Incred­i­ble care and time must be invest­ed dur­ing con­struc­tion, and even the slight­est impact can cause seri­ous dam­age to the frame (more seri­ous crash­es result in com­plete destruc­tion).

blown plas­tic The plas­tic blow mold­ing process involves a closed die into which semi-molten plas­tic is blown and then cooled to retain its shape. The out­put is a sol­id hol­low shell. Blow mold­ed plas­tic is most often used to cre­ate the fuse­lage (as opposed to the wings), after man­u­fac­tur­ing, the user must make the appro­pri­ate cutouts. Blow molds/parts may also include pre-cut bal­sa as rein­force­ment. Blow mold­ed plas­tic can with­stand small force impacts and tends to dent rather than shat­ter.

Vac­u­um plas­tic (Vac­u­umed Plas­tic) — the process of vac­u­um form­ing sheets involves heat­ing a thin plas­tic sheet to such an extent that it becomes flex­i­ble, but not com­plete­ly melt­ed, and plac­ing it on a male matrix; as long as it remains flex­i­ble, the air between the die and the sheet is removed (i.e. deflat­ed), which caus­es the sheet to take its shape. The plas­tic cools down and a three-dimen­sion­al shape is carved out of the sur­round­ing mate­r­i­al. There are many dif­fer­ent types of plas­tics that can be vac­u­um formed and their prop­er­ties can vary. Poly­car­bon­ate is a good com­pro­mise between weight and impact resis­tance.

Cor­ru­gat­ed Plas­tic – while few air­craft use it for the fuse­lage or wings, it is often used to stiff­en doors or where flat sur­faces are required. Cor­ru­gat­ed plas­tic looks like cor­ru­gat­ed card­board, but is made of plas­tic. It is very crash and impact resis­tant, easy to work with with­out any spe­cial tools and very smooth (aero­dy­nam­ic).

What material is better?

So what mate­r­i­al to choose for the air­craft? The vast major­i­ty of the FPV com­mu­ni­ty uses EPO foam because:

  • Com­pared to bal­sa, it takes expo­nen­tial­ly less time to assem­ble, and there­fore ris­es into the air faster.
  • Rel­a­tive­ly light com­pared to oth­er mate­ri­als and decent­ly stiff*and at the same time can be eas­i­ly mod­i­fied / cut.
  • “For­giv­ing”, in the sense that it is able to with­stand acci­dents and low-strength impacts, and can also be re-glued many times; and fly again.
  • Good qual­i­ty; Foam mod­els are quite expen­sive, as the design­er needs to off­set the cost of con­struc­tion, pro­to­types, and mold, and the cost of the frame is usu­al­ly pro­por­tion­al to its size.
  • Does not require the use of spe­cial tools such as a heat­ed lam­i­nat­ing iron.
  • Most com­plete frames include the basic com­po­nents required (bal­sa mod­els often require addi­tion­al pur­chase of over­lam­i­nate, most hard­ware, and more).

DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

* Foam mod­els are rarely stiff enough on their own, and in order to with­stand the forces exert­ed on the wings in flight, the lat­ter require addi­tion­al rein­force­ment in the form of “spars” (long and thin rods, usu­al­ly made of fiber­glass or car­bon fiber) to increase rigid­i­ty. These spars usu­al­ly need to be glued in var­i­ous strate­gic places, both above and below the wing (glued into pre-cut chan­nels). The size of foam mod­els tends to lim­it only prac­ti­cal­i­ty, which is why it is quite rare to see mod­els with a wingspan of more than 2m.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

  • Foam: It is impor­tant to note that not every adhe­sive can be used to glue foam, as some of the exist­ing ones can cor­rode and destroy the mate­r­i­al. The most com­mon adhe­sives used to bond EPO foam are “Goop” (brand name) and “Goril­la Glue” (brand name). Goop is clear and has a thick con­sis­ten­cy as well as excel­lent bond­ing. Goril­la Glue — requires a lit­tle water to acti­vate, the ini­tial con­sis­ten­cy is thick. After con­tact with water, it foams up to about 400% of its orig­i­nal size and has a yel­low col­or. Goril­la glue can be cut off in places where it is not desired, but it is nec­es­sary to pre­vent the glue from leak­ing into areas where it should not be (for exam­ple, using mask­ing tape), and after appli­ca­tion, the parts to be fas­tened must be motion­less while the glue expands and hard­ens. The foam is usu­al­ly cut with a sharp knife, a sol­der­ing gun (as opposed to a sol­der­ing iron), or a heat­ed wire. A hand saw tends to tear the foam and leave a very rough sur­face. Foam planes are more often white, rarely black, and even less often gray or oth­er col­ors. Cus­tomiz­ing the appear­ance con­sists of adding col­or or pat­terns that can be done using spe­cial paint, lam­i­nate or vinyl. Please note that not all paints are suit­able for paint­ing foam, some can destroy it.
  • Bal­sa: Cyano­acry­late glue is most often used to bond bal­sa wood — usu­al­ly a vis­cous liq­uid (almost like water), pro­vides a very strong bond between the glued sur­faces. Once the frame is ready, it needs to be lam­i­nat­ed (a plas­tic sheet with heat-acti­vat­ed adhe­sive on one side) to cre­ate an aero­dy­nam­ic sur­face. The lam­i­nat­ing film is heated/applied with a lam­i­nat­ing iron, result­ing in a dense/hard sur­face. Lam­i­nate is only suit­able for glu­ing to bal­sa wood — it can­not be used to cre­ate three-dimen­sion­al shapes.
  • Com­pos­ites: it is still rare to see com­pos­ite mate­ri­als used to build small air­craft (car­bon fiber). These parts are epoxy based (or a spe­cial bond­ing agent) and are more dif­fi­cult to cut by hand, often requir­ing a CNC router. Cre­at­ing 3D shapes is also quite a com­plex process. Typ­i­cal­ly, air­craft use com­pos­ites for rein­force­ment.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

  • The air­craft pow­er plant con­sists of a motor, a pro­peller (pro­peller), an ESC and a bat­tery. Choos­ing the right parts for a frame should­n’t be a “guess” and it’s best to see if the frame man­u­fac­tur­er has any rec­om­men­da­tions for motor, pro­peller or range for a giv­en pay­load.
  • These days, most enthu­si­asts lean towards elec­tric motors over fuels (such as kerosene) due to the low­est cost of own­er­ship and ease of use. Solar ener­gy is rarely used because the pow­er that solar pro­vides, com­pared to the added weight of solar pan­els (which are used to charge bat­ter­ies), is still not prof­itable.
  • Choose a motor/propeller com­bi­na­tion capa­ble of pro­vid­ing the required thrust for your air­frame, which has a spe­cif­ic load. Some air­frame man­u­fac­tur­ers offer a num­ber of ideas about thrust require­ments based on their own exper­i­ments, which should give a gen­er­al idea of ​​the required range.
  • Insuf­fi­cient pow­er to the air­craft can cause it to become unsta­ble or crash. An over­loaded air­craft can be com­plete­ly unsta­ble in flight. Con­sid­er­ing that almost all of the tech­nol­o­gy used to build drones comes from the radio con­trol indus­try, there is ample infor­ma­tion avail­able on choos­ing the right thrust and ser­vos for var­i­ous appli­ca­tions.
  • Cen­ter of Mass: The cen­ter of mass is the point around which the frame can be placed so that the weight is the same on all sides. Cen­ter of lift/momentum fac­tor. This is the point where all the lift gen­er­at­ed by the wings and con­trol sur­faces is summed up, usu­al­ly at the high­est point in the air­foil. It is desir­able that the cen­ter of mass cor­re­sponds to the cen­ter of lift.


DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.DIY drone: Lesson 8. Aircraft.

  • Run­way launch/landing: To use a run­way, a drone needs wheels, and the run­way needs to be as flat and per­fect­ly paved as pos­si­ble.
  • Man­u­al start: There are two main types of hand launch­es: under­hand or over­head. The swing method is sim­i­lar to launch­ing a disc (or throw­ing rocks across the water) where the oper­a­tor is try­ing to get the drone up to its max­i­mum speed using angu­lar veloc­i­ty. Alter­na­tive­ly, there is an over­head method where the oper­a­tor launch­es the air­craft up (best to have a sec­ond operator/assistant do this).
  • Launch by cat­a­pult: To accel­er­ate the drone as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, the cat­a­pult uses one of sev­er­al dif­fer­ent meth­ods: a woven rub­ber cable (bungee cable / bandy), a winch, or even com­pressed air. Cat­a­pults are not easy to trans­port and require addi­tion­al invest­ment and diag­nos­tics.
  • Hand grip: catch­ing a small drone by hand is not dif­fi­cult, pro­vid­ed that the pro­peller does not rotate, but, any­way, the method requires some skill.
  • Land­ing: The most com­mon­ly used land­ing method is skid land­ing on a fair­ly lev­el sur­face such as grass. This method is rel­e­vant because few­er and few­er drones have land­ing gear (and the run­way is inac­ces­si­ble), forc­ing the air­craft to sim­ply land on any pos­si­ble plane. Usu­al­ly before the flight, the pilot finds a suit­able place to land. Ide­al­ly the air­craft should have replace­able skid plates due to grad­ual wear.
  • Net­work “cap­ture”: Although this land­ing method is most often used by the mil­i­tary for small drones, the use of a net to catch a drone is very effec­tive where oth­er land­ing meth­ods are dif­fi­cult. That being said, set­ting up a net­worked sys­tem takes time, and for most enthu­si­asts, it is prefer­able to use oth­er types of fit.


By Yara