In this article, the future user will learn about what his first copter should be like, what features / functions are relevant, and which ones you should not pay attention to at all. In order to subsequently make the most correct choice and get an exceptionally positive experience from the first ownership for further growth in the hobby. And so, fly!
Before you start choosing a drone, take a look at some of the most well-known budget UAV developers on the market. To date, Blade Nano, Eachine, Wltoys, Hubsan, Syma, MJX, JJRC are popular. The main advantage of this approach is hassle-free access to components, which can not be said about little-known companies. Also, as you get deeper into the hobby, when several models of UAVs of the same brand appear in your park, you will be able to control each of them with one remote control.
Since the first experience is always associated with a large number of crashes (falls, bumps), it will be best if the copter is small (nano or mini type) at the initial stage. Such UAVs are as durable as possible and can withstand any mistakes of an inexperienced pilot. Often, the only consumable element of such models are propellers. In addition to everything else, low weight and size cannot harm people, animals and interior items. Also, the significant advantages of small-sized quadrics include the possibility of launching at home, for example, when the weather is not flying outside, which will increase the total training time. And the more you practice, the faster you can move on to more interesting models without fear of breaking them due to inexperience.
Since the main task of the first quadcopter is to teach a beginner to fly with confidence, it is important that at all stages of advancing in the hobby, control is carried out exclusively by an analog remote control. Accordingly, when choosing a drone, it is necessary to exclude models that are controlled by default via a smartphone or any other control method. This approach is due to the fact that in the future the user will have to deal with just this type of control.
For all drones on the market, two types of motors are relevant – collector and brushless. All the best in the modern drone hobby is built on brushless motors. But for beginners, based on the lack of experience and safety considerations, collector-type motors are enough. It is also equally important that the motors are not soldered, but have connectors. This will make it easy to quickly replace them in the event of a failure, which will happen with relative regularity. Models built on a collector power plant are much cheaper, which is just right for a novice user.
FPV or first person flight
No matter how much you would like it, but at the first stages of training, it is necessary to abandon piloting in FPV mode. Firstly, because the user needs to learn how to control the copter in line-of-sight mode, namely, to work out takeoff, landing, position holding, flight in a straight line and return to the pilot. Secondly, almost all cheap models are completely unsuitable for this, due to the low quality of the FPV Wi-Fi video modules used, which transmit the video signal with a long delay, which increases as the drone moves away from the associated image output device (smartphone). As a result, the user simply overpays for an option that you cannot fully use.
As with flying in first person mode, this option should not be of interest to a beginner, since all flight at the initial stage of training should be carried out at short distances. It is also worth considering the fact that the removal distance indicator declared in the specification of budget UAVs, as a rule, is very different from the indicators obtained in the field.
To date, the duration of the flight of the copter is the main weak link. Over the entire existence of the hobby, this indicator has not changed much due to the slow progress in the field of battery technology. Therefore, this parameter should be a priority when choosing a drone in any price category, and the larger it is, the better. To understand the overall picture in the budget niche of UAVs, max. the flight time of a nano/mini quadcopter is 5 minutes, larger quadcopters can stay in the air for about 10-15 minutes at best. For a beginner, the only way to increase flight time is to buy additional batteries and a charger capable of charging them at the same time.
In order to master copter piloting, you need to start with models without auxiliary automatic functions, such as altitude hold, auto takeoff / landing, headless or headless mode, etc. A bonus of this approach is also a noticeably low price.
To date, there is not a single model in the budget segment that could boast of a good camera. The main problem usually lies in the camera itself and in the absence of a mechanical suspension. Everything that comes in tandem with a budget quadcopter is intended to be a superficial introduction to aerial photography/FPV flight and nothing more. In this connection, it would be best to immediately refuse this option (if possible). Refusal to use it will increase the flight time interval by 1-2 minutes (since the camera is often powered by the drone’s onboard power supply) and save money, which, coupled with other savings, can be spent on a more productive extra. power supply and a good charger.
As you can see, all the above recommendations will inevitably lead a beginner to a simple and cheap quadrocopter, which, despite its simplicity, will allow the novice user to gain precious experience affecting the design of the simplest unmanned systems, their purpose, features of safe piloting without auxiliary functions, get acquainted with possible failures in work and ways to prevent them, thereby forming a general awareness and culture of UAV ownership. Of course, you can skip the training stage on cheap copters and immediately purchase an expensive model that will allow you to immediately get the expected result in control and shooting, since the manufacturability of such copters allows even a child to do this (in operation it is no more difficult than a smartphone). The difference in approaches is due to the mistakes that everyone who is just starting to learn the unmanned hobby makes. But those who take the long path of learning will work out these mistakes without much regret even in the event of a complete loss of the copter, and those who take the short path risk being left with a broken expensive drone already at the first launch. That’s all. We hope our recommendations will help you make the right choice. Let’s add on our own – be prudent and remember that those who start small come to their goal with minimal losses and progressive experience.