First Drone Skill Needs?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by davpmars, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. davpmars

    davpmars Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I’m about to order my first drone. I have been looking at drones on and off for about a year now. First the phantom, then some cheaper other brands, and now the Spark...

    I am not a gamer and I don’t fly other RC stuff. The reason I have never bought one is because I am afraid I will crash this expensive toy and lose my investment.

    I will definitely be purchasing “DJI Care Refresh” but my question is, has anyone been in my situation and been able to successfully learn how to fly and use their drone without any crashes? How easy/hard is it to learn to fly?

    Thanks!
     
  2. msinger

    msinger Well-Known Member
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    While DJI drones are very easy to fly, they are also very technical. You really need to take the time to learn how they work before attempting to fly.

    If you decide to get a Spark, these resources will help you get started on the right foot:
     
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  3. RDZSparkPilot

    RDZSparkPilot Member

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    I purchase a few toy grade drones. 4 to be exact. Good to learn drone orientation. Toy grade being Syma. I would suggest get one with altitude hold. Makes it a bit easier to learn drone orientation. I have since purchased 3 DJI products. First the P3S I thought that was the best thing every. I now have the Mavic Plus and the Spark. They are all great and easy to fly. I think much easier than toy grade. I did not get the DJI Care being that I have State Farm Insurance. I have them all on my personal articles policy. I had to make 1 claim on the camera on my P3S and the insurance reimbursed me the entire repair including shipping.

    Spark a great starter. Get fly more combo or extra batteries. You will not regret
     
  4. GearHead83

    GearHead83 Well-Known Member

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    The best skill to have as a drone pilot is the ability to task load. Like my other big hobby scuba diving, droning requires the ability to continually cycle through different tasks and keep an eye on a variety of indicators adjusting as necessary.
     
  5. Koala Tails

    Koala Tails Active Member

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    All the technology packed into drones like the spark does make them easy to fly. You don’t hear about millions of incident free flights, what would they say?
    Most crashes, are small, & caused by a pilot being over confident. It is natural to push the boundaries of ability & gain skills with the experience.
    When you buy a new drone there is spare propellers in the box. Because you will need them! For small crashes.
     
  6. davpmars

    davpmars Member

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    Thank you for all of the advice!

    I had never read about the DJI go simulator. Can you use the simulator with the remote and phone combo as well with only the phone?

    Also I live near what appears to be a cell phone tower. Should I try to stay away from that tower? Could it interfere with the signal to the remote? I don’t think I will ever use just my phone to control the drone
     
  7. Koala Tails

    Koala Tails Active Member

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    The simulator is very basic, it will teach you how the 2 joysticks move a drone. The spark has a “beginners” mode, that should be your 1st experience of flight.
    Not sure how much interference a cellphone tower emits, any metal structures can cause problems.
    Before you buy a drone download “Airmap for Drones” (it’s a free app) and/or an app from your aviation authority. There are regulations about what you can fly & where you can fly it.
     
  8. Richard Ruckert

    Richard Ruckert Well-Known Member

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    Hi...You may find this video helpful

     
  9. graywoulf

    graywoulf Well-Known Member

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    Buy a cheap toy quadcopter first to learn how to fly. Maybe the DJI Tello would be a great start towards flying anything else that DJI offers. Manual flying skills are a must in flying drones as the automatic flights don't always work as planned and you need to know how to manually retrieve your drone in those cases. Good luck and happy flying!
     
  10. fithdy

    fithdy New Member

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    I'm a first-timer myself... read and watch everything you can, and understand the basics BEFORE your first flight. Start in Beginner Mode, and find a large open space to practice in. Then practice, practice, practice until flying starts to become second nature. Slowly, small steps, constant scanning of available information - I've stuck to this mantra religiously, and have now got about 10 hours up and get more confident and better with each flight. Good luck!
     
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  11. Adrianvert

    Adrianvert Well-Known Member

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    If you've had interest this long you'll be fine. Just start off with tripod mode and you'll have no issues with a little reading of the instructions and maybe a few youtube vids.
     
  12. Douglas128

    Douglas128 Member

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    Don't worry too much about Spark. It is very stable especially with its GPS lock. Just take off and you can let go your hands and it will just hover around 1 metre above ground rooted to the spot. I even have a high tension electrical cables about 50 metres away.
     
  13. Northwood Mediaworks

    Northwood Mediaworks Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am a beginner also, and I've used that mode for my first two flights, I flew toy drones before the spark, so had the benefit of that experience prior to the DJI stuff with GPS. Getting into the habit of following a pre-flight checklist will help you avoid pilot error somewhat, and also environmental issues, such as interference, wind, etc. Sometimes you want to fly, but the weather says, not today!
     
  14. Anthony Geiger

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    Like learning to drive practice practice practice good luck!
     
  15. Anthony Geiger

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    And you will crash so leave your crash guards ON!
     
  16. Anthony Geiger

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    DJI CARE REFRESH Good move I crashed into my shed at 40 kph and the Spark still flue OK But bent camera Gimble And DJI Replaced it with brand New Drone happy camper
     
  17. Chips

    Chips Member

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    I've been flying for a year now though in actual time, it's been mostly on weekends and holidays.

    I recommend that you get comfortable flying the drone at low altitudes and within a short distance from you. Get used to operating the sticks so you don't think about your actions, just as you don't think about steering and accelerating your car. Start off in the biggest open space you can find and ideally, you should put on prop guards because there may come a time when you accidentally push the stick the wrong way and into trees. Happened to me a few times initially and fortunately never broke the drone. So for my next 3 drones, I made sure I bought prop guards from Day 1.

    Take your time understanding how the drone flies and whenever it is flying automatically (like Return Home), keep your finger on the STOP button so you can stop its action right away if it is behaving strangely. For example, it may have messed up its Home Point and is not headed to where you expect it to and maybe away so you need to stop it right away before it goes out of sight.

    Talking about going out of sight, if you do lose sight of it, don't instinctively lower it thinking that's the safer action. I learnt the hard way and lost one drone because I was disorientated and couldn't figure out where the drone was from the imagery (I had not learnt to fly with the map yet) as it had blown off course. I lowered it - and it ended up at the top of a jungle. I know where it is but I can't get to it! So if you think you've lost it, going up is better and then let it hover a while so you can calm down (newbies will panic when the drone is seemingly lost).

    Even after a year, I am still tense when flying because I have had various scary incidents and now am having to fly my drones repeatedly until I am sure they are not going to do the same things again. Having a drone fly off and get lost is one thing but having it crash onto a highway or someone is really bad news and I am doing my best to ensure that does not happen. So right now, I'm having something like an American space program - testing, testing, testing until it's safe enough to go for long-distance missions.
     
  18. Pfwilson

    Pfwilson New Member

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    Yeah, me too! I'm a first time droner and bought a Spark about a month ago. So far, I have crashed into a wall, a tree, and a variety of other things and have not ruined it yet. Be sure to get the propeller guards. They go a long ways towards reducing screw-ups because once a blade hits something, it's usually the end of the flight.
     
  19. Koala Tails

    Koala Tails Active Member

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    I totally agree with what Chip wrote. Still learning myself, I believe the easiest lesson & the most important is... When in doubt, STOP! If flying manually release the sticks, let it hover while you calmly figure out what to do. If the spark is in any automated mode watch it with your thumb ready to press the pause button. Never put the controller down when the spark is up.

    Also: If it loses gps don’t panic, get your spark to a clear spot & bring it down calmly, the bottom sensor will work when the spark is a few meters above the ground (like on a Tello), then it will behave normally.
     
  20. wsalopek

    wsalopek Active Member

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    Read the FAA guidelines.

    Read the manual.

    Watch a couple "getting started" videos.

    Wait for a day with little wind.

    Go to an open/flat area to fly. Really, most people's yards and such are plenty big enough for these first flights, but the bigger the area, the better.

    Keep the prop guards on...for the sake of protecting the Spark's props should you fly too close to something, but more importantly, for the protection of bystanders. Though ideally, you'll be flying far far away from any people/objects/trees/etc.

    Stand 10-20 feet directly behind the Spark.

    Take off.

    The Spark will hover in place.

    Breathe.

    You're doing great.

    Watch the Spark for a minute or two so you can see just how stable it hovers. Watching that stability will increase your confidence and calm you quite a bit.

    Land.

    Breathe.

    Take off again.

    Hover for a few moments.

    Then...

    Gently move the sticks in each direction, knowing that you can always let go and the Spark will STOP. Just go up/down, left/right, and forward/back a couple feet. (I wouldn't yaw (rotate) at this point because it might lead to confusion.)

    Land.

    Breathe.

    Do that a few times.

    Check your battery state Recharge or put in a freshly charged battery if need be.

    Then next...

    Take off.

    Yaw (rotate) the Spark 180 degrees so it faces you. You'll probably see yourself on the screen of your phone. Maybe snap your first aerial picture :)

    Left/right and forward/back will now be REVERSED as seen from where you are standing and facing the Spark. This is definitely tricky at first but you'll get the hang of it

    Gently move the sticks like the first flights, remembering the Spark will STOP if you let go of the controls.

    If you get confused, just LAND.

    Or...

    Turn your body around so the Spark is behind you... In that way, left/right and forward/back will now seem "normal" again.

    Also be familiar with return to home and how it works (which should have happened when you read the manual and watched videos).

    Repeat the above.

    Flying the Spark is really not difficult. You'll be fine. Just take your time.

    And again, remember, the Spark will STOP if you let go of the controls...and even land itself when the battery gets low.

    You'll be fine.

    Have fun!

    -

    Bill
     
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