So you think you can pilot a drone?

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Drones are in right now. They’re new and exciting and as a result there are a lot of options out there. Hobby-grade drones can range from as little as $30 to as much as $2000, so it’s safe to assume there is an array of options to choose from.

So many that it may be a little daunting for first-time drone pilots. The chances of crashing your very first drone are high… So you don’t want to rush out and spend top dollar for something that you’re probably going to break. Down the cheaper end of the scale, there are still many do’s-and-don’ts.

Here are a few handy hints when deciding which craft to purchase:

  • Go small. Mini quadcopters don’t fly for long or fair well outside, but they are an inexpensive way to learn how to control a four-propeller craft remotely and they won’t do much damage to your belongings when you inevitably fly one into your TV.
  • Shop online. Hobby stores aren’t yet stocking a wide range of $30-$100 drones, which is the margin you want to stick to for your first time.
  • Look for propeller guards. These will minimise damage to the drone and the things it crashes into.

Here are a few options that come highly recommended by beginner-consumers:

1. Air Hog Helix X4 Stunt

Price: $65
Why buy? The Air Hog Helix is covered in Styrofoam armour. A very safe bet for a first-time user. 70% of consumers rate this craft between 4 and 5 stars and say it is a great beginner drone, handy for practising control and orientation. The armour absorbs impact well and it takes a lot damage. It can withstand a light breeze, but keep it inside in anything gustier as its light design can be easily picked up in heavier wind.

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2. UDI RC U839

Price: $30
Why buy? This miniature drone is super easy to fly. Unlike most miniatures, it has propeller guards, which make it a great beginner-proof craft that even kids can have fun with. Again, 70% of consumers rate the UDI RC U839 between 4 and 5 stars. Most reviews are from beginners, who say this was their first drone purchase and has taught them the basics of control. Small enough to fly indoors, but slightly more powerful than most small drones, this craft can withstand a light breeze if you feel like taking it outside.

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3. SYMA X5C

Price: $63
Why buy? The main reason for this drone’s popularity is simple; it has a camera. The quality of footage is about what you’d expect for the price, but for amateur aerial cinematographers it is a great inexpensive place to start. 80% of consumers rate this craft between 4 and 5 stars, saying it’s easy to fly and fun to use. It’s bigger than the other crafts, so outside only. It fairs well in medium wind, but the materials are inexpensive (hence the price), so keep it grounded in heavier gusts. It comes with removable propeller guards, which are recommended for beginners but as your skills grow, you can ditch the guards to offload some weight.

syma-x5c-quadcopter

Not a beginner anymore? If you’re a drone enthusiast and an experienced aerial cinematographer, you might be interested in entering the world’s first drone film festival, the Flying Robot International Film Festival. Read more about it here. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for more UAV updates and articles!

Swarm UAV

We are Australian specialists in drone aerial photography and aerial cinematography. CASA Certified Pilots. We are a business with our heads in the clouds, and our feet firmly on the ground.

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