There are plenty of different types of drones in the market today, from tiny toy drones all the way up to incredibly complex enterprise drones. Many people choose to start in the mid-range consumer drone category, but some opt for cheap and affordable drones that come in the form of smaller, lighter, and more primitive toy drones.
These are often a good choice for kids and adults who are still learning how to fly a drone. Although these drones are a bit different from the larger drones, a lot of the mechanics are the same. But what’s different, and how do you fly a toy drone?
Flying a toy drone requires that you master the take-off and landing portions first before learning how to move the drone through the air. After that, focus more on flying the drone along straight lines in a small perimeter to master the controls. Focus on forward and backward movements before taking the drone higher.
The thing you need to know here is that learning how to fly a toy drone isn’t too different from learning how to fly recreational drones. Their basics are more or less the same but you are now factoring in the lack of weight and power in toy drones. However, there are still some differences between the two. Let’s look at how to fly a toy drone specifically because they tend to be a bit different from the heavier and more feature-rich consumer drones.
How are toy drones different than recreational drones?
There are many different types of drones that are available for just about anyone to fly. Commercial drones, as their name suggests, are the ones that are used for commercial purposes and are bigger and more powerful than most other drones on the market. Recreational drones are used by hobbyists and are often called consumer drones. These are the most popular in the consumer market. Meanwhile, we also have toy drones, which are the smallest, flimsiest, weakest, and cheapest types of drones.
Because we are only going to talk about the drones that are readily available for consumer use, let us now compare toy drones and recreational drones and what makes them different in terms of how you fly them. Given the fact that toy drones are smaller, are they easier to fly than recreational drones?
When you fly toy drones and recreational drones, what you need to know is that the mechanics are largely the same because you have to master the flying, landing, hovering, and moving parts just like any other drone. In that regard, the fundamentals are largely the same in that these drones use the same basic mechanics and controls.
However, the difference that you may immediately notice is that toy drones are lighter and less powerful than recreational drones. That’s because they are made with cheaper materials and have weaker motors in comparison to the premium materials and the stronger motors that are used on consumer drones. But does that make toy drones easier to fly? In many cases, toy drones are actually harder to fly than the bigger recreational drones.
The reason why toy drones are not easier to fly in comparison to recreational drones is that they are lighter and weaker. That means that they won’t be able to fly very well when there are strong winds.
Moreover, you also need to consider the fact that toy drones are not meant to fly very high because they were not built with the weight and power to handle higher altitudes. They also usually are quite limited in how far they can fly from the pilot because the controller relies on wifi instead of a radio signal.
Toy drones also usually don’t have GPS, which means they have a harder time holding a stable hover. It also means they won’t have features such as return-to-home to prevent flyaways or crash landings.
So based on those limitations, does that also mean that toy drones are actually more difficult to fly? Well, it really depends. Toy drones tend to have controls and features that are simpler and easier to use and access because of the very fact that most of these drones were made and developed for children and beginner drone pilots. After all, if these drones come with flight controls and features that are as complicated to use as the more expensive drones, children would have a difficult time flying them.
That said, while toy drones are not exactly the best when it comes to flying because they are weaker and more limited than most drones, they are still simpler to fly in terms of their controls and functions. As such, they are great for those who are simply beginning to learn how to fly drones as they allow people to master simple and basic flight controls. It’s similar to how an airplane pilot needs to master flying a Cessna before moving on to flying a Boeing.
Even though toy drones may end up more difficult to control against rougher wind conditions compared to recreational drones, they still work great as beginner drones for those who want to master the art of drone flying because they are cheaper. After all, if you end up wrecking a toy drone, the losses won’t be at the same level as an actual consumer-level drone that is several times more expensive.
Tips for learning how to fly a toy drone
Let’s get really practical here with some useful tips on flying a toy drone:
1. Practice through a simulation first.
There are some drones that have a simulation app that will allow you to practice the controls of the drone. While built-in simulator apps aren’t something you can expect from cheaper drones, there are still independent drone simulation apps that you can use if you want to get the hang of flying a drone even if you are simply doing so in a simulated environment.
2. Fly first in a controlled environment.
Once you get the hang of your drone’s controls after using a simulation, take the drone out for a spin in your backyard, or another open space with few obstacles so that you will be able to practice flying it in a controlled environment.
3. Practice the take-off and landing.
It is important that you focus right from the get-go on practicing how to take off your toy drone so that you won’t have any problems taking off at any given moment. Of course, learning how to land the drone is just as important as the take-off because you want to make sure that the drone is able to land properly without getting damaged. We recommend that you use take-off and landing markers that will allow you to master the art of take-offs and landings on exact locations.
4. Practice forward and backward movements.
After you have mastered taking off and landing, the next thing to focus on is mastering the drone’s controls first by learning how to move forward and backward in a controlled environment such as your backyard.
It is important that you make sure that you keep the drone at a steady altitude such as probably 10 feet so that it will be easier for you to control it. It is also best to fly the drone in a place that is fairly sheltered so that the wind won’t be a hindrance while you are practicing.
5. Practice a stable hover.
Practice hovering as well because hovering is one of the key things that any drone pilot should know how to do especially when they are taking pictures. Hovering at a steady height can be tricky to do with a toy drone because the wind can easily blow it away, and you don’t have GPS helping you out. But once you do master the art of hovering, you will be able to take photos with the drone more easily.
6. Practice flying circles around a central point.
Find a focus spot and practice rotating around the focus spot at a controlled altitude of about 10 to 20 feet. Learning how to fly in a perfect circle should be a neat trick to learn especially if you want to take videos in the future. Learning to do this with a toy drone is important since it doesn’t have intelligent flight features that will make it fly in a circle for you.
7. Push the limits.
Steadily work your way up to higher altitudes but make sure you don’t fly your toy drone too far up because they might not be able to handle the stronger winds in higher altitudes. Keep repeating the processes to master the art of flying a toy drone, and continually push yourself to try harder maneuvers.
Things to remember when flying a toy drone
Before you learn how to fly a toy drone, here are some things you need to consider first:
- Follow the rules. You still need to comply with the basic requirements of the FAA including registration (for heavier toy drones), flight altitude limits, and other similar rules such as flying within your line of sight. That’s because the FAA doesn’t separate toy drones from recreational drones as far as the rules are concerned. Drones that are heavier than 250 grams need to be registered, but this might not be the case for toy drones that are very light.
- Know when and where you can fly. There are some limits in terms of where you can fly your drone. These include staying away from airports, stadiums, and schools. There might be certain times that you are not allowed to fly drones for safety and security reasons, such as at emergency scenes.
- Always do a safety check before flying your drone. This means that you should make sure that the battery is working fine and that all of the different parts are not damaged or defective. You don’t want to end up flying a drone that is liable to crash at any given moment.
- Check the weather. Don’t attempt to fly your drone during inclement weather conditions or when the winds are a bit strong. Remember here that toy drones are not made to fly in the rain or snow and are not strong enough to fly when the winds are strong.
- Prioritize safety first. That means that you should focus more on keeping yourself, other people, and animals safe when you are flying your toy drone. That’s because a toy drone can easily get replaced but you can’t say the same when it comes to someone or something that got injured as a result of reckless flying.