Flying a drone is a hobby that is gaining popularity, but there are also laws that allow certain actions while prohibiting others, so make sure you know all the rules before lifting your drone up in the air.
Drones can be divided in two rough categories: the expensive camera copters for pros, and the multirotor machines for beginners. On websites like rotorcopters.com you can find out more about both, and below you can find some buying tips for beginners.
The size of your drone influences where you can use it. Thus, small ones are great for indoor practice flying, while mid and large-sized drones are more suitable for outside flying. But how do you determine the size more exactly? Well, in the case of a multirotor, the size is given by the greatest distance between two motors. For example, a 300 or 400-class drone cannot measure more than 300mm or 400mm, respectively, between any two of its motors; these are mid-sized machines. Small or nano drones for the indoors should not measure more than 50-100mm.
Ideally, your drone should have a removable battery, so that you don’t have to end your flight sooner in order to recharge it, but use a spare instead. Note that very small drones do not normally have removable batteries, and they also need a 10 minute rest period to allow the motor to cool off between flights.
How long a drone will fly depends on various factors, such as its size, battery and brand, but generally, a 7—8 minute flight is considered a reasonable time for a small to mid-sized drone on a single charge. The good news is producers are constantly looking into ways of increasing flight times, and some drones can now spend a full fifteen minutes in the air.
Moreover, each type of drone offers different flight modes, like the option to adjust or to customize control rates. Adjusting control rates between low, medium, and high can be challenging for a beginner, but it can also give you more control over your drone. Next, you can customize the control rates for each axis, and then save different profiles for different purposes. There is also the headless mode option, where the drone moves relative to you rather than to where its head is pointing.
While all drones need a gyroscope for auto-balancing, check that yours comes with six axis, otherwise it’s not worth buying.
Really small drones are very cheap, while professional machines can easily fetch over $1000. The upside to this significant difference in price is that you can buy several drones in different sizes. Not just size influences price, though, but also the presence or absence of any of the features mentioned above.