Best Affordable Travel Drones With Cameras

Best Affordable Travel Drones With Cameras

Best Affordable Travel Drones with Cameras

By: Enid Kathambi

best drones with cameras

 

Freezing your travel moments into pictures and videos is one of the best activities for a traveler. You want to keep these sweet memories of all the places you have seen and activities you have indulged in.

A camera is great but what happens when you want to take the kind of aerial pictures you only see in movies? You do know that this possibility is no longer a dream, right? Anyway, to get you out of that conundrum are drones. However, not every drone out there is ideal for a traveler. Also, you might be in need of a drone for your travel needs but your pockets seem to disagree.

We have taken the time to make your drone shopping experience pretty much straightforward. Here are the best affordable travel drones with cameras.

5 Best Affordable Travel Drones with Cameras

In no specific order, here we go:

Altair AA818 Hornet Plus Drone

 

You do not have to be a pro at drones to use the Altair 818 Hornet drone. What Altair Aerial has done is give you an affordable drone that you can count on for great pictures and long battery life. It is easy to use and light to move around with as a traveler.

For pictures, its wide-angle 720p HD camera will give you great ones. It can fly for 15 minutes for each battery. We say each because it comes with two batteries. So, if they are fully charged, you get to fly it for 30 minutes. Its hovering is also stable.

With it, you can take pictures and videos with a bird’s eye view right from your phone.

Pros:

  • Has custom route mode– you can customize the routes you want it to fly using your smartphone. The drone will just fly according to the route you have drawn.
  • To make the flying experience even easier, the drone has a headless mode, 1-button takeoff & landing, and altitude hold mode. The altitude mode holds the drone in position, which is great for pictures.
  • Has 3 flying modes: low-speed mode to high flying speed mode.
  • An alarm system that alerts you in case the battery is low or the drone gets out of range.

Cons:

  • A little bit big and does not come in a carrying case. It makes it a little bit tricky for a traveler to move around with. To beat this, you can buy a carrying case on your own. 

 

DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter

 

Compared to other drones form the same brand, the DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter is fairly priced. It has a minimum range of 4 km’s and a flight mode of 21 minutes. If you get yourself an extra battery, then you are assured of at least 40 minutes of shooting. For its prices, that is pretty much understandable. It is also the smallest and lightest drone from DJI’s Mavic Series.   

It has quite a number of intelligent flight modes that you can use to capture breathtaking pictures and videos with. You don’t have to operate the drone manually if you take advantage of these modes; Smart Capture, Active Track, Tap Fly, and quick shots.

The drones Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) uses the forward camera, backward and down-facing sensors at once. This helps it adjusts its flight path accordingly in case it detects any possible obstacles. It has a storage of 8GBs and has a Micro SD card slot in case you need a larger memory.

Pros:

  • Easy to fly and can be used even by a beginner.
  • It has a high-quality camera that will leave you with pictures and videos of great quality. You can even take slow-motion videos! 
  • For a traveler, it is very portable with no much hassle thanks to its 3D foldable design.

Cons:

  • Compared to other Mavic Air series drones, its battery life is not that great.

 

Holy Stone HS160 Shadow

 

With over a thousand reviews on Amazon, 4.1-rating, and a surprisingly low price than any other drone on the list, the Holy Stone HS160 drone leaves you with a Holy Cow! expression- no pun intended. If you are looking for a drone that gives you videos of great quality, then this might just be the right pick for you. 

It has a flight time of 8-10 minutes, pretty much low from other drones in our list. However, for a small drone and its price, it is worth it. To beat this, it comes with a spare battery so you do not have to rely on just one battery when out there getting yourself cool videos.

Its size is also great for a traveler- quite portable and foldable for packing in your backpack.

Pros:

  • Has APP control system, which you can use to operate the drone with WIFI using your phone. It is compatible with both iOS and Android systems.
  • One key for both starting and landing the drone. You do not have to be a pro when it comes to drone to operate this one.
  • Very affordable and easy to carry around.

Cons:

  • The battery life is not that ideal for those looking forward to staying out for long taking pictures and videos. 
  • The quality of its images is low compared to the others on the list.

 

DJI Spark

 

DJI are known for their drones of great quality. Apart from the Mavic Air series drones, they have quite a number of other drones that are viable for a traveler looking for an affordable drone.  The DJI Spark is affordable and easy to use- even for a beginner. Its flight time is 16 minutes, and a maximum flight range of 2km. with a spare battery, you can get up to 32 minutes of flight.

It has a 1080p camera for pictures of great quality, and a 2-axis gimbal stabilizer for keeping the camera steady when flying the drone. It has intelligent flight modes, and you can fly it from your phone if you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Pros:

  • Has 3 different flying modes, our favorite being the gesture control mode. This one allows you to fly it by gesturing with your hands. You just need to direct the gestures to the drone’s camera and you are good to go.
  • It has FaceAware feature for quick launching. By just recognizing your face, it will launch and fly.
  • Easy to carry around as a traveler and is affordable.

Cons:

Only has 2-axis gimbal, which does not make it as stable as the 3-axis gimbal feature when flying.

 

VOOCO X-Star Premium Drone

 

With a flight time of 25 minutes, a flight range of 2km, and a maximum speed of 60pkh, this is one of the highly priced drones in our list. However, the VOOCO X-Star is worth it.

Its camera is one of the best on our list. It can shoot 1080p at 120 frames PS, 2.7k at 60 frames PS, and 4k at 30 frames PS (Per Second). Additionally, the camera is attached to a detachable 3-axis gimbal for stability when flying- this has to be the best on the list!

The good thing about the detachable cameras is that you can upgrade it when the company releases an upgrade, thus saving you some bucks.

Pros:

  • Its 4K camera is attached to a removable Gimbal. Save some money when they upgrade the camera instead of buying a new drone.
  • Comes with a hard case, intelligent battery, and a 64-GB MicroSD card.
  • Easy to use even as a beginner.

Cons:

  • Does not have intelligent flight modes like the rest on the list.
  • A little bit heavy.

What to look for in a travel drone

Weight

When on the road, the last thing you need is something to weigh down, including the drone you get. Look for a drone that is small and light in weight.

Packing

For ease and less headache on the road, go for a drone that is easy to pack, especially in your backpack. Others come in their own carrying cases while others don’t. But if you can get a drone that is foldable and easy to pack with your luggage then you will be much better.

Battery life

How long will the battery last? A short battery life will limit your shooting time. To be safe though, regardless of the flight time your drone offers you, get a pair of extra batteries. Even 2 or 3 pairs.

Flight range

The longer the flight range of a drone the more the freedom you have shooting in an area. A wider flight range gives you a chance to shoot pictures and videos of areas that a bit far from you, even 4kms with some drones. This comes in hand on areas with water or hills.

Camera and Gimbal

As much as we are looking for affordable drones, the camera has to be considered. You don’t want to go visiting breathtaking sceneries only for the camera to let you down. If it can shoot 4K or 1080P and has a 2 to 3-axis gimbal, you are good to go.

Happy shopping! And we hope you share those memorable pictures you take with your drone.

 

If you enjoyed our best affordable drones with cameras guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:

 

Hopefully, you found these guides helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

 

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How To Travel Safely With A Drone On A Plane or Anywhere Else

 

 

As drones continue to gain popularity, there are more questions regarding travel laws and safety concerns with respect to drones. I always wondered if I can bring my drone with me when I travel. Of course, it is a huge benefit for drone owners to be able to take their personal drone with them to capture amazing footage and images of their trip.

It is believed that traveling with a drone on a plane is difficult. But the truth is, if you plan ahead and take some time to prepare, the whole process becomes much easier.

In this post, I will cover some rules and regulations regarding traveling with your drone. Also cover some safety tips, drone packing tips, and some other great drone awesomeness to help you enjoy traveling with your drone.

Let’s answer the elephant in the room right off the bat.

 

 

 

Can I bring a drone through airport security and travel on a plane with a drone?

 

Yes, You sure can! I am just referencing airports in the U.S for now, but it is legally ok to carry a drone on board a plane. According to the TSA website, you can carry your drone onboard. You can click the link for more info on drones and other items you can carry on board.

It is very important that you check with your airline to confirm their rules and regulations first before bringing your drone. Also, it’s a good idea to inform the screening agent when going through security that you will be putting your drone through the scanner.

Important note: The TSA officer has the final say whether or not an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

Another very important thing to note, there are some restrictions on flying with batteries. You can only travel with 3 drone batteries per passenger. So, If you need to travel with four, give the spare ones to your travel buddy or partner to bring. Your batteries must also have to remain below 100 watt-hours per battery. If they exceed that, you must receive specific airline approval. Information on the FAA website about batteries carried by passengers can be found here.

 

Traveling with a drone on an international flight?

 

 

It’s important to note that the information above is valid for domestic U.S flights only. Flying internationally with a drone might be completely different. You will need to check with your destination’s laws and requirements for traveling with a drone. I have heard of so many horror stories of drones getting confiscated at the border and fines etc.. don’t let that happen to you. Make sure to do your research beforehand.

There’s a lot of information there regarding international drone laws on AV Coach’s website’s master list of drone laws. Highly recommend you check it out.

 

TSA drone policy

 

Before you even think about how to pack your drone and take it with you on a plane you should consider whether it will comply with TSA requirements, the airline’s policies, the drone laws in both take-offs and arrivals, as well as the FAA hazardous material regulations. Upon complying with all these requirements then understanding how to pack your drone should follow.

The Transport Security Administration is very clear on what is allowed to be carried on board the aircraft with you. This link is specific to drones, but they also have a what can I bring section, including liquids, travel tips and much more.

Normally, security measures begin long before you even get at the airport and the good thing about this is that TSA considers drones as portable electronic devices. However, the allowance is normally determined by the watt-hour rating of the drone’s batteries.

Battery rating allowance for carry on board:

  • Up to 100wh, the batteries are allowed both as carry-on baggage and checked.
  • Over 100Wh to 160Wh airline approval is required but generally accepted if the terminals are properly covered or insulated.
  • Over 160Wh are forbidden to be carried on the airplane.

 

TSA advises travelers to check with the My-TSA App for any updates on the requirements since the app provides airline passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information. Again, TSA recommends checking directly with the different airline’s drone rules and policies since they vary from one airline to the other.

 

 

United Airlines Drone Policy

 

 

 

From the United Airlines website regarding batteries:

Personal devices (except for e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers) installed with a lithium battery of fewer than 100-watt-hours are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage. Loose lithium batteries are not permitted in checked baggage on any United flight. Each spare lithium battery in carry-on baggage must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. To do this, you can place each battery in original retail packaging, place each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch, or insulate the batteries by taping over exposed terminals. Spare batteries must not come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry, and you should take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting pressure on the battery.

In most cases, up to two larger lithium batteries (more than 100 watt-hours, but not exceeding 160 watt-hours) are permitted in carry-on baggage if the terminals are properly covered or insulated. If you are traveling with a battery-operated mobility device, please see our Special Travel Needs section.

If carry-on baggage is checked at the gate, any lithium batteries and power banks must be removed.

You should review the link here if traveling with United Airlines.

 

American Airlines Drone Policy

 

 

Airlines can vary in the way of their drone policies, and for American Airlines, you can bring a drone with you only if its less than 22*14*9 inches and 56*36*23 centimeters or alternatively you can carry your drone in a checked bag.

Additionally, the checked bag should not exceed a weight of 23kgs, and for first class, it should not exceed the weight of 32kgs. For the drones, American airlines require that you remove the batteries from the checked bags and place them in their own carry-on separately.

Here are some requirements for the batteries;

  • Batteries of less than 100Wh can have unlimited quantity in carry-on baggage
  • Batteries of between 100-160Wh should have only two spares in a carry-on baggage
  • For batteries of between 160-200Wh, you should contact special assistance.

 

 

How to pack a drone for travel

 

We all know that packing for a trip can be stressful, and packing your drone is no different. You want to make sure the proper steps and gear are used to ensure a safe trip for you and your drone. Here are some great tips and ideas that you can use.

Invest in a portable travel drone. If you know you will be traveling, try to buy one that is easy to lug around. Get something that is lightweight, compact and not bulky. Those are the main things you should look for.

You should also look for a drone that is strong enough to handle the weather elements. Rain, wind, snow can all play a role in your travels. Ensure your drone has a strong battery life as well, this will be more important when dealing with the harsh weather.

 

How to pack a drone in a suitcase

 

Again I will refer you to the TSA website for rules and regulations regarding bringing a drone with you on board the aircraft. Certain sharp objects, sizes won’t be allowed. There are also guidelines that must be followed for putting a drone in your checked luggage.

I don’t recommend that you just pack your drone in a regular suitcase with your other items. There are proper drone packing cases that will keep your drone protected and safe. If you are investing in a drone, you should consider a proper case for transporting it safely.

But if you decide to pack your drone in a backpack or suitcase, here are some tips. Pack your radio transmitter, goggles, tools and spare parts in your checked luggage bag protected in bags wrapped in clothing. If you have space, you can pack your drone into a backpack using clothing for protection, then put the backpack into your checked luggage bag. This will work fine for most racing drones but for someone who uses expensive photography drones, I highly recommend using a proper drone case.

pelican drone travel caseMy favorite case for transporting a drone is the Pelican drone travel case. These are hardshell cases with removable foam inserts. This particular case will fit the DJI Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 drone. These are water and weatherproof providing the best protection.

 

You can check out this Pelican case here on Amazon.

 

If those don’t look like thy will fit your needs, there are many other options available for drone travel cases. Find the one that suits you the best on Amazon here.

 

 

Traveling with the DJI Mavic Pro:DJI Mavic Pro drone travel case

If you are traveling with a mini-drone, including the DJI Mavic Pro, here is a great case. It’s very affordable, durable, lightweight, and provides excellent protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also use a waterproof drone travel backpack for transport.

The Lykus M1 backpack is suitable for the DJI Mavic Pro and Platinum. Also very affordable, lightweight and durable. These are available on Amazon. You can check the current price here.

 

 

More Drone Travel Tips:

 

✅ Check all the laws for the places you are visiting

✅ Give yourself extra time at the airports for screening with a drone

✅ Show off your drone to the locals – They will love it!

✅ Bring extra propellers

✅ Bring extra batteries

✅ Pack your lithium-ion batteries in your carry on luggage – use a fireproof bag if possible

✅ Watch out for animals and other wildlife

✅ Bring repair tools

 

In Summary:

So it’s great to know that you can travel safely with your drone. As long as you follow the rules and contact your airline beforehand, everything should be fine. To help things go a bit smoother, have a look at getting a proper travel case and ensure you have extra batteries, chargers and repair kits. There is nothing quite like traveling the world and taking amazing images and footage from your drone. Happy droning!

 

Thanks for reading!

How To Get A Drone License – Complete Guide 2019

How To Get A Drone License – Complete Guide 2019

How To Get A Drone License – Complete Guide 2019

 

how to get a drone license

 

For the last decade, the drone industry has experienced an incredible influx of interest, with the number of unmanned aerial vehicles increasing at a drastic rate.

While all this is good news, right from the drone manufacturing, to drone retailers, to industries which can use these drones for financial or tactical gains all these advancements raise a number of questions with one of them being, is there a need to regulate the ownership and use of drones?

Truly, there is no a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to this question since requirements and regulations differ from one location to another where the drone is been flown as well as the intended purpose.

In this article, we will discuss issues surrounding drone licensing and ultimately the steps towards successfully licensing your drone.

 

Related posts:

 

Reasons for Flying a Drone

 

There are quite a number of reasons as to why one can fly a drone; nonetheless, the major reasons happen to be for recreational purposes or commercial purposes.

It’s also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has clearly provided clear guidelines regarding licensing for both recreation and commercial drone usage. Similarly, if you fly your drone indoors, then you don’t need to have a remote pilot’s license or even register your drone with the FAA.

If it happens you fly your drone outside for recreational purposes, then you will need to register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds. Fortunately, according to FAA, recreational pilots are not required to register or rather acquire licenses for their drones apart from meeting the weight requirements.

The FAA also allows one to fly their drone for recreational purposes if they are monitored by individuals with valid remote pilot licenses. However, the FAA has set a number of restrictions to which these recreational drones are to be operated, and the restrictions or such flights are as follows;

You must register your drone as an unmanned aerial vehicle.

You must adhere to the FAA Small UAS Rule; part 107

If you are flying your aircraft in a field, park or other areas where manned aircraft are not constantly passing, and there is no immediate threat to people or power lines you do not need a remote pilot’s license, but you need to register your drone.

On the other hand, if you are flying your drone for commercial purposes, then you are required to register your drone and at the same time acquire a license for it. For starters, you need to register your drone and at the same time obtain an airworthiness certificate for your drone.

Ideally, this certification is required for insurance purposes, and apart from that, you are required to follow all federal, state and local laws that revolve around operating a UAV and which include details like:

Recording capabilities.

Distance from federal buildings, schools, banks among others.

As well as obtaining a remote pilot license.

If the drone or the pilot are coming from a different country, then they must apply for a waiver exemption to operate the drone commercially.

Today commercial drone operations are becoming popular as well a big business thus more reasons that there is a need to regulate them as well tightening up the adherence to laws as well standards. It’s important that these standards and laws are tightened since today drones are reinventing old businesses and creating brand new businesses and they are widely applied in agriculture, architecture, delivery, emergency services, media among other sectors.

 

 

 

Requirements for Drone licensing

 

After getting a glimpse of the various applicability of drones its important to understand the various requirements for licensing a drone which is summarized below as per the FAA requirements:

You must be of 16 years and above

You must be of sound mind so as to operate your UAV safely

You must have a valid government-issued identification

Make a test appointment with any UAV/FAA approved test center and pass the test

Pay an amount of $150 to the testing company

You must pass the test

After passing the test, you can make an application for the remote pilot certificate

Lastly, you must perform a full background check with TSA

After you are done with the test, the FAA requires you to print out the remote pilot certificate that acts as a temporary certificate until you receive the original one. Whether you register your drone after this process or not is completely up to you; however, it’s highly advisable that you register it before you receive the original certificate so that you are ready to go once the license is issued.

Additionally, once you receive your license, you are required to keep it up-to-date by passing a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test which is carried out every 24 months. You should also be available to FAA upon request. Reporting of any accidents to the FAA within a period of 10 days is also crucial. Lastly, you are required to conduct a pre-flight inspection to ensure safe operation.

 

Cost Involved in Acquiring Remote Pilot License

 

As we have seen earlier, the testing cost is normally $150 which is supposed to be paid directly to the testing center where you plan on taking the test, and once you’ve passed the test there is no additional fee that you are required to pay.

Typically, the other involved costs to operate a commercial drone are fairly minimal. For starters, we have a $5 charge which is the registration fee for the drone which is mandatory, especially for commercial drones. Other costs involved are when establishing a company to operate your business, and for limited liability companies, it stands at about $150-$200.

 

How Long Does It Take to Acquire your FAA Drone License?

 

Fortunately, unlike other private pilot certification, FAA drone licensing does not require you to achieve certain mandatory milestones to be certified. The only thing that you need to consider is the period you will take to study as well as undertake the aeronautical knowledge test.

The period that you take to complete the test is the determinant of how long it will take you to receive your license. There are 2 ways to prepare for the aeronautical knowledge test. One is to use the FAA’s free online study materials which you can read more about here.

The second way and my most recommended method is to take a drone pilot ground school course. Drone Pilot Ground School is an online test prep course for commercial drone pilots looking to pass the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test for a Remote Pilot Certificate. You are taught everything you need to know and you are guaranteed to pass or they will pay your $150 fee.

For more information on Drone Pilot Ground School course, click the link above or the banner below. Everything you need to get started is there for you!

 

 

 

Once you are done with the test, the FAA takes about six to eight weeks to issue you with a permanent remote pilot certification. However, FAA issues you with a temporary certificate which allows the holder to exercise all privileges of the certificate.

 

How Much Can You Make with the FAA Drone license?

 

Ideally, for a full-time salaried position, one can make an average of about $33,000 to $79,000 annually. Through freelance and client-based work, you can make $200 – $300 per project; however; this can highly vary depending on how you select the prices of your services. It’s important to note that the amount you make highly depends on the costs of running the business as well the type of service you offer.

 

Exemptions: Part 61

 

Part 61 exemptions are part of a legislative instrument which exempts the holder from certain aircraft flight reviews. To this effect, part 61 is the specific exemption applicable for the UAVs, and it must be completed before the issuance of the license.

For eligibility, one must be a holder of a pilot certificate which its specifications are clarified under CFR 61. In other words, part 61 is a section of FAA that outlines the requirements for individuals who intend to obtain a remote pilot license or rating. This is a very important section since it provides details on what it’s required of someone during the training process so as to make them eligible.

 

Summary of Steps Towards Successful Remote Pilot licensing

 

Create an account or log in to your existing account at FAA

Complete the online training course on the FAA website

Create an account or log in to your IACRA account and complete the 8710-13 form

Make an appointment with an FAA-approved test center to validate your identity and eligibility

Once you pass the test, the representative will sign your application and issue you with a temporary license

Issuance of the original/actual remote pilot certificate

 

To this end, the above information should be informative and thus assist you in acquiring a part 107 remote pilot certificate for a commercial drone license. Above all, it’s important to note that the responsibility of a certified drone pilot goes beyond passing the test and acquiring a license and that the purpose of registration and licensing is to keep everyone safe.

 

See our complete guide to the FAA Part 107 online course here.

 

 

Hopefully, you enjoyed this article. Feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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FAA Part 107 Online Course – Complete Guide 2019

FAA Part 107 Online Course – Complete Guide 2019

FAA Part 107 Online Course- Complete Guide 2019

 

 

 

What is the FAA Part 107 test?

This is the written exam that is required by the FAA in order to be certified to operate your drone under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107). So you will be allowed to fly your drone commercially and earn money.

This test will certify that you understand all the requirements, rules and regulations, and safety procedures for flying drones.

 

Requirements to hold FAA license

In order to become a pilot you must have the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam

There are approximately 700 locations in the United States where you can complete the exam. The full location list can be found here.

You will need to schedule an appointment with one of these testing centers and bring a government issued photo id with you.

 

How To Study For The Part 107 Exam

 

The FAA has a free online training course, which is intended for Part 61 pilot holders. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use complete the course as well. Anyone can access this training and use it for your own personal studying. Even non-drone pilots can register online and take the course.

 

A great option for learning some more general aviation content is the FAA published book the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

 

 

 

 

When studying for the exam, you will need to cover the following topics.

  • Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  • Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  • Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew resource management
  • Radio communication procedures
  • Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  • Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  • Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  • Airport operations
  • Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures

 

 

The Part 107 Fee to complete the exam is $150. It is compiled of 60 multiple choice questions broken down into the following:

 

#1. Regulations

#2. Airspace & Requirements

#3. Weather

#4. Loading & Performance

#5. Operations

 

Count on the exam questions to cover 10-15% of each section with more emphasis placed on regulations (about 15%-20%)

 

* Pro Tip: If you fail the exam on the first try, don’t worry about it! You can rewrite the test again in 14 calendar days.

 

So If you are going to start studying for the Part 107 written exam, I recommend that you consider taking a ground school course that will teach you everything you need to know.

Drone Pilot Ground School is an online test prep course for commercial drone pilots looking to pass the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test for a Remote Pilot Certificate.

Over 99% of our students pass on their first attempt.

 Here is what you will receive during the course:

70+ Video/Text Lectures. Access a curriculum built in partnership with a Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and former Chief Pilot of a Part 141 Flight School to align directly with the FAA’s remote pilot certification requirements.

 

5 Practice Tests & 1:1 Support. Get ready to take your Part 107 Aeronautical Knowledge Test at your local FAA testing center with our lecture quizzes and 5 full-length practice tests. Get personal support via phone and email.

 

Flight Proficiency Training. While flight proficiency isn’t required by the FAA, we hold our students to a higher standard. Receive a Drone Pilot Ground School diploma when you pass our flight proficiency challenge.

 

 

Money-Back Guarantee. We’ll cover your testing fee (normally $150) if you don’t pass the FAA test after taking our course. With our 99%+ success rate, this rarely happens, but we have your back in case it does.

 

Lifetime Access. To keep your license, you’ll need to pass a recurrent FAA knowledge test every 24 months. Our students get lifetime access to our online training course, which we update regularly with the industry.

 

Real FAA Test Questions. Master the FAA’s test concepts with our database of 300+ multiple choice questions. After completing a practice test, you’ll be emailed a performance report and a breakdown of your incorrect responses.

 

 

 

Find out more about Drone Pilot Ground School by clicking the banner below and get started today!

 

 

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Learn How To Fly A Drone For Beginners

 

 

 

If you are a beginner looking to start flying a drone, there are some important steps to take note of which I will cover in this post. 

 

  1. Learn the rules & regulations of flying a drone and stay out of trouble
  2. Get familiarized with your drone
  3. How to use drone controls and aerodynamics
  4. Pre-flight checklist and considerations
  5. Takeoffs and landings
  6. Beginner drone flying techniques
  7. Drone safety tips
  8. Basic mistakes and how to fix them

 

Drones also commonly known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been a prominent controversial topic for the last few years and have swiftly been adopted by the public.

Drones have been in existence since 1917 when the first drone was invented, and it was a military drone. It was radio controlled, pilot-less and was based on the RC technology. Today, drones have become the most significant milestone of the 21st century since they are flown both figuratively and literally. Their use today has been diversified right from surveillance to photography, to search and rescue, to delivering packages and list goes on and on.

Everyone wants to familiarize themselves on how to use a drone for recreational purposes among other reasons, and if you are one of those people hoping to learn this new hobby, then this article is meant for you.

Below is a guideline that will help you acquire the skills as well mindset needed to learn on how to effectively fly a drone.

 

 

Step 1: Learn the Rules & Regulations of Flying a Drone and Stay out of Trouble

 

Ideally, many critics fail to address this as the very first phase towards learning how to fly a drone. However, this should be the very first phase since the learner needs to know what is fully required of them before they even engage in the learning process.

Learners need to know the rules and regulations that guide the flying of drones so that they can stay out of trouble even during the training process. For starters, before you even start flying your drone, you need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Even though you are flying your drone in your backyard, it’s a rule that you must register it first, and you can do it at the FAA drone zone website.

For you to complete the registration, you must be at least thirteen years old, and the registration cost is $5. It’s also important to note that the registration is valid for three years after which you are expected to renew your registration again. After registration, you should mark your drone with the registration number for easy identification purposes. You are also required to present your drone to the FAA for inspection.

 

 

After registration, you are required to familiarize yourself with the rules of flying your drone before your first flight and the rules include; flying only for recreation purposes or fun and ensuring that you follow the safety guidelines of the model aircraft community-based organization.

Fly up to 400 feet and not beyond that in uncontrolled airspace. Fly your drone within your vicinity. Never fly near an aircraft base. Never fly over or near emergency response efforts. You should also not fly your drone over unpermitted space either publicly or privately. If you intend to fly more advanced drone operations, then you should review the Part 107 Operation Waiver.

It’s also important that you as a drone operator to familiarize yourself with the rules of the sky; for instance, where it is safe to fly and where it’s not, drone safety tips, as well as airspace restrictions. Having done all these then you are good to go, you can freely learn on how to fly a drone since you know what you are up against.

 

Step 2: Getting Familiarized with Your Drone

 

This phase is also critical since it’s this stage where you get to familiarize yourself with your drone. You can use the user manual to gain an understanding of your drone as well as its features. The manual will also help you to understand the various controls function and how to use them as well when to use them.

Familiarizing yourself with the basic features of your drone, tips as well precautions within the user manual will even make the training process much easier since you will know where to locate certain controls and when they are effective to apply. In the same manner, many drones come with beginner modes and simulators which happen to be very effective for beginners since they allow you to get used to the various controls and this saves you time and keeps yours from making preventable mistakes that would otherwise hinder your learning/training process.

 

Step 3: How to Use Drone Controls and Aerodynamics

 

After familiarizing yourself with your drone, the next crucial step is learning how to use the drone’s controls as well as the aerodynamics. For starters, when it comes to the drones, you don’t have to worry about how different drones have varying controls since many drones within the market have a standardized controller layout which consists of buttons and sticks.

Although the appearance of some controllers might differ, the layout is the same. The remote controllers or rather transmitters normally operate a normal gaming controller with buttons and joysticks, so you need not to worry about the whole training process.

The drone controller has two sticks that are the left and right sticks. The left stick controls two aspects that are rotation (Yaw) and altitude (Throttle). For Yaw (Rudder), when you push the left stick left and right, you cause it to rotate clockwise and anticlockwise. This makes the drone face other directions without living its current position.

For the throttle on the other hand, if you push the left stick up and down, then you will be changing the drone’s altitude accordingly. Its normally used when flying the drone to adjust the height at which the drone is flying. The right stick controls the roll (Aileron) and pitch (elevator). When it comes to pitching you push the right stick up and down then you will be propelling the drone forward and backward accordingly.

If you use roll and you push the right stick left and right, then you will make the drone roll or rather fly along the right and left side accordingly. We also have the right and left trim buttons on the remote controller that help adjust the roll, pitch, yaw and throttle controls if they are off balance.

 

The drone aerodynamics are also key since they help you to maneuver as well know how to stabilize. For the maneuvering styles, there are two styles, and one is bank turn which is a consistent circular turn which either helps you move in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, and it’s done by the yaw control.

Hovering is the other style where you can stay in the same position while airborne, and it’s done using the throttle. When it comes to stabilizing, you can either use the GPS hold (loiter) where it returns the drone’s position once the sticks are centered. Attitude (self-level, auto-level) can also be used once the sticks are centered. Lastly, you can use a rate manual (hard/Acro) where it holds the position of the drone so that it can note auto-level itself to its original position.

 

 

Step 4: Pre-Flight Checklist and Considerations

 

Before you get your familiarization into practice you should conduct a pre-flight checklist and consideration to ensure all is well and the following checklist should be considered:

 Check the physical condition of the drone and look for signs of breakage, cracks or wear on the propellers.

 Check the rules and regulations of the place you plan on flying the drone.

 Check to see if your batteries are fully charged as well if they have adequate power to fly the drone.

 Ensure that your controller is well and properly connected to the drone.

 Check also the weather to ensure that it’s not in a position to hinder the drone for effectively flying.

 Check to see if the play you plan on flying the drone is clear for takeoffs and landing.

 Ensure that your drones camera settings are well matched.

 Check to see if the memory card is well fitted to the drone in case you plan on filming or taking pictures.

 Ensure you notify anyone near the drone that you are ready to take off.

 And lastly, monitor the drone settings as you fly it.

 

Step 5: Takeoffs and Landing

 

This is actually the most important step after the familiarization of the drone, setting in the learning and training process for a beginner.

Before you take off, ensure that there the area you are flying the drone is clear to allow you to fly and control the drone freely. As you take off and land the drone, follow the following safety checklist:

 Power up the drone as you also monitor the battery levels as well as the drone settings.

 After you are satisfied that all is well, slowly increase the throttle to raise the drone some few inches above the ground.

 Hover the drone closer to the takeoff area as you continue to check the settings as well the battery levels.

 If you notice an issue with the settings, the battery levels or the drone quickly but slowly land the drone.

 As you land the drone announce to anyone near the landing area.

 Bring the drone to the landing area as you decrease the speed, slowly and gently then land the drone and ensure the propellers have stopped.

 When the drone is safe on the ground, and the motors have stopped, power the drone down and turn off the battery supply.

 

Step 6: Beginner Drone Flying Techniques

 

The very first thing you should do at this stage is to check your controls so as to ensure that everything is functional before you start the flight. You shouldn’t attempt to fly unless you are 100% sure that every control is working correctly.

After confirming that all is well, proceed and slowly increase the throttle until the drone is hovering about 2 inches above the ground. Since you are now familiar with the controls, try and slowly move them around to get a feel of how the drone reacts to your inputs.

If you start to feel like you’re losing control of the drone then quickly throttle down to avoid crashing the drone then repeat the same process slowly. After you are confident enough that you have passed the second part, then fly the drone a little higher that is after feeling that you are well acquainted with the controls.

Fly the drone repeatedly, land and fly to the next point for this will help you hover precision as well as improve your landing ability. Next, you have to learn orientation. This can be achieved by starting with the drone at 10 o’clock position then hover at the same position until you are sure enough that you can handle the next position.

After that, you can try other positions for perfection purposes. Next, you can try a nose-in-hovering where you operate the drone as it faces you; at this point, both the aileron and the elevator will be backward. To perfect your nose-in-hover, you can try it at different clock positions.

Lastly, you can try a nose-in-hopping by trying to land at the same position you took off only that this time the nose of the drone is facing in. This step is normally the hardest so take your time and learn.

 

Step 7: Drone Safety Tips

 

 Always ensure that you have spare batteries with you.

 Always have the landing pad with you since it can drastically become the break or make of the scenario.

 Get study maps to look for more safer places to fly the drone.

 Keep a safe distance and always comply with the FAA drone zone rules and regulation.

 Always store the drone in a protective bag.

 Don’t try to exceed your drone transmission range.

 And replace damaged propellers immediately.

 

Step 8: Basic Mistakes and How to Fix Them

 

One of the most common mistakes that beginner drone operators do is not complying with the law, but the one thing that they should do is to fly legally and follow the laws to the latter.

Flying drones near birds is also another mistake, and this can be fixed by avoid doing so at all for the safety of the birds and the drone. Flying drones beyond the operator’s vicinity, flying the drones within the operator’s eyesight is the only solution.

 

Don’t Fly Near Birds!

 

Beginners make the mistake of assuming that they don’t need to practice a lot, but in reality, they do for the purpose of becoming even better pilots.

Lastly, beginner drone operators make the mistake of flying the drone in a less open area, and this increases chances of either crashing the drone or even damaging it. Collectively, if you follow the oversteps then you will become a pro in operating drones.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this guide as you perfect your skills in flying your drone!

 

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Are you looking to take your drone addiction to the next step? For users wanting to pass the Part 107 exam, I recommend you check out Drone Pilot Ground School. Did you know that 99% of students pass the exam on the very first attempt? Don’t struggle with trying to figure out all the information and learning alone. Check it out by clicking the banner below!

 

Recommended Drones For Beginners

Holy Stone HS200 

Altair 818 Hornet

DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter

Best Affordable Travel Drones For Beginners(Under $100)

Best Affordable Travel Drones For Beginners(Under $100)

cheap travel drones

 

Best Affordable Travel Drones For Beginners (Under $100)

 

With the increase in popularity of drones these days, it’s no surprise that travel drones are becoming an important item on a travelers packing checklist. 

There is no better way to capture stunning images and video of your travels than by using a drone. The best part is you don’t need to spend a fortune on a drone to get really great quality and something that you will love.

But which drone is the best for travelers? What if you are a beginner? Don’t worry, there are many options available. From mini-drones to racing drones, there is something for everyone.

In this post, I will show you some affordable travel drones that are great for beginners all while staying under $100!

Related posts:

 

 

Travel Drones For Beginners Under $100

 

Holy Stone HS200

 

This 6-axis, gyro quadcopter is perfect for beginners or intermediate users.

Features and specifications:

  • 720P FPV real-time camera – pair with your IOS or Android phone for live photo and video feeds
  • Altitude hold – maintains altitude when you release the controls
  • Mobile control – Use a smartphone app to activate functions like gravity sensor
  • Headless mode and return home function – if your drone is out of sight, this comes in handy
  • 6-axis gyro stability – easy handling and extra stability for smooth operation
  • 4 speed modes – great for beginners
  • USB power charging port
  • LED lighting system
  • One button push takeoff and landing – with one push of the button, this drone will take off and land on its own
  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 Inches
  • Weight: 17.6 oz
  • Charging time: 60 min
  • Flight time: 7-9 min

 


 

The Holy Stone HS200 is available on Amazon.

 

 

SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone

 

This WIFI FPV drone is another drone great for beginners. It’s easy to use control and voice commands is perfect for newbies!

Features and specifications:

  • User-friendly – one button takeoff and land plus return to home
  • Smart voice control – voice control allows you to talk to your drone and position it perfectly for photo/video shooting
  • Fully controlled by your smartphone using the app
  • Range of up to 80m
  • 720p photo/video quality – upload instantly using wifi
  • High-quality ABS material makes it durable and safe
  • Altitude hold function hold it steady in place
  • Built-in G sensor gravity control
  • Anti-collision barriers help protect the drone
  • 3-speed modes
  • Includes 2 batteries – charge time 60-90 minutes
  • Flight time 7-10 minutes
  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 9.7 x 3.3 in
  • Weight: 24.6 oz

 

 

The Snaptain S5c is available on Amazon.

 

Best Mini Drone Under $100

 

SYMA X22W

Compact and lightweight, a mini-drone is a great option for travelers. The Syma X22W is great for beginners, kids, and newbies!

Features and specifications:

  • User-friendly drone with one push button takeoff and landing
  • Headless mode
  • 720p video with real-time photos and video
  • Altitude mode allows for auto hover in position
  • Track control mode – allows you to track your flight path on your smart device
  • Gravity sensor control
  • Adjustable speed modes
  • One button 360-degree flips
  • Includes 2 batteries
  • Flight time 7-9 minutes
  • Distance: 25 meters
  • Battery charge time 60 minutes
  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.6 x1.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 oz

 


 

The Syma X22W is available on Amazon.

 

 

So there are 3 great choices if you are looking for an affordable travel drone. You really can’t go wrong with either on, but if you are looking for a mini-drone, stick with the Syma X22W.

For more information on travel drones with cameras, check out our post here.

If you enjoyed our best affordable travel drones guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:

 

Hopefully, you found this helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

Are you looking to take your drone addiction to the next step? For users wanting to pass the Part 107 exam, I recommend you check out Drone Pilot Ground School. Did you know that 99% of students pass the exam on the very first attempt? Don’t struggle with trying to figure out all the information and learning alone. Check it out by clicking the banner below!

 

 

 

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