Drone School 101 at Skytech Drones Racing Class

Foreword:

Drone flying is a lot of fun. The most important part of having fun is being safe. You will learn a lot by reading and watching videos online.

Do’s:

Do pre-flight checks every time you fly (battery straps, prop nuts, flat ground etc., throttle off, switches all off)
Do ensure you have good space to fly
Do ensure that whenever you work on a drone, you remove the props and remember how they go on
Do lots of reading
Do take care of your LiPo batteries and become LiPo battery safe
Do ensure you have visual of the drone at all times
Do ensure you’re prepared to kill throttle and disarm the drone as soon as anything looks like it could go bad. A broken drone is always repairable.
Do ensure you have spare props when you fly. These are fragile and spin at 2400 x volts per minute.

Don’ts:

Don’t fly where there are overhead obstructions or trees unless you know what you’re doing
Don’t fly around dogs, they will chase the drone
Don’t fly where Magpies are nesting, they will swoop your drone
Don’t operate the drone indoors unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing
Don’t do anything without reading about it or confirming your thoughts
Don’t fly where you cannot fly
Don’t fly in wind or rain
Don’t take your eyes off the drone
Don’t lose orientation

Basics:

Your first week of flying will be the simplest manoeuvres. I learned to fly by first hovering, pitching forward and back, rolling left and right. Do not yaw. Yawing is hard and will come later. Don’t fly above head height. It isn’t hard to fly a drone 100m high in the sky but is very hard to see where it is facing and where it is going to go. Stay low, at least 1m off the ground.

After a few sessions, I would do what is known as walking the drone. It is just as it sounds, you fly the drone as if you’re walking a dog. Don’t just go in straight lines but in circles and other directions. This is a good way to learn the dynamics of flying and get a feel of the drone’s agility.

Once you master walking the drone, it would then be time to start flying around yourself. By this point, you would have started using yaw. I would encourage using the drone and controls to virtually draw figure 8 paths in the air. This teaches excellent manoeuvre skills. I would not be inclined to step out of the basics for at least a few months of flying. It took me nearly a year of flying to become well confident with the drone.

I’ve broken many props, made many repairs, ordered many replacement parts. This is why I have an arsenal of drones at home. Just remember, the drone can be rebuilt or a new one made, you just want to avoid any personal injury to yourself or any bystanders. Many people do not understand what a drone can do. I have almost lost fingers because of misjudging what a drone is capable of. I now cannot feel anything with the finger and it always serves as a reminder to myself.

Practice makes perfect, until you’re perfect with the above protocols, keep practicing. After this point we can go to the advanced steps.

Advanced:

This is where you would start looking at the tune of the drone. Increasing its PID numbers to increase overall authority and stability of the drone. This part is something that takes time. Lots of time. Lots and lots of time. My drones are well dialled in over the years of flying but even in the demo I showed you, they still drift and still yaw. Learn the advanced functions of the radio. Controlling subtrims and endpoints is something you will want to know about.

The flight controller on your drone is a CC3D Copter Controller and the software you use to tune the drone is called LibrePilot GCS. DO NOT RESET THE DRONE! DO NOT FLASH FIRMWARE! DO NOT USE THE DRONE AUTO SETUP. This will reset everything on the drone and all setup will need to be started again. Simply use it to tweak PID’s and alter the tune. Only touch the other features and settings if you need to and know what you’re doing. These are very in depth controllers with hundreds of settings but only a few are needed by the normal user.

Watch the following videos which explain the theory and physics of PID’s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vqWyramGy8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNzqTGEl2xQ

Watch a few videos from this search:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cc3d+pid+tuning

Ultimately, once you are happy with the response of the drone, you’ll then want to maybe move into acro mode. This is where the drone switches off all self-levelling features. I would almost be inclined to steer clear of this feature. I’ve seen many fliers break their drones with this mode. It is awfully difficult to learn, especially when flying line of sight. When you fly first person view (with goggles and live camera feed) it is much easier to get the hang of. In the CC3D, this setting is under Flight Modes. Read about it to inform yourself.

This is just a quick basic guide. Flying well come with flying a lot knowing the theory behind the practice. Skytech Drones offers beginner lessons for those who need help getting started, setting up their drone and getting their first flights in. Give us a call or send us an email.