If you are new to drones, or thinking about buying your first one, you probably have lots of questions! We are here to help - feel free to email us anytime at email@example.com
First off, flying a drone is not that hard. Most people get the hang of it within minutes. A couple of tips to keep you from crashing your drone on the first day:
- don't fly it indoors
- find a large open space to fly in, and stay well away from (or higher than) any potential obstacles. Drones do not like trees! Coming into contact with just about anything will cause your drone to crash, and in most cases, suffer serious damage that may make it unflyable.
Controlling a drone
Drones have two control sticks - one is for altitude and rotation, the other is for direction. Most people fly their drone by using the left stick (altitude and rotation) to control the height and the direction of the drone, and the right stick to push the drone forward. Practice doing figure eights in opposite directions, this a great drill to get your brain used to the controls based on the aircraft's heading relative to you.
The trickiest thing to learn is that when the drone is flying towards you, the controls are "reversed", meaning, when you push the stick left, you veer to the right. In a panic situation (like when you're about to fly into something) this can be a difficult one to remember.
Failsafe and return-to-home
Most drones have failsafe mechanisms and return-to-home functions built in. For example, when the battery level gets too low, the drone will automatically return to the point it took off from (based on its GPS location). If your drone loses connection with the remote controller, it will return-to-home automatically. If you lose track of where your drone is, you can tell it to return-to-home. (Remember to set your return-to-home altitude so that when it flies back it's higher than any obstacles).
Tablets / smartphones
Almost all drones rely on a smart-phone or tablet as part of the system for flying. The phone primarily acts as a video feed, so you can see what the drone's camera sees. It also usually provides all sorts of telemetry, such as the drone's altitude, speed, distance from the home point, location on a map, battery life, signal strength and camera settings.
Flying legally in Canada
We strongly recommend you fly legally. Be aware of the laws about where you can and can't fly and how high you can fly. As responsible drone pilots, we all have a responsibility to be safe, and to respect the privacy of others. We don't want to give drones a bad name!
In Canada, your drone must be registered with Transport Canada if it weighs between 250g and 25kg (there are different rules for drones over 25kg). It costs $5. Once you register your drone you'll be given a unique number starting with "C-"; this number must be visible somewhere on your drone. You can get it engraved, write it in indelible marker, or affix a label.
You can register your drone here.
(Note that, while the Mavic Mini is under 250g, and therefore does not need to be registered or flown only by a licensed pilot, the laws about where a drone can be flown, relative to airports and people still apply!)
You must also pass your Basic Operations exam, to be a licensed pilot. This is a relatively straightforward exam that can be taken online, and requires an 80% or better to pass.
The online test that can be taken here .
Which drone should I buy?
The industry leading brand in consumer drones is "DJI", a Chinese drone company that has a great reputation for building quality, easy-to-fly drones, for everyone from beginners to professional videographers. Most of the drone shots you see in movies were taken by DJI drones.
There are lots of other brands out there, and no shortage of information, reviews, and videos online, but if you want something that works great out of the box, stick with DJI.
Many new drone owners start small to get the hang of it, and to avoid the heart-sinking feeling of watching over $1000 worth of hardware crash to the ground. But others do start out on some pretty high-end units and do just fine. It's really up to you.
The DJI Mavic Mini is an awesome drone that will give you good range, great image quality and the ability to shoot stabilized video that can then be enjoyed after you fly. It's a great place to start.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an amazing drone. It's fast and powerful, but has great battery life, great control range and image transmission range, and its camera is incredible in terms of what it can do.
You could also start with a used Mavic Pro - these are still beloved by their owners today - a powerful, stable drone with good battery life and range and a fantastic stabilized 4K camera.
Are you a beginner with a question? Ask away at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to answer your question.
We LOVE drones. And we want to help others find out how incredibly fun and rewarding this great hobby is.