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Are Drones Hard To Fly? (what should you do as a beginner?)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea

Flying a drone might bring your pilot dreams closer to reality. Still, it can also be potentially dangerous if not done correctly. And this is not an easy feat to achieve. So as a new drone owner, you might ask yourself: "Are drones hard to fly? Can I just start flying and learn on the way?"

are drones hard to fly

The difficulty level of flying a drone depends on the type of drone and the pilot's experience. GPS drones are generally easier to fly due to their automated features, while FPV drones require more skill and experience to control manually. 

For beginners, flying a drone can be challenging and requires familiarity with the controller layout, quick reactions, and strategic thinking. 

Numerous variables need to be considered when flying, such as:

  • Taking environmental obstacles into account
  • Considering wind speed and direction
  • Examining and estimating remaining battery life
  • Analyzing camera angles
  • Orientation when the drone is out of sight

In this article, we'll go over the most common mistakes people make when flying for the first time and how to avoid them, the challenges of flying expensive drones, the laws and regulations and more!

How hard is it to fly a drone?

Before your first flight, you should know the risks associated with operating a drone and how hard it is to fly it. In addition to inherent dangers such as crashing or running out of battery while in flight, common mistakes such as flying too close to other objects or disobeying local laws and regulations can result in more serious legal consequences.

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You can quickly put yourself in dangerous situations by flying in restricted airspace, near airports or other busy airspaces, or accidentally flying on someone else's property without permission. 

Additionally, the nature of the aircraft means that a single mistake can quickly lead to an accident—you should be extra cautious when flying over people and property.

Overall, beginner pilots should understand certain risks associated with flying drones and always take precautions when piloting them. This is what makes flying drones difficult beyond controlling the aircraft itself. 

To minimize these risks, all drone owners and pilots must educate themselves on safely operating drones. With this in mind, let us look at some of the most significant risks of flying a drone.

Are cheap drones hard to fly?

As e beginner, you might consider investing in a cheaper drone at first for various reasons.

Cheap drones can be harder to fly due to their lower quality and less advanced features. While not always the case, cheaper drones may have less stable flight characteristics and less precise controls, which can make them more difficult to pilot. 

Additionally, cheaper drones may lack sensors and other features that can assist with navigation and control. More expensive drones will have advanced tracking, obstacle avoidance, and other features that makes flights safer and easier to fly.

The most common risks associated with flying a drone

When considering whether or not you should learn how to fly a drone as a hobby, it is essential to ask yourself if you can pilot one safely.

The answer is yes—with the right amount of preparation and practice, anyone can become a confident and safe drone operator. However, before attempting any flight, it is essential to understand the possible risks associated with operating a drone.

  • The first risk newcomers face is crashing their drones due to an unexpected movement or change in wind direction. This can happen quickly when you're still learning to pilot the aircraft correctly. That's why I advise you always to have a spotter around initially while a keeping your drone at a low altitude. Additionally, always check the weather forecast before taking off—strong winds or rain can cause serious instability while flying.
  • Another issue is losing communication between your controller and aircraft during flight. Most modern drones have built-in failsafe features so that if a connection gets lost mid-flight, the aircraft will automatically land safely on the ground below.
  • Flying a drone in an unsafe or irresponsible manner can be highly dangerous and even result in breaking local laws and regulations. For example, flying too close to restricted airspaces such as airports or military bases is illegal and can lead to fines, aircraft confiscation, or even jail time. 
  • Additionally, operating drones recklessly near people, property, and other aircraft can also cause serious accidents, which could lead to legal action. It's therefore essential to understand all local rules pertaining to drone operation before taking off, and always fly responsibly!

For those who are serious about getting into the hobby safely, there are special flight simulators designed specifically for practicing maneuvers on your own drone without putting yourself in any danger. 

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I remember when I was first starting out; taking advantage of one of these flight simulators (The GTA V mod) allowed me to become much more familiar with controlling my DJI Mavic before ever taking it into the skies for real. Check out more details about the GTA V mode here.

Here’s how it looks like in-game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Up5TAEfeig

Overall, understanding and minimizing potential risks associated with drone operations is key for successful flights and avoiding nasty disasters!

Most common mistakes people make when flying a drone

Just like with any other fun activity, people make a few risks and common mistakes when starting out with drones, and it's essential to understand them and take precautions to avoid any accidents.

Many first-time drone owners make the mistake of flying without first familiarizing themselves with their aircraft's controls and capabilities. By ensuring that you know your equipment and familiarize yourself with the laws before taking off, you can reduce the risks associated with operating a drone.

Flying in areas with numerous obstacles like trees or power lines, which increases the risk of accidents. It is advisable to practice flying in open areas with minimal obstacles.

  1. Not using a simulator or taking drone flying lessons to gain experience and confidence. This can lead to crashes and damage to the drone.
  2. Flying the drone too far beyond the pilot's line of sight can make it difficult to keep track of the drone and can result in losing control.
  3. Failing to consider the wind conditions can affect the drone's stability and control. It is important to take note of wind speed and direction and adjust flying techniques accordingly.
  4. Ignoring battery life and flying time can lead to the drone unexpectedly shutting down mid-flight. Keeping track of battery life and planning the flight duration is recommended.
  5. Not properly calibrating the drone before a flight can result in poor performance and control issues. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions for calibration before each flight.
  6. Attempting complex maneuvers or stunts without adequate practice or experience can crash and damage the drone. It is recommended to gradually increase the difficulty level as proficiency and experience improve. Ignoring local regulations and flying the drone in prohibited areas, such as airports or public parks. 

Just being able to control your drone on a basic level won't allow you to use it to its full potential in the first place.
Take the weather and the environment into account at all times!

How to make drones easier to fly as a beginner

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To help beginners get comfortable with controlling their aircraft, some tips and tricks can be followed to increase confidence and avoid disastrous accidents. Note that I am speaking from my own experience, so there might be things you need to consider that I don't mention here. 

One helpful tip is to practice maneuvering your drone indoors before heading outdoors. This allows you to become familiar with the controls without having to worry about potential risks such as crashing due to wind changes or losing the radio connection mid-flight. 

In addition, amateur pilots should make sure always to take off and land in an area they're comfortable with—an excellent open field or park works great for this! Trying difficult maneuvers near objects such as trees or other obstacles will add unnecessary risk, so taking it slow in less cluttered areas is recommended for those just starting out.

Finally, it's important not to fly too high or too far away from yourself at any given time. An easy rule of thumb is that if you cannot see your drone clearly in the sky, you should bring it back closer so it's visible every step. These safety tips can help newbies feel more confident when flying their drones!

Here are more things that you can do before every takeoff to make sure things are going smoothly every time:

  1. Set Up Flight Boundaries - clearly define the boundaries of your designated flight area to ensure that you operate within legal regulations and keep the drone safe.
  2. Calibrate Sensors - calibrate all sensors on the drone before takeoff to ensure accurate GPS positioning and smooth flying.
  3. operating your drone safely.
  4. Check Transmitter Settings - make sure that the radio control transmitter is set to the correct frequency and all settings are calibrated properly.
  5. Inspect Drone & Battery - inspect your drone for any damage and ensure the battery has been charged properly.
  6. Preflight Inspections - check that everything is secure and ready before takeoff, such as props, cabling and battery connections. No wiggly pieces or anything out of place!
  7. Do Dry Runs - practice takeoffs and landings in an open area before attempting more complex maneuvers or missions.
  8. Fly with a Spotter - having a spotter to keep an eye on your drone can help you avoid potential obstacles or hazards during operation.
  9. Update Firmware - update the firmware of your drone and transmitter regularly to ensure it is operating as intended with the newest available software updates.
  10. Always be aware of Local Drone Laws and Regulations - last, but not least, make sure you comply to all the rules and regulations regarding drones in your area. 

So, flying a drone is not that hard after all! By sheer power of common sense and responsibility, you can make things easier on yourself if you respect the basics of drone flight.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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