How to Hover with Your Quadcopter
The term “Hover” refers to a drone’s ability to remain in a fixed position mid-air. As a beginner, achieving a steady hover will be a challenge. Fortunately, with enough practice, you’ll have it mastered in no time!
To learn how to fly a drone, a hover it successfully, perform the following exercise:
- Use The Throttle to Get Airborne: Try to get at least 24 inches off the ground. Once there, look down at your transmitter’s LCD display and take note of your current throttle position (10%, 30%, etc.).
- Make Fine Adjustments With The Right Joystick: Don’t maneuver your drone away from its hovering spot. The point of the right joystick is to make fine adjustments to keep it where it currently is. Challenge yourself and see if you can hover for a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Slowly Cut the Throttle to Land: When you’re ready to land, slowly lower the left joystick (throttle) until you’re back on the ground. It’s very important that, when learning how to fly a drone, you focus on landing slowly.
Repeat this exercise as many times as it takes for you to become comfortable with maintaining a descent hover. The key is to focus on achieving the same throttle position each time (10%, 30%, etc.) while using the left joystick only for making very fine adjustments to maintain your current position.
How to Fly Forwards/Backwards & Right/Left
Once you’ve become comfortable with taking off and hovering, it’s time to graduate to a more complicated step – maneuvering your drone in a specific direction (don’t worry, it’s not that hard). When learning how to fly a drone, you’re going to use the right joystick to control all left, right, forward, and backward movements. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to learn how to fly a drone in the direction of your choosing:
- Bring Your Quadcopter to a Steady Hover: Maintain an eye-level hover about five feet in front of you (don’t get too close to the drone).
- Fly Forwards: Gently push forward on the right joystick. The quadcopter should automatically start to fly in a forward direction. Throughout this time, make sure that you’re keeping an eye on the throttle. The goal should be to maintain a steady throttle position while you maneuver your drone in a specific direction. After flying forwards for a few feet, let go out of the right joystick.
- Fly Backwards: Gently push backward on the right joystick. The quadcopter should automatically begin to fly towards you. Similar to before, fly backwards for a few feet and then release the joystick (while maintain your current height).
- Fly Side-to-Side: By this point, it’s pretty self-explanatory: move the right joystick right to fly right, and move it to the left to fly left. At this point in your learning curve, don’t fly more than a few feet away from your original hovering position.
The key with this exercise is to always be aware of your height. The hardest challenge for when I was first learning how to fly a drone was controlling my height as I moved in a specific direction. Above all, it takes practice, so don’t feel discourages if you don’t get it right the first time around.
“Help! What if My Drone Rotates?!”
- Remember that the left joystick controls yaw, or rotation. If your drone starts to rotate in a clockwise direction, then gently push the left joystick to the left to induce a counterclockwise rotation. This will bring the drone back to its original hovering position. This is an incredibly important tip to remember as you learn how to fly a drone.
When Your Drone is Facing You
Things can get a little tricky when you’re learning how to fly a drone and it’s facing you. Why? Because all of the controls will be reversed:
- Pushing the right joystick in a forward direction will cause your drone to fly backwards (rather than forward like it normally would).
- Pushing the left joystick to the right will cause your drone to rotate in a counterclockwise direction (rather than clockwise like it normally would).
- Pushing the right joystick to the left will cause your drone to fly to the right (rather than left like it normally would).
You get the picture. Basically, it’s all going to be backwards, and most of all, CONFUSING. The best advice I can give here is to practice learning how to fly a drone as much as possible. Personally, it took me a long time before I was able to confidently fly my drone with the controls reversed.