A report from FAA shows that there were almost 600 close encounters between a drone and a manned aircraft between August 2015 and January 2016. Another report by a research group from Bard College showed that there were 28 incidents where the aircraft had to maneuver or take evasive action to avoid collision.
Drones have been the cause of several accidents across the globe. Some of these incidents have even involved severe injuries. These accidents are proof that drones can certainly be hard to fly.
This is why government authorities all over the world have concerns about the use of drones and have a set of rules that oversee their use.
While rules help people understand where and when to fly, the “how” of flying is mostly determined by the person controlling the drone.
Some of you may see eight-year olds flying drones like pros and others know 30-year olds who struggle with it. Flying drones can be easy, if you take the time to understand them. It requires a substantial amount of patience and practice to master drones.
Practice in safety
Find a place where you can practice safely without causing any injuries to people, things, or the drone itself. Open, treeless areas are the best for practicing. Parks may sound like a good place, but they have a lot of people which can increase the chances of an accident. For this reason, many communities and local authorities do not allow drones in parks. Be sure that you are compliant to local laws before you take your drone out.
Make sure you carefully go through the manual and understand the startup and return home procedures for the drone. Figure out the emergency stop button before your first test flight because accidents are surprisingly common. You will want to know how to shut the motors off to lessen the damage of a crash.
Even if you own a drone, it is best to find out how the new one works. Every drone has its own set of instructions and controls. Don’t overlook these because they help you fly your bird more confidently.
Understand how acceleration works. Some drones go too fast, others may move relatively slower. Also find out how quickly the drone responds to your inputs and if this changes with distance.
Mindfulness is the key
When flying a drone, it is very important that you are aware of the position of your drone all the time. Make sure you have a clear view of where your drone is heading to avoid hitting people or objects.
As simple as this advice sounds, drone pilots have to deal with lots of controls at the same time.
- The drone’s POV that shows up on the screen
- The flight controls for your drone
- The controls for taking pictures and recording videos
There are times when users get too fixated on the POV and the drone ends up hitting an object. Sometimes, when a drone ends up flying in the wrong direction, it is common to see users panic and push the controls on the opposite direction so that the drone instantly changes path. This can lead to drone crashes and may also end up hitting something or someone.
Also, if you rotate the aircraft it may go the opposite direction that you expect. When you tell it to go forwards, it will go backwards if it is not facing in the same direction as you. You can enable headless mode to prevent this from happening. This is highly recommended for beginners.
When flying a drone, you must breathe deep, and be gentle with the controls. Be mindful of all controls, the POV and your drone’s position, and the drone’s flight will be a smooth one.
If you have a more advanced made by a company like DJI, then you should always calibarate it before flying and make sure that all of the sensors are working correctly. Never take off from areas that have metal, including reinforced sidewalks because this can interfere with the drone’s compass and cause a flyaway.
So if you ask ‘Are drones hard to fly?’ The answer is ‘Yes’. They require a genuine amount of skill and practice before you can master them and even after mastering it you must display alertness at all times.