Learning to fly

When starting their drone pilot training, the most frequent question asked is related to its duration.

To be fully honest, it is part of the questions for which giving a precise answer is not that easy. Indeed, when dealing with human beings, each candidate has its own background. In the end, the necessary period can greatly vary from one to another trainee.
Learning to fly is quite similar to learning how to ride a bike: some people will feel more comfortable and learn faster than others thanks to their own capabilities, memorizing skills and ease of understanding, and of course eventual former experience of radio-operating.

In theory, everyone should be able to fly the same way at the end of the training period, but the duration of their training period may vary from one to another. However, with patience, precision and hard work, become a drone pilot is accessible to anybody.

This is why we strongly recommend NOT to focus your mind on the duration or any deadline in order to add unnecessary pressure that could affect your training process. No matter how long this learning takes, the goal is to learn flying safely, to bring your flying skills as close as possible to perfection and to acquire enough self confidence to be able to operate your drone under the safest conditions in the future.

Thanks to their flying and trainer experience, OnyxStar drone pilots decide to share a few tips and steps to follow in order to securely and successfully achieve your learning process:

  1. Flight process: Study how a multirotor drone flies;
  2. Flying axles: Learn how they work (Nick, Roll, Yaw);
  3. Regulation & Physics: Look for the flying limits (height, range and flying time);
  4. Flight environment: Think about the elements that affect the flight time and drone behavior (i.e: weather conditions, temperature, payload, etc.);
  5. Basic Simulator: Practice on a computer with a flight simulator by using a model that represents well a multirotor. Be sure to continue practicing on the simulator at least until you acquire the habit of the flight directions, the take-off and landing and that you are able to operate all the needed maneuvers;
  6. Advanced Simulator: Allow yourself the needed training time until you become really confident with the aircraft on your computer;
  7. Transition: Once your flight simulator training is achieved – – then time to perform a real flight has come;
  8. Drone selection: Usually it is better to start with a light model, which will be easier to pilot for a beginner;
  9. Drone certification: Before you fly with this model, be sure that it flies well, and it is properly tuned. Ask a confirmed pilot to test it in flight before you use it. Trying to learn on a badly tuned aircraft will not help. On the contrary, it will produce false reactions that may be dangerous for the aircraft but also for yourself;
  10. Terrain selection: Operate in a wide area – for instance in the fields – away from people, animals, roads, buildings, trees etc;
  11. Assistance: Try not to be alone, but have a confirmed pilot with you. If possible, perform your first flight helped by a pilot, using two radio controls connected under a teacher-pupil configuration, so in case of need, the teacher can take over the control and correct any eventual wrong maneuver;
  12. Hovering: try to keep a stable altitude without aid (altitude hold function not operating);
  13. Basic movements: When hovering is acquired for you, try to practice some basic movements (left, right, front, rear…);
  14. Rotate: After learning the above movements, try to virtually turn around yourself, clockwise and then counter clockwise;
  15. Reverse: At the end and when you’ll be confident with all the above maneuvers, flying towards you is one of the most difficult steps but that can also be very useful in certain situations;
  16. Safety check: Before every flight, you need to perform a pre-flight check in order to make sure that your aircraft is in good condition for flying.

Do not take off if:

  • You are not sure about how you’ll operate your aircraft;
  • People or animals are around you or supposed to come while your drone will be in the air;
  • You are close to houses, people, animals, roads;
  • Your drone has not been tested by a confirmed pilot;
  • The weather conditions are not favorable (wind, gusts, rain, very low temperature or blinding bright light i.e. against the sun, etc.);
  • You are in a forbidden or restricted area (close to airports, cities, etc. – check with local air-traffic authorities about your country’s regulations);
  • You haven’t subscribed to an insurance covering any eventual injuries or damages that your aircraft could cause to other people or materials.

To complete this chapter, please remember that learning to fly is not straightforward and requires a lot of practice, patience and personal involvement.
The target, at the end of your training process, is that you are able to perform countless safe and pleasant flights, piloting with high precision and dexterity.