Almost everyone who has just bought or is looking for a suitable quadcopter asks a lot of questions: how to control it, what flight rules are in force in Russia, how to take care of the device, and so on. Even if you have experience operating such aircraft, we recommend that you study our guide. Perhaps there is something useful in it. For example, in 2019, new rules for the operation of drones on the territory of the Russian Federation appeared. Violation of the law threatens with serious fines, so it is better to figure everything out in advance.
Explore the capabilities of a quadcopter
Before launching the device into the air, familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the device and understand the controls. Pay special attention to the flight range and power source, so as not to find yourself in a situation where you do not have time to return and land the drone due to a dead battery.
Large manufacturers have virtual simulators for control panels connected to smartphones or tablets. They allow you to safely learn to fly without using a drone. Some models have modes for beginners with altitude and airspeed restrictions. So you can quickly learn new skills. How to control a quadcopter, video tutorials, available in large numbers on YouTube, also help to figure it out.
Master the control panel
Controllers from different manufacturers differ in appearance, but the basic controls are similar. Consider them on the example of drones of the famous DJI brand.
- The left stick allows you to raise and lower the quadcopter, as well as rotate it left and right.
- The right stick is needed to control the movement of the drone forward, backward and sideways.
- The controller buttons control the camera, allowing you to take pictures, record videos, tilt and rotate the lens.
Before taking off for the first time, learn all these controls and try to remember them. If you are a beginner, first practice the piloting commands and then move on to mastering all the camera functions.
Choose the time and place for flights
Beginners cannot always adequately assess the environment and potential dangers that can become fatal with insufficient piloting skills. Dense architecture, tall trees, power lines and other wires will all interfere with flying. Near helipads and runways, launching drones is completely prohibited at the legislative level.
It is more difficult to fly at night due to the more difficult orientation in space. It is also necessary to assess the weather conditions. Rain, wind, snow, and fog can interfere with engines, obscure sensors, disrupt transmission signals, and even destroy electronics. Even in the absence of such weather effects in the cold season, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the battery. We will discuss this in more detail below.
Get ready to launch
Before launching the drone into the air, take some time to prepare for the flight. A kind of checklist includes the following items:
- Inspect the aircraft, make sure it is intact. If the aircraft has been damaged in transit, it may behave unexpectedly when starting the engines. At best, it will not even take off, at worst, you will lose control over it.
- Make sure the battery is sufficiently charged.
- Connect the remote control and calibrate it if necessary.
- Prepare the takeoff and landing area.
- Check how the stock camera works.
- Insert a memory card if you plan to shoot video or take a few shots from the air.
Calibrate your drone
If the drone starts to roll to the side or rotate around its axis, it needs to be calibrated. Its process varies depending on the model, but the basic principles are about the same. You should start with automatic calibration — you will find instructions in the manual for your device.
If the device flies with minor deviations from the given axis, it is possible to perform a mechanical calibration, that is, tighten the device’s thrust regulator. Professionals also carry out software settings for which you need to use the appropriate software. Beginners are advised to limit themselves to automatic calibration.
Learn to charge your quadcopter
All drones are equipped with chargers that work in automatic mode. Despite this, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the simple rules for charging batteries:
- Use only specialized LiPo chargers or programmable devices configured for this type of battery.
- Do not leave a running charger unattended as LiPo batteries can ignite if overheated.
- Do not charge multi-cell lithium batteries without a balance connector.
- If there is an overvoltage protection function, always use it.
- If there is an overheat protection function, be sure to use it as well. Set the maximum temperature (it should be specified in the manual).
How to connect the quadcopter to the standard charger, you can always read in the manual from the manufacturer.
Learn the rules of winter piloting
With the onset of cold weather, many leave their drones until spring, and some continue to operate them, but not everyone does it right. Winter flying has several risks:
- Rapid battery drain in the drone and remote control. Without the battery heating function, which is not available in every drone, the flight time is reduced by 2–3 times.
- Negative temperatures harm the plastic of which the body, propellers and other elements are made. If an accident occurs, plastic that has become brittle due to frost is highly likely to burst.
- Icing is the biggest danger to mechanisms and electronics.
Usually, manufacturers do not set strict restrictions on the operation of drones in winter, and some only indicate the minimum allowable temperatures. Sometimes even amateur models can be operated down to ‑10 ° C.
It’s funny, but there are even designer sweaters for quadcopters. For example, they are made by Daniel Baskin, a designer from California. She sells them for almost $200 each, guaranteeing frost protection and better battery life.
Take good care of your quadcopter
All drones need regular cleaning, but not all cleaning products are suitable for this. Forget about harsh household chemicals — you will need the following:
- soft brush to remove dust and debris deposited on surfaces;
- a compressed air cylinder or a compressor to purge the engine in hard-to-reach places;
- liquid agent. Instead of a specialized one, you can use a monitor cleaning spray. It will help remove various stains, traces of grass and other contaminants;
- microfiber or other soft cloth for finishing wiping surfaces.
Cleaning is desirable to carry out after each flight or at least every other time. However, much depends on the operating conditions.
Comply with the law
In the spring of 2019, Russia approved Decree No. 658, which regulates the rules for registering drones. All devices weighing more than 250 grams are subject to registration. This applies even to toy drones without a camera if their weight is higher than this value.
At the moment, registration is free — the owner only pays for sending the application by Russian Post. A letter requesting registration of the drone must be sent to the Federal Air Transport Agency. It is also possible to submit an electronic application through the State Services portal.
The application must be accompanied by a photo of the quadcopter, indicate its characteristics and full name. If it is a prefabricated device, the details of the designer who owns the structure will be required. Also, the owner of the drone must provide personal data.
The use of unregistered drones threatens with a fine of 2,000 rubles. Flying over the restricted area is punished even more severely — from 20 to 300 thousand rubles. By law, drones can be launched outside populated areas, away from military airfields, airports and other facilities with a special airspace control regime.
Up-to-date information for June 2021: now you can register a drone (and the easiest way) through the Unmanned Aircraft Registration Portal.