If you’re thinking about purchasing a drone for recreational use, then there are a few things you might want to take into consideration:
- How operationally easy the drone is:
Particularly if you’re a first-time drone user, you’ll want to consider how simple it is to operate. Most drones that are sold for recreational use will need to be calibrated before they can be flown, and they will usually be labelled as ‘ready to fly’ or RTF for short.
Performing a hover with your drone can be tricky, but many of the makers of RTF drones build in sensors and software that will allow the drone to achieve a stable, hovering position automatically.
There are some drones designed more for those who are familiar with piloting UAV’s, and the calibration required is usually of an advanced form before they are ready to be flown. The controls are also not so straightforward to operate on these more advanced drones, so less experienced pilots may need some training before being able to fly them successfully.
- What features and accessories does the drone have?
Basic models are usually sufficient for those who plan simply to use their drone for fun in their leisure time, but if you start to get confident as a UAV pilot, you may want to consider upgrading your model with the following features and accessories:
A remote control
A specialised remote control system is really the only way to truly enhance the manoeuvrability of your drone, especially if you’re interested in racing your drone competitively or performing stunts and aerobatics. A standard smartphone piloting app on your cell, simply won’t cut the mustard.
Damaging the rotor propeller blades is a common hazard involved with flying drones, and if you don’t have a replacement, then your flying will be done for the day. Most drone manufacturers do include spare blades, or at the very least have them available to buy as extra’s.
These are also a valuable thing to carry with you as your flight time can be limited if your batteries run low and you have no charged ones to replace them with.
A GoPro or similar action camera
Many drones, particularly those in the mid to high end ranges, will come complete with a camera, but upgrading is often advised if you want to achieve clear and stable images, even in windy conditions.
A storage bag
Drones are quite delicate and can easily become damaged if not transferred safely from a to b. While many drones come with a very basic storage bag, it might be wise to upgrade to a more durable and sturdy bag or case, that has been customised to fit your drone in snugly. Some drone cases will have special pockets and sections for accessories and additional items such as blades, batteries and binoculars.
What safety precautions must I consider when purchasing a drone?
Public safety is high on most people’s list of concerns, when talking about drones and how and where they are flown. Inspecting your drone before you buy it, is one way of avoiding some of these concerns, such as:
Damage to people or objects
Check that none of the edges on the rotor blades are exposed, and that the body of the drone is smooth with no sharp corners or edges. The camera and its’ mount should also be securely attached.
There are also many rules and regulations surrounding where you can fly your drone, and where you cannot. Making yourself familiar with these before you launch your drone into the air, would be sensible and could avoid accidents or costly penalties from the aviation authorities.
In general, if you purchase a basic drone, you’ll get exactly that, a basic drone. So, if you’re looking to compete with your drone or use it in a semi professional manner, then upgrading to a more expensive model that would make sense.