We are often asked what the best quadcopter is to start out with for beginners. I will share with you some good quadcopters options to purchase. If you have no RC flying experience in the past, you might find this post useful.
What’s the best quadcopter for beginner?
It’s a tricky question because there isn’t one best quadcopter for all, it depends on what suits you the best. Firstly, have a read at this guide and understand the types of drones on the market, and identify what you want to do with it.
Research and Study
When I first got interested in quadcopters, I spent weeks reading/watching guides, build logs, and reviews. Learning from experienced quadcopter pilots and builders really helped my understanding.
You can’t go wrong with doing a lot of research, there is an overwhelming amount of useful blog posts and videos online. Ask tons of questions in forums like IntoFPV.com, before you spend your hard earned money on a box of stuff you have no experience with. I put together a comprehensive guide explaining how each component works on a quadcopter you may find useful.
A good place to start learning is a toy grade quadcopter. They are easy to fly and learn with but can also be very entertaining as your skills improve. Hobby grade models usually require some knowledge and building skills to assemble and repair, so be sure to do your homework before buying.
The Best Quadcopter To Start out
As a quadcopter or RC beginner, you are almost guaranteed to have countless crashes with your quad at the beginning. Even just once among those countless crashes can be fatal, expensive and time consuming replacing all those broken parts. Practising with an inexpensive model can be beneficial to learning the ins and outs of these very technical machines.
To master the skills of flying quadcopters takes time. So before you invest in a large hobby-grade quadcopter that costs hundreds of dollars easily, it’s more sensible to start from a smaller quadcopter first that you can practice on and get comfortable with flying.
Alternatively, you can also build your own micro quad, but it requires skills in soldering and deeper understanding in RC. For more powerful Hobby grade mini quad, check out these reviews:
How Long Does It Take to Learn Flying?
Just like pretty anything else, it hugely depends on the person, some simply learn quicker than others. Also it depends on how much time you put into this. Generally speaking by flying 30 to 60mins everyday, in a week or two you should be able to control a drone in line of sight pretty comfortably.
Don’t be afraid to crash, it gives you a good opportunity to learn emergency maneuvering, or worse, repairing :) These are all crucial lessons you can apply to flying larger multirotors.
How to Start with Flying Technique?
This is how I started learning to fly line of sight with a toy grade quadcopter. It’s important to start your practice by standing behind the quad so you are both facing the same direction. This will allow the movements of your quad to respond to your transmitter sticks in the same direction, makes it easier and more intuitive for yourself.
Here is another guide on flying tips and rules.
You’ll want to lift your quad off the ground almost instantly to around 1 meter (3 feet). When it’s too close to the ground you might get air disturbance from the motors (ground effect/prop wash). Just try to hover around the same spot with the same height using throttle, pitch and roll.
If Hovering isn’t too difficult for you, you can now try mastering landing. It sounds easy but it’s one of the most important technique beginners seem to forget. The idea here is the throttle control, remember to lower it really slowly and smoothly. Do not cut the power instantly, your quad will free fall and might damage your frame or electronics.
Pitch and Roll Control
Pitch controls forward and reverse, roll controls side to side motion. Pick a location you want the quad to move to, use pitch and roll fly to that spot and land.
Yaw is the 360 degree rotating motion around the quads centre. Much like when you move your head to look right or left, the quad will “yaw” left or right with your control input.
Start by trying to circle around an object or yourself (just don’t get too close). You will only use pitch and a bit of throttle to go forward, use Yaw to turn left and right. You can either practice flying in circle, or in figure 8’s. This control technique is very useful when you start flying FPV, or taking videos in the sky.
Tips for Beginners – Selecting the right multirotor
A lot of people take the hard way and build large quads as their first quad. If you don’t have the spare budget for a mini learning quad, this seems to be the only way to go.
But again, if you crash badly due to lack of control practice, it might cost you more eventually (speaking from personal experience). You might even hurt someone if you lose control.
If you prefer something larger, consider an RTF quad that is similar in size to what you eventually want but is affordable and not too expensive to repair or replace in worst case scenarios. Currently there are many options available to beginners on the market. Many businesses even have RTF kits for a variety of quad sizes and experience levels.
Don’t just buy what everyone else is buying because they said it’s the best. Their preferences and skill sets will vary compared to yours and may not be suitable for you.
As a beginner you want to stay away from machines that are overly complicated. You want something that will allow you to focus on flying. Having all the options and best equipment is great, but doesn’t necessarily means they will make you a better pilot. Learning the basics of multirotor building/flying/repairing should be your first priority, they are all part of the learning curve and shouldn’t be skipped.
For those with some experience, you can fly almost any multicopters, but how well will be determined by your understanding of tuning, and setting up to fly the way you want. Part of being a great pilot is being a great mechanic, and knowing what to do with your quad to maximise its flight characteristics. All this comes down to practise and research. Take advantage of the endless amounts of information out there to make the most informed decision possible.
Something else to remember, things are changing at such a fast pace in this industry that it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of what’s best or most popular. The most expensive or best gear won’t necessarily make you a better pilot. Once you find something that you like and flies well, stick with it till you’ve mastered it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know the next step to take.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of flying these quadcopters you can progress to larger and more powerful ones. If you are looking to get into racing, I suggest you read some of my posts on choosing a transmitter, choosing a frame, choosing motors, and flight controllers. Don’t forget to pick up some goggles, too!
- Sept 2013, article created
- May 2016, article revised