This article is aimed at the pilot who has some experience with flying a quadcopter, is looking to expand his flying skills, and is wondering how to fly a quadcopter like a pro. If you have mastered the basics of quadcopter flight, you are ready to learn how to fly using more advanced flying maneuvers.
In order to increase the agility and speed of your drone, you will need to set the controller into advanced mode. Some quadcopter models only have one additional mode, while some have different rate settings such as controller rates 20% 60% or 100%. But what do these settings actually do? You’ll know by flying experience that forward or lateral speed is produced by changing the tilt of the quadcopter. The rate settings limit the maximum tilt angle of the quadcopter and thereby limiting its maximum speed.
Before describing how to do some cool acrobatic flying with your quadcopter, we want to remind you that it is important that you take the proper precautions to avoid any injuries to people or property. Most importantly, practice these maneuvers in a large open flat area where there are no people around. Sports fields, large playgrounds, or open parks are good places to practice your quadcopter flying. The benefit of flying in an open area is that it gives your room to make mistakes. If you try practicing these tricks in your backyard, you will most likely get your quadcopter stuck in a tree, or your neighbor’s roof. Fly over an area that has short grass so it will provide some cushion for when your quadcopter crashes. Yes, you will crash. Avoid parking lots with asphalt, or concrete surfaces.
Most small to medium sized drones feature a flip or stunt button to make the quadcopter do a 360 degree flip. This is a fun maneuver to perform, and looks impressive. Rookie pilots think they can just hit the button and it will do a flip. Most time the drone does a flip, and ends up crashing. So what are they doing wrong?
First of all, you need to have a reasonable altitude in order to perform the flip maneuver. While the quadcopter is performing this maneuver, it is not generating any lift, so its altitude will drop while rotating. So be sure to allow for this altitude drop by ensuring you are before flipping.
To perform the maneuver, you first gain some momentum by pushing forward on the right stick to pitch the quadcopter forward. Then you let go of the right stick, hit the flip button, and then pull back on the right stick. As soon as the flip is complete, let go of the right stick, and push the left stick forward to increase the throttle and regain altitude.
Practice this a few times, and eventually you will be able to show off your flying skills to your friends.
Barrel rolls are similar to a backflip, but the rotation is the left or right. The same principle of ensuring you have proper altitude before executing this maneuver applies. To perform the maneuver, once again push forward on the pitch to gain some speed. Then let go of the right stick, hit the flip button, and push the stick to the left or right, depending on which direction you want to roll. When the maneuver finishes, push up on the throttle to regain some of the altitude you lost while performing this maneuver.
It is really fun to perform a series of alternating left and right barrel rolls. Be sure to keep an eye on your altitude.
When you want to turn your quadcopter, and it is moving slowly, there is no problem with changing direction while flying. However, when you have a decent forward speed, and you try to make a turn by only using yaw, you will probably notice you are getting a lot of side slip before flying straight again. To make your turns faster, and smoother, you need to perform a bank turn. This is not a hard maneuver to perform. Normally to make a turn, you use the left stick to apply rudder to make the quadcopter turn to the left or to the right. To make a bank turn, you simply move the right stick in the same direction as you are moving the right stick. So to bank left, push both stick to the left, and to bank right push both sticks to the right. When you are flying in the direction you want, then pitch forward with the right stick to fly forward.
If the banking turn is not tight enough for you, then you can go with a braking turn. What the quadcopter will do is pitch back, and pivot on one of its motors to make the turn. You start by flying forward with the left stick pushed forward. If you want to make a braking turn to the left, you then pull the right stick down, and to the left, while at the same time using the left stick to apply rudder in the same direction. You don’t have to push the left stick all the way into one of the bottom corners. You will need to experiment with your drone to find the sweet spot that makes the braking turn smoothly.
This is a really fun maneuver to perform. To perform a funnel turn, you push apply rudder to the left or right and at the same time, pitch forward. In other words, its full rudder and full pitch to make this turn. You may want to also give a bit of throttle to maintain altitude.
You can also do a backward funnel by pitching backwards instead of forwards.
Distant Flying Orientation
There will eventually come a time when your quadcopter is at such a distance that you can’t tell which is the front, and which is the back. If you don’t know what to do, you may fly your quadcopter out of range, and may lose your drone. An important skill for all pilots to learn is how to determine the orientation of your quadcopter simply by observing its movement.
Your first thought may be to apply rudder, to try to turn your quadcopter back towards you. But before you can do that, you need to know which way the drone is flying. You do this by applying forward pitch to give it some speed. You will notice that the quadcopter is now moving to the left or right. Now apply a left turn if the drone is moving left, and a right turn if the drone is moving right. Keep turning until the sideways movement stops. Now the drone is flying straight back to you.
Practice this a few times, and you will never have to worry about your quadcopter flying out of range.
How to Fly a QuadCopter Like a Pro Summary
This article provided you with some tips to how to fly a quadcopter like a pro. With a bit of practice, you can include these maneuvers in your normal flying to make your turns more smoothly, and quickly.