If there’s one piece of tech that this point in history is going to be remembered for, then it’s drones. A lot of us are seeing these cool little gadgets whizzing around the airspace over our hometowns on a regular basis, capturing breath-taking pictures and videos or just being flown for the joy of it. Everyone seems to want a drone these days, and as with a lot of tech many people are rushing into a purchase without enough knowledge. Here’s what you need to know before buying a drone.
The first thing you need to know is that drones aren’t as easy to control as it may seem. A cheap, typical quadcopter is in fact near impossible to fly. The thing that stabilizes an actual drone is the computer inside, known as the “flight controller”. Depending on how its flight controller is set up, every drone is going to fly slightly differently, so don’t make the mistake of watching experienced users pull off awesome aerial manoeuvres and assume that flying a drone is easy. The general rule to follow with your first drone is that as the price increases, the ease of flying it will go up. However, once you get past the $700 mark, more features come into play and the drones start getting harder to control.
The next thing you need to understand is that not all drones are ready to fly straight out of the box. If you’ve been window-shopping for drones already, then you probably noticed that they were all marked with a certain acronym; RTF, BNF or ARF. RTF stands for Ready to Fly. These models usually don’t require any kind of manual set-up or assembly, and are the easiest to get started with. BNF stands for Bind and Fly. These are usually completely assembled, but don’t come with a controller. You’ll need to source your own compatible controller, bind it to the drone, and configure it before you get out there and start flying. Finally, we have ARF, standing for Almost Ready to Fly. These don’t usually come with a receiver or transmitter, and can require a little assembly. The definition of ARF is barely a definition at all it’s so broad, so make sure you look into all the details.
The final thing to understand is that there’s countless drones out there and places to buy from. You might be itching to start flying your drone straight away, but if you pick the first model you find that suits your criteria you might end up regretting it. Before you put any money down, be sure to do a lot of research on blogs like RotorCopters, and do a lot of shopping to make sure you’re getting the best price for the model you want. Specialist hobby stores and online vendors often give pretty considerable discounts on some great models. Aside from that, you can usually find some great prices in your local classifieds. Lots of people buy drones, use them for a few weeks, before losing interest and selling them on.
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