The typical flight time for a “toy” grade drone is 7-8 minutes before a battery recharge. When I start learning to fly, my actual flight time is closer to 30-45 seconds. Why?- because I crash every 30-45 seconds. But now, my muscle memory is better. With no wind, my flight time is closer to 4 minutes! So, I may not be completely ready for an upgrade to a faster, more powerful “hobby” drone, but it is now on order. A MJX Bugs 3 is on the way to my doorstep.
Where to start?
An inexpensive “toy” drone is a good starting point. The primary reason: learn how to fly and crash with a toy. An increase in flight time will result in better eye, hand, muscle memory coordination. If the pilot has to think about which control is up, down, photo click, slow down, speed up, left, video on, right, forward and backwards- as the drone spins around– “You’re Going to Crash!” The good news; crashing a “toy” drone is less expensive and less dangerous!
Start with a Toy Grade Drone?
Many lower priced drones are advertised for kids, such as my first drone purchase. These toy grade drones can typically withstand multiple crashes and are safer to fly. With weaker motors and flexible plastic blades, injuries to pets and people are minimized. On the downside, these lower powered drones are difficult or impossible to fly outside with the lightest breeze blowing. So, you’re going to fly it inside? Warning- clear the room! It’s all fun and games, until this low powered drones spills a drink, gets tangled in your niece’s hair or lands in a plate of food. Then, you’re exiled to the garage.
Wow, after some online searching I found my original drone still being sold! If you’re interested, here it is- UDI U818A 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter with Camera
Our Recommendations Before Making a Purchase
There are many drones available, with many options. There are micro drones, racing drones, toy drones, hobby drones, 4-bladed drones, 6-bladed drones, drones specific for photos and video; the list goes on. To a novice, the technology becomes overwhelming. Where to start?
- My first recommendation would be to perform some research and understand drone basics. Be familiar with some of the acronyms, options and flight modes. Here is a short list to start with: FPV, GPS, Pitch, Yaw, Headless mode, Altitude Hold mode, Brake mode, Circle mode, Me mode and Land mode.
- Also, understand where drones can and can not be flown. Your future planned flights may not be permitted by local, state or federal laws.
- Visit a hobby shop that specializes in drone sales.
- Start small. Purchase a toy grade or hobby grade drone. Learn the basic skills and move up to something bigger and faster after confidence and skills improve.
- Be safe!- Hobby grade and professional grade drones can and have resulted in severe injuries. Motors are more powerful, have more torque and, surprise, have unguarded “spinning finger eaters!”
Why did I select the MJX Bugs 3?
Last year, I was looking at a professional grade drone when a very knowledgeable racing drone expert at a hobby store said, “You don’t need to know how to fly it! It will fly itself with Follow Me mode, and Home mode; you control the camera.” When I asked, “What happens if Home mode fails?”, his silence convinced me to shop for and learn how to fly a drone with no pre-set mode assistance. So, the Bugs 3 was selected and it has enough power to fly outside when the wind is blowing. Many of my crashes, even today, are caused by the wind blowing at 5 mph. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Why do the Cajuntrippers want a drone?
It’s more than a toy; it’s all about photography and video. Our long term plan is to use a drone to add to our photography options. We love the aerial perspective and also look forward to creating videos of the places we visit. As we move forward with this purchase and a future drone purchase, we will continue to provide updates through social media (@cajuntrippers) and through this blog.
Note: An update to this post will be provided after I have received and flown the Bugs 3. Since I have to wait until after Christmas, you will, too.