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Newbie needs help

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Roadking, May 23, 2013.

  1. Roadking

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    I have been looking at the DJI Phantom for a while and would really like to take the plunge and purchase one. My question is, would you as an experienced flyer recommend it for someone with no flying experience?

    If I spent a few hours in an open field, would I get the hang of it or would it take a lot more than that?
    Other than the Phantom, extra props (just in case), extra battery, what else would you recommend I start out with?

    Any other tips are appreciated.

    Thank you for your help.

    Vincent
     
  2. Gizmo3000

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    It's a perfectly fine, if not ideal, quad for a first timer. since it has GPS it's a lot easier to learn on
    (my Phantom was my first,. and i didn't have the luxury of an open field to practice in).
    open fields are great, no trees to bump into.
    just start off flying a dozen feet off the ground, and just be sure to stay above the ground!
    then practice flying in circle 8's and stuff,. and eventually you'll get better and better. learning how to fly in ATTI mode and using the IOC settings.

    The Phantom comes with a few sets of extra props, but couldn't hurt to order a few more the moment you trash them.
    some flyers careful flyers go many weeks prior to their first crash, and even then they might not damage their props.

    read up as much as you can
    watch all the DJI video tutorials

    the wish-list of items to get keeps growing once you get bitten by this hobby.

    extra batteries are a must. you'll want to order at least a couple extra's.

    if you've already got the GoPro and start shooting video, you might want to get some moongel to put under the mount to cut down on vibrations.

    and if you're shooting video, you MUST purchase a decent prop balancer, such as the DuBro.
    balancing your props is crucial for removing jello from video.
     
  3. jumanoc

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    Hey, my own experience will help you to get convinced. Phantom was my firt RC aircraft, but i tried some trainer as mQX mini quadcoptindoor. I learned to fly in 30 meters in hostil space with many obstacles, thin air and speedy winds around my block. A Tip: search, read and then ask if not found your answer. Follow the guidelines and hear experienced pilots. You'll fly with phantom just out of the box. Don't fly higher neither far. Just enjoy and take your baby steps until getting confidence. You can not learn all in 1,5.... More flights. I learn something new each take off and say thanks every landing. :p
     
  4. Gizmo3000

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    yes,. read, search, learn - then ask questions if you're still uncertain.

    and ALWAYS check to make sure your prop nuts are on tight!!
     
  5. Roadking

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    Thank you all for taking the time to help me. I appreciate it. It sounds like I should be ok if I practice in an open area, and fly until I can make maneuvers instinctively and not having to think about what to do.

    I was thinking about getting only the Phantom, and when I am good at flying, purchase the GoPro for aerial videos. Does that make sense, or should I learn to fly with the camera attached right from the start?
     
  6. LJ35

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    I never owned or flew a quad before I bought my Phantom. This is what I did and my first flight was easy and fun...

    I read the manuals and watched the videos, many times. I made sure I understood how it worked and came up with a small preflight routine.

    After mounting the props, charging the battery, and double checked all the settings in the Naza assistant software, I walked out to my average to small back yard to fly. I only flew in GPS mode because I knew it would stay put when I let go of the controls. After two more flights (which included some highspeed flying) I then mounted my iPhone and took some video. That was enough to make me order a GoPro3 that night.

    I have about 15 flights under my belt now and I can fly it really well in attitude mode and I get great video with an isolation mount, balanced motors, and balanced props.

    You can do it. It's easy and fun. Just please learn about it before you go flying.
     
  7. tanasit

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    But you want to take off in ATTI mode only, otherwise it may tip over and crash.
     
  8. Gizmo3000

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    tip-overs are much less likely to occur with the new firmware tho I'd say.

    even prior to that tho, i'd usually take off in GPS mode tho. never too much of a problem.
     
  9. GearLoose

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    RoadKing... I'm also completely new to R/C flying and just made my first Phantom flights (and crashes) today. My experience obviously isn't very extensive but believe me, I learned a lot -- the hard way!

    First of all, look for the largest possible open field, preferably grassy (for softer crashes), and empty of people, pets, or livestock. On a couple of occasions, I had to duck and run from my own Phantom, as it threatened to give me a buzzcut.

    Batteries: I have 4 and that is not too many. I'm surprised at how quickly the time passes, though perhaps these batteries will give longer flights once they've been charged/discharged several times. I used doublebacked tape to mount a small kitchen timer to the TX, to warn me when the battery is getting low.

    Pre-takeoff checklist: I've gathered various tips on LED sequences, start-up procedures, etc. from the helpful members here and DJI resources. These are combined into printed cheat-sheets that are close at hand when I power up the Phantom.

    You will probably be told time and time again on these forums to "read the manual! watch the videos!" but if you're like me and many other noobies, the actual thrilling/frightening flight experience tends to wipe your memory like a major hard drive crash. On one attempt, I even forgot to put the battery into the Phantom. Instant tip-over/crash.

    I find the Phantom to be quicker and more responsive than I expected, probably because the flight videos I've watched were done by far more experienced pilots who make it look so smooth and easy. My Phantom feels less hyper-active after I decreased all of the "gains" in the Naza Assistant by 10%. Tomorrow, when my hands stop shaking, I'll decrease them another 10%!

    My original plan to mount my Drift action cam onto the Phantom has definitely been put on hold. I see no point in bouncing the camera off the ground and will wait on photography until I've gained a lot more flying skill and confidence.

    It's a kick, that's for sure :)
     
  10. denodan

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    When you can fly in manual mode well then you can fly. As it is the Phantom is not good to learn on, to much automatics. Get a Ladybird or Walkera Hoten X, or similar, these are totally manual and will test your flying ability.

    The Phantom is a bad quad to learn on, to much is done for you, so will not gain true flying skills. Just look on you tube at the crashes. Lack of experience causes many of these crashes.


    Many maybe able to fly the Phantom ok. Set Manual mode and it becomes a different beast and a true test of your flying ability. Learning to fly a manual quad will make you a much, much better and skilled flyer.
     
  11. Gizmo3000

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    I wholeheartedly disagree.

    That's like saying one should learn to ride a bike without first having training wheels
    or learn to drive a car with a standard instead of an automatic transmission, etc..

    yes, if you can ahold of a toy quad that you can buzz around the house or backyard without damaging anything it will better prep you for a Phantom, but by no means necessary.
    just ask anyone who's first quad flying experience was with a Phantom. (myself included)
    Flying in manual mode is not a mode for doing aerial photography and video, which is what the Phantom is being sold for - that's why they don't sell a bare bones Phantom without GPS or a NAZA in it.

    the GPS hold feature is a fantastic way to learn to fly without the fear of losing control, and RTH feature is great for keeping the craft from flying into a neighbors yard or worse.
     
  12. Banjer

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    The Ladybird has a 6-axis gyro stabilization system, so it is absolutely not "totally manual". Sure the Phantom electronics help you more compared to a Ladybird, but in either case you get help keeping it in the air.
     
  13. Roadking

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    Well it sounds very logical that once I am able to fly a quad that is all manual, I would be ably to fly the Phantom well. But it also sounds like starting with the Phantom that has many auto features would be more forgiving for someone learning.

    As I have experienced with many other endeavors there are many opinions on the topic, all of which are very valid, and provide guidance.

    Having never flown, I am not sure what my learning curve will be.

    I know this is a stupid question, but is there an app that might simulate flying that I could try?
     
  14. patc221

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    I started with the Parrot AR Drone and bought the rc controller for it and learned quite a lot. So the step up to the Phantom wasn't that difficult for me. The big draw for me is that I could use my I-Phone 5 to control it. It is fun to fly indoor and out.
    There is an app called AR Drone sim for the I phone that is great. You control it with your phone. When I got it a while back it was free. I haven't checked on it lately. Good Luck I put my gopro 2 on my Phantom, now I have the fatshark predator fpv that I am trying to get the courage up to actually fly with. I learn something new every time I go out. I would check out the AR Drone on the Web. It has a built in camera that records the video on your I-Phone. It took me about 10 minute to show my grandson how to fly the AR Drone. I haven't touched the ar drone since I got my Phantom. Probably give the ar drone to my grandson.
     
  15. denodan

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    Put it this way, you can learn to ride a bike with trainer wheels, it works, but takes longer to learn to ride, and it's not till the trainer wheels are off do you really ride well and see what a bike is capable of.

    I would as a supplement have a manual Quad copter also, a great way to gain better flying skills. I have several manual quads and still fly them, as well as my Phantom. A manual quad you got to be on the sticks all the time, unlike the Phantom, where you let go of the sticks will hover and sit there. A manual quad you let go of the sticks will crash and drift.

    By using manual, you gain a much higher flight skill. The Phantom becomes a better beast, faster, etc. There are many, who own the AR Drone, use a TX and modify it for manual flight, due to it flies faster and more touchy. Sure the Phantom maybe great to learn on, but to gain a much better skill at flying, and to see what it can do, then manual flight will really help you become a much better pilot. So at some Stage manual flying is well worth it.

    Also you can get Phoenix Flight Sim, you can attach a TX to it and practice flying model aircraft, etc on your PC with a TX. It has one Quad on it, so practiced with that. Great fun when it is raining outside.

    The Phantom is so easy to fly, People get into trouble with it. Look at You Tube, all the crashes. When something is so easy to fly, you get over confidant and lack of proper flying skills shows its ugly head.

    To many beginners fly among trees, over suburbs, and go to high, and it is these people with a lack of skill who will wreak this as a hobby. One crash into a house, or hurt someone, when laws will come into effect banning these. Take it slowly when learning, learn how to fly before flying over your neighbourhood, find an open field learn to fly at different heights, not go straight up high, learn to fly nose at first with the flashing light visible, so so out the back, then side to side, till you do these well, then learn to fly nose in, the controls are reversed so you brain has to learn to work in reverse as well as normal direction, also when learning don't fly high until you can fly. Take your time to learn to be a responsible flyer.

    There are to many foolish Phantom owners out there flying these with little flying skill. Taking your time will lead to either no crashes or very few. It takes ages to learn to fly well, trouble is to many don't want to take the time to learn. I am still learning myself and just learned how to fully fly a 450 sized manual quad in a confined space. My smaller quad are easier to learn on.

    So enjoy my Phantom, and every now and then fire up my manual quads, flying skills, you learn to think and react much quicker. With the Phantom you can let go of the stick and will in most cases sit there, then think which way to go then go, but you will take longer to develop quick reactions and thinking quicker. A manual quad you cannot let go of the sticks if you get into trouble, so have to think and react much quicker.

    You don't have to turn of the Manual flight option in the Phantom, but having a Manual quad helps tune your skills. To many are learning on Phantoms, which is fine, the problem is to many are flying them beyond their skill levels and it's these people who will damage this hobby.
     
  16. denodan

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    All quads have Gyros and computer chips, else it would be impossible for a quad to fly at all, so if you look at it, then no quad is 100% manual. Still let go of the Sticks will not sit there like a Phantom. Will either go higher, or lower of crash, so you got to always still be in constant control of the sticks
     
  17. Roadking

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    patc221 wrote:
    There is an app called AR Drone sim for the I phone that is great.


    Very helpful. Thank you. This app is giving my a feel for what actual flying might be like. I'm sure it's not exactly the same but it's very helpful to get a rough idea.
     
  18. Roadking

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    I think I may hold off until the DJI Phantom Vision is available. According to the announcement it should be about a month or so. I just hope it's reasonably priced.