Beginner’s Guide to Essential Drone Features

I remember the minute I saw a drone for the very first time, I had to have one! There are lots of new drones on the marketplace with each having an interesting set of features. If you are a novice and are looking to buy your very first drone, the most crucial thing you have to understand has to do with the newest features that are currently offered on state-of-the-art drones, so that you know exactly what to look forward to on your first (of hopefully many) drone.

In this post, I’m going to note down the amazing features and functions currently on offer from the various manufacturers of drones, and discuss how they work. But remember that often the same feature in one drone might pass different names in other drones. There is feature in DJI drones drones that is called Waypoint, where a pilot can pre-plan the flight path by setting points on the map. The 3DR Solo has the same ability but it’s called CableCam, also in Align M480L the very same feature is called as fix-point survey function.

Circle Hovering

This mode is for using your drone to take pictures or video of you, while you’re stationary. It is similar to the Follow Me mode, described in detail below.

Geo Fence and No Fly Zone

According to regulations set by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), drones are not allowed to fly higher than 400 feet (121 meters) vertically. Drones are also not allowed to be flown near airports and important buildings such as the White House. The no fly zone should already be pre-programmed into your drone, so you don’t accidentally fly above 400 feet or near the above mentioned buildings, therefore saving you from landing in jail. Make sure your drone comes with these pre-programmed and make sure your firmware is up to date.

The Geo-Fence works kind of like the No Fly Zone, although it isn’t already programmed into the drone. Geo-Fence is used by new drone fliers to limit their drone from flying too far, for example setting a 200 meter radius around the user, so the drone doesn’t fly too far and since it’s meant for new users, who might get confused and end up losing an expensive drone.

Follow Me Mode

This mode is similar to the Circle Hover mode and is a great feature for people that use drones to record their outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, snowboarding etc. Turning on the Follow Me feature (not available on all drones) tells the drone to hover around and even circle around the user, using the drone’s remote control as the center point. This way you can use your hands to do the activity while the drone flies around you and record you without any input from you; it’s like having your own film crew (of one).

Failsafe Mode and Return Home

One of the worst feeling in the world is for you to get a brand new drone, costing hundreds of dollars, and then lose it because of inexperience. To combat new users from losing their drones, many drone manufacturers have included failsafes and return home modes in their drones. It’s a simple feature, if you lose sight of your drone and don’t figure out where it is and which way it’s pointing, simply press the “return home” button on your remote control and the drone will automatically come back to where the remote control (transmitter) is, without you having to control it.




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