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Introduction to drones

On this page, we will mainly introduce basic information about drones for hobby.

What is a drone

BetaFPV Meteor75 Lite Tiny Whoop in FPV Whoop Racing Advanced Kit 2
Drone means "unmanned aerial vehicle". From toy drones that you can buy at toy stores, to industrial drones that cost tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, to military and research drones, all unmanned aerial vehicles are called “Drone”. There are a wide variety of shapes, from 4-blade quadcopters to those with 8 or 16 propellers, airplane (fixed-wing) types, and helicopter types.
Now that there is even a flying car: passenger drone EHang , it may be called a "pilotless aircraft" rather than "unmanned aerial vehicle."
Here, we will explain the 4-blade quadcopter: hobby drone, which is especially used for personal hobbies.

Types of hobby drones

Hobby drones do not have a clear classification method, but they can be roughly classified into the following three types according to their price range and purpose of use.
Toy Drones
Eachine E10
It is a drone that can be purchased at a price of several tens of dollars to a hundred dollars. Usually controller (transmitter) is included in product. It is mainly used indoors to enjoy the flight itself. Some have cameras, but most have low resolution. Performance and quality vary depending on the product, from the superb to the appalling. Some of them are cheap but very stable, some are not stable at all, and some are broken after a few flights. Developed in collaboration with DJI, Ryze Tello Powered by DJI (Amazon.com) is a very stable flying drone.
This type of drone weighs several tens of grams. The flight time is about several minutes to ten minutes on a full charge. Manufacturers such as Eachine and Hubsan are well-known for this type of drone.
Micro Whoop / FPV drone / Tiny Whoop / Cine Whoop
BetaFPV Beta85X HD
There is a category of drones called Micro Whoop / FPV drone / Tiny Whoop / Cine Whoop. Powerful motors are mounted on lightweight body, and FPV image of the camera mounted on the drone is projected onto the goggles for maneuvering. It is used for aerial photography with an action camera on their back, or for drone racing. The drone itself can be purchased for about one hundred to a few hundred dollars, but a radio-controlled model transmitter and FPV goggles must be purchased separately. Maneuvering is very severe due to the high power motor, and you need to repeat a lot of practice to fly. Taking advantage of its speed, small size, and mobility, you can take amazing aerial shots that cannot be taken with a normal aerial drone.
This type of drone weighs tens to hundreds of grams. The flight time is about several minutes to ten minutes on a full charge. Manufacturers such as Emax and BetaFPV are well-known for this type of drone. See Introduction to Tiny Whoop for beginner: How to fly Cine Whoop / Tiny Whoop / FPV drone page for more information.
Aerial photo, video drone / Self-leveling drone
DJI Mini 2
It is a drone equipped with a high-quality camera and mainly intended for aerial photography and video shooting. Normally, the camera is equipped with a 3-axis gimbal, and even when moving at high speed, you can shoot stable video without blurring as if the camera was fixed in the air. It is a category of drone that has evolved from The originator of the hobby drones : AR.Drone (Japanese) , and each company introduces the latest technology. High-end machines are also equipped with a "Follow me" function that automatically tracks moving people and objects, and a function that automatically avoids obstacles.
The flight is very stable so that the pilot can concentrate on aerial photography, and anyone can easily fly with a little practice . It is also called a Self-leveling drone because it hoveres stably even if left alone.
Use your smartphone as a controller, or bundle a dedicated controller and connect to the drone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or manufacturer's proprietary protocol. Prices range from a few hundred to a dozen dollars, but high-end aircraft cost thousands of dollars, and the boundaries between industrial drones in terms of price and usage are vague.
This type of drone weighs a few hundred grams. The flight time is about 10 to 30 minutes on a full charge. Manufacturers such as DJI, Parrot, Autel Robotics and Skydio are well-known for this type of drone.
DJI's DJI Mavic mini, DJI Mini 2 are one of the smallest and lowest cost models in this category.
Drone Aerial View MavicMini Saipan Aqua Resort Club

Watch on YouTube

Check drone flight rules

Each country has its own rules for flying drones at the aviation bureaus in that country. If you plan to fly drone outdoor, check the rules in advance with the aviation offices of each country.
In particular, please note that drones weighing 250g or more have limited places to fly without application in many countries.
See Drone flight rule in Japan and other countries page for more information.

Basics of drone operation

Drone is maneuvered using the two sticks and some switches on the controller. The two sticks operate the following four functions.
Drone operation
Name of control Behavior name Drone movement
Throttle - Controls the rotation speed of the propeller. The flight altitude of aircraft will changes (ascend / descend).
Rudder Yaw Change the orientation of the aircraft. Aircraft will turn to the right or left.
Elevator Pitch Move aircraft back or front.
Aileron Roll Move aircraft left or right.
PC
There are four ways to assign these functions to the stick: "Mode 1" to "Mode 4". It seems that mode 2 is often used for drone pilots and US radio control users, and mode 1 is often used for EU and Japanese radio control users. This can usually be changed in the controller settings.
Drone products and instructions are based on Mode 2. If you are just starting out, we recommend practicing in mode 2.
In addition, it is controlled by using ARM switch that turns on / off the rotation of the propeller and switches that changes various flight modes. The functions and positions of these switches vary depending on the drone and controller.

Mount camera on the drone

insta360 GO
It is one of the longing for drone users to mount a camera on a low-priced toy drone or a small micro whoop and take aerial shots, but until now there has been no excellent camera that can be mounted on a small drone. Only recently have small cameras like insta360 GO 2 (insta360.com) been released.
SMO 4K Camera
In addition, on December 19, 2020, a 4K 60FPS action camera weighing 30 grams SMO 4K Camera was released in collaboration with insta360 and BetaFPV.
The video below is published by BetaFPV and was shot with SMO 4K Camera on Beta95X V3 (BetaFPV) Micro Whoop. Beta95X V3 comes with a dedicated mount for SMO 4K Camera. .
BETAFPV & Insta360 | SMO 4K - An Ultralight Action Camera

Watch on YouTube

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