Learn How to Fly a Drone: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners in 2024

Learning how to fly a drone has become a sought-after skill, offering both fun and utility. However, before you achieve those inspiring aerial shots or embark on an extensive flight, it’s crucial to grasp the basics and understand the safety rules. This guide provides a coherent step-by-step approach to mastering the art of drone flight, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your airborne adventures.

Last Updated: 11:01, 15 February 2024
author icon Written By: Benjamin Wilson

If you're looking for specific recommendations, check out our lists of Best drones with Camera and Best cheap drones.

Drones, while fun, come with their set of regulations.

You can read more about drone regulation and when you need a drone license here.

Different countries have their own laws concerning drone flight, ranging from altitude restrictions to no-fly zones. Adhering to these regulations is not just about avoiding fines—it's about ensuring safety in the air. Whether you're flying for fun or for commercial purposes, staying updated with the latest regulations is paramount.

In a nutshell:

Want to earn with your drone? You need a drone license.

Just flying for fun? You need to pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST

The Basics: Getting to Know Your Drone

Before you take off, it's important to understand the basic components and controls of a drone. The four main controls of a drone are:

  • Roll: This is controlled by pushing the right joystick to the left or right. It maneuvers the drone left or right.
  • Pitch: This is done by pushing the right joystick forward or backward, tilting the drone, and moving it forward or backward.
  • Yaw: This is controlled by pushing the left joystick to the left or right. It rotates the drone left or right, changing its direction while flying.
  • Throttle: This controls the altitude or height of the drone. Pushing the left joystick forwards increases the altitude while pulling it backward decreases it.

A drone and a controller with red arrows illustrating how pushing the sticks on the controller turns and rotates the drone in different directions.

Where to Learn Drone Flying?

Before you take to the skies, you might want to get proper training so you don’t have to figure out the ins and outs all by yourself.

While this guide provides a foundation, hands-on training can make a world of difference. One of the best places to get comprehensive drone training is UAVcoach. They offer a variety of courses tailored to different skill levels, ensuring you're well-equipped to handle your drone confidently.

You can also check out local drone clubs or workshops in your area, they will be more than happy to show you the ropes or point you in the right direction.

Before You Start: Preparations and Expectations

Before you start your journey to becoming a drone pilot, it's important to set realistic expectations. Learning to fly a drone requires time, effort, and patience. Depending on your learning pace and the amount of practice you get, it could take several weeks or even months to become proficient. Additionally, flying a drone comes with certain costs, including purchasing the drone itself and any necessary accessories, as well as potential repair or replacement costs in case of accidents.

What drone should I start with?

As a beginner, choosing the right drone can make a significant difference in your learning experience.

We have a whole article for the best beginner drones. But our overall recommendation if you're just starting out and looking for a beginner-friendly drone is the QuadRanger Drone. It doesn't compromise on quality and is an excellent choice.

Here's a quick overview:

A dark grey QuadRanger drone with a camera lens and two LED headlights standing on a blue table
QuadRanger drone

Price: $99 (Up to 70% off!)

The QuadRanger Drone, reminiscent of the Mavic III but at a budget-friendly price, is setting new standards in the affordable drone market. Its blend of quality and cost-effectiveness ensures you get a durable, high-performing drone without breaking the bank. The drone's high-definition camera, combined with its user-friendly flight modes, makes it perfect for beginners. Yet, its FPV compatibility and impressive transmission range will also appeal to more experienced pilots.


  • High-definition camera for capturing stunning visuals.
  • Packed with beginner-friendly features.
  • Affordable and durable, so you don’t have to stress out about crashing.
  • FPV compatible, offering an immersive flying experience with 3D headsets.
  • Extended battery life ensures you get the most out of each flight.

We recommend it mainly because it’s one of the best drones that balance the most important aspects of a beginner drone: being affordable, durable, and easy to fly while being advanced enough that you will still find the drone stimulating as you become a more experienced pilot.

Buy it here

Understanding Basic Drone Terminology

As a drone pilot, it's important to familiarize yourself with the basic drone terminology. Here are some key terms you should know:

Beyond Visual Line of Sight. This refers to flying your drone without having visual contact with it.
Controlled area. This refers to a region that is controlled airspace.
Extended Visual Line of Sight. This is when your drone is beyond your visual line of sight, but a spotter is maintaining eye contact with the aircraft.
Global Positioning System. This system allows your drone to determine its position with great accuracy.
Return to Home (RTH):
This feature allows the drone to return to a pre-established home point in case it loses signal with the controller or the battery is low.

Setting Up Your Drone for the First Flight

Before your first flight, you need to set up your drone properly. This includes installing the flight application on your device, updating the drone's firmware, and familiarizing yourself with the drone's controls. You should also perform a pre-flight check to ensure that all components are in good condition and that the drone is safe to fly.

Note: Remember to use propeller guards if you decide to fly indoors or inside your home. Here's a demo of a classic first-time flying experience:

The Art of Flying: Mastering the Controls

Learning to fly a drone involves mastering the four main controls: roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle. Start by practicing each control individually in a safe and open space. As you become more comfortable, you can start to combine the controls to perform more complex maneuvers.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don't rush the learning process. Take your time to understand each control and practice regularly to improve your skills.

Taking Off

  1. Spot Selection: Find a flat, open area.
  2. Power Up: Sync your drone and remote.
  3. Steady Ascent: Gently push the throttle, aiming for a smooth rise.

Hovering & Landing

  1. Stay Steady: Use your remote's sticks for balance.
  2. Smooth Landing: Descend slowly and controlled.
  3. Practice: Aim for specific spots to refine skills.

Square Pattern

  1. Open Space: Find a clear area.
  2. Follow the Square: Fly forward, turn right. Repeat for a square.
  3. Practice: Refine your square pattern.

NOTE: One of the challenges most people face when they learn to fly is once the drone’s front has rotated towards you, right and left might feel inverted. this sensation will go away after you’ve learned to “think” from the drone's perspective. just keep practicing the flying in a square until you get the hang of it.

Figure 8 Path

  1. Center Point: Choose a landmark to circle.
  2. Start Circling: Use both remote sticks for a smooth figure 8 pattern; this exercise will fine-tune your control of the drone.
  3. Stay Steady: The challenge is to maintain a consistent speed and altitude. Once you can keep the drone steady while performing this exercise, you have successfully learned to fly your drone.

How to Safely Fly Your Drone

Before each flight, it's important to plan your flight. This includes setting the flight's objectives, identifying potential emergency landing zones, understanding the topography and potential obstacles, and checking airspace restrictions. Proper planning can help ensure a safe and successful flight. Simple things such as which direction the wind blows, no matter how gently, will help you understand where the drone might end up if you lose control of it.
And if you see that there’s a potential risk in that direction, perhaps you should fly somewhere else

Learning how to fly a drone can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right drone, proper training, and regular practice, you can master the art of drone flying and explore the many exciting possibilities this technology offers. So grab your beginner-friendly QuadAir Drone, take to the skies, and start your drone flying journey today!


Q: How long does it take to learn how to fly a drone?

Q: Can I learn to fly a drone online?

Q: Do I need a license to fly a drone?

Q: Can kids fly drones?

Q: Is flying a drone hard?

Meet the tester

page author profile image
Benjamin Wilson
Benjamin, with a background in naval architecture, is passionate about RC boats. From sailboats to speedboats, he's sailed them all. Based in Florida, he's our anchor when it comes to all things aquatic in the RC world.
View all posts