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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quadcopter Orientation Tips for Distant Flying

What would you do if one day you flew further away than you would be able to visually distinguish your quadcopter's front or back? All you see is a single dot or single light in the sky, what would you do then?

It's very important to learn how to maintain orientation of your quadcopter just by its movement alone. The following orientation tips are especially important for night flying. Visual quadcopter orientation aids alone, such as colored propellers, lights, or quadcopter paint schemes, should not solely be relied upon. 

First thing to remember is don't panic.  It's very easy and very simple to bring your quadcopter back to you.  Simply push forward on the pitch control to gain forward movement on the quad. Then notice which direction the quadcopter is moving in the distance. 

If it seems to have some left movement, then turn left to turn the quadcopter toward your direction. If it's moving to the right in the distance, turn right to point it toward you. If it alternates between right and left, just keep matching the direction that you turn with its movement.  Remember, if it's:

 moving left, turn left    moving right, turn right 

And here's a video example showing how simple it is to do such.



And some parting words for those early beginner flyers who are still only comfortable flying with the back end of the quadcopter pointed toward them. Note that these directions apply equally well flying backwards, or for that matter in any direction. 

Think about it, the direction that you would need to turn does NOT reverse. It works the exact same way whether you're moving forward or backwards. Just pull back on the pitch to get some backward movement. If the quadcopter in the distance is moving right, turn right. If it's moving left, turn left. 

Now think a little bit harder. There really is no front/back/sides of a quadcopter. A quad can fly equally well in any direction.  So you can also give right or left stick to give it "sidewards" movement. If the quadcopter is moving right, turn right. If it's moving left, turn left. It will still fly inward towards you.

23 comments:

  1. Thank you. Very helpful tips for us beginners.

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  2. As a beginner, I have no idea how Warthox can keep track of his quad. You may have given me some insight. Thank you!

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  3. MAKES PERFECT SENSE. THANK YOU

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  4. wow,you explain it so simple,with your lesson i got my quad with me home today :-)
    Thank you

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  5. Very usefull tip but any ideia how to get ride of panic when facing this dramatic situation?lol
    Happend to me few weeks ago, switch off trottle and spend 2 hours in the bush looking for my V222.:o(((

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  6. That is an old method of RC plane pilots. As for quad You must add to make the turns slowly as the quad will spin around still flying in the same direction.
    Great site

    mazby

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  7. A new flyer can get in a jam by letting his RC plane get so far away that he cannot see the plane (or quadcopter). So at that point, he does not know what direction it is headed. some quads will come back by a GPS if controlled by a certain method, but a beginner is unlikely to have that. How should a beginner train himself to NOT let it get out of view (aside from keeping the sun at his back) ?

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  8. I AM A NEW FLYER OF A SMYA X5C QUAD AND INJOY YOUR VIDEOS PLEASE SEND MORE OUT OR LET ME KNOW WARE I CAN FIND MORE OF THEM THANKS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK IF ALSO HELP ME FLY MY HELOCOPTER THANKS THE OLD REDNECK

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    1. Go to You tube and do a search for "Quadcopter 101" Subscribe to his channel and all his videos will be in one place. Have fun flying!

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  9. It is a pity I have found your awesome blog until today. Already lost my first quad Syma X5C-1. It flew so far, I could not see where it aims :-(
    My second quad Syma X5C-1 just arrived from China yesterday. I will be more carefull now. Greetings!

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  10. eu comprei u selling x6 é simples tem como eu perder a zona de controle e ele continuar subindo o que faço nessas circunstancias ??

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  11. No one has told or showed me this. I will fly with more confidence of safe return.

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  12. Gotta say glad I stumbled onto your video. It takes a lot of practice to figure this out on your own. Thank you. Also, Zdeněk gave me an idea for a new hobby. Used to go out with a metal detector, or just eyeballs, looking for valuables dropped by people. Now, back to just using eyeballs, looking for lost quads! Won't be long, that will be a goldmine! "Hmm, think I'll go out and find an upgrade today." Pennies from heaven?

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  13. I've made every mistake in the book so far, and it's likely to continue in spite of excellent tips like found here. If I had a chance to request a firmware feature, it would be a headless mode that you can switch off and then switch back on with the heading saved (if they don't already operate this way). That would be really useful to folks like me that get into trouble and can't see the QC well enough to tell what's going on when it's at a distance. Maybe that is what is already available in those that offer a 'return to home'. If so, one with it belongs at the top of my list. DougInAZ

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    1. I sympathize. I lost my first H8C when the wind took it over a line of trees that separated me and a rather large lake (Dumb place to start learning? Yes I agree - NOW!) I did hit the "headless return" option, but I guess the headless mode didn't take those trees into account.
      I ran around to try and spot my bright white quad bobbing on the waves - but a lake full of seagulls and swans made that difficult (?) impossible. Keep trying mate - I will...

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  14. first thing i did when i got my x5c was put a stick on return address label on it, reflective tape all over it (so i could find it at night with my spotlight in the trees or elsewhere if need be), write phone number and the word "reward" on it. the reflective tape helped me quickly find it.

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  15. Did not see any contact info - we would like to talk about collaborating. We are DroneCyclone.com info@dronecyclone.com - please drop us a note so we can talk? Cheers Dr. Tim

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  16. Thank you.
    I was out in a big park recently practicing vertical rises (and then bringing it back down again whilst adjusting for the strong wind). This was with the Hubsan 107L.
    My biggest concern is exactly what this video discusses, and being so small, it doesn't have to fly too far away for me to get worried about its orientation.
    All good skills to learn whilst I await delivery of an Emax Nighthawk 280 :))

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  17. This is s excellent tip but like one guy said you've got to nock it to beginner mode so you get slow yaw or you will over compensate the turn.

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  18. Just learning, thank you for all the help that you are imparting on everyone.

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  19. I don't even do that. If its moving right for example. Side strife right beings it back. If u need to narrow the angle tap right a bit on the turn while side striving still.

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  20. Thanks I just watched your video on decending without crashing ..... andswered some of my mystery questions

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