Gadgets and technology haven’t helped father and son bonding over recent years. Rather than playing football together in the garden, fathers have been checking emails on their smart phones and sons have been playing computer games in their bedrooms. However, one of the latest boy’s toy gadgets has caught the attention of both generations. RC drones are exciting to fly and offer a unique opportunity for some good old-fashioned father son bonding.
Below is a breakdown of what to consider when buying your first RC drone. Before we start it is worth noting that all drones are called multirotors, most people call them drones, and the most popular ones on the market are quadcopters; Multirotor RC aircraft with four rotors to make them airborne.
Quadcopters are available at a wide range of prices. Entry level mini-quad drones are available from around £10, while spending £50 and above usually includes an on-board camera, and are something both enjoyable for your kid and not too expensive.
Have for example a look at this nano one !
If you can afford to spend £100 and above you can expect a live video stream from your drone sent direct to your smartphone, some models even include a colour monitor on your remote control. If you can stretch your budget further then you can get even more for your money, on board computer stabilisation and longer flight times are just two of the benefits of the top of the range models.
Usually a fully charged drone can fly from 5 to 15 minutes, while charging can take anything up to an hour. Unfortunately most of them only come with one battery so it’s a good idea to buy a spare to enjoy more flight time. Most controllers require 4 AA batteries and it is worth getting some rechargeable batteries to charge at the same time as your drone.
Most drone makers claim that their quadcopters can fly up to a range of 100m, even in Liverpool FC. However, it is unusual to see a drone reach these distances and 50m is probably the furthest your drone will fly. It’s worth noting that all unmanned aircraft must at all times be flown in the line of sight of the operator according to UK law.
There’s no getting away from the fact that drones are fragile. You will probably end up breaking a propeller or other part at some point, so it’s handy that all drones come equipped with a set of spare rotors. However, as drones are quite fragile it’s worth picking a popular drone so that spare parts are easy to acquire.
Taking into consideration all these factors, below are the top 3 recommended drone in each price bracket.
Blade Nano QX – £70
Fun to fly and easy to control due to its low weight, its sturdy construction means it also quite resistant to damage when crashed. Ideal for beginners as it features a safe mode, a system that means when no controls are pressed the drone will hover in place; a great feature to help you learn to fly your drone safely. Great beginner drone.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter – £200
Easy to control and even perform impressive barrel roll stunts at the push of a button. Very fun drone to fly and its popularity means spare parts are easy to acquire. You need a smartphone or tablet to control the drone, but this does mean you get a cool point of view display direct from the drone’s on-board camera. The best mid-range drone on the market.
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced – £700
The Phantom 3 is currently the best drone on the market. Very easy to control with stable flying and the ability to capture smooth 2.7K video. Also features built-in GPS and a return to home feature as well as automated flying modes. A very impressive drone and worth the extra money if you can stretch your budget.