Tom David Frey
How to recognize a good drone pilot | 6 characteristics and skills
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
How can you recognize a good drone pilot in times of GPS, Glonass, anticollision, VPS and many other sensors that take a lot of work off our hands?
I have summarized three crucial daily-life skills that every ambitious and professional drone pilot needs to master - and three behavior patterns, that show a good pilots knowledge and professionalism in every situation.
Flight without GPS + Glonass
If you want to be able to maneuver your drone in an emergency situation safely, you really should have some knowledge of how to use the ATTI flight mode.
It only uses the drones air pressure sensors, while not holding the position with the help of GPS and Glonass as usually.
That finally means that if a wind gust hits the drone, it will drift with the wind - or if you let go of your remote controller's stick, the drone won't immediately come to rest, but fly on for many meters.
No worries, using the ATTI mode is quite easy - here you find an entire guide plus a video tutorial of mine.
Pilots who can circle objects manually while always keeping them in the center of the frame, usually are more experienced.
Most pilots just go ahead and choose DJIs Point of Interest mode to get steady and smooth circles done, but with only a bit of practice, you can do it manually, which is a lot more precise.
It is pretty simple: start flying your drone f.e. to the right, smoothly, steadily and consistently (usually you use the right stick of your remote controller).
Now start rotating the drone slowly around its axis, but the other way around, in this example to the left.
Once both movements are consistent, your drone will fly a perfect point of interest.
Fly a straight line
Have you ever tried to fly a straight line while rotating your drone - without using the
This easy sounding task has put many drone pilots to their limits.
Try to fly at a constant speed and not too slow and start rotating your drone, while adjusting the drones course.
It is not easy, but once the lump is cracked (as we say in German "Der Knoten ist geplatzt") your overall flight performance will be a lot more precise, as you have carved out a genuine feeling of controlling your drone.
We now want to focus on three characteristics that often indicate a professional level.
Again, I don't want to look at a made-up situation, but at daily-life behavior only.
It might sound too simple, but being a self-controlled and calm pilot often avoids crashes from happening and situations from escalating.
Always think of the bigger picture before you make decisions in complicated situations: are all four propellers still attached and is the power level high enough to land in a safe zone, even if it's not the home point - hey, it's not too that bad then. It could be way worse, and there is an excellent chance of saving the bird.
But staying calm does not only apply to in-air situations: can you stay calm and act professionally if someone bothers you while you are flying your drone? Maybe even threatens or swears at you? You will be able to de-escalate if you stay calm. And never forget about the bigger pictures!
Real drone pilots want to enjoy a safe and pleasant flight and not attract attention at all cost. The more you focus on flying the drone instead of yelling around or just trying to show the world that you bought the nicest drone of all times, the fewer problems you will have to face.
And yes, some pilots enjoy presenting themselves better than focussing on the actual flight.
It's weird for sure, and no, it does not look very professional.
Talking about volumes: have you taken a look at DJIs low noise propellers already?
Leave your funny sweaters at home!
If you are joining a drone pilots meeting or flying with family only, wearing a sweatshirt that answers some basic questions might be fun. But if you want to be seen as a professional drone pilot, leave the sweater at home - at least when flying in public.
You don't have to talk to spectators all the time, but you can kindly ask them to wait with their questions until you have landed.
Especially these days it has become essential that we, the drone pilots community, not only stand together but talk openly about our hobby/job.
It is crucial that we represent it well, as we all are pioneers still and laws are strict enough already now.
If you want to purchase DJIs safest drone, you need to take a look at this model that can even circle you while autonomously tracking you without the risk of crashing into a tree when flying backward.