How to Hover a Quadcopter

Posted by
March 21, 2014

how to hover a quadcopter

On this page, I’ll be going over how to hover a quadcopter, or in other words, how to get the quadcopter off the ground for the first time without crashing.

  1. Check Your Controls. Start off with about 10% throttle, then slowly move all your controls to make sure that everything is working properly before flight. Do not fly unless you know for sure that every control is working correctly.
  2. Get To Know Your Quadcopter. Slowly increase the throttle until the quadcopter is hovering at about 2 inches off the ground, then slowly move the controls around to get a feel for how fast the quadcopter reacts to your inputs. If you have a quadcopter with long landing gear, it’s better to fly at about one foot to avoid getting the landing gear caught on the ground. If you start to feel like you’re loosing control, quickly throttle down, then pick the quadcopter up and put it back to where you took off from.
  3. Fly Higher. After you’ve gotten a good feel for the controls, raise the quadcopter to about 3 feet. Once it’s up there hovering, it should become slightly easier due to the lack of air turbulence coming from the ground.
  4. Hop Around. Set up a few targets to try landing on, then fly to each target, land, and fly to the next one. This will really help with your hovering precision and landing ability.
  5. Learn Orientation. Start with the quadcopter at the 10 o’clock position, then hover there until you’re confident enough to move to the next position. After that, you can start doing positions 2, 9 and 3 (when I say “o’clock” I’m referring to the positions of the hands on a clock face).
  6. Nose In Hovering. nose-in-hovering is a term used by RC helicopter pilots which basically just means that the nose of the helicopter (or in this case a quadcopter) is facing you. When practicing nose-in-hovering for the first time, you should manually pick the quadcopter up and turn it so it’s facing you, then take off. Once you’re off the ground, both your aileron and elevator controls will be backwards, so at first it won’t be easy to keep the quadcopter in one spot. I like to think of nose-in-hovering like balancing a stick. Which ever way the stick/quadcopter falls, that’s the way your hand/control-stick should be moving. Once you’re able to do nose-in-hovering, you can finish learning orientation by practicing hovering in the 7 and 5 o’clock positions.
  7. Nose In Hopping. Set up some targets and try to land on them exactly the same way as before, but this time with the nose of the quadcopter facing in. This step is extremely hard, so take your time.

Believe it or not, hovering is one of the hardest things to learn when flying. Hovering is hard, especially nose-in-hovering, So don’t worry if it takes you 3 days, or even 3 months to learn. The point of flying is to have fun. When you fly, I recommend learning whatever you’re not good at first for about half of the flight, then do whatever you want for the other half. That way you won’t get too bored or frustrated.

Watch my video


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