Which is the right drone for me? 10 aspects to be considered

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Acquiring a drone is not a decision to take lightly. Different factors and characteristics need to be taken into account before taking flight. In this article we point the 10 factors that, from AIRK, we consider most relevant.

Acquiring a drone is not a decision to take lightly. Different factors and characteristics need to be taken into account before taking flight. In this article we point the 10 factors that, from AIRK, we consider most relevant.

1. What am I going to use it for?

The use that we want to give to our drone is crucial, as it will define or restrict may aspects. A small drone for recreational use is not the same than a professional drone, and it is definitely not the same a drone to record videos than a rescue drone. It will always be better to think what are we going to use it for before than after buying it.

2. What kind of drone to choose? ARF, BTF o RTF?

Generally, there are three families of drones, depending on its coating:
o ARF: Almost Ready To Fly. ARF drones, such as AIRK FireClouds ones, are not assembled, but include everything they need to take flight. Competition and professional drones are usually presented this way, as they allow to be adapted according to the operator/pilot’s needs.
o BTF: Bind To Fly. BTF are drones that are delivered completely assembled, except for the receiver, which will therefore have to be bought, integrated and linked to the radio separately.
o RTF: Ready To Fly. You guessed it. RTF drones are the ones that include everything they need to fly (except maybe the radio control batteries) from the very start. Suitable for amateurs.

3. Difficulty in repairing

Obviously, ARF drones are easier to repair, as you can easily access to every element of the drone. As they had to be assembled previously, it is perfectly known where to place each element, whereas RTF and BNF will generally be more difficult to repair, as they are delivered assembled and closed. On the other hand, modular drones (the ones with exchangeable elements that can be separated) will always be easier to repair than integrated ones.

4. Size and pay load

These are generally two directly proportional concepts. The bigger the drone, the bigger the engine, and the more weight it could carry. Before buying our drone, we should consider two things:
• How much weight do we need the drone to carry?
• How important size is for us?
Usually, the more portable, the less pay load we would be able to carry. If we choose to prioritize portability, we would have to waive other flight performances.

5. Adaptation possibilities

There are closed drones designed for one only use, and more open drones that can be adapted to the kind of flight that we want to perform. If we are clear that we are going to use it for one function and one only, a close drone can be a good choice. But if we envision several uses, an open, easy-to-adapt drone in which we can add accessories will be much more convenient. AIRK FireClouds is a drone with a great modularity, and thanks to AIRK Inventor you will be able to adapt it to numerous applications easily, and free of charge.

6. Control range

Depending on the system they use, the distance in which the drone can be operated can range between 30 meters and 200 km. Although most drones use a 2.4GHz frequency to communicate, it is not the same to use a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, that allows short control distances (30m – 120m), than direct communications at 2.4GHz with FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) systems, that allow bigger control distance and greater security levels (500 m – 5km). Finally, there are other radios, called LRS (Long Range Systems), that can work at other frequencies depending on the country you are located, such as 433MHz or 869-960MHz bandwidths, which can reach much higher control ranges (25Km – 200Km).
Of course, these distances will always depend on the kind of antenna and the power of the radio that we use.

It is also very important to check the video control range, because the radio may be as good as it can be, but if we lose the video at some distances, it can be tricky to get our drone back.

Don’t forget to check your country’s legislation! Depending on your location, it would be legal to fly at 500 m tops, or at 2Km.

7. Battery

Regarding the battery, there are two main factors to consider: its life (some models can have a flight range of barely 6 minutes) and its charging time (an extreme case would be batteries that take up to two hours to get charged). It is also relevant to know if spare batteries are available for the drone model we are interested in.

On the other hand, the sentence “the more battery, the more flight duration” is false: a bigger battery is heavier, and drones have a weight range in which they work efficiently. If we exceed this range, we can add as battery as we like, but we will not gain minutes, we can even lose them. Don’t get fooled!

For further information about how to choose a good battery you can check this post: LiPo batteries. What are they? Which one to choose?

8. Altitude and speed

How high do you want to elevate your drone? What speed to you need? If you are thinking in recording videos, orthomaps, photogrammetry, etc., a drone that can fly up to 120 m (400ft) high would be desirable; for recreational use, 30-50 meters would be enough. Regarding speed, we must consider two facts: the maximum moving speed and the maximum propeller speed. Whereas maximum moving speed usually ranges between 10 and 15 m/s, the one that allows to work in windy conditions is maximum propeller speed. If we have a maximum propeller speed of 25m/s and a maximum moving speed of 12m/s, then we would be able to fly with winds up to 13m/s without losing maneuverability.

9. Design

The design of the drone is not only an aesthetic matter. A drone with fairing will be more aerodynamic, but heavier, and its flight range will be shorter. A drone without fairing would not be as aerodynamic, but it will be lighter, and with a higher flight range. Beautiful is not always better!

As for the color of the drone, we must take into account that white can produce visibility problems at daytime, back at nighttime or in dark areas, green in woody areas, and blue in the sky or over water. We recommend to exclude these colors, and the optimal solution is that the drone has more than one color, never to lose sight of it and for having a quick reference of the location of our drone.

10. Spare parts

Finally, it is paramount to be aware of the availability and the easiness of changing broken parts of the drone, which will undoubtedly will end up happening. The parts that get broken more often, because of the use or bumps, are the engine gears and the propellers. Besides, batteries have also an expected life time, and they lose progressively their charge capacity.

And once you have considered these 10 aspects… which is the right AIRK drone for you?

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