About the author


Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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  1. 1


    Maybe an eBay buying guide would be helpful as well

  2. 2

    Andrew from WI

    This is a very well thought out and smart beginner guide to Quads. If you follow these simple suggestions I can assure you Czabe just saved you between $200 – $1000 of mistakes and bad purchases.
    I have been flying drones for over 3 years and have been racing them competitively for 2. When someone new to the hobby asks what drone they should buy I usually ask what they are looking to do with them. Boiled down, drones have two categories.
    The first is under the AP or aerial photography class. This is what Czabe, to my knowledge, predominantly flies. These are usually bigger rigs with high definition cameras attached by a gimbal to give you beautiful and shake free footage from the sky. The flight times are relatively high (30 mintues) and the controls are unworldly easy to handle. Someone who has never flown a drone could likely pick up the sticks and successfully fly the drone with a short instructional from someone in the know.
    The Second “class” of drones is the FPV or First Person View type. This is they kind of drone where you use a small camera from the front of the drone to send a signal back to a set of goggles that the pilot wears giving the feeling of sitting in the cockpit of the quad. This style of quad is much more difficult to fly as they do not have all of the bells and whistles that the DJI brand has. While the controls are the same (throttle, pitch, roll, yaw) the FPV quads do not have GPS, sophisticated self-leveling system, or near the flight time as the AP rigs. The tradeoff however is a lower weight, higher speed, increased agility, and an increased resilience. Less sensitive equipment means less chance to break something. Most all of these FPV quads are built by the pilots that fly them from parts purchased separately. This allows customization and getting the exact quad you want to fly.
    Because of the attributes of the FPV quads, FPV racing was born. This is a new sport where pilots are timed and have to navigate a course laid out in a field passing through gates or flags. This has spawned several professional racing leagues including the DRL which has been picked up by ESPN. Simply Youtube “FPV Racing” and see what it’s all about. When racing, the quads often only last around 2-3 minutes, but I can attest that those will be some of the most exhilarating 2 minutes of your life, save your honeymoon. Zing!
    As Czabe points out, this is a hobby. There is a huge learning curve and financial investment. Drones are easily one of the most exciting things you can do that is still currently legal. Be prepared to be frustrated, elated, and proud all at the same time while being physically unable to remove the smile from your face. Once you do decide to dive into that rabbit hole called drones we are not responsible for any neglect your family receives for your new found love.

    If floating around taking pictures doesn’t seem to be your jam then I highly recommend looking into FPV racing. This stuff is like a Phantom on crack and a 6 pack of Red Bull. Simply type “FPV racing” in youtube and take a look at what these machines are truly capable of. There are several professional leagues for drone racing including DRL featured on ESPN.

    I started my FPV life with a Phantom v1.1.1, I had fun but quickly became bored remaining stationary in a spot above the earth. I came across a video of some guys flying quads in the woods and shortly thereafter sold my phantom to dive into the FPV racing world.

  3. 3

    Andrew from WI

    please disregard the last two paragraphs. 🙁 that was my early thoughts in writing.


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