Multi Drones

Two RC flying drones

Drones are literally  “flying off the shelves”  throughout the world.  All will be using the R.C. or rc type drone.  Yet, being so new to consumers, many ask :  What is an rc drone?

Put very simply, rc stands for radio control or as some call it, remote control.

In other words, the operator will be on the ground with the flying drone in view, and will remotely control or radio control the drone as he/she see fit to do so.

However, controlling a flying machine while being safely on the ground has not always been the case with drones.  In fact, drones have been around since before WW II.

Germany had drones, but they did not fly along routes.  In fact, they  flew on a rather random path.  What Germany was trying to do was to inflict terror, pain, fear, destruction and death, on Great Britain, especially the city of London.

Keep in mind that the word Drone originally referred to flying machines that do not have a pilot.  Often times these drones would fly along certain flight paths or directions set for them.  It was hoped that they would do their damage upon arriving at their destination.

The Early Drones

German drones of WW II had a type of guidance system that would keep it in the air without rolling or altering its path.  Without a specific target, these flying bombs would fly until they simply ran out of fuel or the fuel supply was “cut off” internally.

When the noise of these flying terrors being heard from the ground stopped, down would come, destroying all that was below.

It was the infamous V-1

Interestingly, the V-1 had a type of odometer.  When launched, the odometer was set to shut down when the countdown counter reached zero.  Zero was above the city of London…somewhere.  When zero was reached, fuel supplies were shut off internally.

These early drones (unmanned flying machines) had the nicknames of :  cherrystone, buzzbomb, doodlebug, maybug and finally, crow.

V-1 ready for launching.

WW II   V-1 ready for launching.

Drones Of Today

Drones today and our understanding of the word drone, refer to any unmanned flying aircraft that is remotely controlled (radio controlled) from a safe position.  This can also include model airplanes to a certain degree.

However, the FAA in the U.S. is making very clear guidelines to register RC drones and perhaps, model airplanes.

How To Fly A Drone

Similar in design to the model helicopter, the drone has a “flight controller” inside that allows these units to have a measure of stability and agility while flying.

One thing that seems to go in the opposite direction of the drone vs. the model helicopter is price and control.

Enjoying an RC helicopter

Enjoying an RC helicopter


How so?

Model helicopters get more and more difficult to control (fly) as the price gets higher and higher.  On the other hand, the drone gets more and more simplified and easier to control as the cost of it gets higher and higher.

Mainly it is because of the added sensors and functionality  added to the higher priced drones that make flying them much better.   Most of the issues with keeping it on its course has automatically been corrected with the internal hardware.

In other words, simplicity of flying will cost more dollars.  You really do get what you pay for in this case.

Open spaces are needed in order to learn how to control your RC quadcopter.

What To Look For Before Purchasing

You will see acronyms at every turn.  RTF, BNF, and ARF.

RTF refers to :  ready to fly.   Usually no assembly is needed.  Often times though, you may need to charge the battery, install the props, or set up the drone (a.k.a. quadcopter) and your controller so they will recognize each other through radio controls from the joystick control unit.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view with an RTF quadcopter drone.

BNF refers to :  bind and fly.  Most BNF drones (quadcopter) will come as an assembled unit…but without any type of controller.  You will have to supply the joystick control unit and “bind” it together with your quadcopter receiver.

You will also have to check to make sure your control unit is compatible with the quadcopter.  Mostly it has to do with having the same manufacturer of the quadcopter and the control unit.  Transmitter and receiver need to not only run on the same frequency but also the same protocol.

ARF refers to :  almost ready to fly.  These quadcopters are more or less, a kit.  In other words, not only do you have to put it together, but it may also be missing many important components.  The reason is so that the individual (usually highly experienced) can piece his/her quadcopter  together the way they want it.

Much like some folks who can build their own computer systems which is  made up of a variety of different components.

On the other hand,  many just purchase a computer/tablet/smart phone and so on, and it is ready to be put to use. (RTF ?)

ARF kits usually do not come with either a receiver or transmitter.  Most always need some type of assembly.  They may or may not, have a motor or ESC firmware.

 ESC refers to : electronic speed control.

(If no ESC is installed, you will have to go online and learn how to flash and optimize the pre-written firmware for your particular application.  Thankfully, Simon K has done that for us.  (I would recommend this to those who are highly experienced only))

The flight controller, battery and other important components may also be missing.  So you can see that the understanding of the acronym ARF kit has a huge definition.  If you come across an ARF kit and choose to purchase it, be sure to read what is in the kit, it’s description, and what you will need to do in order to begin flying your quadcopter.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

A few more necessary bits of knowledge can be found here.

Written by ;  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:latrax,shotinthedark,enwikipedia,roboshop