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Becoming A Better Drone Pilot, Part 3 – Learning To Fly With Precision & Confidence

Welcome to part 3.  If you haven’t read and practiced Part 1 and Part 2 of this article, I recommend you do that before proceeding. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Warning! You could crash your drone when practicing these maneuvers.

That being said, don’t go into this practice thinking you’ll crash. Go slowly. Take your time. Don’t push faster than you’re able. And don’t let others push you beyond what you know are your limits!


We are going to use the same preparations as in Part 1. You can review that here.

At the field

This requires a slightly different layout. You’ll want to setup two squares using the bricks, to form a figure 8. Create your first square about 15 feet from where you land and takeoff, and approximately 25-30 feet apart. Then take the remaining 4 bricks and create a second square, so it forms a figure 8. See Example 1 below

The Practice

In this practice, you’re going to expand on what you did in Part 2 by flying figure 8’s. This maneuver is the most difficult so far and will combine all the previous practices. Here you’re going to use both left and right sticks to precisely fly circles around both squares.

From your starting position, take the drone off into a hover, to an altitude of about 15 feet. Then fly to brick 1. When flying the figure 8, counterclockwise, the sequence will be to fly to over each brick in this order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). When flying it clockwise, the order will be (8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).

See Example 1 and Example 2.

Be sure to keep your fingers/thumbs on the sticks at all times. Continue to develop this habit.

Begin slowly. Only increase your speed when you’re able to fly the circle with the drone passing over each brick, keeping the nose pointed into the turn. The tendency is often to have the drone flying slightly sideways and not have the nose of the drone follow the circle. To be able to do this well, you’ll need to coordinate hands and sticks together. Use soft movements on the sticks.

Once you’re able to fly the figure 8 counterclockwise, switch to clockwise. As you get better, increase your speed. As your speed increases, begin flying the turns, as banked turns, like the ones we practiced at the end of Part 2. Also move the bricks further apart and elongate the turns. See Example 3.

Example 3


As you gain confidence, begin changing where you stand, in relationship to the figure 8, and practice from that new position. See Example 4

Example 4

As your flying skill increase, begin flying figure 8’s in higher winds. Be careful though. Flying in higher winds requires faster reflexes and greater experience.

Fly safe and have fun!

DJI Mavic Air at B&H

DJI Mavic Pro at B&H

DJI Phantom 4 Pro at B&H

BJI Inspire 2 at B&H

All Drones at B&H


Chris Anson is a FAA licensed Part 107 Pilot. With a background in landscape photography and video, at the beginning of 2017, Chris took these skills to the air using a drone, also earning his FAA Part 107 Drone Certification, allowing him to do commercial drone work. His transition to flying drones was aided by having flown large 6’ rotor span radio controlled helicopters for 5 years.

Chris started The Anson Group Drone Videography and Photography company with the focus on working as a contractor for other companies, flying their drones and his own, as well as capturing stock videography and photography. Chris flies a DJI Inspire 2 drone with Zenmuse X5S camera. See examples of his work here

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