Drone Flight Styles: Freestyle vs. Precision

FlightStyle
Hello Fellow Dronerz,

With the market absolutely exploding right now with all the different makes and models of drones/UAVs, it can be a little confusing on where to start, and where to go.  I had a really good question from reader Wes asking where to go next after experiencing a couple of entry level drones.  I tried to find some posts myself explaining the different types of flight, but I couldn’t really find anything suitable.  So I figured this was the perfect opportunity to address this subject myself.

So without further ado, I will attempt to classify the different styles of flight, along with the types of drones to accommodate those styles.

First off, we have two major types/styles of flight.  Both of these styles have several different substyles of categorization.

I would like to consider Freestyle (fly by the seat of your pants) and Precision (fly by the seat of your tech) as the main two styles of drone flight. First, because there is no one else trying to actively define the different styles of flight, and second, because there is no one else trying to actively define the different styles of flight.  Sorry, a bit redundant, but a pretty serious subject as far as I am concerned.  So lets go.

Beginning Flying

I started off with a Syma X11C (which is rather small), then a UDI U839 (which is nano sized). Both of which are entry level freestyle drones. I tried to mimic the precision flight of a DJI Phantom 3 we had at work. Needless to say, I was bouncing off the walls and crashing into everything in my house. Then I tried to fly them in the back yard, and got them stuck in the neighbors yards a few times. I wanted to hone my skills before I actually took them out to the park. But I quickly learned that you have to start out in a wide open area to really learn how to fly.

Then I upgraded to a SY X25 (freestyle), which was twice as big as the X11C, and instantly noticed a significant increase in stability.  Not shortly after that I got an MJX X600 hexacopter (also freestyle) for an awesome price on Cyber Monday, which is almost 4 times the size of the X25, and again noticed increased stability.  Finally, I bought a JXD 509G (precision), which in size is in between the X25 and X600.  Though being an entry level precision drone, I was really shocked with the huge difference in flight and control.  So lets go into a little more detail on those differences.

Freestyle

Lets start with Freestyle, just because that’s what I started with, and most likely you did too if you are into budget drones.  That, and the majority of entry level budget drones are freestyle.

You love flips, you love loop-de-loops, you love figure 8’s, etc…  Basically, you don’t want any barriers.  You are a no holds barred type of dude.  And you want your drone to make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.  Even though your drone may take off like a helicopter, you want to fly it more like a jet.

If you like the sport of freestyle flight, I would recommend something like the MJX X600 as a really good entry level budget drone.  This guy is very nimble and acrobatic.  A lot of fun if you like to do flips, figure 8s, etc…

MJX X600

MJX X600 Size: 38.5×42.5×6.0 cm / 15.1×16.7×2.3 inches
Weight: 175g / 0.38lbs
FAA Registration Required: No
Flight Time: 10 minutes
Buy Now: $55.64 from Amazon

Precision

Next we have Precision. Which is a starting point for aerial photography, surveying and mapping, and anything else which might use GPS.

You love control, you love accuracy, you love autonomous flight.  Basically, you do not want Mother Nature screwing with your perfect shot of a lighthouse in the sunset.  Or, you want to drop your load straight down the exhaust port of the Death Star.  Either way, extreme precision and accuracy is what matters to you most.

If you are looking to get into precision flying, I would recommend the JXD 509G as a really good entry level budget drone.  Because of it’s “Altitude Hold” feature, the 509G is a completely different animal compared to freestyle drones.  Leaving it in beginners mode, you can actually fly slow enough to navigate your living room and kitchen.  However, even though the controls are basically the same as other drones, this one flies very different.

JXD 509G

JXD 509G Size: 31.6×31.6×10.6 cm / 12.4×12.4×4.1 inches
Weight: 147g / 0.32lbs
FAA Registration Required: No
Flight Time: 5 to 7 minutes
Buy Now: $102.99 from Amazon
See my full review of the 509G Here.

Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions?
Please leave them below and let me know what you think.

Thanks,
Chris

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