One of the largest hurdles to overcome when getting into multi-rotors is learning how to fly. Initially it can be frustrating and it can be expensive if you crash frequently – and you will. Like any other skill, it requires a lot of time in the saddle to get good at it. In order to save time and frustration, I recommend several different methodologies of initial flight training.
Computer based simulators are probably one of the most cost effective ways of learning how to fly. For a minimal initial investment you can crash as much as you want and not have to worry about repairing anything except your ego. Most simulators do a very good job of recreating the feel of actual flight and many of them allow you to use your actual transmitter as the controller which really helps with getting comfortable. Once you get comfortable hovering around in the simulator you can make things more challenging by adding environmental factors to the experience such as different flying locations, varying weather conditions etc.
A couple of the most popular flight simulators are:
Wikipedia also has a comprehensive list of RC flight simulators. Most of these options will be worth the money because it will save you tremendous amounts of time, frustration, and trips to the piggy bank.
Another great and inexpensive option for learning to fly is small toy multi-rotors. In the last couple of years there have been several small multi-rotors released which have the stabilization and flight time of their big brothers but at a fraction of the cost. Because the controls and physics are basically the same as their larger counter parts, they make for great learning platforms. Also because of their small size and light weight they can take crashes much better than their larger counterparts.
Both models are made by the same company and one is slightly more advanced than the other. Either one would make a great learning platform.
These are not the only options available and in recent months the market has been flooded by clones and variations on the theme. So do some reading and find out which one best suits you. Once you make your choice, get it and fly as often and as much as possible. Also, don’t be afraid: it is much easier to fly better and learn faster when you are relaxed and your movements are fluid.
One of your greatest allies when embarking on this journey will be YouTube. Not only can you find information on just about any individual component you can think of and get lots of free assistance from members of the community, but you can also learn to fly.
There are several common ways to start learning multi-rotor flight. The first step is usually maintaining a simple hover, then you move to hovering in different shapes and so on. There are many very qualified pilots on You Tube who can take you through the process step by step. So get online and look around. There is a large support group out there and it is getting larger.
Above all, practice.