How to Fly a Quadcopter – The Ultimate Guide

How to Fly a Quadcopter - The Ultimate Guide

This guide will teach you how to fly a quadcopter (or any other multirotor drone), step-by-step.

Everyone goes through different struggles when piloting a quadcopter for the first time. Multirotor flying definitely has a learning curve.

So if you’re having trouble flying your quad, you’re just getting started, or you’re looking to hone your skills — don’t worry.

You’re in the right place.

No matter your quadcopter model, this guide will help you prepare for your first flight, stay safe, get airborne, and learn some basic and advanced quadcopter flying techniques.

Our goal is to give you a guide that will take out all of the guess work – from going through a pre-flight checklist, learning the controls, controlling your quadcopter’s flight pattern, and even some advanced techniques.

Have fun!

Note: If you haven’t bought a drone yet, check out our review of 13 remote control drones to buy in 2016 or our helpful buying guide.

Another note. If you’re looking for a drone simulator, consider Zephyr drone simulator training.

What You Will Learn

We know that not all aspiring commercial pilots or hobbyists are on the same level.

To help you work on specific skills, we’ve put together an interactive table of contents. Click each link to be transported to different sections.

(Or, you can scroll down and start from the beginning.)

Definitions

General terms:

Line of sight – The pilot can see their quadcopter during flight.

FPV (First Person View) — The pilot can see where they’re flying through the UAV’s camera.

Parts:

Transmitter/Remote Control – The hand-held device that allows you to maneuver the quadcopter and adjust its settings.

Propellers – They spin according to the manual controls of the pilot. The intensity of the spin correlates to the intensity of the quadcopter’s movement.

Camera – Many quadcopters either come with a camera or allow the pilot to attach a camera to them. This is how pilots practice aerial videography and photography. (A camera came in second place when we interviewed UAV experts about their favorite drone accessory.)

Controls:

(Note: For simplicity’s sake, this article assumes that the left stick controls yaw and throttle, and the right stick controls roll and pitch. Some transmitters allow the pilot to switch these controls based on what’s most comfortable.)

Roll – Done by pushing the right stick to the left or right. Literally rolls the quadcopter, which maneuvers the quadcopter left or right.

Pitch – Done by pushing the right stick forwards or backwards. Tilts the quadcopter, which maneuvers the quadcopter forwards or backwards.

Yaw – Done by pushing the left stick to the left or to the right. Rotates the quadcopter left or right. Points the front of the copter different directions and helps with changing directions while flying.

Throttle – To increase,  push the left stick forwards. To decrease, pull the left stick backwards. This adjusts the altitude, or height, of the quadcopter.

Trim – Buttons on the remote control that help you adjust roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle if they are off balance.

The Rudder – You might hear this term thrown around, but it’s the same as the left stick. However, it relates directly to controlling yaw (as opposed to the throttle).

Aileron – Same as the right stick. However, it relates directly to controlling roll (left and right movement).

The Elevator – Same as the right stick. However, it relates directly to controlling pitch (forwards and backwards movement).

Maneuvering:

Bank turn – A consistent circular turn in either the clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Hovering – Staying in the same position while airborne. Done by controlling the throttle.

Figure 8 – Flying in a “figure 8” pattern.

Flight modes:

(Flight modes can typically be adjusted with certain buttons on your remote control/transmitter.)

Manual – Similar to flying a helicopter. Once you tilt the quadcopter (roll) it will not auto-level itself back to its original position. Even if you let go of the stick and it returns to the middle, the quadcopter will stay tilted.

Attitude (Auto-level) – Once the sticks are centered, the copter will level itself out.

GPS Hold – Returns the quadcopter’s position once the sticks have been centered. The same as attitude mode (auto-level) but using a GPS.

Quadcopter Controls

When learning how to fly a quadcopter, the controls will become your bread and butter.

They will become second nature once you know how they act individually and how they interact together to form a complete flying experience.

With any of these controls, the harder you push the stick, the stronger your quadcopter will move in either direction.

When you first start out, push the sticks very gently so the quadcopter performs slight movements.

As you get more comfortable, you can make sharper movements.

There are four main quadcopter controls:

  • Roll
  • Pitch
  • Yaw
  • Throttle
Roll, Pitch, Yaw, and Throttle of a Quadcopter - Image 1

Simple sketch of roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle on a transmitter (left image) and quadcopter (right image).

(Image source: Quadcopters Are Fun)

Let’s go through each of them.

Roll

Roll moves your quadcopter left or right. It’s done by pushing the right stick on your transmitter to the left or to the right.

It’s called “roll” because it literally rolls the quadcopter.

For example, as you push the right stick to the right, the quadcopter will angle diagonally downwards to the right.

Explaining a Quadcopter's Roll - Image 2

Example of a quadcopter rolling left and right. Notice the tilt of the quadcopter and the angle of the propellers.

(Image source: Best Quadcopter Spot)

Here, the bottom of the propellers will be facing to the left. This pushes air to the left, forcing the quadcopter to fly to the right.

The same thing happens when you push the stick to the left, except now the propellers will be pushing air to the right, forcing the copter to fly to the left.

Pitch

Pitch is done by pushing the right stick on your transmitter forwards or backwards. This will tilt the quadcopter, resulting in forwards or backwards movement.

Explaining a Quadcopter's Pitch - Image 3

Example of a quadcopter pitching forwards and backwards. Note that this view is from the left side.

Yaw

Yaw was a little bit confusing for me in the beginning. Essentially, it rotates the quadcopter clockwise or counterclockwise.

This is done by pushing the left stick to the left or to the right.

Check out the video below for an example.

(Watch from 3:00 to 3:40 and pay attention to how he adjusts the sticks.)

Yaw is typically used at the same time as throttle during continuous flight. This allows the pilot to make circles and patterns. It also allows videographers and photographers to follow objects that might be changing directions.

Throttle

Throttle gives the propellers on your quadcopter enough power to get airborne. When flying, you will have the throttle engaged constantly.

Related: See the top 100 drone news sites of 2015

To engage the throttle, push the left stick forwards. To disengage, pull it backwards.

Make sure not to disengage completely until you’re a couple inches away from the ground. Otherwise, you might damage the quadcopter, and your training will be cut short.

Important note:

When the quadcopter is facing you (instead of facing away from you) the controls are all switched.

This makes intuitive sense…

  • Pushing the right stick to the right moves the quadcopter to the right (roll)
  • Pushing the right stick forward moves the quadcopter forward (pitch)
  • Pushing the right stick backward moves the quadcopter backward (pitch)
  • And so on.

So pay attention to that as you start changing directions. Always be thinking in terms of how the quadcopter will move, rather than how the copter is oriented towards you.

Getting to Know Your Remote Control/Transmitter

A transmitter is a hand-held controller that lets you pilot your quadcopter and control its flight pattern. When you make an adjustment with the sticks, it sends a signal to your copter telling it what to do next.

Check out this picture describing each part of the transmitter:

Picture Labeling Parts of a Transmitter - Image 4

Transmitters come in different shapes and sizes. They also have different features. But there are certain parts that are universal for every transmitter.

(Image source: Alibaba)

Right Stick

The right stick controls roll and pitch.

In other words, it moves your quadcopter left/right and backwards/forwards.

Left Stick

The left stick controls yaw and throttle.

In other words, it rotates your quadcopter clockwise or counterclockwise, and it adjusts the height at which you are flying.

Trim Buttons

Each control has its own trim button, as you can see from the image below.

Trim Buttons on a Transmitter - Image

(Image source: Quadcopter 101)

When you first push your throttle to get your quadcopter off the ground, you may notice that the UAV automatically tilts and flies to one direction (or multiple).

This happens when the controls are unbalanced. To balance them out, certain controls need to be trimmed.

Check out the beginning of this video, where the pilot trims a few of his controls:

(Watch from 0:47 to 1:07)

If this happens, you can use the corresponding trim button to adjust the control’s natural intensity. This will stabilize the copter when pushing the throttle.

An Overview of the Main Quadcopter Parts

When learning how to fly a quadcopter, it’s important to understand the machine you’re commanding.

If something goes wrong, you want to be able to diagnose and fix the issue. You also want to understand the capabilities of each part and how they play into flying a quadcopter.

Here are the main parts of a quadcopter:

  • The frame
  • Motors
  • Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
  • Flight Control Board
  • Radio Transmitter and Receiver
  • Propellers
  • Battery and Charger

The frame connects all of the other components. For a quadcopter, it’s shaped in either an X or a + shape.

If you’re building your own quadcopter, you want to consider the size and weight of the frame and how it will affect your flying experience.

The motors spin the propellers. A quadcopter needs four motors, because one motor powers a single propeller.

The higher the kV, the faster the motor will spin. Kv is often quoted in RPM per volt, which means that a 1000 Kv motor on a 10V supply will rotate just under 10,000 rpm at no load.

Electric Speed Controls (ESCs) are wired components that connect the motors and the battery. They relay a signal to the motors that tells them how fast to spin.

At any one time, each of your motors could be spinning at different speeds. This is what lets you maneuver and change direction. It’s all conducted by the Electronic Speed Controls, so they’re very important.

The Flight Control Board is the “commander of operations”. It controls the accelerometer and gyroscopes, which control how fast each motor spins.

The radio transmitter is your remote control, and the receiver is the antenna on the copter that talks to the remote control. When you make an adjustment on the transmitter, the receiver is what understands that adjustment and sends it to the rest of the quadcopter system.

A quadcopter has 4 propellers, and each one helps determine which direction the quadcopter flies or whether it hovers in place.

The battery is the power source for the whole quadcopter. This needs to be charged and recharged, because without a battery, you cannot fly your quadcopter.

The charger charges your battery so you can take multiple flights.

(Pro tip: We recommend buying multiple batteries. This way, you won’t have to wait for the first battery to charge in order to take more flights. You can charge the first battery while you insert the second, third, fourth one, etc.)

The Pre-Flight Checklist (Do NOT Skip This)

Going through a pre-flight checklist will keep you and your copter safe.

It will also make sure you don’t waste time fixing components and getting things ready, when you could be having a blast flying your quad.

Here’s a checklist you can use before each flight:

  • If you have a camera, check that you have your micro SD card inserted.
  • Make sure the transmitter battery is charged.
  • Make sure the quadcopter battery is charged.
  • Insert the battery.
  • Make sure the battery is inserted securely.
  • Make sure each propeller is secure.
  • Check that there are no loose parts on the quadcopter.
  • Check for missing or loose screws.
  • Turn on the transmitter.
  • If your copter needs to calibrate and get satellite lock, wait until it finishes.
  • Make sure there is enough room for launch and flight.
  • Make sure the throttle (left stick) is all the way down.
  • Turn on the transmitter.
  • Back away 3 or 4 steps (or to a safe distance).
  • Keep facing the quadcopter the entire time.
  • Keep a direct line of sight at all times when flying, so you can always see your quadcopter. You want to keep a direct line of sight so you know when you’re about to crash. Also, sometimes, quadcopters can fly out of the range of the transmitter’s signal, which can cause your copter to fly off on its own (bye bye quadcopter). Keep the transmitter’s range in mind, and don’t let your quadcopter fly out of that range.

How to Fly a Quadcopter – Choosing a Place to Learn

Any UAV pilot will tell you that learning to pilot a quadcopter in an enclosed space is asking for something to go wrong – either with you, your belongings, or the drone itself.

As you get more experienced, and your control becomes natural, flying in tight spaces will be a cinch.

But as a beginner, choose a place that will minimize the impact any mistakes might have.

We suggest starting out in a large, open space, such as a park or a field. Many people prefer to learn on grassy ground, so if the quadcopter needs to make a crash landing, it will at least have some sort of cushion.

Next, stay away from people or animals. Any crashes could cause serious injury.

And finally, wind can be your worst enemy when learning the nuances of flying. To reduce the chance of flying in the wind, try to fly in the morning.

Important Safety Precautions

Quadcopters are basically flying lawnmowers.

They can be dangerous if not operated carefully.

Here are some quadcopter safety precautions to keep in mind:

  • If you’re about to crash into something, turn the throttle down to zero, so you don’t potentially destroy your quadcopter, injure somebody, or injure yourself.
  • Keep your fingers away from the propellers when they’re moving.
  • Unplug/take out the battery of the quad before doing any work on it. If it turns on accidentally and the propellers start spinning, you might have a tough time doing future flights with missing fingers.
  • If you’re a beginner learning to fly indoors, tie the quadcopter down or surround it by a cage.

(P.S. If you’re enjoying the guide so far, would you mind sharing it on social media for us? Simply click here to share it on Facebook and here to share it on Twitter. The more people who read this article, the bigger our community will grow. Which means we can bring you even more great content. The social icons on your screen make it really easy to share as well. Thank you!)

How to Get Your Quadcopter Off the Ground

Alright! Now that you understand the controls and you’ve taken all of the right safety precautions, you’re ready to fly.

To get your quadcopter in the air, the only control you need is the throttle.

Push the throttle (left stick) up very slowly, just to get the propellers going. Then stop.

Repeat this multiple times and until you’re comfortable with the throttle’s sensitivity.

Slowly push the throttle further than before, until the copter lifts off the ground. Then pull the throttle back down to zero and let the quadcopter land.

If you want to get a good visualization, check out this great video from My First Drone:

(Watch from 1:15 to 1:40)

Repeat this 3-5 times. Notice whether the copter is trying to rotate left or right (yaw), move left or right (roll), or move backwards or forwards (pitch).

If you notice any movements happening without you making them happen, use the corresponding trim button to balance them out.

For example, if you notice the copter moving to the left when you push the throttle, adjust the “roll” trim button next to the right stick.

Keep adjusting the trims until you get a relatively stable hover off the ground by only using the throttle.

Congrats! You know how to get your quadcopter airborne.

Now, let’s learn how to hover in mid-air.

How to Hover in Mid-Air and Land

To hover, you will use the throttle to get airborne. You will then use small adjustments of the right stick to keep the quadcopter hovering in place.

You may also need to adjust the left stick (yaw) slightly, to keep it from turning.

Use the throttle to get the copter about a foot to a foot-and-a-half off the ground.

Make tiny adjustments with the right stick (and the left, if necessary) to keep the copter hovering in position.

When you’re ready to land, cut back the throttle slowly.

When the quadcopter is an inch or two off the ground, go ahead and cut the throttle completely and let the UAV drop to the ground.

Repeat this until you get comfortable hovering off the ground and landing gently.

Flying Left/Right and Forwards/Backwards

To fly a quadcopter left, right, forwards, and backwards, you will need to hold the throttle at a steady rate to keep it airborne. You will then use the right stick to maneuver the quadcopter in the direction you want it to go.

First, bring your copter to a hover.

Push the right stick forward to fly it a couple feet forward.

Pull the right stick back to bring it back to its original position.

Now, move it further backwards a couple feet, and return it to its original position.

Push the right stick to the left to move your copter a couple feet to the left.

Move it back to its original position, then fly it a couple feet to the right.

If it starts to rotate (yaw), adjust the left stick to the left or right to keep the copter facing the same direction.

(Pro tip: When you move in either direction, you will probably notice the quadcopter dropping in altitude. To keep the copter at the same altitude, push the throttle and give it more power whenever you turn or move.)

How to Pilot Your Quadcopter in a Square Pattern

You’ve gotten off the ground, and you know how to fly a quadcopter in the four basic directions.

Now, it’s time to combine these skills and start flying in patterns. This will help you get a feel for simultaneously engaging the controls.

To fly in a square pattern, keep the quadcopter facing away from you the entire time.

Push the right stick forward (pitch) and fly forward a couple feet. Then, return the right stick to the middle and hover in place.

Then push the right stick to the right (roll) and fly to the right a couple feet. Then, hover in place for a few seconds.

Related: Want to take your knowledge to the next level? Check out our premium online UAV training course for new pilots.

Pull the right stick backwards and fly backwards a couple feet. Then, hover in place for a few seconds, and push the right stick to the left and return the quadcopter to its original position.

You’ve just flown in a square! Keep doing this until you get comfortable with it, and then move on to our next pattern – flying in a circle.

How to Fly a Quadcopter in a Circle

This is where you will hone your simultaneous control skills.

To fly a quadcopter in a circle, you will use pitch, roll, and throttle at the same time.

As usual, use the throttle to get airborne. Then, decide whether you want to fly clockwise or counterclockwise.

For this example, we’ll assume you’re flying clockwise (to the right).

Keep the quadcopter facing away from you, and push the right stick diagonally up and to the right. This will engage both pitch and roll at the same time, and start flyinging the quadcopter in a circle to the right.

After a couple feet, start rotating the right stick more to the right, so you engage more roll. This will start maneuvering your quadcopter to the right.

After a few more feet, start rotating the right stick diagonally to the bottom right, and continue to circle the right stick around until the copter returns to its original position.

Try changing directions, and slowly rotating the right stick to fly in a circle. If you notice the quadcopter starting to rotate and face different directions, adjust the quadcopter’s yaw by pushing the left stick to the left or right.

How to Rotate (Yaw) Your Quadcopter

To rotate your quadcopter, use the throttle to get airborne.

Once at a comfortable hover, push the left stick in either direction. This will rotate the quadcopter in place.

Rotate it 360 degrees. Then push the left stick in the opposite direction and rotate it 360 degrees the other way.

Keep doing this until you’re comfortable with it.

Flying a Quadcopter Continuously

Flying a quadcopter continuously requires you to rotate and change directions simultaneously.

This will take some getting used to, because the quadcopter will be facing different angles in relation to how you’re facing, so you will need to pay close attention to how each movement of the sticks will affect the quadcopter’s flight.

First, take off and hover.

Rotate (yaw) your copter to a slight angle.

Use the right stick to fly it left/right and forwards/backwards. Get comfortable flying the quadcopter while it faces a different direction.

Rotate it to another angle, and use the right stick to maneuver it again.

Keep doing this until you’re comfortable flying at different angles.

To fly continuously, slowly push the right stick forward.

As you’re pushing the right stick forward, push the right stick slightly to the left or to the right at the same time.

Fly in different directions by pushing the right stick forward (pitch) and adjusting it left and right, and using the left stick (yaw) to change the direction the copter is facing.

Then, try adjusting the quadcopter’s height by moving the left stick forward and backward (throttle).

Congrats! Now you know how to fly a quadcopter with continuous movement.

Keep practicing until you can direct your quadcopter at will. Then, move on to the next section, where we’ll discuss different milestones for you to shoot for.

Different Milestones to Pass

Use these milestones to keep you organized during the learning process.

They will help you gauge where you’re at and what you should be going for next.

  • Learn how the four main quadcopter controls – roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle – affect a quadcopter’s movement.
  • Understand the parts of your quadcopter and what each of them does.
  • Prepare a pre-flight checklist and go through it before each take off.
  • Understand the safety precautions.
  • Use the throttle to get airborne, and make any necessary adjustments using the trim buttons.
  • Get comfortable hovering in mid-air and gently landing your quadcopter.
  • Take off to an altitude of 3 feet and land in the same position.
  • Take off to an altitude of 3 feet and spin the UAV around 180 degrees.
  • Get comfortable flying your quadcopter left/right and forwards/backwards.
  • Learn how to fly a quadcopter in a square pattern.
  • Learn how to fly a quadcopter in a circle.
  • Learn how to rotate (yaw) a quadcopter.
  • Learn how to fly a quadcopter continuously.
  • Do all of the above, but at an altitude of 25 feet.

Beginner’s Quadcopter Flying Techniques

Here are some beginner flying techniques for you to master:

  1. Hover in place.
  2. Hover and rotate the quadcopter.
  3. Rotate the quadcopter to different angles, and fly it left/right and forwards/backwards until you’re comfortable flying a quadcopter without it facing the same direction as you.
  4. Fly your quadcopter in a square pattern.
  5. Fly your quadcopter in a circle.
  6. Fly at different heights.
  7. Pick two targets on the ground, and repeatedly land, fly, and land on each one.

Check out this video for an example of #7:

(Watch from 4:33 to 4:57)


Advanced Quadcopter Flying Techniques

Here are some advanced flying techniques for you to master:

  1. Fly in a “figure 8” pattern. This will require you to fly the quadcopter with the front facing forwards the entire time.
  2. Bank turns. Keep a little forward pitch for forward movement. Apply throttle, and roll the quadcopter in the direction of the turn (left or right).

Check out this video for an example of bank turns:

(Watch from 1:10 to 2:05)

And if you’re still struggling to get the hang of it, Korey Smith from My First Drone put together a useful bank turns video as well.

Next Steps

Congrats on finishing our “How to Fly a Quadcopter” drone pilot training guide! We hope it gets you on your way to flying a quadcopter like a pro.

So, where should you go from here?

Well, if you haven’t bought a quadcopter yet, our drone buying guide will set you off in the right direction.

You might also want to try out a flight simulator. Here’s a cool one for you to check out: Zephyr drone simulator training.

Simulators let you experiment without any consequences to your quadcopter, and it will help you get comfortable with certain controls before diving in to the real thing.

If you live in the U.S. and want to make money as a professional drone pilot, check out our drone certification guide here to learn more about getting certified. We also have a Drone Pilot Ground School training course to help you prepare for your written exam.

Also, feel free to like our Facebook page, to stay up-to-date with the latest UAV news, training, and information.

Lastly, if you enjoyed the guide, would you mind sharing it on social media for us? Simply click here to share it on Facebook and here to share it on Twitter.

The more people who read this article, the bigger our community will grow. Which means we can bring you even more great content. The social icons on your screen make it really easy to share as well.

Thank you!

Any questions or comments? Please contact us at support@uavcoach.com or drop a comment in the box below. We love hearing from you!

  123 comments for “How to Fly a Quadcopter – The Ultimate Guide

  1. June 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I just purchased my first quad…..all that I can get it to do is to throw off blades. Now I find out there are
    two types of blades…A and B. The manual doesn’t specify on which arms of the quad to install the
    blades on?
    The Quadcopter is a DM007

    jm

    • Alan Perlman
      June 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Joel! Yes, there are two types of blades, A and B, both angled slightly differently. If they’re not put on in the right order, your quadcopter will not fly properly. Typically, you’ll put A diagonally across from A, and B diagonally across from B. Your frame should indicate which propeller should go where.

      • mark
        December 11, 2015 at 5:55 am

        Hi I have a 007 spy quadcopter and the manual doesn’t tell u mean how to change a rotaryblade that has broken could you please help me with this.

        • December 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm

          Sure Mark. Shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com with more details.

          • Riley
            February 16, 2016 at 9:18 pm

            Hey I’m a rock climber and looking for a good drone with a long battery life that will shoot good videos any suggestions

          • February 20, 2016 at 6:36 pm

            Hi Riley, I’m also a climber! Shoot me an email at support@uavcoach.com and I’ll see if I can help you out. Need to know a lot more about what your budget is, your pilot skills, etc. before making a specific recommendation.

      • John
        April 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        OMG I LOVE YOU FOR THE HELP YOU’RE GIVING I THANK YOU IM IN A DRONE CLASS AT HIGH SCHOOL KNOW I CAN FINNSIH MY PROJECT THANK YOU SO MUCH

    • Jan
      June 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      So excited about getting my first drone! Really wanted to practice in the backyard until it dawned on me that we have a pool. How badly would water destroy it?
      Thanks….

      • June 6, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        Steer clear of water 🙂

    • Anurag
      June 8, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Joel i live in india so i dont know about drones in the US or UK but my drone has the direction in which the prop goes and should be going on the prop and on the place the prop should go as well i have a drone called Wheelociti X8 which has an american version called LH-X8 except mine dosent come with the camera and camera screen and all that good stuff

  2. Cale
    June 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I am having trouble getting my drone to hover. I have a FY550 Phantom II. I tried to use the corresponding trim control buttons, but it seemed to do nothing at all. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong. Any tips would be nice.

    • Alan Perlman
      June 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Cale, if you haven’t figured it out yet, kick us an email at support@uavcoach.com.

      • Bhargav
        June 11, 2016 at 12:25 am

        Hi… Lately I bought fy550 phantom ii. As I throttle up the drone seems to get pushed to a side. I expected it to get up in the air and hover until I give further commands! I followed the rule of slowly controlling the throttle, but it just take too much of space to get of the ground. I expect it to go up vertically and not take up bigger circular space. I hope you got my problem, please send me your answer to bhargav.ism@gmail.com. Thanks in advance!!

        • June 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm

          Not familiar with that model…have you properly calibrated? Are your propellers bent? Have you adjusted trim?

  3. bryson
    June 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for the tips. its tons of fun flying quads. I suggest learning on a less expensive one to start. I already lost my first quadrone in a tree but i bought a syma to keep learning. Its a good entry level quadcopter i think.
    I eventually want to race a fpv 250 class drone.

    • Alan Perlman
      July 6, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Amen to that. I went through a couple of Hubsan’s before upgrading 🙂

      • eamonn
        November 2, 2015 at 5:53 am

        the hubsan x4 is the best quad out there for practice & learning to fly , just upgrded to eturbine 250 FPV race drone … woohoo… great fun.

        I spent a year learning starting indoors with tiny nano quad, then moved up to hubsan, after a few months started to fly hubsan outside on calm days then windy days till i had the basics perfect & no panicking…

        im flying mu eturbine outside now withuot using FPV and at low speed amd low altitude till i am more confident then ill try FPV then racing

        Nice videos and advice.

  4. Les
    July 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Hi There!
    I own several DM007’s
    With quad facing away from You,
    Here is the correct prop installation:
    left front “B”
    right front “A”
    left rear “A”
    right rear “B”
    Be Advised, “do not use props (if You find them) more than 3X
    the holes become enlarged and the props can fly off at any time….
    lost one 20ft up….
    Also in stock form transmitter range is max 75ft…

    Les

    • Alan Perlman
      July 6, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Les!

    • Bill
      November 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Just the information I have been looking for. Had props on wrong and it wouldn’t fly right. After changing it flys great. But got to find where I can find new ones and buy by the dozens!

      • Alan Perlman
        November 16, 2015 at 10:29 pm

        Glad you found this helpful, Bill!

  5. July 10, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Wow, what an extremely thorough article! This should be required reading for any new drone pilot. Thanks!

    • Alan Perlman
      August 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Appreciate it Kyle!

  6. joel murphy
    July 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Regarding my DM007. Thanks for the info on prop installing. Where can I purchase more props and
    parts…. thanks

    • Alan Perlman
      August 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Joel, there are a number of online retailers that provide extra parts. Check out Amazon or Banggood.

  7. Les
    July 12, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Hello Again Joel!

    Although You can get them cheaper (At times…) from other sites, I would recommend the following:
    http://www.banggood.com/DM007-RC-Quadcopter-Spare-Part-CWCCW-Blade-Propeller-p-972945.html

    They have them at their US warehouse and You should have them within a week, they have other parts
    as well. “Do Not” use Hubsan props… They will fit, but they are smaller and Your motors will have to
    spin faster (work harder) which will result in premature motor failure…

    If You ever need a transmitter, let Me know… I have a few… 😉
    Wish I could post a few pics of 2 of My 007’s 🙂

    Enjoy!

    Les

  8. Blake
    August 1, 2015 at 10:25 am

    The NPRM for sUAS does not state the you have to be a licensed pilot. It states they plan to require every commercial operator to pass the FAA Aeronautical knowledge test. Has something changed?

    • Alan Perlman
      August 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hey Blake. Thanks for the question. You’re referring to the proposed regulations put out in February 2015. The existing 333 exemption process for U.S. pilots requires the UAV operator to hold an airworthiness certificate + valid driver’s license. Unclear when the new regulations will take effect, hopefully in the next year or two. I put together a guide here with some more information: http://uavcoach.com/drone-certification

  9. Darrin
    August 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Excellent article thank you very much, I bought a chroma right of the start 1600 Canadian now it’s going to cost me 600 for a new camera start off small folks LOL

    • Alan Perlman
      August 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Yes, start small! I did the same thing when I first got started, Darrin 🙁

  10. Darrin
    August 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Has anyone built their own FPV drone and can you give any direction towards buying kits for builds. Supper green but very motivated.

  11. Darrin
    August 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve got figure eights, ovals, bank turns, 180° turn and confidence flying low level. Can anyone turned me on to higher end techniques.

    • Alan Perlman
      August 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Darrin, would love to see video footage of your flights. Upload to YouTube and share the link! When you say higher-end techniques…what’s your end game? What’re your goals as a pilot?

  12. Jon
    August 4, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Hi, I just not a blade 180 yesterday and was flying it around, it’s my first quad and I noticed sometimes when it hits the ground, it unbinds from the remote? It takes a while and alot of figiting to get it to do anything with the remote again. I have tried rebinding and turning it off on again, but it keeps messing up. Any suggestions?

    • Alan Perlman
      August 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Jon,

      Have you tried recalibrating? That’s happened to me with other models before, and that was the solution.

  13. michael leonard
    August 16, 2015 at 12:55 am

    hi I’m new to all this how do you change a blade on the 007 spy?

    • Alan Perlman
      September 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Michael, you should be able to pop it right off with your hands. Pull straight up.

  14. Zec Richardson
    August 22, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Thanks for this article, I’m new to flying Quadcopters and I’m still at the stage where I’m okay if it’s facing away from me,whilst flying it back towards me the other day a gust of wind hit and I reacted by moving the sticks in the wrong direction as it was now facing me and everything is reversed.
    I’m flying a Syma X5c-1 which is a tough little quad, I’m learning on the Syma and I’m almost finished building an X525 with Kk2.15 board and building it has been fun and you also get to learn a lot about the machine.

    So today I’m going to fly the Syma after reading this article and see if I can get to a point where my reactions become natural.
    I’m in UK and flying space is very limited where I live (about an hour out of London) and so I’m practicing in the garden for now.

    • Alan Perlman
      September 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Zec, thanks for chiming in. Fly safe!

  15. Colin
    August 27, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Hi, just reading about drones, retired and need a new hobby lol

    Thanks for your information, will buy small and see how I go…

    Cheers
    Colin

    • Alan Perlman
      September 3, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Colin! Fly safe.

  16. Bill De Meester
    September 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Hi
    Great information best I have seen
    Bought a DM007 (first Quad) to learn both flight and camera work (was a commercial pilotmany moons ago. First quad the camera would not power up, complained, they sent a complete replacement.
    My problem is trying to trim and houver, what direction do I use the trim buttons , do I just use logit need left push left mean while I loose control.
    Second quad the camera works and for 2mb it’s great. Having lots of fun.
    Thanks Bill

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  18. Fred
    September 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hi,
    I am a Canadian and was wondering if Transport Canada is my main line of contact or can you point me in the right direction for authority requiring a license? I am also looking to startup a small family business here in Canada and abroad.
    Cheers
    Fred

  19. feroxide
    September 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

    i bought a multicopter rc drone with quadcopter radio control and at standby the video can see the environment but anytime is in flight its cannot. im getting frustrated what should i do.

    • Alan Perlman
      September 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Please email us at support@uavcoach.com! I’d need a lot more details to be able to help you out.

  20. Sanal
    September 26, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Hi Coach,

    just now I brought new Syma X5SW drone and I can’t keep it air without flying. Can you explain how to do that

    • Alan Perlman
      September 27, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Sanal,

      Not sure I understand your question. Feel free to email us at support@uavcoach.com!

  21. malkhan
    October 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Guys my quadcopter’s kk board elevator reading automatically changed to either zero or 48 back so when i give the throttle then it tilt in backward I also used trim but even at full trim elevator reading decrease to 12 back but not zero so plzzz suggest me thanx in advance

    • Alan Perlman
      October 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Malkhan,

      Shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com with more details. Be clear, and include a step-by-step replay of everything that’s happening so we can better diagnose.

      Thanks!

  22. Bryan
    October 15, 2015 at 2:51 am

    My first helicopter(not quadcopter)crashed into the sand at the beach,because at first,the wind wasn’t that strong,so I flew my helicopter,it was able to hold the wind.suddenly a huge wind struck my helicopter,gone and bumped into a tree,and fell into the sand,I lost 13 gears and a proppeler.I wasted my 500 dollars(I was quite stupid flying it in the beach),but now,I figured out that quadcopter is stronger,my first flying a helicopter is a tiny black hawk,its my friends copter,that is how I learned flying,(now I am using my 17th quadcopter and my 10th helicopter(I just feel interested on telling this)

  23. Sameer
    November 5, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Hi I purchased a altitude 2.0 quad copter from Costco. A day after using it I got it stuck in the tree… After a couple of mins I got it down and when I tried to use it it wouldn’t start… The copters company is propel… I don’t know how to fix this.. Please help me and also later on the day I tried it once more and randomly is started then I shut it off and when I tried it again it didn’t work I rly need help thanks

    • Alan Perlman
      November 16, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience, Sameer! Feel free to reach out to us at support@uavcoach.com and we’ll see if we can help.

  24. gui
    November 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    My friend gave me a H8 mini quad and im having trouble with the trim because the remote control only has 3 trimmers… when itry to take off, it goes everywhere. Help me please

    • Alan Perlman
      November 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Gui, you can email us at support@uavcoach.com and we’ll see what we can do to help.

  25. November 13, 2015 at 9:46 am

    If you need help, let me know. I thank you are doing a good job. Keep it up.

    • Alan Perlman
      November 16, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks for the support, Greg!

  26. Lenny
    December 2, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I just started flying and I bought a Proto x. Like everyone say “buy lots of props”.
    Isn’t there some way to Keep them on better ?
    I’ve lost at least a dozen, and that was in the house! Little things are a _______ to find. Need a prop sniffing dog.

    • Alan Perlman
      December 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      I’ve been there, Lenny! Stick with it. When you master basic multirotor orientation, you’ll stop losing props 🙂

  27. Freddy
    December 2, 2015 at 11:41 am

    While charging the Quadrone Pro, do I need to plug the usb charger to the usb port (like from a computer)?
    for my quadrone Pro cam , if I put the battery into the charging cable the light went on but if I connect the charging cable to usb port, the light went off !! what is happening? And I cannot fly off.

    • Alan Perlman
      December 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      We’re not familiar with that model, Freddy. I’d consult your operations manual or speak with the person/site who sold you this model to understand if you’ve got a hardware problem or if you’re not following the instructions the right way.

    • Tim
      December 23, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Same problem here

  28. Lisa
    December 3, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I just purchased two (2) Hubsan x4 h107c 2.4g 4ch rc quadcopter with hd 2 mp camera rtf – red/white.
    It doesn’t come with the SD card needed for the camera…can anyone dial me in on which one I need? Is it micro or standard? These are gifts and I want the package to be complete.
    Thank You!

    • Alan Perlman
      December 4, 2015 at 1:17 am

      It’s a micro SD card, Lisa.

  29. Lisa
    December 4, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Thanks! Happy Holidays!

  30. December 10, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I’m getting a drone for Christmas, and I am very pumped up for it. This article was very helpful for me. Thanks!

    • December 13, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks Matthew!

  31. mirudhula
    December 14, 2015 at 5:36 am

    I am using Propel altitude 2.0 quad copter for nearly a month. Suddenly one day I got a problem that my propeller spins well but one leg never takes off instead it is giving circular movements. What should I do now?? Please provide me with solution as early as possible.

    • December 14, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Hey! Shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com with as many details as possible about what happened, and any images / video footage of what’s happening. We’ll do our best to help.

  32. Graeme Whittington
    December 19, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic article, I bought my first nano about two weeks ago and have only flown it indoors at the moment, your advice and videos have given me so much insight.
    Keep up the great site, and all the best for Christmas from the UK
    Graeme

  33. keith blue
    December 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

    hey i just bought a fpv racer and how do youmake it fly ? it is new and came with no instructions .

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Keith, hope you understand there’s not much we can do without some more details. Shoot us a note at support@uavcoach.com with specifics, and we’ll see how we can help.

  34. Ryan goodere
    December 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I have received a syma x5c 2.4g for Xmas and and the copter and controller won’t contact to each other the helicopter lights up and the controller’s Ltd screen lights up as well as it making a noise but as soon as I try to take off or try to reset the copter it just won’t do nothing can anyone help me please

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Ryan, are you turning your transmitter on first, before connecting your battery? Are you properly calibrating your transmitter to your aircraft? Make sure to read your user manual carefully.

  35. Alex Kahn
    December 25, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hi, I recently received a Storm Racing Drone RTF Type A V2 from helipal.com. When I push the throttle in order to take off the drone makes a lot of noise and the propellers move, but it is unable to take off. Occasionally it has managed to get off the round only to flip over and land breaking multiple propellers. Do you have any recommendations?
    Thanks!

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Alex, thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear you’re having issues taking off. Have you calibrated properly? Are each of your two propeller types put on properly? Shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com with more details if you still can’t get her into the air.

  36. ragha
    December 28, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Hello Alan,

    Planning to buy FY550, with camera, any reviews on that?

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Not familiar with that model. I try to steer clear of cheaper, lesser known Chinese manufacturers. If you’re looking for a higher quality training quadcopter, look at UDI, Hubsan, Cheerson, Blade, and Sky Viper.

  37. Greg Y.
    December 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Great article. Glad I read this before my first flight. Saved the quadcopter from lots of damage and me a little time/money, I’m sure. I’m flying a Syma X5SW to learn and will eventually build or buy a bigger quad. I am already hooked. Thanks!

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Wahoo, thanks Greg!

  38. Trent Graffam
    December 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I need help on how to do auto return mode with a X7 2.4GHz space explorer

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Trent, not familiar with that model. What specifically can we help you with? Have you consulted the user manual? Where are you getting held up?

  39. Kay Sommers
    December 29, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Alan, Thanks for your Quadcopter Guide. Wish I had read it before trying to fly!
    I just got a Discovery UDI/RC HD U818A-1 Quadcopter and unfortunately, it crashed on its virgin flight. The quadcopter looks fine except that the right front white blade won’t rotate now, so of course, the copter can’t lift off to fly. I’ve examined the propeller assembly and found that the gear wheel rotating the blade does not turn smoothly and seems to have resistance. When the smaller gear is removed from the spindle, the blade spins freely when flicked by a finger. So I think there must be some damage to the spindle.
    I tried WD40 but that didn’t work. Is there anything I can do to fix this problem?
    Thanks.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Hi Kay, wish I could be more help but would need to see what you’re working with to properly diagnose. Feel free to shoot a high-quality video to support@uavcoach.com and I’ll do the best I can. You may have better luck taking it to a hobby store that sells a similar model.

  40. Aaron
    December 31, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Hi. I bought a nano quad from Kmart for my first quad copter. Tiny, simple, AU$25. Just starting to get the hang of banked turns.
    Actually on my second one of these as the first was over the road when a car came along. Panicked, zeroed the throttle and got run over.
    I was wondering if you could recommend a next step quad copter? The Hubsan x4 appears to be about the same size as what I have. Syma make one a little bigger that doesn’t seem too expensive. Or there’s Zero-X Raven. I’m looking for something that’s not too expensive so I won’t cry too hard when I crash it…

    Thanks.

  41. Allan
    December 31, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Hi, embarassingly, I bought a Syma X11 and was having trouble flying it in the house — couldn’t control it or keep it from hitting the ceiling. So I took it outside so I would have more room to get the feel of it. Right off the bat, it flew over my neighbor’s house and I couldn’t get it to change directions. Last I saw of it, it was about 3 or 4 houses away. I tried to cause it to go down, but I can’t find it. It had maybe 10 minutes of flight time. My question is: do they keep flying away, or do they go down after getting out of range? I’m hoping one of my neighbor’s finds it, but I’m afraid it is gone for good. My 8 year old daughter is really upset.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Allan, sorry to hear about that! Happens to the best of us. The range on this model is about 40m, and when it gets out of range the motors will power down (or reduce power, and then power down, but I’m not quite sure). Shouldn’t be too far away, I’d keep looking!

      • January 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

        I lost my Walkera X350 Pro when a gust of wind blew this quite expensive toy across the field. I cut the throttle and it came down behind a hedgerow. My son and I searched for three days including crashing through thick undergrowth and brambles, to no avail. Absolute mystery. My theory is the quad went a lot further than observed from a distance and was picked up by persons unknown.

        I now own a serious X8 Cortex fitted with Alexmos gimbal and expensive camera and this machine is fitted with a tracker and beacon. I also plan to fit a parachute. I think they call this ‘belts and braces’ even though I now consider myself a competent pilot!

  42. Anush
    January 3, 2016 at 7:02 am

    I have problem with propellers. The speed of the 4 propellers are not the same. One of the propeller is not rotating with same speed so this makes the Drone go in wrong way (does not fly upwards but flys side ways) so can you tell me what to do.. Name of the the Drone is’ Challenger 6ch’

    • January 7, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      You’ll have to take a video and send us an email at support@uavcoach.com so we can see what’s happening, Anush. Not familiar with that model.

  43. Trent graffam
    January 3, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I need help with the return/ recall button so I can get it to return to me when it’s far away

  44. Ross
    January 3, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Allan, I would like help and direction on purchasing a drone if I may. What I am looking for is some thing that will carry a payload of a few pound, a camera that transmits back to a I phone or iPad so you can see where you are going, good stability outside , weather proof in case of a little rain, good flying time and range( I don’t know what is a rebensable range) . Kit form is ok. It depends on price. So to the question. Purchase a kit or ready built and where from and at what cost and witch one? Do I need a controller as well as a iPad ?
    I am in Australia but I have some one going to the states regularly.

    • January 7, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Feel free to shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com. Make sure to share specific models you’ve already researched so I can get an idea of what your budget is.

  45. Johan
    January 15, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Hi, name is Johan, happy new year to all who might read this,. I controlled a drone for for my very 1st time a week ago and I could not stop thinking about it, so today I purchased my 1st multirotor.I Decided to purchase a pocket size drone for now, once I am able to control this drone like a boss and with ease……. Then I will purchase a decent size multirotor.

    I would like to thank you for this ” how to” page. This is really going to help me control my drone and progress fast. THANK YOU

    • January 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      You’re welcome, Johan! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  46. Wes Jones
    February 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I have wanted to buy an inexpensive (under $50) quadcopter/drone, but do want one that will meet my needs. First I guess with the new government regulations it will need to stay within these so I do not have to register this toy. So it appears it will be on the small side, but I do want the best range possible, a fairly short re-charging time, (what about changeable batteries) durable and a decent flight time. The camera option is not needed, nor do I want throw to fly as this will primarily be an indoor toy. I see there are many types, makes and models, in fact so many it overwhelmed me. So what can you recommend for this price? If this does not work what would you recommend using this same criteria, but for something over $50.00?

    • February 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Wes, anything under $50 will not need to be registered, unless I’m missing something. I’d stick to reputable brands like Hubsan, UDI, Cheerson, Blade, etc. Let us know if you have questions about a particular model!

  47. Leonidas
    February 16, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Hello
    I bought the ORBITNANO DRONE (ARCADE) for my doughter.But after a couple of tries to fly it now the blades doesnt turn.When i connect the battery leds are flashing they stop when i move the left joystick up and down like the manual says and when it has to start when moving the throttle joystick up nothing is happening…can u help me?

    • February 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Hi Leonidas, feel free to shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com with a step-by-step walkthrough of what’s happening. A recorded video would be really helpful. Thanks!

  48. Dominic
    February 16, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Can you help me learn how to do flips. I got a quadrone pro and just started.

    • February 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Dominic, many beginner models like this have instructions in the user manual about how to flip. If those instructions don’t exist, then you likely won’t be able to flip this model. If you have any other questions, shoot us an email at support@uavcoach.com. Thanks!

  49. March 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Awesome write up! Great work Alan!

  50. JOHN FRANK
    March 20, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I am very new to drone flight. I have never flown one before. I have bought a syma X5C-1 to learn on. How do i know what is the front of the drone

    • March 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Make sure to read through your user manual, John! That’s the easiest way to get acquainted with that model. Read it front to back, maybe twice, before your first flight 🙂

  51. March 22, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Great call on the wind tip. So many people don’t factor that in, including me when I first started. I crashed my drone in to a tree. Huge waste of $300. Since then, I have gotten cheaper drones and only have one that is over $500. I rarely take it out. I only do when there is no wind and no clouds haha.

  52. Rocky Saikia
    March 23, 2016 at 3:55 am

    I am having a landing properly.Will you please help me with it?

  53. srikanth
    March 28, 2016 at 10:04 am

    i have prepared a drone but i have a small problem i’m not able to get any signal to control board from reciever while reciever test. but i’m getting signal from transmitter to reciever but not able to get signal from reciever to control board.can you help us in any way

  54. jimmy
    May 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    every one pay attention about how to operate the copter
    Here few tips you need to know and have to understand,i heard people lost they copters, either fly a way or crash.
    1-you have to calibration correctly and before you fly make sure your battery full charge
    2-before you fly make sure the GPS signal good and wait until copter complete initialization
    3- this one very important.If you fly far a way out of your sign that you don’t see your copter any more and use the return button or turn off your remote for copter return itself. Some people see the copter return and flip the switch “atti/Gps”few time to gain the control your copter that good if you keep fly near by and landing that ok, but if you continue to fly and fly far a way and use return button or turn off remote…This time will give you in big thouble at this point you reset the copter GPS on the air the copter DID NOT lock in the position ..therefor use the return button or turn of the remote your copter will fly a way.
    4- some day very bad weather i did not talk about wind but cloudy some time your copter lost GPS they also flyaway.
    5- time your fly time if your did not have time or battery show on monitor ..i see some one fly copter far a way and ran out battery and bad wind your copter will crash some where.this few tips for new owner copter,most of time copter crash or fly a way due to Operate.

  55. David D
    May 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I have an interesting problem , i have a quad that has no roll response when you move the right stick left or right nothing happens, when you move left stick you get your roll . the stick movements on control board work properly so I’m lost. I HAVE a kk2,1 board have castle speed controls

  56. May 11, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Nice guide! I really liked the milestones part. Which drone do you recommend if you are on a budget?

Comments are closed.