Hang out in any AR Drone forum long enough and you will hear people asking why their drone doesn’t doesn’t fly as smooth as the YouTube videos they have seen. Videos show fast forward flight with smooth transitions to full stop or other smooth maneuvers. However, when you fly your fast forward flights end almost in a backflip and sometimes a scary loss of power. What is wrong with your AR Drone that it doesn’t behave the same way? The short answer….it’s probably you.
What I see quite often with new users is while the drone is in forward/reverse or left/right flight, a new owner will take their finger off the tilt control. This action will cause the auto-pilot to kick in and try to stop the drone as quickly as possible. For example, if you are in fast forward flight and just take your finger off the controls the nose will pitch up very sharply as the drone tries to come to an immediate stop. Usually, it will just recover and all will be good. However, on some occasions, things can go terribly wrong. With the bottom not pointing at the ground anymore, the altimeter can get confused and the drone will think it is too high, shutting down the motors. If the drone is too low, it might stall and hit the ground. If you have the altitude limiter off, it can think that it is transitioning into blind-flight mode and take off vertically, causing a fly-away.
Is there a solution to this? There sure is. Instead of pulling your finger off the tilt control, keep your finger in place and tilt your device in the opposite direction. Surprisingly enough you can stop an AR Drone extremely quickly while keeping it completely under control.
The main message here is “don’t panic” and always think ahead about what you are doing. As soon as you start moving forward, think about when you are going to want to stop instead of thinking about where it is right now. This kind of control is actually pretty hard to learn when flying around your house or a small backyard. Once you get the drone out to a decent sized area, at least 75′ x 75′, you will have enough room to really to learn the controls.