Resources for a beginner

So, you’ve bought a drone or are just about to?

You’ve heard the rumours and seen the signs, been asked the questions or told:

  • “you can’t fly here”
  • “you need a license”
  • “It’s dangerous”

So now you’ve ended up here in the UKs largest drone flying club, looking for the info you need. And we’re here to give it to you!!! :clap:

As relative newcomers to the hobby and indeed this club, @BudgieUK and myself have pulled together some information and provided links to the only resources you need to stay safe, and of course have fun.

They’re not all “Must Read” and in fact only two are, but before you head off to check them out, and if you haven’t done so already, why not head over to Introductions and tell us a little about yourself? Maybe even add yourself to the Member Map. While not mandatory it will help our members see where you are, and more importantly, you can see other members close to you. You might get an offer of local advice on places to fly. Many of us will even meet up and show you the ropes during your first flights and help you get the confidence up. Share our hints, tips and hard won knowledge.

We realise that there is a lot to read and take in for a new drone pilot, and a lot of conflicting info depending on where you choose to get it from.

Mandatory Reading

:stop_sign: Number 1 “Must Read”:

Introduction to drone flying and the UK rules | Civil Aviation Authority

This provides a top level guide to flying drones and model aircraft in the UK. These guys have sole responsibility in the UK for where we can and cannot fly, end of. Ignore them at your peril, but also remember that they are the only ones that can limit where you fly.

They ARE “The Drone Police” Ignoring them could potentially end up with your kit confiscated, a fine, and even some jail time


So you’ve read through all that, understand the rules and got registered/stickered up?

:stop_sign: Number 2 “Must Read”:

Grey Arrows FAQ & Rules

Please ensure you read and comply with the forum’s rules at all times. We will not police your drone flying as that’s your responsibility, but we will police our own. Please take a little time to read and understand them.

:white_check_mark: Club Resources

Now you’ve got all that down, you want to know where to fly?

Drone Scene

This will not only show you where our members have flown, but by using the different layers we can see if it is legal, if there are hazards to avoid or whether your flight is likely to draw attention. The most important layer to us as drone pilots is the Flight Restriction Zones (FRZs). These are the places the CAA say you absolutely cannot fly without the relevant permission.

This resource has been provided by GADC and has been developed in conjunction with drone pilots from all over the UK. It is constantly updated and added to from members suggestions and feedback.

Good 2 Go

This determines whether you can fly a particular model of drone under particular circumstances. Fill out the simple questionnaire with details of your flight and it will quite simply tell you if are indeed “Good 2 Go”.

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance is available for hobbyist drone operators conducting recreational flights right here at GADC. This will cover you against claims made by third parties. It can cover things such as legal expenses or compensation claims if members of the public suffer personal injury or property damage because of your drone up to the value of £5,000,000.

Flight locations

These can be added by any member of GADC, in addition to the thousands that are already available as recommended and safe places to fly in the UK.

Flight Reports

Members can add these to let others know where and when you intend to fly.

:white_check_mark: External Resources

Ian in London

Ian is a fellow member in here and his YouTube content should not be missed. When starting out with my drone I found his instructional videos more invaluable than anything else I had seen. Loads of testing and side by side comparisons.

Windswept Robert

Robert is another member on here whos content should not be missed. Very informative and more often than not, very funny. Again, there is a lot of instruction, testing and tons of info here.

Black Belt Barrister

The Black Belt Barrister provides loads of free legal advice, and a lot of it on drone laws. A must visit site. And yes, he really is a Black Belt (Tae Kwon-Do), and yes he really is a Barrister (First-class Honours Bachelor of Laws, Distinction Master of Laws in Legal Practice (Barristers), and Distinction Bar Professional Training Course (BTPC).

:white_check_mark: Invaluable Software


Litchi is autonomous flight software. Plan and plot missions and flights, and so much more.


Airdata automatically captures your drone flights and data. Had a flyaway or unexpected crash? Post your flight data in the forum and we can help discover what went wrong, and possibly also find your missing drone. Don’t believe me? Have a look here.

Drone Hacks

Drone Hacks boost signal from CE to FCC for better control in built up or high noise areas, remove DJI’s unrealistic “no fly zones”, parameter hacking and flashing. One Off purchase.

Drone Tweaks

Drone Tweaks is another FCC boosting app, to be used within the DJI fly app. Yearly Subscription.

:white_check_mark: Looking After Your Drone

IMU Calibration

The IMU is a sensor that measures the drone’s acceleration, rotation, and orientation to provide position data. Calibration of the sensor may be required from time to time.

Compass Calibration

The compass allows the drone to know its heading or direction in space. If the compass has not been calibrated, the GPS will not allow the drone to initiate a mission.

Drone Maintenance and pre-flight checks

We should all have a check over our drone before every flight to make sure it will fly and, more importantly, not crash!!!

Battery Care

Avoid swollen LiPo batteries!!!

:white_check_mark: Acronyms and Abbreviations

Acronyms Definition Meaning
A2CofC A2 Certificate of Competency An enhanced qualification that allows a pilot to fly heavier drones closer to uninvolved people within the A2 sub category of the Open Category.
AGL Above Ground Level Quite simply the height of your drone directly above the ground.
ANO Air Navigation Order The law that provides the regulatory and enforcement powers for the Civil Aviation Authority.
ASL/AMSL Above Sea Level/Above Mean Sea Level This is an imaginary height that allows engineers and pilots to be able to define altitudes in ‘absolute’ terms, rather than referring to the height above the ground at a specific location (see AGL).
ATTI Attitude Mode ATTI mode is when you are flying without intelligent flight features like GPS positioning and optical sensors. Use at your own risk!!!
BMFA British Model Flying Association The body elected by the Royal Aero Club to be responsible for all aspects of flying model aircraft in the UK.
BVLOS Beyond Visual Line of Sight The point beyond where you can see your drone in flight.
DS Drone Scene Provides drone operators across the UK with an easy-to-use map in order to find and share great places to fly.
CAA Civil Aviation Authority They oversee and regulate all aspects of civil aviation in the United Kingdom, including drones.
FPV First Person View What the FPV drone pilots see through their goggles, i.e., exactly what the drone sees.
G2G Good 2 Go Determines whether you can fly a particular model of drone under particular circumstances.
GADC Grey Arrows Drone Club The UK’s premier flying association providing its Insured Members with £5,000,000 of Public Liability Insurance cover.
GPS Global Positioning System The system used to track and keep your drone stable in flight via satellites in space.
IMU Inertial Measurement Unit An electronic device that measures and reports your drone’s speed, movement force, angular velocity, and attitude to keep it stable in flight.
LIPO Lithium-ion polymer battery The most commonly used battery type in drones due to its high energy storage to density ratio.
NATS National Air Traffic Services Provides enroute services to flights within the UK flight information regions and air traffic control services to 14 UK airports.
NOTAM Notice to Airmen A notice containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard. Usually, to warn of hazards for pilots or temporarily close airspace.
RC Radio Control The system used to control your drone, amongst many other things.
RTF Ready To Fly An RTF model is a pre-built model that’s sold with everything you will need in order to fly right out of the box.
RTH Return to Home The automatic function used by some drones to return safely after signal loss, low battery etc.
TOAL Take Off and Landing The location that you setup your drone and take to the skies.
UAS Unmanned Aircraft System The entire system that supports and controls the UAV.
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Quite simply, your drone.
VLOS Visual Line of Sight Being able to see your drone at all times, without aid of telescopes, binoculars etc.

:white_check_mark: Training Videos

Setup, Controls, Fly App, First Flight (Mini 2, 3, 3 Pro)

Top 15 Drone Training Exercises to Learn for New Pilots

:white_check_mark: Support

If you have got here, read and understood all of that, you are well equipped to start flying sensibly and safely. There are likely to still be many questions that will occur to you as you get more experience, and the powerful search system on this forum can be a great help. Its unlikely that no one has asked the question that you have, so do try to search first, but if that doesn’t give you the answer you need, do ask, as there are hundreds of helpful members who will try to help if they can.

:white_check_mark: Discussion & Feedback

To discuss this article, please head over to our discussion thread, where users can comment, provide any feedback and offer recommendations.