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I am looking to get a small drone - possibly quad copter style, but open to other recommendations. The thing is, I've never owned or flown such a machine and would like something small and cheap for "training" purposes. The idea is for this particular purchase to be a way for me to see if I'd like the hobby and if so, eventually get something "cooler".

My ideal drone would have

  • Video capabilities of at least 720p. Live streaming is not important for this training drone
  • Easy to fly for both an adult and a young child
  • Maneuverable enough to go through a wooded area
  • Less than $100 and cheap replacement parts (because I expect to damage something)

I'd like for this to "feel" similar to the larger drones that have GPS and live video streaming. My hope is that muscle memory I build using this can transfer to a larger piece of hardware.

  • Be careful about transferring aircraft control skills to a different system. The control characteristics will almost certainly be different, so the hover and flight control input thresholds won't match what your muscles remember. Always take care and time to re-learn controls after transferring craft. – ArtOfCode Sep 11 '15 at 20:02
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I recommend the Syma X5C.

  • Integrated 720p HD camera
  • Slow controls (won't shoot off into the distance the instant you touch the sticks - this makes it easy to fly)
  • Extreme manoeuvrability. It's an aerobatic drone, so you're sorted there.
  • I can find one new on Amazon for £30 ($46)
  • Camera records to SD card, so you can download the footage later.

A word of warning, which I said in a comment and will repeat here: don't expect other drones to be similar. There may well be some similarities between the odd few drone models - but control weights and sensitivities are always going to be different, no matter if they're tunable or not. A 1kg drone will respond faster to control input than a 10kg drone; that's just physics. When getting a new drone, always take some low-flying time in a relatively safe location so that you can get used to the new control feel.

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    I second this. I just got the same drone a couple days ago, and I'm definitely happy with it as my first drone. Easy to learn on, responsive, cheap, and very durable (I crashed it a few times already, and nothing broke). The camera isn't that great, although that's to be expected with a cheap drone such as this. – hhaslam11 Sep 11 '15 at 23:43
  • @ArtOfCode Five years later, would this still be your answer? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Feb 27 at 12:42

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