This article is one in a series of Instructables articles about DIY technology. The full list can be seen here.
All photos here taken by Tim Trueman. Used with permission. More can be seen here.
Step 1: Getting Started
The drones are also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) and are essentially remote control planes with an extra computer brain, the autopilot, to control the flight. There are a few choices for the autopilot and prices for a full kit range from $200 to $800. Different kits have different abilities. Some are better in worse weather, or more accurate, or are open-source. It all depends on your intended use.
Chris Anderson, from DIY Drones, gives an intro to a drone here:
The UAVs a ren’t completely automatic, though. They still need a RC pilot to take over the controls for takeoffs and landings. So before there’s any consideration of what to do with the UAV in the air, the first goal is to get some good RC skills or partner up with someone else who’s already good at it. If you’re completely new to this, it’s a good idea to find a local RC club and get some advice from the members. You’ll probably find them soon enough anyway if you do decide to continue with UAVs as any hobby is more fun with fellow enthusiasts.
Step 2: Take to the Skies
With a safe place to fly, it’s time to get the UAV in the air and have some fun with it. Set up a circuit or a series of waypoints and you’re good to go. If the plane or helicopter can lift a decent payload, pop a camera in there as well for some cool footage from the skies. Just be sure to be safe with it, have fun learning, and share what you find out with others. Have fun!
DIY Drones - The place to start
ArduPilot - A full-featured autopilot