About PhantomFlightSchool

Why should I buy my drone from PhantomFlightSchool

We believe we are the only people in the country who can:

  1. Advise you on which drone and accessories to purchase
  2. Sell you a drone
  3. Show you how to fly it
  4. Put you through the PfCO course (ground school, Ops Manual and FlightTest)
  5. Prepare you for your flight test
  6. Advise you on how to make a commercial success of your business once you have your PfCO.

With any purchase of a drone or flying lesson, you automatically become a member of PhantomFlightClub.  No one else gives you all this:

  • Free lifetime email technical support and trouble shooting
  • Short and long term hire of DJI drones and accessories, including extra batteries
  • Members only ability to buy and sell PhantomFlightSchool verified second-hand drones and accessories to and from other PhantomFlightClub members with complete peace of mind
  • Social events with other PhantomFlightClub members held around the country
  • Members only test days for new DJI and competitor products as soon as they are released.
What can I expect from a PhantomFlightSchool flying lesson

During an introductory one-hour lesson you can expect us to start by showing you the controls on the transmitter, what you can see on the screen, a bit about the weather and legislation, and safe flying technique.  Then it is time to go outside to put you in control of a DJI drone, to show you for real how fantastic DJI drones are.

During an introductory two-hour lesson you can expect us to go into more detail about everything, in a less hurried manner.  We can then spend more time actually flying, including explaining how to fly in ATTI mode, and introducing you to intelligent flight mode.

Please see a table “What we can teach you” setting out everything we can teach you about how to fly like a pro and film like a pro, and what you can expect to learn in a one or two hour lesson, also in this SUPPORT section.

How long should I book for: one hour or two

One hour is generally enough to ensure that you get off to a safe and enjoyable start on your drone adventure, but two hours gives you more flying time and a more detailed insight into the DJI Go app as well as having a better look at the “Intelligent Flight” modes. You will definitely need to book a two-hour lesson if you want to try the DJI Inspire.

Can I bring a friend

By all means bring a friend with you to share the lesson and watch you fly. If you would both like to fly then you will need to book a two-hour lesson.

Do I need my own drone

No, you don’t need your own drone as you are welcome to fly one of ours as part of your lesson.

However, if you do have a drone of your own it makes sense to use it for the lesson when we can help you, for instance, to adjust the sensitivity of the controls to your liking, and make sure all of the other parameters in the DJI Go app are set up as they should be.

Please note that you do need your own drone to have a lesson at our Edinburgh flying site.

Does it have to be a DJI drone

No, we can certainly help you with any make of drone as the principles we teach remain constant across all drone flying.

However, our expertise with the DJI Go app does not extend to other manufacturers’ operating systems so you would need to know your own system sufficiently well to avoid spending too much of the lesson working out how to monitor the battery, control the camera, switch between flight modes etc.

What happens if it is forecast to rain or be too windy

DJI drones fly perfectly in surprisingly strong winds.  So unless the wind is blowing consistently at more than 15mph, or gusting above 20mph, we can go ahead with your lesson.

It remains the case that DJI drones are not waterproof (we are sure they will fix that soon).  So if is forecast to rain at the time of your lesson, we will contact you to offer you a different time on the same day, or to reschedule the lesson for a different day.

If we are unable to find a convenient  date and time to reschedule for, then we will refund your money in full.

Can I part-exchange my drone for a new one

While we don’t offer a part-exchange facility, we do offer what we believe to be the next best thing!

When you decide to purchase your drone upgrade from us we will:

  • Inspect your old drone, controller(s), batteries and associated equipment
  • Carry out a full flight test
  • Provide a detailed condition report
  • Photograph and advertise your drone on our website at a price agreed with you
  • Accept payment on your behalf
  • Ensure drone is registered to the new owner
  • Organise delivery to the purchaser
  • Pass 90% of the purchase price on to you
What is the minimum age to have a flying lesson

We have taught people as young as nine how to fly a drone. Young people, so long as they have the right temperament, often pick up how to fly very quickly. We ask that anyone under the age of 16 is accompanied by someone over the age of 18.

Do you stock the DJI Mavic Pro

We do. As an official DJI UK retailer, we stock the full DJI range of products, including the Mavic.

Do you stock the GoPro Karma

We don’t.  But we do have them in our test fleet, so you are very welcome to compare the GoPro Karma against the DJI Mavic Pro or the DJI Phantom 4 when you book a flying lesson with us.

Drone Hardware

How much does a DJI drone cost

The most affordable DJI drone is the Phantom 3 Standard, which costs £449

The DJI Inspire Pro costs £3,599.

There are plenty of choices in between, including the Phantom 4 and the Mavic Pro

See our SHOP section for details of the prices of all DJI products.

What comes in the box

With every DJI drone, everything you need to fly your drone is in the box, including:

  • The drone itself
  • One battery
  • A transmitter
  • 2 complete sets of 4 propellers
  • An android device connector cable.The only things not in the box are a smart phone or tablet which you will need in order to see what the camera sees, and a lightning cable if you are using an apple device. For suggested accessories, see our “what to get” guide also in the SUPPORT section.
Which smart phone or tablet do you recommend

In our experience although DJI products work with both Apple and Android, we have found there to be a seamless connection with iOS (Apple) while some Android devices don’t function as smoothly with the DJI Go app. The iPhone 5S and later are compatible but the screen size makes a smart phone less well suited to viewing all of the information on display. Our favourite device to use when flying is the 16GB iPad Mini 2 Wi-Fi only. Currently available from major retailers at around £215.

The DJI website has an up to date list of all compatible devices.

How high can a DJI drone go

DJI drones are capable of flying at very high altitudes. Up to 6000m above sea level. In the UK you can legally fly up to 400 feet (122 metres) above ground level, provided you are flying in uncontrolled airspace. The default setting within the DJI Go app limits you to flying no higher than 120 metres above your take-off altitude. But to comply with UK legislation, if you take off from the top of a hill, and climb to 120 metres, then as you fly away from the top of the hill, you need to reduce altitude to ensure the drone is never more than 120 metres above the ground. You will have to judge the amount to reduce your flying height by. No drone has the ability to calculate its height above the ground when it is more than about 10 metres above it. They can only calculate their height above their take-off point.

How far can a DJI drone go

In the UK you can legally fly up to 500m away from you, provided you can still see the drone at all times. This is called visual line of sight, or VLOS.

DJI’s control systems are capable of working at a much greater distance provided unobstructed line of sight is maintained thereby ensuring a good safety margin.

How fast can a DJI drone go

DJI drones are primarily designed as ultra-stable aerial camera platforms rather than out and out “sports machines”. That said, they aren’t slow!

The Mavic Pro can do 18m/s or 40mph. The Phantom 4 is capable of 20 m/s or 45 mph. The Inspire 1 can achieve 22 m/s or 49 mph.

We always counsel a good degree of caution when flying at these speeds and only when at a good height, well clear of any obstacles!

What additional equipment and accessories do you recommend
Please see our table “What you Need” also in the SUPPORT section of the website
Which DJI drone is right for me

Please refer to the “COMPARE MODELS” page in our “SHOP” section.

We believe we are the only people in the UK who can offer you the unique opportunity to try any two of the Phantom 4, the Inspire 1, the Mavic Pro, the GoPro Karma and the Yuneec Typhoon H against each other when you book a two-hour lesson.

The £120 cost of the first hour is fully deductible from the price of any drone over £750 purchased from us within 30 days of your lesson.

Does my device (tablet) need a 3G card?

No. The DJI drone and transmitter are a closed system, relying on GPS to keep the drone in a stable hover, and radio waves to communicate between the drone and the transmitter. You could take a DJI drone to the middle of the Gobi desert and it would work just fine.

Flying a DJI Drone

Is it easy to fly a DJI drone

The whole range of DJI drones are the easiest to fly of any drone. DJI say that anyone can fly one of their drones straight out of the box. And to a large extent this is true. The incredible thing about DJI drones is the accuracy with which their GPS system “locks” the drone in position when you have your hands off the joysticks. The first time you see it, it really will take your breath away.

This means that flying becomes a process of deciding where to go next, and how to get there. There is no white knuckle ride.

At the same time, the line between triumph and disaster is very black and white. And if you cross that line, you have built yourself a drone jigsaw.

If you elect to receive training from one of our experienced pilots, we will show you how moving just one control stick forwards results in take-off and a vertical climb.

Releasing the control then starts the “magic” as the drone will now hover in place with no operator input!

The use of Satellite Positioning and sophisticated electronic control units means that the new pilot is able to apply just one command at a time:

Up… Down… Turn to Right or Left… Move Forwards, Backwards, Left or Right… And all the while safe in the knowledge that releasing the controls will stop the drone in its tracks to wait for the next control input.

There is also a “Return To Home” function which can be triggered manually or automatically in the event of the battery level dropping below a pre-determined level.

Having first mastered how to operate the drone there are a number of “Intelligent Flight” modes, all designed to make it easier to capture stunning video while almost letting the drone “fly itself”.

On top of this the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro are equipped with forward-facing object detection and avoidance technology for extra peace of mind.

A one hour, one-to-one hands-on flying lesson with one of our expert drone pilots, priced at £120, will get you safely started on your drone journey. Or for a really comprehensive introduction to the many capabilities of a DJI drone, you may prefer a two-hour session, costing £200.

Can you fly a DJI drone in the wind

Yes. DJI drones are capable of maintaining a stationary hover when your hands are off the joysticks, and responding precisely to joystick commands, in a surprising amount of wind.

As a rule of thumb you can fly in winds of up to half the machine’s maximum speed, so the Mavic can handle a windspeed of 20mph, the Phantom 4 can a 22 mph wind, and the Inspire 1 24 mph winds.

The drone might be capable of coping with winds at this level, but are you? We wouldn’t recommend flying in this much wind until you are totally comfortable with the controls and your drone’s behaviour in less extreme conditions.

You should also remember that wind speed is likely to be greater the higher you fly and structures, trees etc on the ground can produce turbulent and therefore more difficult conditions.

The other important thing to remember about flying in the wind is that you will take much longer to cover the same distance when flying into the wind (upwind) than when flying in the same direction as the wind (downwind). For this reason, you should always try to “fly out” into the wind and return to base with a following wind.

It can be nerve wracking how quickly your battery life will ebb away as you struggle to get home flying into a strong wind!

Can you fly a DJI drone in the rain

Unfortunately not.  Yet.  We are sure DJI are working on a waterproof drone.  But for the moment, don’t fly in the rain. Our rule is that if it’s too damp to leave your laptop outside then it’s too damp to fly.

The Regulations

What are the rules for flying a drone in the UK

At first, the rules around where you can fly a drone can feel complex and intimidating.

As the UKs longest established and most popular drone flying school, we have taken the time to understand the rules precisely. Our desire to inform drone fliers about the rules in a sensible and balanced way has led directly to our being chosen by the CAA to be their official partner for their 400ft Britain drone photography and videography competition.

We should say that the rules we are referring to here apply to drones weighing 7kg or less. All of the DJI drones we sell weigh less than 7kg.

The relevant law is contained in the Air Navigation Order, paragraphs 166 & 167. Further guidance is provided by CAP 722, and the rules are:

You are responsible for ensuring that the flight can be made safely and you must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

You must not fly within 2 miles of the runway of a major airport, nor within the perimeter of any airport.

You must not fly higher than 400ft (120m) above ground level, further than 500m away from you, or out of sight.

You must not fly within 150m of a congested area, or of an organised outdoor crowd of 1,000 people or more.

You must not fly within 50 metres of, and not directly overhead, people, vessels, vehicles or structures not under your control. Reduces to 30 metres for take-off and landing. The test of whether someone is under your control is whether you could reasonably expect them to follow your instructions in an emergency.

The Usual Data Protection Act rules apply. That means that you can photograph and video people in public places, but cannot sell these images without the person’s permission.  And you cannot film or photograph people in their own private space – in their back garden for example.

There are a lot of places you can fly

If that feels like a lot of places you can’t fly, consider this. Less than 1% of the UK is a road.  But you can get to most places you want in a car. Much the same is true about flying a drone.  So long as you are sensible about where you take off and land from, put a little thought into it, and observe the rules above, then there are 100,000s of hectares of space out there where you can fly your drone.

The rules about keeping your distance from things are there for good reasons. So no flying over towns or cities, or roads with plenty of cars on them. But flying over fields, woodland, hillsides, and coastline are all generally fine. All you need to find is a piece of private land where you have the landlord’s permission, or public land, including any public footpath, to take off and land from.

Do I need drone insurance

As a hobbyist there is no legal requirement for you to have any insurance.

However, appropriate public liability insurance will save you a big bill in the unfortunate event of an incident for which you are held responsible.

The best way to get public liability insurance is to join the BMFA (British Model Flying Association), which automatically provides members with £25 million PL cover per claim for an exceptionally modest premium which is included in the cost of membership. (2016 – £33 per annum)

Accidental damage to or loss of your drone (except while flying!) would normally be covered by your household contents insurance although it would be wise to check with your insurer rather than take our word for it.

Accidental damage cover for your drone while flying is available from www.Photoguard.co.uk at a cost of around £60 per annum.

In the event that you progress to carrying out paid work with your drone you will need a PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operation) from the CAA and one of the requirements for this is to have the appropriate commercial insurance in place.

Such insurance can be arranged through a number of companies such as

CoverDrone, UAV Protect, Besso and Insurance4Drones with premiums depending on factors like the number of drones operated and the type of operations planned.

Can you fly a DJI drone at night

Unfortunately not.  Unless you are a commercial drone pilot with your PfCO and a night rating.

UK drone regulations limit us to flying from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset. And for a good reason. At night you might be able to see the drone’s LEDs in order to know where it is, but could you see that tree you’d forgotten, or the power lines that were so easily visible, when you flew there earlier in the day?

Getting your PfCO

How do I get my PfCO

To obtain your PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) you must:

  • Attend a two and half day Ground School to learn about the theory of safe use of UK airspace
  • Pass a Theory Test at the end of Ground School
  • Complete an Operations Manual to the appropriate standard.  We will give you a template and advice on how to complete it, and will review and approve it
  • Pass a Flight Test.

Please see the paper we have written on how we have made the process of getting your PfCO as simple, quick, and cost-effective as possible in the SUPPORT section labelled PfCO

There are a lot of places you can fly

If that feels like a lot of places you can’t fly, consider this. Less than 1% of the UK is a road.  But you can get to most places you want in a car. Much the same is true about flying a drone.  So long as you are sensible about where you take off and land from, put a little thought into it, and observe the rules above, then there are 100,000s of hectares of space out there where you can fly your drone.

The rules about keeping your distance from things are there for good reasons. So no flying over towns or cities, or roads with plenty of cars on them. But flying over fields, woodland, hillsides, and coastline are all generally fine. All you need to find is a piece of private land where you have the landlord’s permission, or public land, including any public footpath, to take off and land from.

Do I need drone insurance

As a hobbyist there is no legal requirement for you to have any insurance.

However, appropriate public liability insurance will save you a big bill in the unfortunate event of an incident for which you are held responsible.

The best way to get public liability insurance is to join the BMFA (British Model Flying Association), which automatically provides members with £25 million PL cover per claim for an exceptionally modest premium which is included in the cost of membership. (2016 – £33 per annum)

Accidental damage to or loss of your drone (except while flying!) would normally be covered by your household contents insurance although it would be wise to check with your insurer rather than take our word for it.

Accidental damage cover for your drone while flying is available from www.Photoguard.co.uk at a cost of around £60 per annum.

In the event that you progress to carrying out paid work with your drone you will need a PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operation) from the CAA and one of the requirements for this is to have the appropriate commercial insurance in place.

Such insurance can be arranged through a number of companies such as

CoverDrone, UAV Protect, Besso and Insurance4Drones with premiums depending on factors like the number of drones operated and the type of operations planned.

Can you fly a DJI drone at night

Unfortunately not.  Unless you are a commercial drone pilot with your PfCO and a night rating.

UK drone regulations limit us to flying from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset. And for a good reason. At night you might be able to see the drone’s LEDs in order to know where it is, but could you see that tree you’d forgotten, or the power lines that were so easily visible, when you flew there earlier in the day?