My Hubsan 501S drone was delivered last Monday, and thanks to a long and busy week at work I have not yet had the chance to fly it. This morning I woke up to a perfectly still day and whilst there was a bit of low cloud visibility wasn’t too bad at all. From what I have read over the last week, and trust me I have read a lot, it was the perfect day for flying a drone.
With a load of batteries all charged up and ready to go I was all prepared to take my 501S drone for its maiden flight, but the sticky stuff hit the fan and I had to put the test flight on the back burner and go and sort something out. When I finally returned home it was too late to go to the large, open field I wanted to fly the drone so that was the flight scuppered.
I didn’t want to waste the entire day, besides I had been looking forward all week to finally getting the chance to fly the drone, I decided to set it up in the garden and have a quick play. I know a small and enclosed space isn’t the ideal place for flying a drone for the first time I but I was happy there was enough room to ascend, hover a bit, rotate left and right, descend and repeat a few times. My thought was that practicing these basic maneouvres in a restricted space would mean I couldn’t go wild and take the drone further, higher and faster than my abilities can deal with, even though the temptation would be there.
Below is a short clip of my first play with not just the Hubsan 501S but also my first ever drone:-
Before I bought the Hubsan I had read that it was easy to fly and suitable for a beginner, and whilst it was easier to get off the ground and land again than I thought it would be, it is not that easy to fly. I found the 501 moved at the slightest touch of the controls and then when I tried to correct it I over compensated and sent the drone in the opposite direction. I guess I am a little heavy handed at the moment and will have to learn to have a softer touch. I feel this is going to be quite a challenge.
Leaving the controls alone the 501 seems to hover nicely, although there is a little up and down movement. The up and down is greater at the beginning of the hover and will get less and less. There are times when the 501 will remain almost stationery but this doesn’t last for a long time. I am sure I have read about a work around for this, so it is something I will look to rectify in the future.
If you want to experience the Hubsan 501S drone it is available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and eBay.
The estimated delivery date of the Hubsan 501S drone was Friday 5 January – Monday 8 January, which given I get all of my deliveries dropped off at the office and not at home (I had issues with deliveries going “missing” with the neighbours several years ago – so everything goes to the office), was a bit of a pain. In the past Amazon had delivered items way before their estimated date, and I was hoping this was going to be the case with my drone however this was not to be. It’s typical isn’t it? The boring and mundane deliveries are always early, and the products you want right now are delivered right on the last day of the delivery date. Hmmmm……
I was hoping the Hubsan 501S drone was going to be delivered on the Friday so I had the entire weekend to sort it out and take it for its first maiden flight, but this did not happen. During this time of year I am in the office during daylight hours. I leave for work in the dark, and I arrive home from work in the dark. Consequently, I won’t have the opportunity to have a go with the drone until the weekend. The Hubsan 501S does have lights on it so I could have the maiden flight in the dark, but given I have no experience flying a drone I don’t think this is advisable. In fact, I think this would be pure stupidity. So I have five long days and nights with a drone but not going to be able to fly it which is going to be torture.
Thinking about it, I guess this is not such a bad thing as it will stop me jumping in both feet first. With all this time on my hands I can make sure it is charged, read the user guide and set up whatever I need to set up, devise a checklist of pre-flight procedures (I love checklists) and watch some online tutorials and the like.
My 501S drone was delivered on the Monday, and even though I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to fly it for five days, and that was weather dependent, I was super excited. When the 501S was delivered I realised I didn’t know what was (or should be) in the box. I had watched several videos of the 501S in action but I had never seen an un-boxing of one. With this in mind I decided to carry out an impromptu unboxing video of my Hubsan 501S drone. So if you have wondered what is in the box, or simply want to share the experience and excitement with me please do check out the video below.
Whilst looking to buy a Hubsan 501S drone I scoured the internet looking for the best prices and no other online retailer could match Amazon. The Hubsan 501S drone is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Another place you may want to check out is eBay.com.
Whilst waiting for my first ever drone to be delivered, the Hubsan 501S, I have started to consider the type of video footage I want to capture with it.
It seems that many people buy a drone and fire it us high in the sky, and as far away as possible before hitting the record button. Okay, it is interesting to see what the world looks like from so high up…… but only for five minutes. I have to say that video footage of fields, rivers, lakes, houses etc. etc. from so high up is not my thing at all, and I don’t see the point of capturing so much area with such little detail. I know there are loads of people what do not share my opinion, and like these sorts of videos, and that is entirely their look out.
This clip is an example of the footage I don't intend to capture with my Hubsan 501S drone.
I have to say that my favorite type of drone footage is that taken much closer to the ground. I like the footage captured by drones skimming the surface of lakes and lochs, I like footage captured when drones are flying through the undergrowth and foliage, and I like the footage captured when drones are scraping along tree canopies. I like footage that puts me right in the thick of it and the action, and I like to see some detail too.
Recording video footage flying a drone several hundred meters up in the sky obviously takes a bit of skill, but nowhere near as much skill as flying the drones close to the ground and around obstacles. I am thinking that that this type of piloting takes a lot more skill, which obviously takes lot of flying time – but it is so worth it.
Whilst I will be capturing some video footage from high up with my Hubsan 501S drone I will be focusing more on low level flying. Think of the classic scene in Flight of the Navigator (check out from 0:25 – 0:36 ) of the following clip:-
Now that’s how I want to use my drone………
After several hours reading, researching and watching Youtube videos I have decided the Hubsan 501S is worth the £30 extra over the Hubsan 502S and ordered one. I know the limitations of the Hubsan 501S and I am using it solely as a learning tool. Rather than buying a DJI Mavic in the first instance, and potentially losing it (because of a fly away due to user error) or crashing it (because of inexperience) etc. I thought it was better to cut my teeth on a cheaper drone and spend a few hours learning how to fly it and control it correctly.
At a few hundred quid the Hubsan 501S isn’t particularly cheap but it is a fraction of the cost of the DJI Mavic. The reason I spent out on the 501S rather than buying a super cheap drone/quad copter is because I still want the chance to capture some decent video footage that I can potentially use on my Youtube channel whilst I am learning. The video camera on the 501S is a 1080P HD camera, and whilst it does have its limitations and isn’t as good as the video camera on the DJI Mavic or DJI Spark it is still possible to capture some pretty decent footage, if the Youtube videos I have seen are anything to go by.
I have read some rave reviews about the 501S, and I have also read some terrible reviews too. On balance, and all things considered the Husban 501S seems like a pretty good buy, although I will of course find this out when my 501S drone is delivered and I actually get to use it. I know the Hubsan 501S isn’t going to be perfect, I am under no illusions there, but I do expect it to be a half decent drone with which to learn how to competently fly and control a drone for aerial photography.
The videos that convinced me to part with my hard earned money and buy a Hubsan 501S drone are:-
After several hours reading reviews, watching Youtube footage etc. I had finally decided to invest in a Hubsan 502S drone when I was thrown a curve ball. The supplier from whom I wanted to buy a drone from doesn’t stock the Hubsan 502S and a search on Amazon (I use Amazon because of the customer service, returns policy and quick refund time if things go wrong) indicated the supply of Hubsan 502s is not that great, and those that are available cost more than I was expecting/led to believe.
After hunting around amazon I discovered I could get the Hubsan 501S for about thirty quid more than the Hubsan 502S. Yep, for a measy thirty quid extra I could get a drone that records 1080P video and (according to the reviews and Youtube clips) better quality, more stable and a better flying experience. The Hubsan 501S seems to be much better value for money but it is still an additional thirty quid I have to spend, which means if I experience the dreaded fly away I will lose even more money.
Spares and accessories are more expensive for the Hubsan 501S but they are also more readily available. For example, a spare battery for the 501S is £25 and a spare battery for the 502S is £10. Hmmmm………. From what I have read a spare battery is an essential bit of kit if you own a drone. On the flipside, there are loads of protective cases (another essential accessory) for the 501S but I can only find one for the 502S, and that is from a non UK company based in China that gets less than favourable reviews.
I am now in a bit of a predicament. Do I opt for the cheaper to buy Hubsan 502S with cheaper accessories or do I opt for the slightly more expensive Hubsan 501S? Decisions, decisions ……..
The Hubsan 502S in action