Learning to fly a quadcopter indoors is a better alternative to learning outdoors for a few reasons. First; not having outdoor breezes or heavy winds to fight while learning to control your quad will keep you, as a new pilot, from getting overly frustrated. Second; not having trees around that love to snag your new quad and buildings to crash into makes piloting less stressful. Third; outdoor observers love to approach you with your new quad and ask questions. You really don’t need onlookers while you’re learning to fly and you certainly don’t want to injure someone standing too close.
I’ve reviewed at length two indoor quads that are guaranteed to offer the new pilot all they need for learning to fly a quadcopter. Learn to fly one of these indoor models and you can fly any outdoor quad later on.
#1 Pick: Blade Nano QX (RTF)
The old saying “You get what you pay for” really applies to quads. The Nano QX is slightly higher priced (around $90) than most beginner models, but for indoor flying it’s definitely the most stable for training new pilots.
Horizon Hobby makes things easy with their SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology built into the flight controller. What this does is allow the pilot to concentrate on learning to maneuver (climb, descend, left, right, forward, backward, rotate) while the flight controller takes care of keeping the quad level with the horizon.
Built-in blade protectors keep the occasional wall and furniture contact from damaging rotor blades. Nicked or damaged blades will affect flying performance, as well as fabric or carpet fibers that become wound around motor shafts. Blade protectors help eliminate a lot of this.
What I really appreciate with the Nano QX is that all its parts are replaceable and can easily be found on Amazon. I’ve been flying this quad indoors for almost four months and the quality hobby-grade motors are still going strong. This is pretty amazing for brushed motors that typically need replacing after several flight.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Pick #2: Hubsan X4 H107C
The palm-sized Hubsan X4 is my second choice for an excellent indoor quad to learn the basics of piloting. This well designed model has hit the price sweet spot (around $75) and is very popular with first time flyers.
Flying the X4 is easy for newbie pilots, thanks to onboard gyros that keep things nice and stable. Two flying modes, “normal” and “expert”, allow for skill improvement as the pilot gains more confidence.
The included propeller guard is optional, however, I highly suggest installing it to save the somewhat delicate two inch blades from any damage. Your flat screen TV will thank you too.
Another great design feature of the Hubsan X4 is break-away frame arms that absorb crash impact and help protect the flight controller electronics. Simply twist and snap the frame arms back into position after a less than perfect landing. The Hubsan’s rubber foot pads are also a shock absorbing design feature.
Where to Buy: Amazon
There are many choices out there for indoor quads under $100. Choose one of the above palm-sized models to get started on the right foot. Read reviews on Amazon for more insight and understanding.
After several hours of learning how to fly a small indoor quad, you might be tempted to search for a larger copter to fly outdoors. Beware; this RC hobby is addicting.