Instruction Guide: Basic UAV Piloting Skills

NOTE (Sept 2021): The TPP videos used as the Primary Instructional Material used in the first 5 units of this course are currently unavailable.  We understand the TPP is creating an updated version of this series.  In the meantime, please see Differentiated Instructional Material: ALTERNATIVE for resources you can use for these lessons.

The Primary Instructional Resource for this Lesson is TPP UAV Training Program Part 2: Lessons 6.

For the Hands-On portion of the lesson, students will use the appropriate aircraft checklist ( e.g. Tello) and the Student sUAV Pilot Log to track their progress through the Summative Assessment Flight Assignments.

Note 1: To access Part 2 of the TPP UAV Training Program, access code from Completing Part 1 is needed - this code is "TPP2017p2"

Note 2: As currently laid out, the TPP course is structured with a scope and sequence that logically follows the needs for a Part 107 overview course.  However, we will be using their lessons out-of-sequence in some cases for our recreational drone operations over school property based course.  The TPP site does not allow one to advance to a subsequent lesson until the quiz for the current lesson is successfully completed, which make skipping ahead or out-of-sequence awkward.  However, if your browser is set to accept cookies and you run through the course/quizzes once, you may then choose "Resume" and then use the "Menu" tab in the upper-right to resume at any point already completed.

> You may use the TPP resource for direct instruction to a group, or allow students to work through the lessons individually.  The first-time access process requires name, school, grade info - but none of this is verified (so non-identifying info may be used) and there is no email verification.

> Each lessons ends with a quiz that gates advancement to the next lesson - we suggest using this a Formative Assessment tool.


TPP UAV Training Program - Part 2, Lesson 6

> Flight Controllers are described
   >>> This may be a touch-screen device (phone, iPad, etc.) or a physical controller with joysticks and buttons

> Flight Modes are discussed
   >>> Mode II controllers are assumed in this course.
   >>> Self-stabilize/Hover will be used by all very small UAVs under the FAA weight limit (e.g. Parrot Mambo, DJI Tello), but they may also support Manual, Expert on 3-D modes, depending on the aircraft and controller used.  GPS and Atti are uncommon in this class of UAV.
   >>> Larger sUAVs (e.g. DJI Spark) may support Atti, GPS, but GPS will not work indoors.

> Basic Functions for Mode II are illustrated
   >>> The orientation issue with the right stick are introduced in Flight Assignment 3

> The effects of Dynamic Areas are described
   >>> Very small UAVs (e.g. Parrot Mambo, DJI Tello) are very sensitive to these (as well as wind) outdoors and should only be flown on calm days.  Even indoors, ventilation and prop-wash near walls will noticeably effect these aircraft.  While their IMUs will attempt keep them level, they have limited spatial orientation (no GPS, limited sensors, etc.) and will tend to drift with the air mass they are in.

> Operating Tips
   >>> Controlled/deliberate and small/minor control inputs are especially important with limited indoor space
   >>> WHEN IN DOUBT, HOVER is a key instinct to develop in new pilots
> Practice
   >>> Flight Assignment 1 (First Flight) develop skills using only one stick and one axis of control at a time.  Throttle, Yaw, Rool and Pitch are all explored.
   >>> Flight Assignment 2 (2 Axis Flight) develops skills using 2 axes of control simultaneously - first with one stick (Throttle & Yaw and Pitch & Roll) and then two sticks (Pitch+Throttle and Roll+Yaw).  This leads to flying inward-facing circles.
   >>> Flight Assignment 3 (Orientation) delves into pilot orientation on the right stick when the aircraft changes from facing away from the pilot to facing toward the pilot.  This can be challenging for new pilots.

> Mobility of outdoor sUAV systems are described

   >>> Have students review the checklist for their aircraft and discuss the ideas of Footprint, Logistics and Best Practices for their situation.


Upon completion of the TPP lesson and the Safety Quiz, get students hands-on with the drone for their first flight.  Use the Student sUAV Pilot Log to document their progress though the Summative Assessment Flight Assignments while rotating through all 3 roles on a team.  Be sure to use the checklist for the desired aircraft for every flight and have studetns complete the Incident Report should a crash or other safety issue occur.  The Flight Assignment Checkride can be used to sign off students for each skill level. 

Check Differentiated Instructional Material and Additional Assessments for more resources around the topics covered in this TPP lesson.