Quadcopter Flying


I know it isn't really flying. Modern Quad-copters have a range of features and automation that seemingly make it easy for anyone to do this. probably too easy, as legislation and possibly even registration is needed to control the few people who take this interesting new hobby a bit too far.

As some will have gathered from other parts of this Blog, I'm always on the look-out for a bargain, particularly when I'm just starting out on something. To this end, I decided to buy a very inexpensive quad to start with, just to get a feel for things and see what I could achieve.

Hubsan H501S

This is the quad that I finally settled on. It's light, efficient and cheap to find spares for: all things that make it good for playing around with. It's also surprisingly rugged and quite robustly put together.

It's hard to tell whether Hubsan are still in business. They seem to have a range of similar models and they are still available, but mainly only directly from China or from Ebay importers like the one who supplied mine.


  • It's a quad with 4 2-bladed props and brushless motors.
  • It has a 1080p camera, but the camera is fixed in position.
  • The quad has GPS and Altitude holding capabilities.
  • The Li-Po battery is easily removed and lasts about 15 minutes of flight.
  • The remote-control has a built in 7-inch LCD screen ad offers real-time FPV (First Person View) from the camera.

What I Like About It

  • It is quick to set up, easy to get started with and very quiet.
  • The remote control is balanced and responsive.
  • The FPV is excellent and broadcast on a standard frequency.
  • Battery life is pretty good, both for the quad and for the controller.
  • GPS mode is reliable and locks on quickly.
  • Return Home mode is useful and fairly accurate.

What I Don't Like

  • Changing battery is a little fiddly.
  • It should have a power switch.
  • Altitude hold is only so-so - hover it a bit higher to be safe.
  • It tilts a lot into the breeze in anything but flat calm conditions.
  • I should have got one with a gimballed camera.
  • Still images are only 1080p resolution, just like the video.

What I Changed

  • I upgraded the antennas to a better pair (£15)
  • I got a couple of extra batteries (£15 each)
  • I bought a cheap Eachine FPV headset to fly in first person.

I'm still playing with it really. It is just a toy compared to more advanced quads and maybe I'll upgrade to something like a DJI Spark in the future. I do have a few videos online of me flying it, so check out the links below.