Beginner's Guide to Flying a Holy Stone drone

Sharing buttons:

I got a new drone for my birthday we're

total neophytes at this so come learn

with us as David learns how to fly his I

mean my new drone

hi this is Marci and David Linda just a

little further blog and website crew and

we're on the road again we've been

thinking about getting a drone for years

when we were sailing around the world on

nine of cups we thought having a drone

would have a number of advantages we

could get some great footage of cups

under sail we could wreak annoyed her a

harbor or Anchorage prior to entering we

could examine the rigging up close

without having to climb the mast and

maybe it would help spot all those coral

heads and some of the South Pacific edge

holes we visited but then reality

entered the equation the winds at sea

are rarely less than 15 knots way too

much for a small drone to handle all

those pesky stays and shrouds that hold

the mast up would be difficult for the

drone to obaid on takeoffs and landings

and drones only have a flight time of 20

to 30 minutes hardly long enough to be

of any use in navigation we finally

decided a drone just wasn't practical on

our sailboat we're rethinking that

decision with our new van and trekking

lifestyle just think about all the

advantages we could get some great video

footage of our van blew likewise we did

get some terrific videos of us trekking

and well I guess that's about it

on the downside there are probably more

places where drones are banned than

there are places to fly and even the

smallest drone would be more than we'd

want to carry on anything longer than a

day hike nevertheless a new toy has its

appeal and I was pretty sure Marcie had

been secretly wishing for a drone for

her birthday so I decided to get her one

and after a lot of research I bought a

holy stone HS 720

this is the holy stone HS 720 drone and

it's remote I think we'll start by going

over the remote and its operation first

there are two joysticks in the default

mode the less stick controls the

altitude and the direction of the drone

press the joystick up in the drone


press it down and a drone descends

if I push the joystick to the right the

drone rotates clockwise

and alternately if I push it to the left

the drone rotates counterclockwise the

right joystick controls the horizontal

motion of the drone by pushing up the

drone moves forward if I push down the

drone moves in Reverse if I push it to

the left the drone moves sideways to the

left and conversely if I push the stick

to the right

the drone moves sideways to the right if

the drone is flying any direction but

directly away from you the right

joystick can be confusing at first

you really have to imagine you're in the

drones pilot's seat and you're facing

the direction that the camera is aiming

this button locks and unlocks the drone

motors when you first turn the drone on

it won't fly until the motors are

unlocked a short press on this button

unlocks the motors the drone motors will

rub up a couple of times will let you

know it's ready to fly after landing

press this button for three seconds and

the motors will stop and lock you can

also kill the motors in an emergency

with this button while the drone is

flying say for example the drone flies

into a crowd of people just be careful

though this turns the drone into a very

non aerodynamic rock

this button has a couple of functions a

short press will turn the led landing

lights on or off and a long press will

change the drone from high speed to low

speed and vice versa this button

controls the camera a short press will

take a snapshot and a long press will

start or stop the video camera this knob

adjusts the camera angle from horizontal

to vertical the controller also has a

bunch of artificial intelligence or AI

functions and this really helps to make

the drone easy to fly to start with

there's a takeoff and landing button

when the drone is on the ground and you

push the take-off button the drone will

takeoff and hover about 4 feet off the

ground when the drone is in the air and

you push the button the drone will

automatically land itself probably the

most important AI function is the return

to home or rth function if the

communication link fails or the battery

reaches a low state or I push the rth

button the drone will automatically

return to the spot from which it took

off an extremely handy tool especially

for us newbies once the return to home

function begins the drone arise to about

a hundred feet then fly itself directly

above the landing spot and descend and


before you could fly the drone the

battery has to be charged the charger

needs a 2 amp USB adapter and it takes

about 6 hours to fully recharge it the

battery slides in and snaps securely

into the bottom of the drone

a microSD card is used to record photos

and videos it doesn't come with a drone

however and has to be purchased

separately you can use the camera

without an SD card by streaming the

image data directly to your smartphone

but I found the streamed video quality

to be quite choppy without a card

alright now it's time to power up the

drone if this is the first time the

remote is used with this drone we need

to pair the two to pair them we start by

holding the propeller lock button down

while turning the remote on it should

make two beeps next turn on the drone by

pressing its power switch after a few

seconds the drone will complete its

initialization and pair itself with a

remote the drone should beep twice


the flashing compass icon indicates that

the drones compass must be calibrated

this is done in two steps first hold a

drone horizontally and rotated 360

degrees three times when completed the

green lights will flash next hold a

drone vertically with a camera facing up

and rotated another three times when

completed the compass icon will

disappear also the forward lights in the

drone will turn solid red and the rear

lights will turn solid green by the way

I watched another video on flying a

drone and I was led to believe that I

had to rotate my whole body 360 degrees

to calibrate the compass not only does

this look silly and make you dizzy it's

totally unnecessary there's one last

thing to talk about before we go out and

fly the drone and that's the smartphone


holy stone is a great app that is

available for either iOS or Android

smartphones called the Ophelia GPS app

once it's downloaded there are a number

of options that can be changed to

customize it but initially I left

everything in the default settings the

app has a lot more functionality and

features than I'll ever use but there

are a few key features that I like and

do use notice that the image and the

screen is the view from the drones

camera this is quite helpful when

positioning the drone in the camera

angle this icon is the return home

function if you touch the icon the drone

will go into the rth mode and return and

land at the initial takeoff spot this

icon is the point of interest icon

touching this icon will start the drone

circling around a spot the default

radius is 16 feet but you can change it

if desired this is the follow me icon

pressing this causes the drone to track

and follow along behind the remote this

is the coolest feature of all it's

called the tap fly icon if you touch

this icon then expand the map to full

size you can draw a route on the map

when you're finished drawing the route

and press a submit button the drone will

follow the route you entered

okay let's go see if we can fly this

thing we have the automatic takeoff and

landing feature but I want to see if I

can do it manually

not too bad all right now let's just

take off and fly around a little while

let's see if we can do it without losing

it or crashing it

I know I know pride goeth before the

fall but at the risk of getting

overconfident here I'm beginning to

think this is pretty easy


let's take a look at the video footage

from the drone this is the point of

interest feature I'm going to try to get

it to circle me

it's a little off-center but not bad for

a first try

this is the follow me feature


as you can see the video is quite jerky

as the drone moves and corrects course I

don't know yet whether that's something

I can improve on or whether it's

something I'll have to fix with my


here's some more drone

our second day of flying


there are two more things to do before

you fly your drone first the FAA

requires that you register your drone

before flying do a google search on FAA

drone registration and their website

will pop up everything can be done

online and the registration costs five

dollars for three years you're required

to carry proof of registration when

flying a drone which you can print or

have mailed to you once you complete the

registration you will be issued a

registration number this number must be

marked in the drone you can engrave the

number write the number with a permanent

marker or use a permanent label for a

small fee the FAA will print and mail

labels to you before you fly make sure

the area you are in allows drone flights

the FAA provides a free mobile app that

will tell you whether your location is

in a no-fly zone if you are flying the

drone for commercial purposes maybe as a

realtor or a boat broker

you'll also need a license this involves

coursework and exam and a licensing fee

by the way Marcie asked if I found

flying the drone to be fun or maybe

stressful it wasn't especially fun or

stressful but like the nerd I am I think

it's going to be a great new tool for

making our videos and blogs more


after a bit more practice we're really

looking forward to some great aerial

footage of blue our road trips and our

trekking stay tuned thanks so much for

watching if you enjoy this video please

click on the like button below if you

want to see more of our how to travel

sailing road trips and trekking videos

subscribe to our You Tube channel

we also blog and update our website

regularly so check us out at