How to Fly a Holy Stone Drone (Explained for Beginners)

Holy Stone drones are cost-effective, beginner-friendly, and fun to fly.

Whether you opted for a beginner model like the HS420 or chose something more advanced such as the HS720E, naturally, the first question you’ll have after you get the drone out of the box is how do you fly it?

While the instructions can vary somewhat from one Holy Stone drone to another, the basics are the same.

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Before you take your drone for a spin, I invite you to learn more about how it works and how to safely fly it so you can keep your drone aloft without incident.

Best Drone Courses for Beginners (Part 107 & More)

Understanding your Holy Stone drone

The anatomy of a drone includes a camera, gimbal, propellers, battery, motor, and frame. Of those components, the only one Holy Stone drones sometimes forego is the gimbal.

Let’s review the drones in the Holy Stone roster so you can get to know your drone better.

Beginner drones

The most plentiful category of drones under the Holy Stone umbrella is this one. The complete rundown is as follows:

  • HS440
  • HS260
  • HS240
  • HS110D
  • HS210
  • HS330
  • HS430
  • HS280
  • HS210F

What makes these drones beginner-friendly? There are several traits, really. For one, the drones are inexpensive, with the highest price point being $130 for the HS440. All the others in the beginner collection retail for under $100 each.

The folding quadcopters are built burly but inexpensively, with propeller guards on many models to protect them from damage. They often feature plastic frames.

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Automatic and easy-to-use modes also make these Holy Stone drones beginner-friendly, from throw-to-launch and GPS-led tracking, headless mode for easier flights, and automated stunts.  

Advanced drones

The next step up is Holy Stone’s advanced drones, which include popular models like the HS110G, HS710, HS360S, and HS440D.

The latter is designed for teens, while the audience for the others is a more experienced drone pilot who’s graduated from the beginner class of Holy Stone drones.

These drones look cooler and have higher-quality cameras. They’re still geared toward beginners without holding your hand as much, and the smart modes are, well, smarter. For example, the HS110G has Custom Flight Paths and GPS Auto Returns.

Premium drones

The cream of the Holy Stone crop is its collection of premium drones, which include the HS600, HS270E, HS720, and HS175D. These are anything but kiddie drones, with longer projected flight times (the HS175D promises up to 50 minutes in the air).

This is where you’re likely to see brushless motors, UHD 4K cameras with anti-shake technology, greater transmission distances, GLONASS and GPS navigation, and more smart modes.

Understanding your Holy Stone remote

Holy Stone remotes go easy on the buttons and joysticks, leaving a lot of open space on the controller face. They always require you to insert your smartphone into the holster and use that as a screen with the accompanying Holy Stone app, as none of them have screens built in.

Well, not the image-viewing kind of screens, at least. You might get a diagnostics screen on some of the remotes, like the one for the premium model HS720E, but you only get basic information out of that screen.

Holy Stone apps and you: What you need to know

Like any drone manufacturer, Holy Stone requires you to download a free app to your smartphone when flying it. The app provides all sorts of valuable flight data.

For example, it lets you build custom flight routes (if your drone has that feature), edit image settings, review geofences, check your drone status, download videos and photos, review your latest mileage and altitude, find your drone, and track where you’ve taken it.

MORE>> Holy Stone App – All You Need to Know

Depending on the Holy Stone drone you buy, you will need to download one of several apps.

MORE>> Holy Stone HS720E App (All You Need to Know)

Step-by-step guide to flying a Holy Stone drone

Are you ready to get out there and make magic happen by flying your Holy Stone drone? Excellent! Here is a rundown of all that you need to know as you launch and enjoy your time in the skies safely.

Charging your Holy Stone drone before flying it

While the battery capacity of Holy Stone drones varies by model, most are lithium polymer or LiPo batteries favored for their diminutive size.

The voltage of the batteries depends on the drone. For example, the HS160 and HS170 have 3.7-volt LiPo batteries versus 7.4 volts for the HS100 and HS700D.

You should always charge a Holy Stone drone’s batteries before you initially fly, then each time the batteries run low. How do you do that?

Your drone purchase should include a charger and charging cable. Other models, like the HS700, have a balance charger and a charge transfer box in addition to the cable.

 Don’t use other cables to charge your Holy Stone drone.

MORE>> Holy Stone Drone Battery (Everything You Need to Know)

How to charge your Holy Stone drone varies based on what it comes with. For example, if your drone only has a charging cable and a charger, then connect one end of the USB cable to the Holy Stone drone and the other end to the charger. You can also use a power bank or computer.

If your drone has a balance charger and charge transfer box, insert the battery into the charge transfer box. Next, link that to the balance charger, plug in the cable to the charger, and connect it to a power bank or USB adapter.

The shortest charge time for a Holy Stone drone is a distinction the HS170 enjoys, as it charges in about an hour, sometimes 45 minutes. The HS160 also charges quickly at 110 minutes.

Otherwise, you’ll wait anywhere from three to six hours for your drone to finish charging.

Selecting optimal flight conditions

Before you send your Holy Stone drone airborne, ensure you fly in the right kinds of conditions for safety.

Weather considerations

The weather will be one of the biggest determining factors regarding whether you can fly your drone. The FAA and many other global aeronautic organizations legally forbid you from using a drone in inclement weather.

MORE>> Can You Fly a Drone in the Rain? (Explained for Beginners)

Inclement weather constitutes any unfavorable conditions, including strong winds, haze, fog, rain, snow, sleet, and hail.

Even if you could legally operate in bad weather, why would you want to? It’s a great way to get your Holy Stone drone waterlogged, including its internal circuitry. Once that happens, your drone could be broken for good.

Although Holy Stone drones are inexpensive, you still don’t want to be out any money unnecessarily.

The best way to stay abreast of the weather is to download a basic weather app. Some drone apps have built-in weather details, especially wind speeds, that are also helpful.

» MORE: Best Weather Apps for Drones (You Need to Install)

Review the weather the night before your flight, then the morning of. Forecasts can change, and if the chances of rain or snow are more than 50 percent, you’re better off playing it safe and postponing your flight.

Geofencing

Another consideration that can stop your drone dead in its tracks is geofences.

Geofences are invisible barriers denoting uncontrolled (where you’re allowed to fly) and controlled airspace. Airports and military bases are two examples of controlled airspace. These areas usually strictly forbid drones from entering without prior authorization.

Your Holy Stone drone will showcase geofences in the free app. Unlike DJI drones, a Holy Stone drone will not stop you if you fly into restricted territory. It’s on you to have common sense and not do it.

If you fly there anyway, you could get your drone shot down (in the case of a military base), but even then, that would be the least of your problems. The FAA will also penalize you, charging you a fine and possible jail time.

Laws, ordinances, and regulations

States throughout the US have regulations, ordinances, and laws, including statewide and local laws. These regulations are in addition to the FAA’s federal laws, and you must follow them when flying.

MORE>> Drone Laws in the United States

Many state and local regulations surround drone use in national and state parks, where you’re usually prohibited. Some parks allow exceptions if you have a permit or other permissions, especially if you’re a drone photographer or videographer.

Granted, a Holy Stone drone wouldn’t be my first choice for commercial drone use unless you’re still developing your sea legs, but you have to know the rules regardless.

Other places where drones are typically restricted under these ordinances include colleges and universities, cities and towns (yes, sometimes whole cities and towns), and large-scale events, usually with 100 people or more.

Availability

Even if you find a spot where you’re legally allowed to fly, that doesn’t always mean you can stake your claim there and start shooting. There may be the aforementioned permitting process to go through.

If so, you need to send in your paperwork as soon as you know you want to use the area, especially if you’re under a deadline for a project. It can usually take several weeks for all the necessary parties to review and approve your request.

Besides permits, you might have to ask the property owner for permission if flying on public property. Some states require the permission to be in writing, while verbal permission is okay in other instances. Always know the laws in your neck of the woods.

Ambiance

The last consideration when selecting a spot to fly your drone is ambiance, especially when filming. A nice environment makes flying a drone much more special and enjoyable, so venture beyond your backyard, as there’s a whole big, wide world out there to explore!

Launching the drone

You can launch a Holy Stone drone in one of several ways, depending on whether it’s a beginner, advanced, or premium drone.

For example, the beginner-friendly HS430 has two easy startup options. You can toss it into the air, and the Holy Stone drone will begin flying, or you can press a single key, and voila, it’s in the air.

The HS210 is another Holy Stone drone with one-key starts.

Advanced drones in the Holy Stone family require you to start it as follows: First, activate the GPS via the GPS switch, which you can slide down. It’s beside the transmitter to the right.

Next, on the HS720E remote, press the lock button, accessible via the left-side joystick. This will unlock the drone’s engines. Then, press the other button on the left joystick and you’ll take off.

Maintaining altitude

Maintaining your altitude is a legal requirement, as you can’t exceed 400 feet under FAA rules (and many other aeronautic organizations around the world).

Depending on the Holy Stone drone you choose, you’re not left to monitor this yourself.

For instance, the HS110D has an altitude hold mode you can configure via the remote’s joystick. The altitude hold allows you to set the altitude, and the drone will reliably hover so you can pay more attention to photos and videos.

Using smart modes

Holy Stone has perfectly competent smart modes accessible in the accompanying app. By tapping the icon with four squares on the left side of the Ophelia GO app, you can activate smart modes.

Headless Mode is represented by a compass, RTH switch by a circle with an H and an arrow over it, One-Key Takeoffs and Landings by a circle with an H in the center and an up arrow, Point of Interest by a circle with points, and Follow Me with a person with a drone behind them.

Here is more information on using these smart features.

Follow Me

Tap the four squares icon, then the Follow Me icon to start Follow Me. Next, input the Follow Me function in the prompt box. The Holy Stone drone uses phone coordinates to keep the drone behind you within a range of 15 to 95 feet. Tap the icon again to stop Follow Me.

TapFly

One of Holy Stone’s most famous modes, activate TapFly by opening the map in the Ophelia GO app. Look for the TapFly icon, which is a finger drawing a line, and tap it. Then, start the function via the prompt box.

Draw a line to make a path for the Holy Stone drone, then tap the Submit icon, which features an upside-down bracket with an upward arrow. That will submit the route. Next, your Holy Stone drone will begin flying along the predetermined path.

When you’re finished using this mode, press the TapFly icon again.

Headless Mode

Many beginners find it easier to fly using Headless Mode. If you’re one of them, tap the four squares in the Ophelia GO app, then the Headless Mode icon. After a prompt box appears, Headless Mode will become active until you tap the icon.

 Point of Interest

Activate Point of Interest by tapping the four squares icon, then the POI icon. A prompt box will open. Once you start Point of Interest, the Holy Stone drone will make a clockwise circle at a radius of 16 feet from a point you select. You can quit this mode by tapping the icon a second time.

Taking videos and photos

You can use the same functions in the Ophelia GO app for videos and photos, which saves you time, as you don’t have to jump between functions.

The circle icon with red in the middle denotes video recording, whereas the circle icon with white in the middle represents photos. Press the photo button once, and the Holy Stone drone will snap an image.

Press the video icon, then click it again to start recording. Once you tap the icon again, it stops taking video.

You can see your footage anytime by pressing the white icon with a gray triangle (it sort of looks like a YouTube icon). This will open your gallery.

When Holy Stone drones save videos and images, it’s to both the TF card and app album if you have a card inserted. If you don’t, the footage goes to your smartphone albums and app albums.

The drone will only save images and videos to a TF card if you have an internet connection and the card has enough storage space.

Landing the drone

Bringing a Holy Stone drone down for a landing is as simple as selecting the method you used to launch the drone and repeating it. For example, if yours uses a single-button launch, you can tap the button again to land.

The button over the controller’s left joystick will begin the landing process. The engines will power down. Once they have, press the lock button, which will prevent the props from moving.

Post-flight procedure for flying a Holy Stone drone

You’ve safely brought your Holy Stone drone to the ground, which is awesome. Now, it’s time for your post-flight tasks.

Let the drone cool down

The components of your Holy Stone drone can get hot during flight, especially the battery. Don’t handle the drone for at least 10 minutes after your flight and up to 15 minutes if you want to be extra safe.

Take out and charge the batteries

Once that time has elapsed, you’re safe to take the drone’s batteries out. How soon you should charge them depends on when your next drone flight will be.

For instance, if you plan to take off again tomorrow, you should charge the batteries immediately. If you’ll fly within the next 48 hours, do yourself a favor and charge the batteries when you finish flying.

If you’re unsure or it will be longer than several days, you can charge at least 24 hours before your next drone outing. There’s no sense in charging the batteries immediately, as they will discharge between now and then. You’ll just have to charge them again later.

Store the drone for next time

Where you stash your drone matters! Many Holy Stone drones come with carrying cases. You can use one of those or a case you bought from a third party, but the drone should always be stored away from heat and cold sources, and direct sunlight.

Avoid the basement and garage. A bedroom or entertainment room is a better place to keep your drone when it’s not in use.

Tips for flying a Holy Stone drone

Is it time to get out there and fly? Excellent! These tips will augment your safety for more fun flights with your Holy Stone drone.

Get to know your drone

If you’re new to drones or have experience with another manufacturer besides Holy Stone, take a few hours to get to know your drone make and model.

Read the instruction manual (which is available online via Holy Stone’s website in PDF form), download the accompanying Holy Stone app, connect your phone, and learn how everything works.

It’s better to familiarize yourself with the drone now than to experience trial and error during midflight, which could result in a broken or damaged drone.

Practice makes perfect

On that note, practice, practice, and then practice some more. I recommend doing this in a safe, neutral zone like your backyard. This way, if you crash, it should be into your own property, at the very least.

Get yourself comfortable with how the drone components work in practice, not only in theory as before.

Check out some tutorials

We have plenty of awesome advice about flying Holy Stone drones here on Dronspy. You can also watch other pilots with their Holy Stone drone of choice on YouTube. Between reading and watching expert information, you should feel more confident in your future drone flights.

Charge your phone before your flight

Since Holy Stone drones don’t have built-in screens for choosing functions and operations, you’ll have to rely on your phone as the screen instead. While you’re charging your drone battery, also leave time to get your phone battery as close to 100 percent as you can.

If your phone battery peters out on you before your drone battery does, you can’t continue flying. You won’t have access to the app, and thus have no way to see what and how your drone is doing.

Monitor your drone status

On that note, track the drone’s status throughout your flights. You don’t have to watch it like a hawk, but you should check it periodically, especially the battery, to ensure it’s not running on empty.  

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Even though it’s relatively foolproof to use most Holy Stone flight modes, these drones aren’t automatic through and through. They have no obstacle sensing or avoidance, so you must be careful when you fly it.

Your friends might beg you to do some stunt, or perhaps you want to push the drone to its limits just to prove you can, but I would ask you to rethink these kinds of activities. It’s not worth having something happen to your drone.

Holy Stone drone troubleshooting

What if something goes wrong when flying your Holy Stone drone? Here are some common issues attributed to various drone models and what to do if it happens to you.

Lag when reviewing live FPV video

Some Holy Stone models, such as the HS720E, can get laggy when using a live FPV feed to transmit footage. This can cause a disconnect between how you’re controlling the drone in real time versus what you see on the video feed.

Check your Holy Stone app, like Ophelia GO, to determine if it has any available updates. If it does, then please update yours before flying the drone again.

Drifting when flying

This is a scary one! If your drone drifts, it can make operation difficult. As a beginner, you might be more likely to crash because you’ll struggle to control your drone. Drifting can also impact your videography and photography.

So, what’s causing this issue? Well, it can boil down to several issues.

If your altitude is too high, the GPS in the Holy Stone drone might not work optimally. Reviewing your altitude and flying lower can help with this issue. Besides, the FAA and other aeronautic organizations require you not to exceed 400 feet legally, so controlling your altitude is prudent!

What if your altitude is fine and you’re still drifting? Calibrate your Holy Stone drone’s gyroscope.

You should also choose an area to fly with ample satellites, as this will help the drone’s GPS system stay connected and receive data about its status. Flying without obstructions is also key to keeping the GPS functional.

Wi-Fi connectivity issues

Holy Stone drone remotes don’t have screens to control costs, as you’ll recall. So, what do you do when your mobile device can’t connect to the drone, precluding you from seeing anything on the screen when you open the Holy Stone app?

If you can see a Wi-Fi connection available but can’t access it, that’s probably because your mobile device isn’t compatible with a Holy Stone drone. Some Samsung models, like the J6 and J8, are likely to run into this issue.

You can ascertain if this is the issue by borrowing a friend or family member’s phone and connecting to the Holy Stone. If the device connects with no problem, then you know it’s your mobile device.

Unfortunately, the only way to fix this issue is by upgrading your mobile device.

SD card issues

Some Holy Stone drones might give you a headache when it comes to the SD card. You checked and bought a compatible card, but once you began saving photos or videos on the card, you realized later you can’t see anything. Did your files not save?

Possibly, and there’s only one way to find out: Turn the Holy Stone drone off, remove the SD card, and insert it into a laptop or computer. If you can see the files, then they did save, but they don’t appear on the SD card.

However, if you don’t see any files, they didn’t save. Double-check that your SD card has enough storage space for your files, that it’s formatted correctly (which you can do via your computer), and that the card didn’t become corrupted.

The card should also be a Class 10 UGC card so it can read and write simultaneously.

Okay, but what if your files are visible on the card, but you can’t open or play them on the drone? Once again, land the Holy Stone drone and try the files on your computer. If they work there, try another card and save your files.

If the files are accessible on the other card, then your original card might be incompatible with the Holy Stone drone, or the card might be corrupted.

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