Modern aerial-photography (AP) multi-rotors have a lot of pilot-assist features that make them relatively easy for complete rookies to fly. Some practically fly themselves. Yet, people still crash their drones all the time. Many of those expensive pile-ups could be avoided with a little time dedicated to learning the rudiments of flying. It is also important to practice managing the various features of your multi-rotor, so that you do not get flustered.
A computer-based simulator is one of the most effective and convenient tools to improve your piloting skills and confidence. It's the best way to gain flight time and emulate a practical workload without any actual risk. You can practice when the sun goes down and without regard to weather conditions. The best part of using a simulator is that the damage from a crash is instantly repaired by hitting the restart button!
There are a few flight simulators on the market with varying capabilities and price points. I recently checked out a new sim called Zephyr. Many users will be happy to know that it is compatible with Windows and Mac.
While there is a lot of overlap with the features of other simulators, there are also several unique aspects to Zephyr. I think that the most significant unique attribute of Zephyr is the Learning Management System (LMS). For budding pilots who are learning in a classroom setting, LMS allows an instructor to assign specific training tasks and track the progress of each student. The instructor can even monitor a training flight real-time from another workstation. Zephyr is also available for single users.
A number of different controllers can be used with Zephyr. The version that I tested comes with a FlySky FS-T6 transmitter, which is an off-the-shelf 6-channel unit made to actually control an RC model. A USB adapter (also included with the sim) allows the transmitter to interface with a computer.
A different sim/controller bundle is available as well. It includes the FlySky FS-i6S transmitter. The big difference between the FS-T6 and FS-i6S is the throttle control. The FS-T6 throttle stays where you put it when you release the stick, while the FS-i6S throttle is spring-loaded to return to center. You'll want to choose whichever style mirrors the transmitter for your multi-rotor.