For most pilot reports, one studies the aircraft ahead of time and becomes familiar with the cockpit and controls.

But for this flight report of Ehang’s app-controlled Ghost drone, I wanted to remain ignorant, to approach it as would the average consumer who knows nothing about aviation but wants to buy an over-the-counter camera platform to fly straight out of the box.

Guangzhou, China-based Ehang’s U.S. operations are in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company has developed a lightweight electric quadcopter measuring 14-in. across that uses any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet to control its automated flight profiles. These include a “follow me” mode, enabling the ultimate in selfies, with auto camera following. Retail price is $749 without the camera, which can be of customer’s choice but is usually a GoPro.

Once downloaded onto a smartphone, the app displays the control buttons and a Google Earth photo that shows the Ghost’s position, which can be directed to an exact location with the tap of a finger.

Ehang Director of Tech Sales Xinye Liu walked me into the Drone Cage at AirVenture’s Innovation Center for my first flight of the Ghost. The weather was fine, but with a stiff breeze from the west that could challenge the drone’s controllability.

Ms. Liu preflighted the Ghost, connected its internal battery, and switched on her Android. The top menu bar displayed operational status: the drone needs six satellites and a strong signal to be ready to go. Commands are relayed to the Ghost via a pocket-sized, 2 1/2-in. square communications box.

Takeoff was simple: with a simple push of the takeoff button, the Ghost rose 10 ft. and awaited the next command. From its hovering position, the drone could be made to fly forward or back, or left or right, simply by tilting the Android: Tip left to go left; level it to hold in that position; tip upwards to bring the Ghost toward you. (This capability, Liu explained, is a new feature that will be downloadable for free in October, and replace current left-right, forward and back buttons).

To make the drone gain altitude, simply scroll your fingertip up a slider bar on the side of the display. To bring the Ghost home, push the Return button; to make it land, presses the Land icon. Separate buttons control the 2-D camera gimbal.

I mastered the Ghost in about 30 sec., having never flown a drone or a radio-controlled aircraft before, and the wind proved to be a non-issue. That shows how easy it will be for the man-on-the-street to break the surly bonds of earth with never a thought about aviation.

The 1.4-lb. Ghost has an endurance of about 20 min., can operate horizontally or vertically within about 3,000 ft. of the operator, and can carry a payload of up to 0.5 lb. Its “follow me” mode can be set to as close as 3 ft., or within camera range of a boat, snowboard, dog whatever else one wants to attach the communications box to.

Ehang, a one-year-old startup company, has now sold the Ghost in more than 70 countries and is making a big push in the U.S., especially with customer service. Liu noted that should a customer crash the drone, Ehang will repair it for free. This, she says, is part of the strategy to attract the consumer as well as the hobbyist and bring a drone to every home.