Our Top Drone Flying Tips for After Lockdown
Good preparation is key to any drone operation, there is no denying that. After a year in lockdown, travel restrictions have meant that many have not been able to fly their drone as regularly as usual. It’s normal that you may feel a bit rusty about your drone flying skills. Fear not, we have you covered with our drone flying tips.
Operating a drone can sometimes be tricky. So to avoid any silly missteps, it’s essential to read the product’s manual and get familiar with the best apps to download and pay close attention to pre-flight preparations. After you understand your drone’s capabilities and limitations choose a safe test flight zone and practice some basic manoeuvres before you take the leash off. Additionally, remember to take advantage of free online resources.
We are also holding regular rooms on Clubhouse where we discuss the latest industry trends, the future of the drone industry and connect with other like minded individuals. You can find out more about Clubhouse here.
As restrictions are starting to be lifted, and a glimpse of normality is on the horizon, we have rounded up our top 5 drone flying tips to ensure a smooth flight.
Our Top Drone Flying tips
Get your drone serviced
Just like cars…drones need some TLC too. Your drone needs to be in working condition at all times so it is reliable, having your drone regularly serviced is an effective way to keep your hardware in top condition.
How often should you drone be serviced? At least once every 12 months. The more often you’re using the equipment, the more often you should get a service. For those using drones commercially, perhaps look at a service at least once every six months to ensure that your equipment is up to the job.
The simple answer is don’t try to service your drone yourself. For safety, efficiency and the required expertise, send your broken drone to an authorised dealer.
Like all things with moving parts and electronics, regular or constant use causes wear and tear. For drones, it’s advisable to implement a routine maintenance programme on a per-flight basis rather than set dates in the calendar.
Take care of the essentials and clean dirt and from the chassis. Anything that flies through the air will accumulate a buildup of muck, dust, insects and pollution.
Remember that you’re dealing with an electronic device so a little care is required. Don’t start interfering with electronics and circuit boards unless you know what you’re doing. You’d be amazed at how useful some elementary soldering skills are though.
Even the smallest crack can cause flight problems. Use an anti static cloth, a compressed air cleaner and a light brush to keep the UAV in a shiny, out-of-the-box condition.
We wrote an entire blog about drone maintenance and repair, you can read more here.
Carry Spare Parts
Accidents can and do happen.
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of pilots who forget to pack obvious drone accessories like spare blades or batteries. There is nothing worse than traveling hours to a location, only to bust a propeller in the first five minutes and have no replacement. To avoid that kind of premature grounding, ensure you keep plenty of spare parts handy, especially the propellers and backup batteries. The general rule is: “If it can fail or fall off, always pack a spare”.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Try to not let your drone perch on top of the wardrobe gathering dust! I know we have been in lockdown for a year now…but there is no excuse for not getting your drone out for a flight every so often.
As with anything in life, mental obstacles are the biggest things in the way of your success. Particularly when it comes to drone flying, you need to build confidence in order to do it correctly. For this reason, building fundamental skills in especially necessary. Precision flight is so much easier when you’re confident in your drone skills.
If you have no work for a while, always remember to fly regularly. With practice comes confidence, and with confidence comes awesome flights!
Download the top Drone Apps
Your phone storage may hate you for it.. but downloading as many drone apps as you can makes flight planning super easy.
Smartphones have quickly become one of the most powerful technology tools that we use in our everyday lives. From making calls, downloading apps to even tracking your sleeping pattern – they can do an awful lot. For us drone pilots, there is a whole potential of apps that we can download to boost our piloting experience.
I recently wrote an article that talks you through the best drone apps you need to take your flights to the next level. You can check it out here.
Calibrate and Pre Flight Check
Let’s say it one more time for the people at the back, DO YOUR CHECKS.
Before you take to the skies, it’s incredibly important to do those vital checks to ensure your drone is airworthy. Having a drone flight checklist handy also means you will never forget any of the equipment that may be key to your operation. This will allow you to avoid issues, that may ultimately lead you to crash your drone and ensuring its safety.
Going through a pre-flight checklist will keep you and your drone safe. It will also make sure you don’t waste time fixing components and getting things ready, when you could be flying your drone. Here is a checklist you can use:
Here’s a checklist you can use before each flight:
WEATHER & SITE SAFETY CHECK
- Chance of precipitation less than 10%
- Wind speed under 15 knots (less than 20 mph)
- Cloud base at least 500 feet
- Visibility at least 3 statute miles (SM)
- If flying at dawn / dusk, double-check civil twilight hours
- Establish take-off, landing, and emergency hover zones
- Potential for electromagnetic interference?
- Look for towers, wires, buildings, trees, or other obstructions
- Look for pedestrians and/or animals and set up safety perimeter if needed
- Discuss flight mission with other crew members if present
VISUAL AIRCRAFT / SYSTEM INSPECTION
- Registration number is displayed properly and is legible
- Look for abnormalities—aircraft frame, propellers, motors, undercarriage
- Look for abnormalities—gimbal, camera, transmitter, payloads, etc.
- Gimbal clamp and lens caps are removed
- Clean lens with microfiber cloth
- Attach propellers, battery/fuel source, and insert SD card / lens filters
- Turn on transmitter / remote control and open up DJI Go 4 app
- Turn on aircraft
- Verify established connection between transmitter and aircraft
- Position antennas on transmitter toward the sky
- Verify display panel / FPV screen is functioning properly
- Calibrate Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) as needed
- Calibrate compass before every flight
- Verify battery / fuel levels on both transmitter and aircraft
- Verify that the UAS has acquired GPS location from at least six satellites
- Take-off to eye-level altitude for about 10-15 seconds
- Look for any imbalances or irregularities
- Listen for abnormal sounds
- Pitch, roll, and yaw to test control response and sensitivity
- Check for electromagnetic interference or other software warnings
- Do one final check to secure safety of flight operations area
- Proceed with flight mission
We would recommend you always check your SD card is fully inserted. There would be nothing worse than landing and realising you have no data stored!
Enjoyed our top drone flying tips? Start your journey with us today!
If you enjoyed our top drone flying tips to get you going after lockdown, let us know! Also give us your top tips so we can share them with other pilots.
We’re the UK’s leading commercial drone experts working across all sectors. We pride ourselves being able to create a solution that matches your needs, not what we sell. That means we work with all the major drones suppliers to create solutions that are truly unique to your operations.
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