Technology That Soars: 10 Valuable Tips for Flying a Drone
There’s nothing like getting photography shots with a drone. Its camera can capture unique aerial footage that you can’t get anywhere else.
The thing is, you’ll need to be careful. As a beginner, it’s easy to make a mistake that will send your expensive device flying into a river.
It’s important to learn how your drone works before you take it flying and read up on the laws in your area. These are only a few tips for flying a drone that you should keep in mind.
Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know before you try your hand at maneuvering a drone.
1. Read the Manual
When you take your new drone out of the box, grab the manual and start reading up on the device. It won’t be a huge page-turner, but glancing over it is necessary.
If you find your eyes glazing over as you look at the page, type in the name of your drone on YouTube and look up videos of people flying it. Watching these clips is not the same as reading the manual, but they can give you some valuable insight into how to use a drone.
After you’re done reading or watching videos, do yourself a favor and take your device out for a few test flights. You want to make sure that you have all the controls down before you do the actual take-off.
2. Look Around the Area
Even if you fly your device in a big open area, there’s still the potential to run into obstacles. That’s why it’s important to do your research on a location before flying a drone.
This is especially true if you’re planning to send your device out a night. Obstructions that you would be able to see will be drowned out by the darkness.
If the location has too many trees to fly your drone around, it might be a good idea for you to consider a different location. You want to keep maneuvering simple if you’re still a beginner.
3. Invest in Drone Insurance
You don’t always need drone insurance. We do recommend picking it up if your device is over a certain price point. The last thing you want is to crash your two thousand dollar DJI Mavic 3 and have no way to take care of the damages.
Drone insurance will allow you to handle the repairs without paying a cent out of your own pocket. If you plan to send your device over lakes and rivers, consider getting insurance that covers water damage as well as general trips to the shop.
4. Keep the Software Updated
Drones are a lot like phones and computers in that you have to update their software every now and again. If you fail to do so, it can result in a devastating crash. It’s sort of like when your phone freezes up.
Before every flight, take a moment to check for crucial software updates. If there is any, go ahead and download them. It may take a few minutes, but it’s worth it.
5. Follow the Proper Rules and Regulations
Most states across the US have rules and regulations in place when it comes to drones. If you fly your device in a “no flight area,” you can get into serious trouble. In a lot of cases, you can’t float your drone over a person’s head.
Some countries have outlawed drones in their entirety. If you bring one in, you’ll face hefty fines. Before you can take your drone out, you’ll need to get a permit to use it.
This involves registering your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration. You’ll only have to pay a small 5-dollar fee to complete the process.
If you plan to use your device commercially, you’ll have to pay 160 dollars to take a test and get a certificate. Failing to do so can result in jail time.
You can’t send your drone over a crowd. For one, it’s a breach of safety, and two, it’s dangerous. If something were to go wrong, you could hurt someone.
If you hover your drone over another person’s property, they are within their rights to call the authorities on you. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could damage their home. Not to mention, it’s rude.
Don’t send your drone over a disaster area. Your device is pretty small, but it can still get in the way of first responders. Getting your footage isn’t worth putting another person’s life at risk.
6. Choose the Right Weather Conditions
Your drone can take some punishment, but it’s not waterproof. It can handle light snow and rain, but under no circumstances should you send it out in a downpour.
If it’s too chilly out, the propellers could ice over, which will send your device falling to the ground. When the wind picks up, it might be a good idea to call it a day. If you’re not experienced with the drone, you could lose control over it and crash it.
For the most part, you can still fly your drone in light amounts of fog. In fact, you can get some pretty cool-looking shots this way. We don’t recommend taking your device out when you can’t see your hand in front of your face, however.
The thick fog will hide obstacles, which will result in an accident. Besides, if it’s so foggy outside that you can’t see anything, your drone’s camera won’t be able to make out anything, anyway. You’d be better off putting off the photoshoot until after things clear up.
7. Invest in a Landing Pad
There are a lot of drone accessories that you can pick up for your device. Extra propellers and batteries are a given. What most people fail to account for, though, is a landing pad.
It seems like a useless gimmick, but it’s actually pretty helpful. It gives the drone a soft and even place to land. This way, you don’t break a propeller by sitting the device down on top of a rock.
When you send your drone up into the air, the wind will pick up a little. The landing pad will prevent dirt and debris from coming up with it and getting stuck in your drone’s hardware.
8. Beware of Birds
When you’re flying a drone, you’ve got to remember that you’re sharing the sky. The last thing you want is to beam a bird. You’ll harm the poor creature and the collision will damage the drone as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that birds are protective. If they feel like your drone is invading their territory, they will attack it. When this happens, you want to send your drone up into the air as fast as you can.
The sudden movement will notify the bird that the drone isn’t a living creature that they need to worry about. Once you’re sure that the birds are no longer chasing the device, land it and take it to another area. Hope that the next place you go will be a little less populated.
9. Keep Spare Parts on Hand
Out of all the drone tips and tricks that we’ve given you, this one is the most important. Always have spare parts on hand before you go out. Namely, you want to have a few extra propellers.
Propellers are pretty flimsy, so it’s not hard to chip one. If you send the drone out anyway, you risk crashing it. Investing in a few extra propellers isn’t too expensive either.
Batteries are a different story. You should have one or two extras on you so you don’t have to worry as much about your drone running out of juice. It is less feasible on the wallet, however.
10. Check Your Drone Out Before You Fly It
Before you fly your drone, do a visual inspection. Again, make sure that the propellers are intact. If you notice any chips or breaks, trade the damaged propeller out with another one.
Look for scratches on the body of the device. Dirt and moisture can settle into these problem areas, which can result in rust. Always do a short test flight to ensure everything is in good working order.
Top Tips for Flying a Drone
Drones can allow you to get great pictures and video footage that you wouldn’t be able to get by any other means. If you’re not experienced with flying, however, it can end in disaster.
Fail to do your homework, and you could face fines and jail time. Not to mention, you could damage your thousand-dollar device. Don’t let that happen to you!
Follow these tips for flying a drone, and for more ways to take care of your device, visit our blog.