So, you’ve picked up a drone and decided to start getting some practice in with it. Hitting the outdoors immediately and testing your drone’s limits is an appealing idea, but considering that it was likely a sizeable investment, you’ll want to make sure you keep it in tip-top shape for as long as possible. So, before you head out, make sure you know how you can avoid the most common crashes so you can stay airborne.
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important nonetheless. If you’re flying indoors, there’s a good chance your drone won’t receive any GPS or GLONASS signal. This means the pilot is going to be in full control of the drone’s movements, so if you aren’t a practiced hand, colliding with obstacles becomes more likely. Additionally, if your drone has obstacle avoidance sensors and a ‘Return to Home’ feature, these should not be used, as it the setting usually puts the drone at a specified height (which could be higher than the roof) and it could collide with one object in an attempt to avoid another. If you’re new to flying drones, rather avoid using it indoors, even in large spaces such as warehouses, just to be safe.
Secondly, it’s also important to note that every device around you can cause signal interference, like your smartphone, smartwatch, car, satellite dish and cellular towers around you. So make sure to avoid these and select your flying locations carefully.
Flying in Bad Weather
Inclement weather, mostly rain and wind, will affect the performance of your drone rather significantly – so stay on top of weather forecasts before heading out for a flight. This is particularly relevant for novice drone users, because wind will significantly influence how your drone will respond to input, while rain can cause damages, malfunctions, or crashes if you aren’t careful enough.
Think of your drone like you do your DSTV signal: bad weather equals bad signal.
Making sure your props are well-maintained and in good condition before each flight is a good habit to get into for the long-term health of your drone. If you lose a prop mid-flight as a result of it being damaged or loose, it could spell the end for your drone. Luckily props are relatively inexpensive to replace, so make sure you keep a spare set around. This way if you notice something isn’t right with an installed prop, you can replace it conveniently and without risking a sketchy flight with your drone that could result in a crash.
While the props are pivotal, remember to do prelim checks on all components (battery, props, gimbal etc) before each and every flight; and if you’re in need of some replacement parts, weFix is an authorised dealer and repairer of DJI drones.
This comes down to skill and experience – so while flying backwards isn’t necessarily a cardinal rule that should never be broken, it’s something that should be left to pilots confident in their ability to avoid obstacles. If you’re flying backwards to attempt a specific shot, it’s a good idea to use a spotter or to make sure you’re familiar with the topography and area to ensure you won’t be backing into any trees or other objects. Additionally, it’s extremely uncommon for drones to have obstacle-avoidance sensors on the back, so you’ll be relying on your eyesight alone in most cases.
Most drones have at least some kind of safety feature, and advanced or more expensive drones often have several in the vein of obstacle-avoidance sensors or a “return to home” feature (which, once again, should never be used indoors – see the first point). Other less obvious safety features are the warning notices that could pop up for several reasons, like a low battery notification, a malfunction notice, or weak GPS signal. If any serious notifications pop up it’s better to immediately land the drone and fix whatever the issue is before flying again.
If you are a novice, always keeping the drone in the normal flying mode as this keeps all of the sensors active. Sport mode only for advanced users.
You might not hit the skies in full flight just yet, but with delicate technology and the cost of drones, rather safe than sorry is a mantra that will save you a lot of headaches.
If you want to take a closer look at all the DJI drones and accessories available head over the weFix online store and Tweet them @weFix to say hi! And remember, weFix is an authorised repairer of DJI drones, so if you have fallen into one of the pitfalls as outlined above, give the guys at weFix a shout!