You might be too eager to fly your new drone, and you do so immediately- but it promptly crashes. If you don’t know how to fly a drone, mistakes can happen. The following are the most common errors of piloting your new quadcopter, and the recommended ways of avoiding them.
For the most part, the frequently-committed mistakes of drone-flying are a result of lapses in common sense. You can easily ward off and rectify them if you first become aware of the situation.
Although these problems may sound straightforward, they can occur in the most surprising ways.
Some FAA regulations have recently been altered, and one of them signifies that you have to show the registration number of your drone on the outside. You have to make the number visible, and you can affix it either by an engraving, a sticker or a marker. Additionally, the FAA requires that a pilot should receive authorization prior to flying in a controlled airspace.
1. Flying Your Drone Should Be Legal
Basically, you have to have your drone registered before flying it.
Typically, drones do not come with instructions about what pilots are allowed and not allowed to do with them. Predominantly in the United States (and not in most other countries) a craft that weighs at least 0.55 pounds has to be registered. Its pilot needs to adhere to strict aeronautical guidelines. To summarize, they are as follows:
Basic guidelines for flying drones in the US
- The flight of the craft should be at or below 400 feet over the ground
- The quadcopter should always be in the line of sight while on flight, otherwise, it should be brought in
- The drone should be operated far from airports
- The machine should not be flown above people
- Flying the drone close to emergency situations such as building fires or car crashes is prohibited
- A pilot should not fly their machine under influence
- Recognize controlled airspace
To recap the controlled airspace situation, a pilot is not allowed to fly their craft within a 5-mile proximity of an airport. To be able to do so, you should obtain authorization from the concerned air traffic controller pertaining to where and when you are going to fly your drone. It is necessary to utilize a LAANC tool that is in included in particular apps such as KittyHawk or Airmap. Be informed about the FAA listing of no-fly zone areas to guide in keeping your flight safe and legitimate.
Are you piloting for pay or compensation? In this case, you must get hold of a commercial drone license and follow a different set of regulations.
The bottom line is that you cannot just proceed in any outside area and fly according to your wishes. Stick to the rules- they are reasonably easy. Primarily take safety in consideration and ensure that the rules do not dissuade you.
2. Don’t Rush- Wait Until The Conditions Are Right
It’s understandable that you want to put your new toy drone or flying camera in the air as quickly as possible. But it’s best to reign it in, especially if conditions are erratic. If you take the risk of flying your craft on a windy evening, the gush might be beyond its capabilities. After 45 seconds of flight, you might find yourself climbing a tree to retrieve your quadcopter.
Gaining momentum while flying your drone, you might forget about the wind which tends to get stronger as you go up higher. Conditions on the ground may be acceptable, but they are a lot different up higher. This is worth noting prior to flying.
3. Be Wary Of Flying Over Trees, Power Lines and Light Posts
Apparently, you have to steer clear of trees, power lines and the like before taking up to the sky, although they are inevitable. Because of the wind, your machine could veer off toward the trees. Other than this, you should take into account other factors. Another tricky item is the handy return-to-home or RTH specs included in numerous new machines.
For one thing, if you are flying your craft at very low altitudes and there’s a high canopy of trees above, the RTH feature might initiate, and this is when the problems can ensue. In the same way, you’ll learn the hard way that your machine has quite a high automatic flight altitude. In many RTH modes, your craft could be taken up to 60 feet or more.
4. Don’t Veer Out Of Range, and Be Alert To Controller Interference
Drones normally present their effective operating range, which actually is the direct line distance from the controller to the craft. It is important that you stay within the indicated range and be ready to run towards your machine if you get something wrong.
According to FCC, any radio frequency electronics in the US should take on interference. Something in the sky may experience interference, although the FAA doesn’t want it to. In fact, it happens a lot, and it is something that you should get used to and prepare for.
It specifically takes place in video feeds if your machine has an attached FPV camera and at the same time live streams video on to the controller or your phone.
Keep away from flying in spaces that have excessive natural magnetic interference because it impedes the GPS. Flying in close proximity to large buildings, radio towers and power lines is particularly bad. It may affect the stability of your drone while on flight and you could frequently lose control of it.
5. Be On Guard When Doing A Propeller Wash
Flying too near to the ground is among the common mistakes committed by pilots. It may sound safe for first-time pilots to keep it low when flying their drones, but it is inclined to create a rather unstable flying situation for their machines. It has to do with the physics of drone flight.
While the propellers move, the air goes downward as they spin. With enough force, the machine will take off, but if near the ground, the air tends to rebound to the craft.
You should know how to fly a drone accordingly. Hovering it close to the ground causes two things to happen. The first is that the machine gets an extra boost with the high air pressure keeping it aloft. This happens even if there isn’t enough throttle to support flight. Try testing this in your house with a nano drone, and you’ll see how it goes.
Second, and which is important, is that it is very unstable to propeller wash. There are many cases wherein a drone hovers too low, and then suddenly lash into a spin or else completely turns upside down. Remember that a drone generates sufficient air flow to haul itself up into the air. If conversely, that air rebounds from the ground and hits back on to your craft at an inconsistent angle, it could spell trouble.
To keep safe, take off immediately at around 7 or 8 feet in the air. Continue hovering while evaluating your surroundings. Take note of how the wind, among other things, is affecting your machine, and from there proceed with your flight.
6. Carefully Monitor Wind and Air Temperature
To keep it simple (and avoid excessive technicalities), wind and air temperatures can significantly impact your flight. The wind gets stronger the higher you go up, but it is very changeable. Being powerful, it can create a bad day.
Be wary, too because the wind can take up ample battery power as your craft contends with it. So before taking off, consider the direction of the wind and then speed up. See to it that your battery is sufficient for getting back.
Air temperature is somewhat intricate. See how a hang-glider takes flight, or how an eagle goes when it soars? These are able to sustain their flying because of pockets of temperate, intensifying air that often dwell on hillsides. Called as “thermals” they are very powerful, more so if properly harnessed.
Your drone, small as it is, usually doesn’t possess a big surface, akin to a large wing of an airplane, for catching a thermal like that, but it holds enough to effect an improvement.
By and large, turbulence results when your machine flies around a hillside or above a changing terrain. Air temperature is apt to alter, along with probabilities for thermals.
Air pressure varies as influenced by different air temperature, and you’ll generally find that flying on a cool day allows the battery to work longer than on a hot or humid day. If the air is denser, the propellers find it easier to produce the needed lift for your machine to take flight.
Be Informed- As A Responsible Pilot
The above list is not exhaustive, and there’s just heaps of information to digest about how to fly a drone. But to sum it up, be sure to fly your machine safely under the right conditions, and stick to the rules. The FAA is keen on penalizing and imposing steep fines to pilots who fly their crafts illegally.
With all these said, and with you being a responsible pilot, have an amazing time up there in the air!