How to Avoid Crashing Your Drone
Many kids and adults alike found drones under their Christmas trees last year and with the influx of drone repair inquiries we’ve had in the past few days, it’s safe to say that people aren’t having the easiest time flying them.
Drones weren’t designed to be complicated to fly. In fact, they were specifically made with intelligent features that would enable it to fly without a lot of help. Still, small mistakes and user errors can cause the whole thing to come crashing down. Before your drone takes its maiden voyage, it could help to know a little more about how drones work and how to avoid a crash.
What is a drone?
A drone is loosely defined as an aircraft that doesn’t need a person controlling every part of the flight process. The drones that hobbyists and filmmakers use are self-stabilizing and can hold a GPS position. They have multiple propellers that allow them to carry heavier loads and hold precise locations. Because it takes so much power to get that much weight off the ground, the battery life on most hobbyist drones is under an hour.
There are hundreds of different types of hobbyist drones and one for every budget. If you’re looking for a drone with a camera that can take high-quality video and photos, then DJI’s line of drones is the most popular. If you’re looking for a toy to play around with, then most people suggest Syma or Hubsan models. There are even drones with or without cameras for under $20, but you have to keep in mind that lower quality drones can be finicky and should be kept a careful eye on.
How do drones work?
Typical drones are controlled with a smartphone or handheld controller communicating over 2.4 gigahertz radio waves. Even if your drone uses wifi, it is still transmitting on the 2.4 gigahertz spectrum. There is also a GPS chip located inside the drone that relays location and takeoff spots to the controller. The user controls takeoff, landing, and movement with the controller while watching the location or video footage from a screen on the controller.
What causes drones to crash?
Crashing and “flyaways” (when a drone goes rogue and flies off) is almost always caused by some sort of user error. There have been a few software malfunctions that resulted in flyaways, but most have been solved with manufacturer updates.
Loss of Connection: One of the most common problems with drone flying is the loss of connection with the device and the controller. Every drone has different abilities and trying to take it out too far or too high can result in a loss of connection. Once a connection is lost, it can be very difficult to regain it and bring your drone back to your location. Interference from buildings can also affect drones that are pushed further than their limits.
GPS lock: Drones find their way back to their owners using GPS location. To avoid losing your drone if a loss of connection happens, users are supposed to set a GPS lock, so that the drone knows where the home location is even if the user loses control. If you neglect to set a home location, or forget to reset the home location a previous flight, your drone could easily become a flyaway.
Environmental issues: Drones are exciting to fly, but taking off without checking the area first or making sure conditions are right to fly will surely end in a crash. Check for trees, power lines, and anything else that could interfere with your flight path. Also, check your local weather to make sure that there will be plenty of visibility and no chance of rain.
Be smart and do research
No two drones are exactly alike, so even an experienced drone pilot shouldn’t skip the manual when operating a new drone. Take the time and learn every control and maneuver before take off to ensure a crash-free flight.