If this is your first time flying a drone, you’ll probably crash it a few times before you get the hang of it. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a cheap drone before trying an expensive drone from DJI and arrange drone insurance cost.
Luckily, they are mistakes you can fix with a lot of practice.
It also helps to know what kind of potential problems you need to prepare for. Some are basic common sense stuff, and others are things you never realized could be trouble until you experience them.
One important tip before we start: If you’ll be flying your drone often and near people or buildings, get liability insurance. It’ll save your ass and your pocket in case. If it’s a DJI drone, also make sure you get DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh in case the drone crashes.
With that out of the way, here are the most common problems beginners face and the precautions you need to take.
1. Keep FAA’s Drone Rules in Mind
The FAA is taking drone transgressions more seriously these days after a series of drone incidents. If you are caught breaking one of their rules, you’ll face a hefty fine and in some serious cases, jail time.
In case you haven’t read the rules yet, here they are.
- Stay below 400 feet
- Always maintain a line of sight to your drone
- Do not fly near aircraft or airports
- Do not fly at night (though this rule will soon be scrapped)
- Do not fly over crowds (also set to be scrapped)
- Stay away from emergencies like wildfires and hurricanes
- Stay away from restricted airspace
2. Check the Weather
Do not underestimate the danger of flying in the wind. Most hobbyist drones are light and cannot withstand anything stronger than a calm breeze.
If you try to fly in windy weather, you could easily have a flyaway drone on (or rather out) of your hands.
If you are going to fly in a place far from home, check the weather forecast before you leave.
The best flying conditions are calm, sunny and not overly hot (high temperatures can create dangerous thermal currents).
3. Do a Pre-flight Check
This is one most beginner forget, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Before you fly your drone, run through a checklist of essential checks from the battery to the software. Here are the most important checks that I’ve explained in more detail in this blog post.
- Check that the drone and controller software is up to date. If you are using your phone to control the drone, check that the app is the most current version.
- Set the RTH – Return to Home – point. This is where the drone will automatically return to if the battery runs out or it loses connection with the controller.
- Check that the batteries are not too cold. This is important during winter.
- Check that your phone also has enough battery. If you’ll be flying for some time, carry a power bank to recharge it.
- Check that you’ve inserted a memory card and that it has enough capacity.
4. Take it Slow
It’s easy to get too excited and fly too high and too fast.
Flying a drone is harder than it seems if you’ve never flown one before. It’s easy to lose control and crash.
Take it slow and be patient.
When you start flying, first hover the drone 7-8 feet above the ground. Don’t stay too low as the force of air forced upwards could cause the drone to crash.
Get the feel of the drone and observe your surroundings. Then fly slowly always keeping an eye on the drone and potential obstacles.
5. Keep to Open Areas
To reduce the risk of crashing into a tree, building or even people, only fly above open areas. This gives you space to practice without damaging the drone or injuring someone.
Also, watch out for power lines and cell towers.
6. Beware Your Drone’s Range
Often, you won’t realize you’ve flow too far until you’ve lost connection to the drone and it becomes a flyaway.
Stay conscious of how far out the drone is. Make sure you can always see it clearly and avoid flying it behind hills and trees as these obstacles could also cause it to lose connection.
7. Be Ready for Anything
This is one of the most important precautions to keep in mind.
Thing happens, no matter how skilled you are. You have always to be ready to handle an unexpected problem whether it is unexpected wind or a faulty propeller.
This is especially important for high-tech DJI drones that have autonomous flight modes. Don’t rely too much on the drone’s self-flying tech that you forget how to control the drone manually.
Be safe and have fun with your new drone.