Drone Safety Tips
Drones are rapidly becoming popular, with their limitless aerial perspective taking the industry by storm. While they are easy- to- fly devices, they also pose a potential danger to their surroundings. This is to say anybody can fly them but not everybody can fly them safely. What drone safety tips should you take when flying drones?
Practice, practice, practice
It is no secret what it takes to make a great pilot; practice. It’s definitely difficult to match the ecstasy that’s gotten from mastering full control of your drone. However, this achievement doesn’t come overnight. It is only a product of consistent practice. By this, you are able to learn the tricks of flying the drone while avoiding all obstacles and flying in difficulties. Practicing with a cheaper drone is advisable considering it won’t hurt financially in case of a crash. With a smaller and cheaper drone, you can easily perfect your flying skills indoors and outdoors while building your confidence in control. This can later be translated into an advanced model without much difficulty. Competent flying skills are a major step to safe drone flying.
Read the drone manual carefully before use
Most people often ignore the manual books sold with the drones and miss out on some key elements of operating the drone. The excitement that comes with having a new flying gadget overwhelms most of us to the point of forgetting the basics. Some feel they already know so much about the drone that they don’t need to read the manual. However, every drone is specially made and has its own unique features. This means that its operation might be different from the others depending on its features. Most drones do not come with safety instructions, but they will often have the basic operations instructions to guide you. A thorough knowledge of your equipment, its strengths and limitations is the first step to success in any field. This is one the drone safety tips you should not overlook, even it is tempting.
(Important Drone Safety Tip) Stick to wide, open places
For a start, you need a lot of space to fly the drone. Thus, ensure you restrict your flights to wide, open spaces. These are the best locales that you can enjoy your flight sessions without having to worry about injuring people, colliding with a tree or an airplane. At first, you will probably enjoy flying in open, wide and free spaces but as you advance, you get tempted to explore more interesting things. These temptations could lead you to more devastating dangers than anticipated. For a professional pilot, it is easy to maneuver in the midst of challenges and obstacles but for a beginner, it might be challenging and costly.
You don’t want to go banging your neighbor’s door begging to be let on the roof to get your drone. And the last thing you also want is to go climbing a massive pine tree to get a stuck drone. It is advisable to take a few months and train indoors with a toy drone before getting out there. Then, you will be able to handle most of the obstacles when you are ready.
Beware of the weather
Here, bad weather is not limited to cloudy skies and rain. There could be sunny days with light or heavy winds. Bad weather generally affects the performance of a drone in different ways. For hotter days, it is often best to avoid longer flight sessions and elongate rest-time between flights. This is because the motor works harder at a hotter temperature and the generated heat could potentially overheat the electronics. Allowing longer downtime between flights helps the electronics to cool down.
For a cold day, it is best to plan for shorter flight times while keeping a check on battery levels. The efficiency of the batteries decreases in cold temperature and may even drop below the critical level if not regularly checked.
In case of rain, flying a drone is risky to the drone. Drones, like most electronics, are not friendly to any amount of moisture. When planning a flight session for a day, you should consider the precipitation intensity and also its probability. This will help you predict flying conditions for that particular day. Humidity is also another cause of moisture to check before taking your flight. The bad thing about fog is that you can’t see the drone past a certain point which is risky for your drone and any other being. Remember that there are also lots of drones you can fly indoors when weather is bad.
For the case of winds, higher wind speeds affect the positioning of the drone thus the difficulty in maneuvering. Newest models have a little endurance but cannot stand heavy weather conditions. It is said that the higher you go the stronger the wind thus it is recommended to keep it low in windy conditions if you choose to fly in windy conditions.
Keep it low, keep it slow
This is a common and basic motto for beginner pilots. Seeing a drone in the air naturally tempts you to try new speeds and higher grounds increasing the chances of losing the stability. However, flying at low altitude at a slow speed helps you comfortably maneuver around avoiding all obstacles. This is more applicable when flying in bushy places where there are trees. The drone should always be at a sight distance and for a start; a manageable speed is always the best. In as much as today’s standard drones have a speed of close to 40 miles/hour, always ensure you are not uncomfortably fast.
This helps you avoid crashes with obstacles comfortably protecting your drone and other things around it. The FAA also has a maximum allowable altitude of 400feet above the ground.
Know the rules and regulations
The popularity of drones and the potential harm they pose has prompted most governments to put in place rules and regulations governing the use of drones. It is your responsibility to know and understand these rules and abide by them. First, if your drone is for commercial use, you are expected to register it under the relevant governing body. In the US, registering your drone under the FAA costs $5 and is valid for 5 years. You are also required to mark your model aircraft with your registration number in case it is lost or stolen. Other rules include:
• Always keep your drone within sight
• keep off no-drone zones
• Always avoid manned aircraft and always avoid careless and reckless flying
• The maximum allowable speed of 100mph
• Time to fly is daytime plus 30minutes before sunrise and after sunset.
• You cannot fly the drone over non-participant crowds, inside a sheltered immobile vehicle or operate the aircraft from a moving car unless you are flying over a sparsely populated area.
• You should not carry any unnecessary weight unless it doesn’t affect the stability of the aircraft and controllability of the drone and it should be securely attached.
Since most drones do not come with safety guidelines, it is your duty to look for them, know them and follow them. They are meant to protect yourself and other vulnerable people from accidents and unexpected crashes. Knowing these rules and regulations will keep you on toes, which is healthy for everyone’s safety. Also, ensure you are up to date on the latest rules and regulations.
Note; These rules and regulations defer from country to country and can change at anytime.
Avoid populated areas
Sometimes you could be tempted to showcase your flying skills over people in a park, a stadium or tempted to take aerial shots in public places. This poses a danger to the people below it as you could lose control and accidentally injure someone in the process. To prevent this, it is highly advisable to avoid public places or highly populated places. This is especially if you are not yet competent enough to comfortably fly the drone. Don’t worry though, practice will make you better.
The population is not restricted to humans only, it also includes Animal population. To most animals, having a robot flying over them could mean a threat and they could react to that by trying to fight the aircraft. It is important to keep a reasonable or safe distance from the animals in to prevent losing your drone or harming the animals if they are vulnerable. Birds are also a factor to consider when flying a drone.
Keep it away from kids
Normally, kids would be excited to see some device hovering around them. The will only get interested in either flying them or playing with them by chasing them around. This places them in a vulnerable position and they could easily be injured. The drone blades are sharp hence dangerous for them. For you, their presence could be disruptive enough to make you lose focus on the drone. Always ensure you store the drone package away from the children so they can’t mess with it when you are not around. Their lots of drones for little ones that you can purchase but caution should always be used.
Stock up on spare parts and accessories
A drone is like any other machine which is prone to damages and malfunctioning. It is only wise to carry the necessary spare parts and accessories in case of malfunctioning. Things like batteries get drained of charge when in a middle of a commercial work and you are left confused. Ensure you always carry an extra battery for such cases. Your tablet should also be charged enough so you do not lose the visual remote control of the drone. In cases of damages, ensure you have the required spare parts to replace immediately they are needed.
Keep away from airports
There have been incidents of delayed flights at airports after the presence of unauthorized drones close to the runways, raising a question of their disruption to manned aircraft. The recent case of a helicopter crash landing in South Carolina is one of the many near-misses collision cases in the U.S and globally. The sheer scale of these incidents has prompted airspace authorities to regulate and enforce regulations on this rapidly developing technology. As a result, it is highly advisable to keep off these airports not only for the safety of your drone but also for other people’s safety. Unless you have clearance and permissions from the relevant aircraft authorities, the penalties for these regulations are not as pleasant.
Always do a Pre-flight inspection
It is imperative to always do pre-flight checks before you fly. Here are some of the things that you should always inspect before flying:
• Check whether the batteries are fully charged and properly installed
• If there is any wear in any outer component especially the propellers
• If the GPS is properly functioning. Anytime you are using the GPS mode, the drone is essentially flying itself. You might be thinking you are in control of the drone but the GPS makes the decision how to get there. In most cases, it functions as expected but occasionally it fails or the compass is wrongly calibrated. There have been cases of drone fly-aways or unwanted accidents.
• If there is anything in the motors that can cause obstruction.
• Is the controller running? It is also advisable to turn the smartphone or iPad into airplane mode to prevent any interference.
• Is the airframe in the correct position to take off?
These measures are to prevent your drone from unnecessary crashes and unwanted accidents.
Use common sense
This is usually perceived as a general rule that applies everywhere. When flying a drone, there is the part of the fun and this should incorporate safety for you, your drone and other people. Always keep it in mind when piloting the drone lest suffering fall upon you in different ways. Do what is supposed to be done to avoid danger and do it when it supposed to be done.
Another terrible idea is flying under the influence of alcohol and drugs. In fact, this should be a no-brainer. The motto “don’t drink and fly,” is so relevant in this case. Drugs influence your decision-making in a negative way and this could turn out to be disastrous.
Practicing safe drone flying does not cost a lot. You get to enjoy piloting some flying gadget while everyone else lives happily and safely.