Top 5 Ways to Prevent DJI Drone Flyaways
The drone fly-away, It strikes fear into the heart of every new drone owner. But it doesn’t have to, here are the top 5 Ways to Prevent DJI Drone Flyaways.
What is a drone flyaway?
Simply put, a drone flyaway is when your shiny new UAV flies off in an unplanned manner & direction, with out the direct input of the pilot in charge. Usually resulting in total loss or major damage to said drone or property belonging to a third party.
However, in over four years of flying DJI drones commercially, I have yet to see what could be considered a true flyaway, or an event beyond the pilots control.
Flyaway or something else?
Events that are commonly classed as drone flyaways can be traced back to one of the following :
- Mechanical failure.
- Firmware/Software failure.
- Compass/Environmental/Location Influence.
- Inexperience/Unfamiliar with model of drone.
All of these types of drone flyaways are preventible if you follow the ikopta Top 5 Ways to Prevent DJI Drone Flyaways.
Top 5 Ways to Prevent DJI Drone Flyaways
1- Read the Manual
Sounds obvious, but read the manual. Its available in many formats and should be the first thing you do before charging batteries.
I’m guilty of shying away from BIG words, but important to know the craft you are flying inside/out. Understanding the settings and outcomes will greatly reduce un-expected actions from you DJI drone, keeping you in control.
Manufactures could do more by investing in better proofreading . It would be useful when issuing updates, to publish an appendix of version change at the end of the document. This would help getting to the updated instructions without wading through the entire document.
All of DJI drone instruction manuals can be found HERE.
2 – Do your Homework
Research where and when you are going to fly. It sounds onerous & time-consuming, but a few minutes spent on useful information apps will reduce the risk of unexpected influences that could effect the safe operation of your DJI drone.
- B4UFly is an app from the FAA. Great resource for updates to air use restrictions, NFZ and pilot information.
- Drone Assist, the drone safety app from NATS, the UK’s main Air Traffic Control provider, in partnership with Altitude Angel.
- Can I fly there? Free safety app showing Australian sub 2kg commercial drone flyers where they can and can’t fly their drone.
- AirMap provides aeronautical data & services to unmanned aircraft, or drones. Use AirMap to access low-altitude airspace advisories, create flights, to file digital notices, manage aircraft, & more.
- DJIGO4 & DJIGO. Main operating app for DJI Drones. NFZ & airspace information are updated constantly.
- PolarPro App is a convenient tool designed to help pilots find the latest update also features live wind and weather forecasts, KP index and programmable alerts for golden hour.
Understanding the effects of weather, radio interference, NFZ locations, other air-users, structures & environmental changes will reduce the risk of unexpected influences on your DJI drone.
3 – Start-up Procedures
Should there really be any difference in the way a recreational or professional drone pilot operates? Having a documented start-up procedure will greatly reduce the chances of a flyaway occurring. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. K-I-S-S is the way to go.
- Check craft for damage. Propellers are disposable, hairline cracks have downed many a craft. If in doubt, replace or don’t fly.
- Battery fully charged? Check charge level on the battery & the craft controller. Good practice to only fly fully charged. The charge level lights are only a guide. Just because there are 3 lights no guarantee you have 75% battery.
- Check your site. Is it what you were expecting? Any new risks? Is it a popular flying area? More than 3-4 flyers in the same area can cause interference, which could lead to a flyaway situation. Be aware of the environment you’re flying in.
- Double check the app settings before every flight. Check what happens when you get a communication loss from controller to craft. Will it hover, land or return to home? If RTH at what height? is it high enough or too high for the location you are flying? Where will it RTH to? After a firmware update your app settings may have been reset. Don’t get caught out.
4 – Take a soft-flight
Something most professional flyers will do is to perform a “soft-flight”. Start the motors, check your app settings, record the RTH point and lift the craft up to 2-3 meters in the air. Test all your stick functions and establish that you have the required 12+ sats and video transmission is working.
If you are experiencing communication issues at this distance, chances of them improving at higher altitudes are slim to none. Smart move would be to land and resolve the issue on the ground rather than to add stress with the craft 50m+ in the air.
5 – Keep Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
Keeping VLOS with greatly reduce the chance of a drone flyaway. Just by keeping the craft with in sight allows the pilot to react to external risks quicker. These could be manned low flying aircraft, flock of birds tall obstacles or a change in topography.
Transmission strength will be at its greatest keeping your craft with in VLOS, you can react to any changes in weather/wind quicker.
VLOS is also a legal requirement when flying a UAV/drone in any regulated airspace across the globe. The operator of the craft is responsible for the flight. Being unaware of any air-law regulation is no defence if something goes wrong.
Following the top 5 Ways to Prevent DJI Drone Flyaways may not give you 100% protection, but it will help avoid those simple pilot errors so easily made.
If you’re a recreational flyer, and looking at insurance, then check out the ikopta guide to insurance.