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Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are the hot new toy everyone wants! Drones are constantly evolving as the safety of the technology upgrades, but they’re not without risks. All it takes is 1 mistake, and you could break your expensive new toy. Or worse, hurt yourself, your friends, or random strangers.
To help you have fun with drones, we’ve put together this short guide about how to fly drones safely! From knowing the weather, to bringing a friend, there’s all sorts of tips that can help make your flying experience the best ever.
Read on to learn everything you need to know before take off.
1. Understand the Legal Requirements
First, you need to understand the legal requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Most of the regulations you need to know come from them directly.
Are you using your drone for fun and not business? Then familiarize yourself with the recreational flyers section on the FAA website. Here, you’ll be able to find all the details about flying your drone in public areas.
You’ll also get a chance to learn the true definition of a recreational drone flight. Many people wrongly believe that a recreational flight is one without any financial compensation, but this isn’t always the case. The type of air traffic and who’s profiting from it determine whether or not you’re operating for business purposes instead.
Next, do you know how to register a drone for commercial use? If you’re flying for commercial purposes, you’ll need to register with the FAA, and the application’s available online too.
2. Carry in a Safe Drone Case
Moving on, always transport your drone in a safe case. We suggest getting a hardshell carrier that has dividers you can adjust inside. This way, your drone will be protected from any impact, even if you’re driving off-road to get to your favorite flying spot.
You’ll also want to keep spare parts like propellers in this case too. Accidents happen, so it’s always good to prepare for the worst, just in case.
3. Don’t Fly With a Broken Propeller.
Moving on, let’s say you break your propeller and don’t have a spare. Is it okay to get in a few minutes of flying with the broken wing?
Nope! Bad idea. Whatever you do, resist the urge to fly with anything even remotely broken. It’s just not worth the risk. Even if it’s a little broken, flying with a cracked propeller could cause it to fly off and seriously injure someone.
Instead, you can visit DJI Drone to pick out the part you need online. You could also look online at the different drones for sale to see if you need a sturdier model. To avoid losing fly time in the future, consider stocking up on a few spare propellers too.
4. Plan Those Flights
One of the major downfalls to recreational drone pilots is they tend to fly irresponsibly. They’ll choose to take off into strong winds that are unsafe for inexperienced flyers, or they’ll fly when it’s dusk which can be hazardous if you’re not familiar with the area.
Avoid all this drama by planning your flights out beforehand. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to scout out safe flying sites before taking off. Better yet, fly early in the morning when it’s least windy, and there are fewer people around!
5. Bring a Spotter
Flying with friends can be so much fun! Plus, if you’re new to flying, it’s always a good idea to bring along an experienced flyer as your spotter. This way, they can keep an eye on you and ensure you stay in safe airspace, so nothing wrong happens.
Ideally, the spotter should help you control your drone, too, in case something goes wrong. For instance, let’s say you accidentally fly out of range and lose control.
The spotter can take over the controls while you get the drone back in your line of sight. Working together, you both can bring your drone back in close and land it safely.
6. Stay Within Line of Sight
Of course, you should always keep an eye on your drone with your own eyes at all times. No magic button will allow you to control your drone without being able to see it. If you’re out there without a spotter, or even with one, keeping the drone in view is the right way to go.
So how far can you fly? That’s up to you! The FAA has no rules for line of sight, so if you want to go 100 yards away, that’s fine. But if something goes wrong, there are no guarantees someone will be around who can help you bring it back in close.
7. Respect Private Spaces
As a general rule of thumb, to stay within the law, you’ll want to make sure your drone is always flying away from people. This way, you won’t bother or endanger anyone while taking off and landing.
It’s also important to be aware of other people’s personal space when flying your drone. You don’t want to fly over someone else’s house, for example, because it could cause them alarm and possibly scare their pets too. So always make sure you’re out in a wide-open space where there aren’t any obstacles to crash into.
8. Keep an Eye on Your Battery
Drone batteries don’t last forever, so you’ll want to keep an eye on how much charge is left. Once the battery drops below 30% or so, it’s best to land your drone as soon as possible before it runs out of juice entirely.
This will help avoid accidents like losing control mid-flight because the battery suddenly dies. It could also mean the difference between safely bringing your drone back in close vs. crashing it into an object.
9. How to Use Drones With a Landing Pad
Next, you should learn how to use drones with a landing pad. Most drone pilots seem to prefer the circular pads over others. They can easily take off in any direction without worrying about crashing into trees or buildings.
Also, if you’re flying near water, a pad is an essential accessory. You don’t want your beloved drone sinking to the bottom of a lake, for example! Landing pads are durable and easy to use, so there’s no reason not to own one.
10. What to Buy for Drone Photography?
Are you looking to get into drone photography? Then you’ll need to get a good gimbal.
A gimbal will help keep your camera pointed in the right direction while you’re flying. Most conventional drones come with a gimbal attached from the factory, but you should still double-check yours is functioning correctly before taking off.
Unfortunately, a faulty gimbal can result in blurry images while flying, so it’s important to double-check everything before every flight. This includes checking your video transmitter, battery, camera, and gimbal. In other words, the little things add up quickly!
In addition to checking your gimbal for wobbles or problems, it’s also a good idea to calibrate it before each flight too. This only takes a minute and ensures your gimbal is ready to go!
11. Master the Controls
Even if you’re an experienced pilot, we all know practice makes perfect! So be sure to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to fly your drone without fear of losing it. Practice coming in for landings and takeoffs, or practice flying around trees, buildings, or other obstacles like these.
The more you fly your drone, the better you’ll get at controlling it in all types of weather. So if you can, find a nice open park to take off and land every day until you master the controls. You can use free sites like Google Earth to help make your flying even better!
12. Choose Your Battery Carefully
Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery for drones. However, they can be dangerous. You’ll want to know what you’re getting into before buying one.
For instance, batteries are often labeled with a ‘mAh’ rating, which indicates the amount of power it holds. But if you see batteries under 10 mAh, you know they aren’t strong enough to fly your drone for extended periods.
Also, make sure to buy them from reputable brands that deliver quality products. This way, you can avoid purchasing counterfeits that could explode in your hands!
Always look up the specifications carefully and make sure it is safe for use with your particular drone. Also, double-check how many amps the battery can hold.
Most drones require more than 20 amps to fly safely. If your batteries don’t match up with this requirement, then they could short out and cause a fire or damage your drone mid-flight.
13. Exercise Great Judgement
Above all else, as you continue learning how to use drones, you need to use common sense. If there’s a storm in the forecast, don’t take off. If you’re not close to your home base and running low on battery, don’t push it.
If you’re flying over people, keep an eye on them at all times too. Don’t fly above crowds just for fun or to get unique shots. Think smart and be smart to have fun!
Have Fun With Drones
Ready for takeoff? After reading this article, you know some of the best tips on how to use drones responsibly.
If you don’t remember any of the tips, take your time and read through this article again. The more preparation you put into your drone flights, the better your chances of success. And, of course, nothing beats practice!
So get out there and fly your drone today. Don’t forget to bring a friend along as your spotter. For more tips, check out the rest of this site.