Friday, January 28, 2022

Peak lost drone

Experts expect ‘peak lost drone’ to occur in the next eight hours. America is beginning to wake up and presents will open and batteries start to charge.

Google trends show that Europe has led the way.

I will offer a couple of bits of advice for first timers. It is a jolly exciting thing that you have, to save yourself from tears, just slow down. Hit YouTube for How-To’s and only fly in a wide open space. Do not try and fly indoors as your first experience.

Resist peer pressure, ‘how high’ or ‘how fast’ will not make life easy. Never say “Watch this!”.

Always fly with a full battery, never take off with the words “It will be enough” running through your mind. Never fly until the battery is completely drained, leave a bit of reserve charge for yourself. This will keep the battery healthier and give you a bit of extra flight time in case something unexpected happens on the way back to land.

If the drone has a GPS, power it up in an area that can see a clear view of the sky and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This will let the GPS update itself with the latest almanac, that’s a ‘look-up table of changes’ if you will. These are sent automatically from the satellites, all you need to do is give it enough time to update itself.

Remember that the last time it might have seen the sky could have been in China.  If for whatever reason it wants to fly home, that is where it will head unless it has an adequate first fix in your launch location.

Similarly, if it finally gets a home fix when in the air, that is the point it will try and return to. Let it sit on the ground, don’t just rush into the air.

Some advice for you if that drone you just received flew away, they never go as far as you think. If you have an app that lost connection with the drone, the DJI Go App for the Phantom and Mavic series, for instance, then move in the direction it was last seen flying hoping to reconnect. Get somebody else to drive the car if you have driven to the takeoff site. If the drone reconnects, stop and see if the position updates. Don’t keep going and lose the connection again. The higher the tablet or phone you are trying to reconnect, the better chance you will have. If there is any sort of hill or high building you can get up, get up it.

Your telephone number written on the drone might make for an embarrassing incoming call, but at least you might get it back.

Enjoy your new drone, be considerate of others and watch out for the spinny things, they hurt.

Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.