Do you look forward with anticipation when planning your next Drone mission? If you answered Yes, then you need to read the 7 Most Critical Steps Drone Pilots should never overlook.
Are you New to Droning?
If flying drones is a hobby or if you are a professional drone pilot the 7 Most Critical Steps will help you have a productive and successful mission.
Are you a Commercial Drone UAV Pilot?
If you are a Commercial Drone UAV pilot this post of the 7 Most Critical Steps checklist I have compiled below will prove helpful to you as well. Even though you fly your Drone on a regular basis using a checklist will improve your flights by ensuring that no important tasks are overlooked.
Failure to conduct a preflight check using a checklist is a major contributing factor to aircraft accidents.
What happens if you do not plan ahead and use a checklist?
There any many pitfalls you can face Including:
* Equipment Malfunction
* Failed Photo Shoot
* Property Damage
* Lost Drone
You need to treat each flight just as every serious pilot does when they prepare to fly. All professional Airplane, Helicopter, and serious Drone pilots insure they review and leverage a Pre-Flight Checklist. I list the 7 most critical steps you should never overlook when planning a Drone mission within this post, but I also stress the importance of having and using pre-flight checklists, which contain many more things to Pre-Check before you fly.
1. Create and follow a Flight Plan. The flight plan should include where you will be flying. Make sure you check for flight restrictions, it is your responsibility (The Pilot) to follow all flight restrictions whether they are posted or not. It is the pilots responsibility to know and understand all the laws and FAA mandates governing legal and safe flying areas and overall drone operation, Education is the key.
2. Always ensure your batteries are fully charged. Visually review and inspect all battery powered devices used. Including the following equipment:
* Drone batteries (I recommend you have more than one)
* Controller – Insure it is fully charged
* Cellphone, or tablet, used to fly must be fully charged
3. Insure you have your Micro SD Card, and insure it is Formatted. I always carry a spare SD card or two. I carry the cards for the purpose of insuring I capture video and still images. You need to have an SD card, to record the footage and it must be installed and formatted within the drone. Carrying back-up SD cards will insure you never miss out on capturing your precious footage. In the event of an SD card being full, lost or damaged having a back-up can be a flight savior.
Always make sure you downloaded your footage after every flight and mission. Once you download your footage you can delete the SD card by Re-format the card prepping for the next mission. The card can be formatted within the drone via the flight controller under settings. This will erase and prep the card for your next mission. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom have built-in memory and can provide a cache that can record footage in the event you forgot, lost or filled the SD cards you brought with you. The built in Internal Memory is just another reason why I selected and purchased the Mavic 2 Zoom Drone.
4. Make sure you verified that all DJI software and firmware updates are current. Check this a well in advance, you don’t want to have to interrupt or delay your departure time, as it may be critical, for example if you are attempting to catch a sunset or sunrise. When you update your drone firmware make sure you update all of the batteries as well. The DJI drones use smart batteries and also require updates. Most Drones and Controllers need be connected to your computer or connected to WI/FI to access the web in order to download and update. As said earlier do this well in advance of your planned departure time.
5. Calibrate before every flight. Why is this so important? You can Lose your drone or suffer property damage if you do not.
When you arrive to your designated flight location you need to insure you Calibrate the drone. Calibrating the drone will lock the home GPS coordinates, and Compass setting. This is critical because the Fly Back Home (Return Home) feature uses this calibrated data to fly the drone back where it took off from. Never calibrate your drone anywhere but where you are about to fly your drone from.
Worst Case Scenario: Imagine if your last flight was at a location 25 miles from your current flight location. If you calibrated the drone in the previous flight location and now you are about to fly your drone and don’t calibrate in the new location the drone’s memory will reference the last calibrated location as the home location. In this example if you then fly your drone in the new location and you push the “Return Home” button the drone will reference the last calibrated location and set a course for it, 25 miles away; You can lose your drone!!
If this does Happen… What Do I DO??
You now must act fast, switch to Sport Mode and take control of the drone manually be careful in Sport Mode, as all the sensors are now disabled.
Max drone battery life at just about 30 minutes, if you don’t act fast and gain control of the drone and bring it home, It may run out of power and land somewhere between where the drone is currently being flown from and that last Home Calibrated Setting the drone has in it’s memory.
6. Create and insure you review your Preflight Checklist before you leave the house.
What is a Preflight Checklist?
A Pre-Flight Checklist is an itemized list of pre-requisites, things to check before you fly. The list below is just the Short Pre-Flight Checklist, a sample of what is included in your Free E-Book that I include in this Post. Get Your Pre-Flight Checklists Free E-Book.
I have created several checklist that can be used to insure you are ready for your next drone/UAV flight and mission.
7. Get your Free E-Book which includes several Pre-Flight Checklists sent directly to your In-Box Now!
Everybody who flies needs a Pre-Flight Checklist. Drone and UAV pilots need to have these Lists at hand when prepping to fly. Get a copy of this Free E-Book delivered right to your In-Box immediately. Fly with confidence, Do it Now! You can print, laminate and include the lists with your flight gear. Pre-Flight Checklists are a Must Have.
Have Fun and be Safe.
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