In most cases, flying drones becomes more pleasurable as your flying skill increases. But regardless of how skilled a person becomes as a drone pilot, crashes are pretty much inevitable. This is because there are countless causes for them, and it’s virtually impossible to anticipate every scenario.
The good news is that most drone crashes are minor. But with more awareness and more flying experience, we can significantly reduce the risk of having a drone crash.
Drone crash prevention measures
Let us examine some steps you can take right away to reduce your chances of having a drone crash. If you follow these practices, the chances of experiencing a crash will go down immediately.
Fly in good weather – Weather conditions are perhaps the most significant variable that drone operators will ever face. Unlike most aircraft in the sky, a small wind gust can be devastating to a drone’s flight.
Even the most experienced drone operators can be rendered helpless when their drone gets swept away. It is always best to wait and fly under favorable conditions. This means no wind, no precipitation, and mild temperatures.
Designate a level spot for take-offs and landings – While the apparent reason for a level spot is to make launches and landings go smoother, there is another reason. Drones calibrate themselves before taking off, and you want to ensure that their calibration is done accurately.
Know your surroundings – Before launching your drone anywhere, be sure and do a perimeter scan. All physical objects like buildings and structures need to be located and accounted for. Get an idea of your flight path before you take-off.
You also need to assess any potential electromagnetic fields that could interfere with your drone transmitter and receiver. Look for cables and electrical installations, and try to avoid them.
Check your battery life – Whenever your drone battery charge is running low, it is time for a landing. While you can have a good idea of how long your battery charge will last, it is still a variable, so use caution.
Use a spotter – This applies mostly to drone operators that use a first-person viewing device – which is pretty awesome, by the way. However, the big problem with using these devices is that it’s difficult to watch your drone and the screen simultaneously. This creates a huge blind spot while you are flying.
Your spotter can physically watch your drone and help keep it clear from hazards. But you must keep your spotter within your view at all times.
Vortex ring state (VRS)
Whenever helicopters land, there is a massive amount of air forced down by its propellers – this force is called downwash. If the helicopter lands too quickly, it’ll get pushed down to the ground by its downwash. This event is called a vortex ring state (VRS).
The same thing can cause drones to crash as well. The way to avoid VRS is to control your rate of descent. Your owner’s manual for your drone should contain guidance for your particular drone model’s safe descent rate.
Modern drones today have GPS capabilities. Among those is something called a GPS lock, and it’s a wonderful feature. This GPS lock automatically records the GPS location of your drone’s take-off. And if your drone ever loses the signal from its controller – for any reason – it automatically flies to that location.
It’s a feature that all drone pilots should have as it protects your drone against flyaways and crashes. Otherwise, a drone without a signal will keep flying until the battery dies or until it crashes into something.
Here’s a warning about your GPS lock; it has to be reset with each take-off. If the GPS take-off position didn’t get reset for some reason, and you are flying 20 miles away from your last flying location, then guess what? Yep – it will try to return to that location upon a loss of signal.
Most drone remote controllers have a way of verifying a new GPS lock before each take-off.