Learn More About Drone Lights
Are you looking for the right anti-collision lights for drones? Or are you only starting to consider how to light your drone for night flights? Look no more! We're here to help you!
It used to be difficult to find drone lights that met your particular needs and could be attached to your specific model of drone.
However, as the drone industry has expanded, drone anti-collision lights have significantly improved. You can now find strong drone lights that meet the FAA's night flight specifications for a fair price.
Reasons to Fly Your Drone at Night
Before we dive into looking at drone anti-collision lights, you might be wondering why you’d ever be flying a drone at night in the first place.
Here are some of the top reasons to fly a drone at night:
- Public agency/emergency services/police. There are several reasons why government agencies may choose to fly a drone at night.
- Real estate. Night shots can really bring a property to life, which is where flying a drone at night can come in handy.
- Cinematography. A drone is a much cheaper choice than a helicopter for films shot at night that require an aerial shot.
- Security. Nighttime is when bad guys like to do bad things. Using a drone to surveil a nuclear power plant, prison, or other areas could be one more way to make sure things are secure.
- Weddings. Many weddings take place at night and wedding photographers are adding drones to their toolkit more and more.
- Fun. Even if you're just flying for fun, it's critical to use proper drone anti-collision lights to avoid colliding with other manned or unmanned aircraft.
- To make art. The photographer Reuben Wu used a drone and its lights to create amazing photos with slow exposures. Absolutely incredible.
Do Drones Have Lights?
Doesn’t my drone already have lights already? Before we get started talking about drone anti-collision lights you might be wondering if they’re even necessary. After all, most drones come with some kind of native lighting system.
But the truth is that often lights on consumer drones —even the top drones on the market—are not that strong. Most of these lights will barely be visible even in daylight. To fly at night or during twilight you need drone anti-collision lights. And this isn’t just a suggestion—the FAA has specific drone lighting requirements for operations at night, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
So what does the FAA require when it comes to drone anti-collision lighting?
First, let’s look at how the FAA defines daylight, twilight, and night since these definitions will be crucial for understanding the FAA’s drone lighting requirements.
- Daylight is defined as “30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time.”
- Morning Civil Twilight is generally defined as starting one hour before sunrise and ending about a half-hour before sunrise.
- Evening Civil Twilight is generally defined as starting about a half-hour after sunset and ending one hour after sunset.
- The night is defined as “the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight.”
For when is each of these requirements for the location I live?
Do you need any help to check everything about your area? You can still be unsure about the exact timing after reading the list above. When does twilight end and night begin at a specific time of year in a specific area, such as in Kansas City in the spring?
Don't be concerned! Here's a website where you can look up sunrise and sunset times.
Drone anti-collision lighting IS NOT required during daylight
Let's look at what the FAA needs now that we've established our terms, shall we?
The FAA has no strict light criteria for flights taken during daylight hours. “30 minutes before official sunrise until 30 minutes after official sunset, local time,” according to the FAA.
Drone anti-collision lighting IS required at twilight and at night
Flights made during twilight require anti-collision lighting. So do flights made at night.
Three-mile visibility requirement
The anti-collision lights used by commercial drone pilots (those flying under Part 107 rules) must be visible for three statute miles or more. When shopping for drone anti-collision lights, make sure they meet the three-mile criteria if you want to use your drone for commercial flights that need them. It wouldn't hurt to have evidence that your drone lights meet the three-mile criteria if you're flying at night. The three-mile rule for drone anti-collision lights does not actually apply to hobbyists flying drones. When it comes to drone anti-collision lights, we suggest erring on the side of caution. Even on a gloomy or smoggy day, use your anti-collision lights if you think they could help other pilots see your aircraft.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does Drone Light Options Cost?
Moment currently offers Lume Cube Drone Light Mounts for Mavic 2 for a starting price of $39.99.
What is a Lume Cube?
So, to begin, let's answer the obvious question: What exactly is a Lume Cube? Simply put, it's a light that can be carried around.
But this isn't just any Sun. This light is housed in a tough, mountable cube that connects to your smartphone. It's also water-resistant. So, what's the point of it all? If you're a GoPro consumer, an avid outdoor photographer, or even a drone pilot, a Lume Cube allows you to have more control over the lighting in your shots. Two mounts and two Lume Cubes are included in the Lighting Kit, one for each side of the drone.
Each Cube has ten manual brightness settings that vary by 150 lumens each. The brightest setting has a maximum brightness of 1500 lumens. We don't know anything about lumens, but we do know that these cubes' highest setting is insanely bright. They're more than strong enough to illuminate natural features like trees or rocks if you're aiming at night for whatever purpose.
The Lume Cubes are attached to the Mavic Pro's wings with a lightweight mount. It has to be that way. Since each Cube is 3.5 ounces in weight. Despite our reservations, the Mavic Pro had no trouble raising them off the ground and allowing them to fly in comfort. The most difficult part was connecting the mount in the dark and in the cold. The plastic mounts aren't as tough as the Cubes themselves, to be sure. We broke the mounts trying to clip them on before take-off due to impatient hands and poor visibility, but we were still able to attach them and take the Lume Cubes for a spin.
Choosing the Best Drone Lights
If you need help deciding which would be the best anti-collision lights for your next adventure or the one which would leverage best your iconic photographer's eye, contact one of our Gear Guides. We’ll match you to the right guide based on your experience and style, and help to find the perfect items for you. Our Gear Guides will always be happy to help you out and even provide you personal recommendations based on your preferences and interests for the most appropriate drone navigation lights.