Top 10 Tips For Getting Started With Your Drone

New to drones? We got you. Here's 10 hot tips for getting started with your new drone.

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Already own or plan to purchase a drone?

Here are the top ten recommendations for getting started with your drone, as well as some useful tips & tricks for handling the most typical scenarios.

1.) Drone laws vary greatly from country to country and are in a constant state of change. In some countries strict regulations are limiting the use of drones. According to the U.S. national aviation authority, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), flying a drone is legal but you need to be aware and be compliant with the Drone regulations. Drone rules are divided into two categories Recreational & Commercial.

    Recreational: This category includes flights that are solely for recreation or personal enjoyment. As of June 2021 by taking the The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST you must demonstrate you have a basic understanding of drone laws and safety procedures. The test is available for free online at one of the official test sites. The FAA's website has a list of them. More information here. After completing the TRUST, you will be given a certificate of completion which never expires. Be sure to keep it saved in a safe place. The good news is that you can’t fail the test.

    Basic rules of Recreational flying:

    • Always keep your drone within the VLOS (visual line of sight).

    • Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.

    • Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities

    • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    Classes of airspace and flying restrictions can be found on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.

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    Commercial: You must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA in order to operate your drone under the FAA's Small UAS Rule (Part 107). More info here.

    2.) Believe it or not the propellers are one of the most crucial components of your drone. Before each flight visually inspect the propellers to ensure they are not damaged and are securely connected. Any props that have been physically damaged should be thrown out right away. Hence it’s possible to fly at some point the centrifugal force will break them… resulting in a crash. Ensure that no pressure is applied to the propeller during transit. Propellers that are bent are likewise a no-go. Always have spare props with you.

    3.) Fully charge your battery before each flight and always use an official DJI charger. Over-discharging might cause significant damage. To extend the life of your drone's battery, it's best to land it while it's 15 percent or more. If the battery level gets depleted beyond %15 recharge it as soon as possible. Do not put the battery on a charger right after a flight, give it some time to cool down. They should be utilized at temperatures ranging from -10 to 40 degrees Celsius 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, performance will be significantly reduced if used below -10°C. When flying in extreme cold conditions keep you batteries as warm as possible. I usually keep them in pockets close to my body rather than in a cold case. Never charge a battery that has swelled, is leaking, or has been damaged. Just like with any other electronic equipment there’s no such thing as having “enough batteries”. 3 is the minimum I’d recommend having. Investing in the Fly more combo packages offered by DJI is highly recommended.

    4.) Having a reliable landing pad! I’m more of a hand catching drone guy but take-off is a different story. If you’re planning to lift off from long grass or accidented terrain the drone pad can certainly help to flatten out the area and ensure that no dust, snow, dirt, or debris comes in contact with the drone! I’d highly recommend our Rugged Drone landing pad since its thin, foldable design allows it to pack up and travel in any bag. Simply throw it down, set up your drone and let it fly without worrying about the wind blowing it away.

    5.) Strong GPS signal and RTH is crucial for a safe flight. Upon powering up your drone be sure that you’re connected to at least 8 satellites. RTH return to home function is crucial in emergency situations and can only record the Home Point when the GPS signal is strong. With a press of a button the aircraft returns to the last recorded Home Point. This feature might come in handy when you lose video feed or lose the drone from your visual line of sight. I’d recommend setting the RTH altitude in the corresponding DJI app (Fly Go4) depending on your drone model to at least 50m. This will ensure that your drone won’t fly into any buildings/obstacles on it’s way back!

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      6.) When not to fly - Weather conditions. Drones are not waterproof. Hence they might survive light rain and snow these are not ideal conditions to fly. In my opinion the most dangerous of all is propeller icing in cold, foggy Weather. High humidity and below freezing temperature are a really bad combo. During flight a thin layer of ice can build-up on the propellers motors will be under a greater load which can result in a drone crash.

      7.) VLOS – Keep you drone in visual line of sight all the time! This allows you to control the flight path of your drone in relation to other aircraft, people, and obstacles for the purpose of avoiding collisions. Flying behind trees, buildings, or other obstacles may also result in loss of signal and control of your drone. Having a spotter Visual Observer (VO) with you serves as a second pair of eyes giving you a peace of mind.

      8.) Bird attacks on drones are pretty common. Your drone can be attacked by birds because you might end up flying in an area they are either breeding,hunting, or defending/protecting their territory. If you want to ensure that both your precious drone and the bird survive pull up as fast as possible to increase your altitude. At first glance this might sound like a stupid idea but the unexpected vertical movement alerts that the flying object they are attacking is not a bird. Switch to Sports mode to unleash the full speed of your drone and land as soon as possible.

      9.) Invest in a good carrying case! Keeping your drone safe during transportation is essential. You can’t just toss a drone into a bag and be sure that the gimbal protector is also always on. Fortunately there are a handful of carrying options in our shop. The first bag which comes to my mind is our Rugged Sling. Both 6 and 10L versions are perfectly capable of protecting your drone, RC, batteries etc. If you’d like something simple the rugged accessories case is the way to go!

      10.) Screen / Avoid filming in direct sunlight and keep your phone out of the sun. As soon as your phone starts to overheat thermal cooling kicks in and your screen automatically gets dimmed to the point you can barely see a thing. A sunshade can drastically improve your flight experience. For the best experience I’d strongly recommend investing in a DJI Smart controller. It supports the Mavic Air 2/2s Mavic 2 series and Mini 2.

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          Care Refresh

          Is basically a protection plan that provides accidental damage coverage. Highly recommended for beginners and professional alike. It simply gives you a peace of mind knowing that it includes two replacements in a single year in case of a crash. Please note that you can purchase/activate care refresh for a brand new and un-activated product or if the drone has been activated within the last 48 hours.

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          I hope you found our tips helpful, and remember that we are available to book a Zoom call with you to go through set up, tips & tricks, general maintenance, and any other recommendations relevant to your gear. Drop us a line at hello@shopmoment.com and on our our Gear Guides will get into touch.

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