It is the worst thing that can ever happen to a drone pilot! And can happen to anyone and anytime. A drone flyaway takes place when the controller unexpectedly loses the communication link with the drone, making it hard or impossible to control the drone. The result? The drone crashlands or flies away out of sight. Some drones are designed to automatically Return to Home (RTH) if it loses signal, but some pilots experience flyway.
Flyways happen due to several reasons. Some are technical issues such as electromagnetic interference from nearby high-voltage power lines or cell phone towers, low battery, malfunction or a software problem in the drone or the controller. A vast majority of flyaways happens because of pilot errors such as flying in poor weather conditions or flying the drone too high or too far from your position.
In this post, we present the complete guidelines to prevent drone flyaways.
1. Activate Return To Home (RTH) – Make sure to set the Return To Home (RTH) point, before you take off. It will enable the aircraft to automatically return home if the batteries go low or it loses signal. Also reset your Home Point periodically if you’re moving around, for instance, in a car or boat.
2. Set the RTH Altitude – Specify the RTH altitude. Make sure the altitude is higher than the height of the trees and buildings nearby so that the drone doesn’t hit them as it flies back.
3. Recalibrate compass – GPS determines the drone’s location, while the compass determines its orientation. For a drone to fly back to the Home Point in RTH mode, the compass should function correctly. It is essential to recalibrate the compass before the flight or move to an area with less magnetic interference.
4. Keep the drone within the sight – Monitoring the drone only through the live video feed is not a good idea. Often flyways are accidents resulting from the drone not being visible due to poor weather. Importantly, flying your drone within the line of sight is a mandatory rule by the FAA.
5. Keep an eye on the battery – A battery life of around 25-30 minutes is not very long, especially when the pilot is having fun. Always monitor the drone’s battery life.
6. Buy a GPS tracker – It is a good idea to get a separate GPS tracker on your drone if your flying area has a high possibility of losing the connection with your drone. The GPS tracker has its power source and will allow you to find the drone with ease.
7. Pre-flight check – Always follow a pre-flight safety checklist to ensure that the batteries are fully charged, the controller is linked correctly and all the components are working as intended.