Maybe you got a drone as a Christmas gift last year, or maybe you dropped some of your CNY $$ on a brand new DJI Phantom – if you’re a beginner to the world of drones, take it from us that the best thing you can do for your expensive new toy is to educate yourself on how to care for it properly. Here is our ultimate guide to drone care.
Always carry out a full, pre-flight checklist
Reduce the chances of something going wrong mid-flight by ensuring all systems are go before your drone takes off! Create a pre-flight checklist in your phone (since it’s always going to be with you) and tick off the items before each flight. Here is a great example we like to use that includes everything from checking the weather to ensuring your propellers are tightened. Even the best of us forgets something every once in a while – you’ll want to make sure that’s not the case when it comes to a gadget that set you back by several thousand dollars!
Tip: after take off, hover your drone a few meters above ground for 30 seconds – 1 minute. This ensures that if something does go wrong, it won’t fall far enough to sustain any irreversible damage.
Fly very carefully
If you aren’t already a pro at controlling your drone, then the biggest, most important part of drone care is learning how to fly it properly! Master your take off and landing techniques, then move on to path control. It goes without saying that if you crash your drone into the side of a building or a tree, it’s pretty much game over. We know this might come across as common sense, but we’ve come across so many amateurs who rush into flying great heights without mastering the basics who end up wrecking their drones. Don’t be a drone wrecker.
Clean your drones regularly
Like a bicycle (or anything with moving parts for that matter), maintenance is crucial to ensure your drone stays in tip-top shape. Get these tools and create a cleaning kit you can easily whip out:
- A small brush
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Canned air
- Microfiber cloth
Use the cloth and alcohol to gently wipe down the exterior; canned air to blast any dust or debris that may have gotten lodged into tough-to-reach-spots that could potentially clog up your motor. If your drone require motor maintenance, use the lubricant.
Have a toolkit on you at every flight
Even if you’re well-prepared, a good photographer is always prepared for the unexpected. With drones, that could mean everything from a rogue gush of wind slamming your drone into the side of a building, or the battery suddenly failing. Teaching yourself how to fix problems that could happen on the field is an important part of drone care; how do you replace propellers or batteries? If need be, can you solder your drone back together? Having a toolkit on you with each flight could potentially save you your drone, and your photography session if you’ve traveled miles.
Familiarise yourself with battery care
It goes without saying that your drones’ batteries are extremely important: it powers the aircraft. Here are some steps to ensure your batteries last as long as possible:
- Only fly with fully charged batteries
- Remove the battery from the drone when not in use
- DO NOT fully drain LiPo batteries (these can be charged up to 300 times)
Also remember that like any camera, your batteries will last significantly shorter in colder temperatures. Plan for that to ensure you don’t accidentally crash your drone due to lack of power.
Only fly in good conditions
If you wouldn’t go out in the rain, then don’t subject your drone to the same! Always check the weather forecast before heading out and if need be, reschedule your shoot if the weather isn’t in your favour. Even if you are on a tight schedule, it’s not worth the potential thousands of ruining your drone! Also, always follow the guidelines on maximum wind speed for flying as depicted in your user manual.
Remember to update your software
Before flying, always ensure that your firmware is updated. This is particularly important as drone manufactures often release updates to fix bugs or provide certain enhancements.