A quadcopter is a beautiful UAV that you can fly in different environments. However, cold weather consisting of snow can pose some challenges that can affect the operations of the drone. Cold weather is not friendly to the activities of the drone, but you can still manage to use it.
Before a drone takes off in cold weather, there are certain things that you should know. The following are some of the drone flying tips that can help you operate the UAV successfully in challenging weather conditions. Apart from concerns about the safety of the drone, you should think about the drone pilot’s safety.
Beware Of Ice
Ice is the primary threat to a quadcopter just like it also poses risks to helicopters and other conventional planes. The main danger of frost is that it can accumulate on the blades of the drone and this will affect its functioning. Ice on the blades can alter the rotation pattern of the drone such that it operates at below standard speed.
Accumulation of ice on the surface of the drone can also be detrimental since it affects weight distribution. In other words, ice on the drone adds weight which affects its performance. It may be difficult to fly the drone at slow speed since additional pressure due to ice can affect its efficiency.
You must understand the conditions that cause fog which may affect your drone. For instance, cold air above warm water can lead to evaporation. The fog later refreezes when it comes into contact with the surfaces around including quadcopters.
You Should Know How Cold Affects The Sensors And Battery
It does not matter whether you are an experienced or beginner drone pilot you should understand how weather impacts your drone. Colder weather reduces the flight time of the drone due to the slowing of chemical reaction in the LiPo batteries. Cold weather also lowers the battery capacity. In colder weather, a drone can only fly for about 10-15 minutes instead of an average of 20 to 25 minutes.
The weather condition that is extremely cold causes a significant drop in the power of drone batteries. In other rare cases, the cells fail to start the drone. You should be careful about the implications of cold weather on your drone to avoid inconveniences.
Colder weather affects the drone’s sensors such that it can fail to respond to the control input. As a result, the drone can drift away from the track. Cold weather can also affect the fingers such that controlling the device can be difficult. Gloves can also make the exercise challenging which can affect the quality of the photos you are shooting.
Always Exercise Good Battery Care
Just like you need to maintain your car battery the same goes for drone batteries. It is essential to understand the basics of maintaining battery power when you are flying in cold weather. You should make sure that you keep the batteries warm so that they do not quickly lose energy. After takeoff, you should hover for a few seconds so that you give the cells as well as the motors some time to warm up.
The proper battery temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should always check this on your gadget. It is also essential to maintain a full charge on all your batteries, and you should also carry a portable battery charger. When the weather is biting, you should also take many spare batteries.
Avoid flying your drone on full throttle just after takeoff since this affects your flight time. When the gadget is operating at full throttle, it consumes a lot of power. The other important aspect is that you should avoid massive control inputs since these also consume more power.
Be Careful About Precipitation
Precipitation is not good for the drones since it can affect the motor or gimbal. Moisture can also damage the camera so you should be careful about the weather outlook before flying a drone. The other issue is that precipitation affects the rotation of the blades since they cannot withstand the power of raindrops.
If it starts raining while your drone is flying, you should land quickly to avoid damage to your gadget. After landing, you should dry the body of the drone and its propellers to prevent moisture from damaging the motors.
Precipitation is not friendly to many electrical gadgets hence you should avoid flying a drone when it is raining. It is vital that you check the weather outlook to make sure that there is no precipitation. Light showers are also not good for the gadget since they can contribute to its damage. As a golden rule, you should avoid flying when there are signs of precipitation.
Keep The Batteries Warm
You should consider using hand warmers when handling your drone to keep the batteries warm. If you hold them directly with cold hands, they may lose power quickly. When operating the drone in cold weather, you should avoid running the batteries completely flat. You may encounter challenges when recharging flat batteries.
Wrap the batteries in a scarf or any protective clothing then place them in hand warmers. The cells are sensitive to cold weather since they can lose power at a quicker rate. When the spare batteries are not in use, you should make sure that they are secure and warm.
Climate Too Affects Drones
The climate also has a bearing on the things that you should know when flying drones in cold weather. In some cases, the winters are colder but dry at the same time. Such kind of climate does not have any effect on the drone unlike in a place with a cold and wet environment. High moisture content is not good for a drone so you should regularly check for ice before flying.
Ice is not good for the drone as it will start accumulating on the propellers. When the props rotate, they will labor in trying to shake off the snow from the blades which affect performance. The other thing is that moisture within the gimbal is also not good for the gadget since it changes its operations.
When taking off the drone, try to make sure that you do it from plastic or any other dry place. The other issue is about condensation that may arise when you take the drone inside from the outside. When outside weather is cold while it is warm inside, condensation can take place. When you want to avoid this, allow the drone to slowly warm up in another area like a trunk of the car.
You Should Also Understand Altitude
Altitude has a bearing on the performance of your drone. When you increase the height of the drone, it means that the spins will have to turn at a faster rate. As a result, the battery power is likely to drain at a more rapid rate which limits your flight time.
If you want to enjoy normal flight times, you should make sure that you fly your drone at reasonable altitudes. All the same, you should also ensure that the weather is favorable to avoid damaging your device.
Think About Yourself
It is crucial that you keep your drone safe from the cold weather to avoid damage. However, you should also think about yourself instead of the drone alone. Staying out in the snow too long can be detrimental to your health hence the reason to take safety measures.
Before going out to fly your quadcopter, it is essential that you get specialized winter gloves for flying. These gloves are unique in that they keep your fingers warm while at the same time allowing you to operate the controller. If you do not get these gloves, there is a risk that your fingers can become numb as a result of the biting cold weather.
When the cold weather affects your fingers, it may be difficult to control the drone and keep it focused. If you are shooting videos or images, there are high chances of missing the target when the fingers are not stable. Thus, spider gloves are the best for cold weather since they consist of conductive material meant for portable touch screen devices.
Other Drone Flying Tips
Apart from learning to fly a drone in cold weather, there are also other general tips that you should know about operating the gadget. One good thing about a quadcopter is that even a leaner can fly it. The more you practice flying the gadget, the more you gain experience about this beautiful device.
The other important aspect is that you should always plan before flying your drone. You should have a plan for what you want to achieve and how you will do it. For instance, you should get a clear map about the area that you want to cover if you intend to shoot a video.
You should also make sure that the spare batteries have sufficient power if you intend to spend an extended period out. It is also vital to try to avoid wasting the battery of your drone. You can do this by flying the quadcopter at low speed so that it does not consume a lot of power. The other vital thing is that you should also try to limit various drone maneuvers in the air. You can significantly save energy if you maintain a steady flight pattern of your drone.
When flying your drone, slow movements help you to capture good quality images or video. When taking a video, for example, you should slow down your gimbal so that it can focus on the object of interest. Low speed also helps you to capture multiple still images in different motions.
You should try to find new angles when shooting a video and do not just fly straight. You need to consider flying backward and sideways so that you can capture even moving objects from different sides. If you change angles when shooting a video of a moving object, the impression you get is excellent. It is crucial that you keep on trying different aspects so that you can improve your flying skills.
You can also shoot quality images of a single object from different angles. By changing directions mid-flight, you can also enjoy the experience of flying a drone. When shooting aerial photographs, it is essential to know that the quality of the image depends on factors like flight direction.
Choose Appropriate Location
The primary thing that you should consider when you want to fly a drone is to choose an appropriate location. It is vital that you choose a place that you are familiar with. Alternatively, you can also use Google maps to scan the area. It is critical that you use 3D mode to understand the landscape thoroughly.
If you know the area, you can safely control the drone to avoid crashes. It is also vital to use slow movements when flying your drone in a place with trees. You should turn sensors off but make sure that you are close to the drone so that it does not crash in trees.
You must also avoid complex movements when flying the drone in trees. You risk crashing the drone if you try moves that are complicated in a place where there are tall trees. It is also significant to use low orbit so that you do not crash the gadget. When turning the quadcopter, make sure you do it slowly and smoothly.
The other important element is that you should know the perfect time of the day that you can fly your drone or take pictures. Some people prefer the golden hours which include sunrise and sunset. The period is good for photography since it presents a beautiful view.
Flying a drone is exciting since you can use it for various purposes such as racing as well as shooting photos and videos. You should always know that weather conditions can affect the way you fly your drone.
There are different rules that you should follow if you want to fly your drone in the cold or snow. The golden one is that moisture is not good for your UAV since it can damage it. Therefore, try to avoid flying your drone when it is raining.