Based on where you live, you may be flying drones in hot weather all the time. High humidity and extreme heat will have an impact on how your drone performs. Let us explain the various difficulties of flying in the hot weather.
Is It Possible To Fly My Drone In Hot Climate?
Of course, yes, you can fly drones in hot or warm weather. You have to take steps and precautions to make sure your drone and its batteries don’t overheat. Plus the heat will cut your flight times considerably.
When Is It “Too Hot” To Fly A Drone?
Let’s start by reviewing your Drones Manufacturers Owner’s Manual for information about temperatures. Check it to find the suggested operating temperatures. The DJI Phantom 4 battery specs state — Operating Temperature Range: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C). This, naturally, is what DJI suggests for optimal operation. And allowing for maximum flight times and battery life.
3 Common Issues of Hot Weather Flight
Here are a number of issues that could crop up due to flying your drone in hot weather. These are in no particular order.
One effect that can happen is Propeller Efficiency. In hot temperatures, the air can be thicker. This is evident more when there is humidity. The denser hot air makes the propellers work harder to keep the drone in the air. This leads to shorter flight times in the heat.
Another issue from the heat on a bright sunny day is the color of your drone. White is heat reflective, but some drones are black or gray. The darker colors are problematic since it contributes to the drone heating up quickly. You might search for lighter color skin to buy. Many models are available online.
When there is too much heat, your electronic gadgets can go a little crazy. For example, your iPad got heated, and the signal starts to blackout. It would freeze and fade away, or the signal would fall. With the Phantom series and several other brands, even when you lose signal, it returns home. If your drone doesn’t have this attribute, be careful not to get too far out of scope.
Another Challenge is Mother Nature
Flight times, as we mentioned previously, is reduced for several reasons. The heat affects the props and the batteries, but humidity and moisture in the air always add challenges.
If you’re out flying on a muggy afternoon, in the clouds, or it is a foggy day in the local park, you want to be careful about getting the drone wet. Avoid flying in high humidity because it is an easy way to get condensation to form on the motherboard and the electronic equipment.
Maximize Flight Times In Hot Weather
Flying in the heat requires somewhat more prep, but here are a couple of important pointers to help expand your flight period. It will be a shorter flight, but these suggestions will help maximize air time and protect your battery health.
- Maintain batteries cool until flight time
- Try not to hover for long, keep moving
- Simple, slow controller inputs
- Fully charge the battery before every flight
- Keep looking at battery voltage (APP Feature)
- Observe the battery temperatures.
Advice: Before you take off, attempt to do the following double-check in the shade or under an umbrella. This might appear simple, but it is going to keep the drone (and you) a little bit cooler, and the battery temp once you begin will be lower, that’s excellent for flying. It is essential to do one more check;
- Check battery charge
- Check compass calibration is fine
- Assess the number of connected satellites
- SET the home point
- Check the return to home altitude
It’s always good to double-check your settings for the camera. See if you remembered the ND Filter and eliminated the camera gimbal.
Your White Balance can be a problem when flying, mainly on a really sunny day. Ensure there no condensation on the lens.
Does Hot Weather Affect Drone Batteries?
LiPo (lithium-ion ) batteries generate electricity with a chemical reaction. Hot temperatures can influence this interaction, decreasing energy, increasing warmth.
In some cases, it leads to a drop in power, causing your Drone to plummet suddenly. If you push the batteries too long, it may cause complete battery failure. If it becomes scorching hot, in rare circumstances, it may burst.
Here are some questions to ask before you fly your Drone in the hot weather:
- Can I keep my spare batteries relatively cool while I’m flying?
- How much distance from the car will I be?
- How can I keep my batteries cooler?
- Keeping your batteries cool eases most of your difficulties.
Hot Weather Drone Battery Care Tips
Besides the heat, sometimes, a significant problem is high humidity. It adds an added layer to flying drones in hot weather. Heat with the extra moisture can shorten the life of your drone if you operate in it often. On a hot, humid day, always avoid flying for too long.
If flying in the heat ruined your drone experience, you’d be stuck in the home. In some parts of the world, it’s hot all the time.
The primary goal is to try to maintain your batteries and your aircraft cool. It’s not hard to do if you’ve got the correct gear.
Something you can do is keeping your drone in a cool place for an hour before flying. The cooled down drone solves some of the issues of flying drones in hot weather.
The most important one is that batteries are not considered to be charged up if they are still warm from the previous flight. You can put the batteries in the cooler, and in about 30 minutes, they will be ready to charge.
You will not have any problem, but you need to read your battery maintenance guide to be secure. Check out your drone manufacturer’s forum for other users’ suggestions.
You can also fly in the morning when it’s cooler, no wind and nobody is around. Flying after dinner is great as well.
Mobile Device Batteries From The Heat
We tend to concentrate on the drone’s batteries, but we have to remember your phone, controller, and tablet batteries. Controllers aren’t as much of a problem as the batteries are bigger.
The controller is electronic equipment, so the battery lasts longer. Be sure before you proceed, it’s fully charged. Try to keep it in the shade.
Your tablet or phone battery will drain quickly. Electronics are notorious for heating up. You should be careful if your device heats up because some will just shut down as a protective measure.
Some users said they used a little thin ice pack from a cooler bag. Make sure that the ice pack doesn’t sweat, and then you should be okay. Just put the cooler pack in a bag. It helps keep the device cooler, longer.
You can also carry a small portable charger for your device to keep it topped up. One last advice is to remove the case for the tablet or phone. Let it get some air.
Keep Your Cool When It’s Hot
We’ve been talking about keeping everything cool, but what about you? There are tons of ways to stay cool while flying. Position yourself in the shade when possible or bring a pop-up canopy. Although when you’re flying drones in the Mojave Desert, a Joshua Tree is useless!
You can bring a tripod with a white umbrella. If it’s not too windy, you’ll be okay. A breeze is pleasant, however!! Remember to drink plenty of water or juice.
When Is It Unsave To Fly A Drone?
Yes, if the temperature becomes too high, over 105F, it is probably wise to stay home. At that too high temp, you are jeopardizing losing your drone due to component failure, or it’s so unresponsive you end up crashing the drone. Or think of yourself you may suffer heat exhaustion.
Also, check if your drone is under warranty. By flying in these conditions, you may void the warranty. When you send it in for repair, the maker will know your flight conditions. Most drones keep a record.
Let’s be truthful here. Unless you are at a unique location, you won’t ever get back to, or you have a bucket list shot you need to get, what is the point. You probably won’t like it, and you will sweat bullets.
One Last Thing To Know About Flying Drones In Hot Weather
When flying in the heat, especially in the desert type of setting, take-off and landing with sand as a base is debatable for the quadcopters. We would recommend using a Take Off Pad or a Mat.
You can find the Mats at a Lowes Home or Depot, and the Heli Pads are available on Amazon. They are affordable and will save you some grief no matter when or where you fly from, they are also useful in the snow.
We hope we’ve provided you with some helpful tips and ideas for a safer and more enjoyable time for flying drones in hot summer weather.