What to watch out for when flying a drone in hot weather
Whether you stay at home this summer or go on vacation, the outside temperatures will rise significantly when the sun is shining. Then it is good to be aware of the possible influence of the warm weather on your drone and yourself. This FAQ gives several tips that will hopefully come in handy when flying a drone in hot weather during the summer holidays.
When flying a drone in hot weather:
- Check the temperature range of your equipment. For the proper functioning of electronics, especially batteries, they mustn't get too cold or too hot. Before flying in hot weather, check the minimum and maximum operating temperatures your drone manufacturer states in the manual. To give you an idea: DJI specifies a temperature range of 0° to 40° C for the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4.
- Do not leave your drone (batteries) in the car when it is in the sun. The temperature in a car in full sun can quickly rise to values that can be harmful to your drone batteries. Do not place an empty battery that has warmed up directly on the charger; first, make sure that the battery has cooled down to room temperature. The drone can withstand high temperatures, but don't overdo it, and don't fly a drone that has just come out of an overheated car.
- Don't let your peripherals heat up too much while flying. You may have experienced your smartphone or tablet turning off because it got too hot. It is, of course, not useful if that happens during a flight. So make sure your FPV screen is not exposed to full sunlight during flight. And if you're looking for the shade of a tree, make sure you keep a clear view of the drone.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. In warm weather, you have a good chance that you are not the only one who ventures outside. Respect the peace and privacy of others. Avoid flying your drone over people, and watch out for pets and children running around when you take off or land. Also, keep an eye on the airspace around you to avoid being surprised by glider pilots, ultralight aircraft, and other recreational airspace users.
- Take care of yourself. If you are going to fly on a nice summer day, make sure you are well hydrated and wear something like a cap or hat. Stand with your back to the sun, so you don't have to look into the sun while flying. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can lead to reduced responsiveness, among other things.
- Keep an eye on the humidity. Are you going to a tropical destination? Then it may just be that the relative humidity is much higher than you are used to. This can lead to condensation in your drone or camera lens, even with a blue sky. Take a lint-free cloth and wipe your drone dry after a flight.
- Watch out for dust clouds. Especially if it has not rained for a long time, the surface can become quite dusty. Pay attention to this when taking off and landing; your drone can cause a lot of dust clouds. That, in turn, can confuse the visual sensors on your drone. Ideally, provide a landing pad that you place on the ground.
- Think about fire hazards. Dried grass doesn't need much to catch fire. A drone's battery that crashes can catch fire due to a short circuit, and before you know it, there is a wildfire. In the event of a crash, try to get to your device as quickly as possible and make sure that there is no fire hazard. If possible, take the fire extinguisher from your car with you. Always keep the battery of a device that has crashed hard and do not use it anymore.
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