Though technology has improved a lot, YouTube is still full of horror videos showing how easy it is to lose or wreck a drone in a matter of minutes. Consumer drones are more accessible than ever before, but they’re hardly cheap.
A lot of drone disasters are due to what drone enthusiasts refer to as flyaways. A flyaway drone is basically what happens when the signal with the remote control is lost or the drone inexplicably decides to do its own thing. The consequences of a flyaway can range from frustrating (landing far away) to devastating (crash).
Worried? Remember to follow these best practices to minimize the chances of losing your drone.
1. Make sure GPS is on
If you lose the connection with your drone, GPS is how your drone will find its way home. Most drones come with a GPS “Go Home” feature that will send the drone back to the starting point if the connection with the remote control is lost. Though the feature isn’t fail-safe, it can really save the day.
2. Calibrate the compass before takeoff
Most drones have a compass that needs to be calibrated. It requires a little patience right before starting a flight, but it’s important to do it so your drone knows where to go.
3. Keep your firmware updated
Missing an update can mean missing a crucial bug fix.
4. Label your drone with your phone number
Stick it on with plain old Scotch tape. Most people are kind and will contact you to return it if they spot your drone somewhere.
5. Put a Bluetooth tracking device on it
Finally, an extra precaution is to stick a TrackR bravo device on your drone. If your drone lands somewhere far afield, the TrackR bravo will help you locate it. If it’s a populated area, you might be able to get a crowd-sourced location update from other TrackR app users nearby. And if it’s an open, empty space with difficult visibility due to brush or tall grasses, you can use the TrackR app to see when you’re getting closer, then ring it from your phone.