6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone

July 27, 2023



6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone

Flying a drone can be overwhelming so it’s important you know exactly what to do before every time you fly.

6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone
6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone

Check Local Regulations

Before ever flying a drone you should be well aware of the FAA (or equivalent of the country you’re in) regulations in regards to drones. To find out where you can fly, download the B4UFLY. It’s a really helpful app created by the FAA.

Beyond checking the app, make sure you’re familiar with the following recreational drone flying guidelines (for commercial flying you need to get a Part 107 Certification):

  • Follow the safety guidelines of a model aircraft community-based organization
  • Fly at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (Class G)
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight, meaning you as the drone operator use your own eyes and needed contacts or glasses (without binoculars), to ensure you can see your drone at all times.
  • Never fly near other aircraft.
  • Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people.
  • Never fly near or over emergency response efforts.
Most regulations in other countries are similar to the FAA’s, but a quick google search should help you find the exact regulations. There are a few countries that have banned drones completely like Kenya, Egypt, Jordan, and many more, so be sure to always verify that you can bring in a drone before you travel

Observe Surroundings

This one seems simple but here are a few things to look out for to avoid crashing your drone. Obviously you’re going to want to look for trees, buildings, and wires, but you’re also going to want to pay attention to the height of objects around you for two reasons.

First, although regulations in most countries and the US are 400 feet (121 meters) it doesn’t mean you should always fly to that height. For example, if you’re standing on a beach with cliffs on either side, you shouldn’t fly much higher than the cliffs because you can’t see what is coming from the other side of the cliffs and helicopters could fly low without you being able to see or hear them coming.

Second, you’ll want to set your return to home altitude to higher than surrounding obstacles even if you don’t plan on flying above or around them. This means that if your drone were to get disconnected, you wouldn’t have to worry about the drone hitting any obstacles when it returns to you. 

Almost every drone I have on my drone buyer guide has a smart return to home feature.

6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone

Plan Your Drone Shots

You only have so much battery, so take your time before you take off to plan out the shots you want to get. Look at different landscape features or go to google maps and get a birds eye view of what you could potentially shoot  from above.

Double Check Your Battery and Propellers

Drones are so smart these days that not much can go wrong, but things that can be catastrophic are improperly installed batteries or propellers. Double and triple check that all are completely secure.

6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone
6 Steps to Take Before You Fly Your Drone

Ensure Your SD Card is in and Set to Continuous 

Nothing is more frustrating than getting your drone in the air and realizing you left your SD card at home so always double check you have it in the drone before you take off. If you want to avoid that issue completely, get a drone with built in storage space like the Mavic 2. But worse than forgetting your SD card is having it in and having the SD card settings in the DJI Go App set to “Reset” instead of “Continuous.” If it is set to “reset” then every time you turn the drone on, it will start recording picture and video files over any previous files on the drone. I’ve lost some amazing pictures making this mistake and and I hope this will spare you from some of the same frustrations!

Check All Your Camera Settings

Go through the following settings in the DJI app before you take off:
  • Video Resolution and
  • Frame Rate
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • White Balance
  • ISO
  • Set photos to RAW instead of JPEG
By doing this before you take off, you’ll avoid wasting battery and time by ensuring you aren’t getting any shots with incorrect settings. This will also help you know which Neutral Density filter to put on for that silky smooth cinematic footage. Read more about how to get cinematic drone footage here.
Now that you’re a pro, take a look at what the best drones are for beginners here! Have any more questions? Reach out on Instagram!

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6 steps to take every time you fly your drone
6 steps to take every time you fly your drone
6 steps to take every time you fly your drone

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