FAQs on Piloting Drones

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New to the world of drones? No problem! Here are some answers to the industry's most frequently asked questions.

1. How do I know if I am allowed to fly somewhere?

If you have an internet connection or have conducted a pre-flight plan with the application, DJI will automatically check your flight path to ensure it doesn’t fly in an unallowed area. To ensure that the area you will be flying is cleared for drone use, visit a site like Airmap.io to review any airpsace restrictions in the area.

The DroneDeploy App Market also includes several apps to help plan safe flights. Click on App Market within your dashboard to check them out.

2. How far can my drone fly? Will DroneDeploy account for this by not allowing it to go too far?

The distance that your drone can fly depends on the drone itself and its maximum velocity, the conditions in the field as well as the battery life. Each drone’s battery has a different expected battery life. However, new models like DJI’s Phantom 3 and 4 or Inspire series have batteries that last for around 25 minutes. The drone and application will alert you when its battery is running low so you can bring it back from its current location.

DroneDeploy retains the default setting for flight distance that you set up on your DJI app.

3. What should I bring with me?

While each operation and operator are different, our Pre-Flight Checklist gives a good overall rundown of the items you should have before going out into the field.

4. How do I set-up my drone for flight?

Each drone’s set-up is different, we recommend reviewing the instruction manual before flying. DJI’s how to videos are a particularly good resource before heading out for your maiden flight.

5. How stable are the blades if they get hit by something? What happens if one of them falls off, does the drone fall out of the sky?

Drones are surprisingly resilient and can take some damage while continuing to fly. The have been known to fly with propellers that have been damaged during flight. However, high-speed collisions can certainly cause enough damage to terminate any flight at any altitude. That’s why it’s important to fly in a safe manner with consideration for wind, weather, structures, and terrain.

6. How should I construct my first flight to get used to flying a drone? With the app?

Before flying with our application, it is recommended to first take at least one test flight to ensure you are comfortable with the manual controls and operations of your drone. It’s best to learn the basics of flying in an open field without many terrain or structure impediments.

7. How much should I pay attention to wind velocity, structures, and geographic terrain when flying? How do I know where and how high my obstructions are?

Understanding of wind direction and velocity is crucial while operating a drone. You should not fly a drone during high winds and gusts as the drone may struggle to fly along the course. You should also carefully understand the topography of the area you intend to map to avoid hitting any obstacle. Rule of thumb, is to fly at 200 ft or above the highest obstacle. If you’re unsure of the height of obstacle, you may manually fly the drone to check what altitude clears the obstacle. Power lines can be very difficult to see. A visual survey of the surrounding field should be performed before the initial flight takes place.

8. If the drone is experiencing a problem on its flight, what should I do?

If your flight is running into any difficulties on your flight, we recommend hitting the Home button, either on the DroneDeploy application or with your Remote Controller. This will automatically fly the drone back to the area it took off from.

When flying with DroneDeploy, you'll be prompted to switch to
F mode for Inspire and Phantom 3 series
P mode for Phantom 4 series
P mode for Mavic Pro

If at any point you are feeling uncomfortable, take manual control over the drone:
Switch to P mode for Inspire and Phantom 3 series
Switch to S mode for Phantom 4
Switch to S mode for Mavic Pro

9. What drones do you work with?

DroneDeploy’s mapping software is designed to be compatible with any geotagged drone imagery. Our flight software for data capture with many DJI drones. For more information, please see this article on compatibility.

10. What U.S. governmental regulations should I be aware of before flying?

Because the use of drones is so new, regulations are continually being developed by agencies like the FAA. For more information on current regulations and updates on future regulatory plans, visit the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems page.

The DroneDeploy App Market also includes several apps specialized in flight planning to maintain compliance.

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