Here I’ll run through the mistakes I made while learning to fly my drone.
1. Not charging up and checking all the batteries. This might sound obvious, because it is, but it happens. Make sure you charge the batteries before going out to fly your drone.
2. Not taking off the gimbal clamp. The clamp is necessary to hold the gimbal in place during transport but if you don’t take it off before flight, not only will the footage be shaky but the gimbal motors will overload. Take the clamp and the protector off before flight.
3. Forgetting to keep the software up to date and sensors calibrated. Updates fix bugs and improve map data including no fly zones and airspaces. Some people don’t like to update because of new restrictions but I think it’s a good idea to stay up to date. Just make sure to do it at home with wifi.
4. Taking off immediately. Wait for gps, return to home, and compass to calibrate and locate. This should only take a minute and will keep the drone more stationary in flight and ensure it’s return to home features are working. If you’re close to metal it will take longer for the compas to calibrate.
5. Losing it. Try to keep it in visual line of sight or have a spotter. If it gets too far away from you the controls start to break down and it’s more likely you lose it.
6. Flying in unknown areas too close to airports. Check the area with Airmap or Google maps to make sure you’re far enough away from real aircraft. Looking into where you’re going to fly can also help you prepare shots.
7. Failing to record. Hit red button. It’s the worst to be catching amazing views and then realize you forgot to hit record. My strategy is to just film the entire flight except for when I need to take pictures.
8. Not focusing. Even if the drone is in autofocus mode it needs to be set by tapping the screen and making sure it focuses properly.
9. Turning and looking around too much. If you’re trying to get video then you need to remember to get nice smooth shots. It’s fun to just look around and fly the thing but the video will turn out much too sporadic if you’re not careful. Don’t turn around too much keep the movements simple and smooth
10. Running out of batteries. When you hit critical battery level which is about 10 percent the drone will descend and there’s nothing you can do to fly it back up even if you’re over water. Pay attention to that battery level.
Bonus. Relying on the sensors. Most drones only have sensors on the front and bottom. These vision sensors help prevent collisions but aren’t perfect. They don’t catch wires or small branches and they won’t work in low light. It’s important not to rely on them as they might fail you.