How to Avoid a Drone Crash at Night

There is nothing more disappointing than crashing a new drone that you have worked really hard to buy. Luckily, crashing your unmanned aerial vehicle is something that you easily avoid even at night. Although some of the factors may be inevitably beyond your control, it is essential that you become aware of certain things that can do when flying your drone and the common mistakes that result to drone crash.

Why does the unmanned aerial vehicle crash?

There are many reasons as to why most drones crush. Some of these factors include;

Malfunctioning rotor

The propellers/ rotors of an unmanned aerial vehicle are manufactured to be strong but also soft to avoid hurting people and damaging other items. The rotors are therefore vulnerable to bending from their initial shape after hitting many bumps during the flight. You should therefore thoroughly check all rotors/ propellers before taking flight so as to ensure that their shapes are perfect.

Lack of GPS signal

When you’re flying your drone indoors, you’ll most likely lack the GPS signal. This is the main reason as to why it’s highly recommended that you fly the drone in areas that are open and far from the tall buildings and trees all the time if it’s possible.

Compass error

Compasses that are incorrectly turned are amongst the main causes of the UAV crashes. The UAV compasses may be detuned because of any source of RF (radio frequency) and magnetic effects. You should, therefore, avoid storing the drone in areas that are close top magnetic objects like near car speakers when transporting the drone or flying it in surroundings that have high levels of electromagnetic interference like close to the phone towers or power lines of high voltages.

Disconnecting of video transmission

Drones also tend to crash because of the disconnection of video transmission. This can occur at any period during your first drone flight or even some months after purchasing it. This mainly occurs due to damaged ports and loose cables. You should ensure that the cables are perfectly plugged in all the times prior to flying the UAV and also unplug them carefully after the, so the ports stay in perfect shape.

Hitting the RTH button too soon

Once most people lose control of their UAVs, some of the fastest natural reactions that come to their minds is clicking on the RTH (return back to home) button. However, one should always bear in mind the fact that most of the consumer UAVs lack the ability to avoid obstacles once you hit that button. Many drones just trace the straight line that directs them back to the home point, disregarding the electricity pole s, buildings or trees that may be in their way and as you can anticipate, this ultimately results to the UAV crashing severely. You should, therefore, avoid panicking or instantly clicking on RTH button each time you are unable to control the drone. Try to remain calm as you figure out the best move to handle the situation.

Battery failure

It’s very important always to ensure that the battery of your drone is fully charged and avoid starting a flight once you realize that the battery is either partially or lowly charged. Although you may be lucky to escape drone crash when flying the drone with a battery that is semi charged many times, this increases the risk of crashing the drone since it may randomly lose the power while at the middle of your flight when you’re not even expecting it.

Crashing with another drone

When there are more than one drone in the airspace, there are higher chances of them colliding with one another, particularly if the operators are both not aware of the presence of one another in that area, racing or engaging in complicated flight maneuvers.

Insufficient battery charge for returning the drone to home safely

It’s important that you land the drone when t has a power reserve of about 30% so that you’ll have sufficient time for delaying the drone in case there is an emergency allowing you to find a solution and deal with that problem. Additionally, some drones have the failsafe feature that enables the drone to automatically head towards the home point if the battery charge reaches 10%. Although this might be very useful, the UAV will still move without moving away from any obstacles that will lie on its way to the home point, and it will eventually crash.

Wrong home point

The drone may also crash due to the wrong home point which most results due to loss of GPS lock during the flight the regained which may cause the UAV to recalibrate the wrong home point. It is worth noting that the home point could be the place that your drone took off or where its remote controller has been placed. It is therefore essential to check if the home point is correct. Additionally, ensure that you set the altitude of return home such that it is higher than everything in that location. For instance, you can set it to be about 100 meters unless you are flying the drone in an area with tall structures like in the city.

Mistaking direction of your drone

When the UAV is flying very high in the airspace, it is very challenging to determine the sides, particularly for the beginner operators, and one easily mistakes its nose and the tail which results to misdirecting the drone. You should, therefore, ensure that you familiarize with the sides of the drones before you fly it at higher altitudes.

Drone Flying at night

First of all, can you operate your drone during the night?

The answer is simple, yes! You certainly can fly your drone during the night. As a drone enthusiast, you do not require any license so that you can fly the drone during the night. The only thing that you are required to do is following some fundamental safety rules and regulations which are established by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and will help you to prevent from crashing or losing your drone and also from getting into trouble with the law enforcement.

Rules to follow when flying your drone during the night

Some of the rules that you are supposed to follow when flying your drone during the night;

• Fly the unmanned aerial vehicle within the visual sight line

• Follow the community-based safety guidelines

• Provide prior notice to air traffic and airport control if you will be flying the drone within five miles of the airport.

• Give ways to the manned aircrafts

• Fly for recreational or hobby purposes only

• Fly the unmanned aerial vehicles that do not exceed 55 pounds unless you’re certified by an organization that is community-based.

Is a license necessary when flying the drone for a commercial purpose during the night?

Yes, you will require a license so that you can legally operate any small unmanned aerial vehicle. Alternatively, you can operate it in the presence of the supervisor with that certificate. That pilot certificate is only offered to individuals who are above the age of 16 years. There are two choices for applying the pilot certificate: for one, you have to pass the test on aeronautical knowledge at any testing center that is approved by the FAA. Alternatively, can take an online course that is provided by the FAA, but only if you had part 61 certificate and completed the flight test within the past 24 months.

On acquiring the pilot certificate, then you should apply for the Night waivers from the FAA.

Important tips when flying your drone during the night

Know your region

The very first tip which is very essential when flying your drone the night is that you must familiarize with the area where you will be flying the drone, regardless of whether you pass in that are every day, or you’ve flown the drone in that region before. Even though the area is certainly is the same, you need to ensure that observed the physical location that you are in during the daytime such that you are aware of where the buildings, power lines, trees, and other obstacles are situated. This is due to the fact that it is very difficult to observe things you’ve not seen during the day when flying the drone during the night. You should, therefore, ensure that you fly your drone during the night at the same spot that you fly during the day since you can easily remember the location of all obstacles at that spot.

Know your surroundings

We are simply attempting to say that you should be safe especially when flying the drone during the night. When you are flying the drone, you are focused on the screen when controlling the drone or staring at the airspace looking at the drone such that you forget to pay attention to your surroundings or anybody coming your way. Therefore, it is highly recommendable that you bring a family member or a friend when flying the drone during the night, particularly if you’re such kind of person to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself by hitting obstacles in your surroundings or bump into another person.

Remove your Neutral Density filter

When you’re flying your drone during the night, you also need to ensure that you always remove your neutral density filter. This may seem obvious, but seriously, you should always bear this in mind. They can cause you to be involved in a few accidents which are why we are insisting that you switch off the ND filter or even better, leave it at home when you’re going to fly the drone during the night.

Fly with an increased altitude

We always recommend that you go up to a height of approximately 300 feet when flying your drone from one point to another during the night. Simply try to avoid the obstacles you are aware of. There are some optical that come up overnight. For instance, some power lines that are temporary may be raised, and you may not be aware of them. This is mostly why we recommend a high altitude since there are hardly any obstacles meaning you will not run into any barriers. Additionally, by exceeding this altitude, you may be exceeding the Federal Aviation Administration limit. The 300 feet altitude may seem too high, but it’s a sweet spot. At the altitude of 200 ft, you will probably run into the tall trees or buildings. But at the height of 300 ft, you can easily get the destination that you need for capturing a picture or video, and you can always lower the drone up to the altitude that you require.

Keep your eyes on the drone

We are all aware of a regulation by FAA that states you should be within the sight line of your actual drone, although during the day most people alternate between watching the screen/ monitor and the drone. Nevertheless, when flying the drone during the night, you should ensure that your eyes are only looking at your drone by following its LEDs. This is simply because it may be very hard to observe any obstacle that in front when looking at your screen/ monitor during the night. Following the green and red lights moving across the sky is much simpler and easier.

Switch to the video mode

When flying the drone with high shutter speeds while in the photography mode, the picture appears laggy and glitchy which makes an inaccurate illustration of the obstacles that are actually ahead of the drone. However, when you switch the screen to the video mode, you’ll realize that the image is now smooth and nice. This is another reason that we recommend that you watch the drone LEDs which are easy to observe and super bright instead of looking at the phone screen since it is an inaccurate illustration of the things that are around you.

turn off the drone’s front LEDs

This should particularly be observed when one is taking videos or pictures. One reason that should make you need to turn the LEDs off is due to the fact that they produce a red glow that is weird funky when one is attempting to capture a video or picture. This red glow also ruins the picture, and it will prevent you from clearly viewing at the screen/ monitor when flying your drone. This is mostly why we recommend that those front LEDs be turned off. Alternatively, you can use the copter to turn those front LEDs only when taking a video or picture. There is a certain feature on the screen that allows you to switch off the drone’s front LEDs automatically.

Checklist when flying your drone during the night

• Ensure that your drone, cell phone, and the controller are sufficiently charged up

• Always calibrate the drone so as that you are familiar with the site and ensure that the compass is still going. Additionally, you can’t be too safe, particularly when flying the drone during the night.

• You should also have the SD card along with you.

What should you do after crashing the UAV?

Regardless of your level of experience as a drone operator, you will most likely crash your drone at a certain point during your flight. This may arise either due to your mistakes or other factors that you can’t be able to control. Regardless of the cause, there are certain things that you should do once it crashes.

First and foremost, try retrieving your UAV and then inspect for the damages that may have resulted from the crash. Note the damages that you can observe so that you can use it as the reference if you need to inform the manufacturer. After you retrieve and note the damages from the drone crash, follow the following steps which can be very useful;

• Switch off the controller/ drone and remove props and the battery

• Clean all debris/sand/ dirt from the UAV using the alcohol pads

• Turn the drone’s rotors manually while the UAV is still upside down so as to dislodge dirt/sand then blow all rotors or utilizes compressed air so that you can remove the remaining dirt.

• Check for structural damages of the battery

• Remove all the props then check for deformities or cracks. Replace the props that display the signs of being damaged

• Check all drop protectors and gimbal pads to ensure that they’re intact and securely seated

• Check for cracks the whole frame including the drone’s landing gear

• Inspect all motors to ensure that they aren’t loose and they’re correctly seated

• Blow debris/dust/ sand out of all moving parts for the second time.

Rebooting

• After you finish thorough checking and cleaning of the drone, reinsert your battery

• Reboot the UAV on an even surface then let it start again

• Calibrate the IMU and the compass

• Check for full motion range of the gimbal using the gimbal control then move the drone around

• Check for wobbles and start motors without the props

• Shut down motors again then attach props and restart the motor, inspect for wobble for the second time so that you’re certain

• Slightly lift the drone and inspect for shaking or strange movements.

• Conduct basic maneuvers with the UAV as you record a video

• Review the recorded video to ensure that there is no extra shakiness

• Conduct a single long distance, slow and low flight to make sure that the drone is working properly

• Look for loose wires or cracks in the camera

• Check for bent parts, cracks or gimbal motion range

In some cases, one may be subjected to free or low-cost warranty repairing services from the drone manufacturer if the drone crashes. When you get to them, inform them all the details about the flight as you remember it. Additionally, there are some manufacturers that cover for the permanent damages that result from the drone crash.

UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are devices that tend to be highly complex and depend on different systems so that they perform appropriately. Although it’s hard to guarantee about the safety conditions of the software or hardware of the drone, some of the mistakes that we have discussed in the article can assist you in reducing chances of losing or crashing your unmanned aerial vehicle.

Flying the drones during night time can turn out to be an amazing experience, and you’ll successfully capture awesome footage. The long exposure pictures captured by the drones are very appealing especially if they’re taken during the night at a certain city. Achieving great results during the night isn’t hard, although you must ensure that you observe safety first.

Nobody would really enjoy crashing or losing their drone for a failure of following some simple tips when flying the drone during the night. You should, therefore, remember all these tips that we have highlighted in the article and they will certainly keep you away from the troubles when flying your drone during the night.

Additionally, ensure that you follow each and every regulation that is valid within your nation. Since you have now gained all that you need to know about flying the drones during the night, you only need to wait for night time so that you can enjoy flying your drone, an exercise that can really be fun.

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