Quadcopters are everywhere these days. If you happen to be a hobbyist yourself or just getting started on learning all about drones, then you’ve probably come across the term “drone flyaway” before. For the most part, losing your aerial vehicle to a flyaway situation is hard to avoid. An intriguing drone statistics in 2016 show that even the sophisticated models such as the DJI Phantom are prone to it!
But this shouldn’t discourage drone owners from taking the steps necessary to prevent drone flyaway from happening to them. Avoid drone crashes and flyaway by learning more about drone flyaway and how you can avoid it below.
Drone Tips: How You Can Prevent Drone Flyaway
Why do drone flyaway happen?
The FAA defines flyaway as “an interruption or loss of the control link, or when the pilot is unable to effect control of the aircraft, and as a result, the UAV is not operating in a predictable or planned manner.” In simpler terms, flyaway are situations when a drone starts exhibiting erratic movement. Users either end up damaging their drones after it crashes from the sky or they could end up losing the drone for good.
For pilots, drone flyaway are extremely difficult to deal with. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing their expensive investment malfunction midair. Other than pilot error, there are so many factors that contribute to drone flyaway, including the following:
- Equipment failure. Machines can malfunction at a split second and drones are no different. If a single part of the drone’s electronic manufacturing fails or if it starts to experience a connectivity issue, you could bet that a flyaway could happen anytime.
- Electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic interference or EMI is when an electronic device enters the vicinity of an electromagnetic field in the radio frequency spectrum of another device. High-voltage power lines and cell towers are proven to make drones go haywire, so avoid flying around them as much as possible.
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- Failing to calibrate the compass. Speaking of EMI, entering different locations mean that your drone also enters a different electromagnetic field. That said, failing to recalibrate your compass each time almost ensures that the whole machine will end up malfunctioning.
- A GPS glitch. The drone’s built-in GPS system may drop the signal and provide inaccurate positioning. GPS glitches are likely to happen in areas where a GPS signal bounces around several paths before reaching the receiver. Weather has hardly anything to do with glitches, as these errors can even occur on a sunny day.
- Failsafe is activated. Failsafe is usually activated at the loss of signal or if batteries are low. Experts aren’t quite sure if failsafe alone is enough to cause a flyaway, but upon testing, a failsafe when activated after a GPS glitch may cause the drone’s path to automatically shift to a different direction.
- RTH Altitude. UAVs are basically tiny airplanes, so altitude is everything. Even with the failsafe functions found in the Phantom 4S and Mavic, failing to set RTH altitude could mean your drone is good as gone.
Ways to Prevent and Recover Flyaway Drones
There are multiple ways to prevent drone flyaway. Setting home points, calibrating your compass, and setting an appropriate RTH altitude are just some examples. While they aren’t 100 percent effective, you still have a better chance at preventing the dreaded flyaway.
Keeping your drone within the line of sight is probably the safest way to prevent losing it. Since this is actually a strict regulation set by the FAA, you’re going to have to abide by the law no matter what.
Buying a GPS drone tracker is yet another effective and affordable countermeasure against drone flyaway. You might be thinking that this is unnecessary because most drones already have built-in GPS. However, should you experience a GPS glitch while flying, with this, you can at least track down the drone with the help a separate tracker. Trackers like Trackimo have real-time monitoring capabilities that allow you to quickly locate and recover the missing device.
Don’t let a flyaway situation prevent you from enjoying all the features your drone offers. With right planning and taking preventive measures, you won’t have to worry about losing your drone.