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All About Drone Flyaways and How GPS Can Help Prevent Them

All About Drone Flyaways and How GPS Can Help Prevent Them

Jared Hoven
Jared Hoven

As a drone pilot, what could be the worst thing that can possibly happen to you?

Of course, the first thing that comes to your mind is losing our drone. Next to crashing your drone and seeing it wrecked from the impact, losing control of your device is the worst nightmare you can ever have. In the case of a drone flyaway, your equipment doesn’t just fly somewhere else. It can crash into objects, structures, and even people, and it can create fires. That’s trouble that you don’t want to have. 

These days, most drones that come out in the market already come with built-in safety mechanisms that will help to prevent flyaways. But when it comes to drones, you can never really be too certain. To prevent incidents of drone flyaways, it’s important to know why they happen and what causes them. Furthermore, this article will also provide tips about what you can do when you’ve lost a drone. Finally, it will discuss the ways on how a GPS tracker can help prevent drone flyaways.

Causes of Drone Flyaways

The latest drones all feature the latest technology, but even with all those advanced features, drone flyaways are still quite common. So what causes these incidents, and what are the ways you can prevent them? 

  1. When you completely rely on the FPV and you extend the limits on how far your drone can fly

When operating a drone, you’d want to get the most amazing, scenic sights, and this urge can sometimes lead you to fly your drone far away beyond its recommended visual line of sight. Unfortunately, this practice is also one of the reasons for drone flyaways or even loss. While flying far beyond the visual line of sight isn’t an illegal practice in most countries, you should make sure that you at least know what you’re doing. Take care also that you do not harm other people when you do it.

  1. When you do not set up the home point accurately

Many drones on the market already have an automatic “return to home” feature. But you still have to make sure that the drone you have does have this feature, as there are also other models that don’t have it. If it doesn’t, you have to make sure that you set it correctly on the device. Also, if you’re going to be constantly on the move while operating your drone, make sure to customize your device to a dynamic home point setup. 

  1. When you have a poorly calibrated compass

Calibrating the compass on your drone is a tedious task that not many owners and operators enjoy. For them, it is the ultimate test of patience, especially by those who travel with a drone. If you’re constantly traveling, it can be tiring having to adjust the settings on your compass all the time, but it is one of the most crucial tasks about operating a drone that you must not overlook. If you fail to do this, your drone compass will get unaligned with the different electromagnetic fields of various areas.

  1. When your drone is in atti mode

Atti mode is when the GPS on your drone is turned off and you fly your drone far  away. Doing this is a recipe for disaster and is a sure-fire way to lose your drone unless you are certain of what you're doing. However, there is no reason why you should be doing this at all, even if you’re an expert drone flier. 

  1. When you experience hardware failure

Sometimes things can happen that you have no control over. This is one of those times when even if you do everything you can to avoid a flyaway incident, you can still have hardware problems, which can cause you to lose your drone. At this point, as a prevention tip, all you can do to prevent problems like these is to check if your drone is working properly first at low altitudes before you let it fly at a higher distance far away from you.

  1. When you have flight controller misconfiguration

This is for when you have built your own drone from scratch. If you’ve fixed up a drone on your own or assembled it from a DIY kit, it is important that you configure your flight controller properly. Otherwise, if you’re not careful, you can expect your drone to suddenly malfunction while it is up in the air and literally fly away from you.

  1. When there is electromagnetic interference

When you fly too near power lines and cellular towers, this can cause a big electromagnetic interference on your drone. When this happens, your drone can fly away in the midst of its flight, and you will likely lose complete control over it.

  1. When you fly too close and too low to objects

Another way that your drone’s connection with its controller can be interrupted is when you fly too low or too near objects. You should take note that when operating a drone, flying too high is not the only blunder you can possibly make. Flying too low is also a huge mistake too.

  1. When you’ve set the RTH altitude too low

When you set the return to home (RTH) altitude for your device, make sure you set it at a reasonable altitude or else you risk it crashing into obstructions and structures, especially if it’s one of those models that don’t have an obstacle avoidance feature.

  1. When you’re not paying full attention to your drone

This is possibly the biggest mistake you can commit when flying your device: not giving your 100 percent attention to it. You might think this is already a given, but there are many cases of people losing or crashing their drones just because they weren’t paying attention to it. Flying a drone is just like driving a car. You have to keep your full focus on the activity or accidents can happen.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Drone

Sometimes even when we take all the above causes to heart and take care when operating our drone, the worst can still happen. So what do we do when we’ve lost our drone?

  1. You can opt to leave your controller on.

The sound of your drone’s spinning props whirring away can help you locate where your drone is, especially if you think it’s someplace near.

  1. Go around your neighborhood.

Sometimes a good old walk is all it takes to locate a flyaway drone. Explore the location where you flew it and make sure you scour every corner.

  1. You can put up signs.

You can also opt to do it the old-fashioned way: by putting up signs and posting them around your neighborhood. You can also print fliers and distribute them to your neighbors or post them on the community billboard. 

  1. Do not waste time.

Like how it is when you lose important stuff, you shouldn’t waste time in looking for your drone. The longer you wait, the higher its chances of retaining or causing damage.

  1. Invest in a GPS tracker.

This in connection with the “not wasting time” advice above. Time is of the essence when you’ve lost a drone, and a GPS tracking device can help you monitor the exact whereabouts of your drone so you can recover it right away.

GPS trackers can play an important role in preventing drone flyaways. It has to do with the full set of features they have, especially Tracki devices. 

  • Tracki GPS trackers have real-time tracking features that help you locate your drone in real time. They also have regular location updates, at intervals of ten, thirty, or sixty seconds.
  • They have an audio monitoring mode, which can be helpful as they can allow you to listen in to the drone’s immediate environment. The sounds you hear can also clue you in to its exact location.
  • Tracki’s devices offer a hybrid combo of WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and GSM connections that you wouldn’t be able to find in other devices. This ensures that you won’t lack for any connection no matter where you are.
  • They also have worldwide access, so you can use your drone when you travel to other countries without having to worry about losing it.
  • It has speed and motion alerts, so you’ll always be alerted if it has suddenly moved erratically or at a faster speed than you wanted it to, even when it is out of your line of sight. 
  • They have one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market, so you won’t have to worry about the tracker suddenly turning off in the midst of a flight.

GPS trackers can do a lot toward preventing your worst nightmare as a drone owner: flyaways. However, it is important that you choose a high-quality tracker that can keep up with the demands of your drone and your own high expectations. Tracki’s devices are exactly what you’re looking for.

Author information:
Jared Hoven
Jared Hoven

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