First Time Flying A Drone
Video recordings with the drone: 10 tips about flying.
For the last few months, I’ve been out on my drone. I love the combination of technology and beautiful video recordings and like to combine family trips with a drone flight!
My most important learnings
In the meantime I have learned a lot from problems, questions and mistakes. Not least thanks to tips from my blog and newsletter readers – thank you!
I am happy to share these lessons with you. My 10 best tips for drone flying in this blogpost. I’ve also put them together in a PDF for download.
The tips are primarily about flying, not filming or taking pictures with the drone.
If you’re interested in why I chose the DJI Mavic Pro, you can read about it in my first drone blog post. There I have also summarized the guidelines that apply in Switzerland.
Before the first flight
1. Take out a liability insurance policy
You need liability insurance to fly drones in Switzerland. A minimum amount of CHF 1 million must be covered.
Although I have private liability insurance, I have now taken out special business insurance for the drone.
2. Get to know the most important functions
With my first video I sank my drone equal times in the snow. I didn’t know how to turn off the propellers and desperately looked for the stop button. The drone stopped sometime, but a little late.
That’s why: Read the instructions before the first flight attempt, google or ask someone how to stop the propellers of your drone. This is also useful if you want to hold them in your hand.
With the Mavic Pro you have to pull the joystick down to the left and wait a bit, then the propellers stop. Recently I tried out a colleague’s little no-name drone, it worked exactly the same there.
3. Find out where you can fly – and where you can’t
In particular, drones are not allowed in the air around airfields and airports. For Switzerland you will find here an interactive map, on which the restricted areas are marked.
If you want to film at a specific location that is in a restricted zone, obtain the necessary permit in good time.
4. Don’t forget the updates
If I know that I’m going to go drone flying in the next few days, I’ll do upcoming updates first. Either at home, or in the car at the latest. With updates you can lose a lot of time.
5. Recharge the batteries completely again
When I come back from a flight, I recharge the batteries immediately and remove them from the charging station the next day. Unfortunately, the batteries discharge themselves relatively quickly, especially when it is cold. So if it takes a while before I fly the next time, I connect the batteries the evening before again to the charging station and have the full flight time.
On the way with the drone
6. No-Fly for crowds of people
In Switzerland it is forbidden to fly over crowds without the appropriate permit. So make sure that you keep a distance of at least 100 metres.
By the way, the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA summarises the most frequent legal questions in connection with flying drones here.
7. Protect your drone
Make sure you have good packaging for on the go! The advantage of the DJI Mavic Pro, my drone, is that it is small and fits in every backpack. Nevertheless it has sensitive parts, especially the joystick of the controller and the propellers of the drone are fragile.
That’s why I have a new case for the controller and a new case for the drone. The drone is still handy and I can take it anywhere, but it can’t get tangled up in the backpack and is well protected.
In Switzerland I couldn’t find an online shop selling such cases, so I ordered them from AliExpress.
8. Batteries not to the cold
Now in spring this is no longer a problem, at least in the lowlands the temperatures are now higher 🙂 But if you are flying in winter or in a very cold place, put the batteries you are not using in your trouser or jacket pocket. So they don’t discharge because of the cold and are a bit warmed up for use.
9. Taking care of a landing site
If it has snow or the ground is wet, it is good to have a landing place for the drone.
After my first drone video, where I put the backpack into the snow and flew out from there, different people wrote me their tips. They take a foot mat with them or even a special drone landing field.
I’ve tried a lot of different things since then: A wheel cover of the car is too small and slippery. A woollen blanket can be blown away by the drone’s propellers and is no longer helpful. Finally, I bought myself a special drone landing pad. It’s nice and light, I can fold it up and take it everywhere like the drone itself. So that it is not blown away, it has small pegs like a tent, with which I can fasten the landing place on the ground.
It is also useful if the landing place stands out well from its surroundings in terms of colour. Then I find it better from the video image from the air and know where to land the drone.
10. Filling up with electricity in the car
My Mavic Pro Platinum Edition comes with a power supply for your car. So I can recharge the battery at the cigarette lighter between two spots and fly longer, which I find very practical!
You can also buy such a power supply for different models, if none was delivered with your drone.
And now: Have a good flight!
With these ten tips you have a head start as a beginner: You save yourself some problems I had to deal with in the beginning.
Now I hope you enjoy drone flying as much as I do!