TOP TIPS FOR SAFE FLYING WITH YOUR DRONE

We are living, increasingly, in a drone-saturated world. Since their recent explode in popularity, anyone is able to purchase their own at the click of a button and have it delivered the next day. Drones have allowed people to have their own freedom within airspace, becoming a pilot of their own. Besides bringing a lot of fun, Drones can also bring potential risks to safety, security and privacy. So here's some top tips from us, to ensure you take off and pursue the skies safely.

TIP #1 - Visit www.dronesafe.uk

Before you embark on your aviation journey, check out www.dronesafe.uk where you can easily access the information you need to ensure you are flying safe and legally, without endangering others. The Drone Code, which can be found on the website, provides the simple steps you should follow to ensure safe flying.

TIP #2 - Watch NATS Drone checklist video

When you are planning on flying your drone, remember that you're a pilot. Watch this video that NATS have produced to show the similar checks a drone pilot should be doing, along side a general aviation pilot. It provides a simple and easy to follow checklist.

TIP #3 - Download NATS' Drone Assist App

Drone Assist, powered by Altitude Angel, is available for free on Android and IOS, providing drone pilots with a user friendly interactive map of the airspace used by commercial air traffic.

Drone Assist enables drone pilots to easily identify areas such as Airport Traffic Zones and Airfields, enabling them to make better informed choices about where to fly and not to fly. The app is targeted primarily at the hobbyist drone user but provides important and up to date information for any drone pilot.

TIP #4 - Plan your route

Remember, if you are flying a drone, then you are a pilot. Make sure you plan your route, just like general aviation pilots do, before take off. The Drone Assist app is one tool to help you plan, giving you a friendly interactive map of the airspace used by commercial air traffic. Drone Assist will enable drone pilots to easily identify areas such as Airport Traffic Zones and Airfields .

Another tool to consider is Sky Demon. The flight planning features in SkyDemon are all designed to make planning a flight less tedious and more interesting, by bringing the very best aeronautical briefing information directly to your fingertips in real time as you explore the charts and experiment with potential journeys. SkyDemon will enable you to have the confidence to fly further and to more interesting places. Plan a journey, brief yourself on potential hazards, prepare for flight and analyse your track logs.

Below is a video, produced by NATS, which shows a drone pilot planning his map the same way a general aviation pilot would.

TIP #5 Check the weather

If you have ever flown on an airplane, then you will know turbulence is a fact of life. Strong winds can cause pure havoc on smaller aircraft, including Drones, so it is important to check wind speeds before take off, so that your flight can be as turbulent free as possible.

Drones operating temperatures are critical. It's important that these aren't abused to prevent their gears from freezing and their batteries becoming damaged. It's important to check individual drone manufacture guides, as this can differ from models. Almost all consumer drones should not be flown in temperatures below zero.

TIP #6 - Check your Drone before you fly

Checking the physical condition of your Drone before you fly is extremely important. Without checks, you are putting potential risk to lives and the expensive investment that is your drone. It's important to remember that by being a drone user, you are a pilot. General aviation pilots must undergo checks to their aircraft's, as seen in the video in TIP #2 - NATS Drone checklist video.

Before taking off, it is important to physically check your drone for any loose parts or areas of damage. Begin by checking that the unit’s blades are firmly attached and would not fall off the craft during a flight. Also inspect each blade for nicks or cracks. If one is found, it is important to ground your flight and obtain replacement parts.

Other parts that may come loose include the battery pack and camera. Ensure that the battery pack firmly clicks into its locked position and wiggle it with your fingers to ensure it won’t fall out during the flight. Your camera should also be checked to ensure that it is firmly attached and not in danger of falling.

Be conscious — if you see something that doesn’t look right, don’t fly it. Instead contact your drone manufacture.

TIP #7 - Monitor your Drone during the flight

Remember, if you're flying a Drone, then you are a pilot. It is very important to monitor your Drone during a flight to ensure it doesn't come into contact or have a collision with any obstacles. The Drone must be kept in line with the visual line of sight of the person flying it. If you are flying outdoors, weather conditions can change at the blink of an eye with sudden gusts of unexpected wind, so it is important to monitor your drone and keep it under control.

TIP #8 - Make sure you take off and land safely

When you take off or land your drone, it is important to consider your surroundings. Even with a great amount of room, Drones may still sway side to side during either. Know your drones hovering accuracy. It's recommended to allow plenty of room when conducting a safe take off or landing, avoiding being too close to buildings, people and overhead electrical wires.

So remember, you're a pilot. Follow the Dronecode at all times. Happy and safe Flying!

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