Effectively guiding a drone through the sky requires a keen eye and a steady hand—both of which require a couple of practices. You must also deal with outside interferences, which can often result in crashes, collisions, and, worst of all, flyaway.
If you have any prior experience with drones, you have likely heard flyaway discussed at least once or twice. But what exactly is drone flyaway? What causes drone flyaway and how can it be avoided?
What Is Drone Flyaway?
As the name suggests, drone flyaway is when you lose control and sight of your drone. Generally speaking, it is impossible to track down a drone after flyaway has occurred because there is no way for you to know where it stopped flying. On top of that, there is always a chance it has caused harm to somebody or their property.
What Causes Drone Flyaway?
There are many reasons why drones flyaway, but we will discuss the most common causes of drone flyaway reported by experienced pilots.
Tall Buildings and Power Lines
Flyaway seems to be most common in areas where there are a lot of buildings. Large buildings are generally constructed using metal materials, which can interfere with your drone’s compass, especially when flown too close to the building. This, of course, can lead to it veering off course and out of sight, rendering its "return home" function totally useless.
Similarly, you should avoid flying your drone in an area with multiple power lines since the electromagnetic interference will wreak havoc your drone’s navigation system.
Exceeding Recommended Flight Range, Time, and Altitude
Attempting to pilot your drone beyond what is suggested by the manufacturer is almost guaranteed to result in flyaway, so you should respect the recommended range. Exceeding your drone’s recommended flight time can be equally disastrous as your aircraft may run out of battery before you have the chance to return it to its base.
Similarly, when a drone is flown at an altitude far lower or far higher than it was designed, it is almost a certainty that flyaway will occur. Although most pilots assume flying their drone too high puts it in greater danger than flying it too low, the opposite is true. Flying a drone at a lower height than is advised significantly increases the chances of flyaway, as well as crashing.
How Can You Avoid Drone Flyaway?
Flyaway is arguably the most heartbreaking thing a drone pilot can experience, particularly if they have just spent more than $100 on their aircraft. In order to minimize the risk of your drone flying away, there are some steps you can take, and they are:
Set a home point: For starters, always make sure to set a home point if your drone is capable of doing so. This will come in handy if you need to make an emergency return home during your flight and will virtually remove the risk of you losing the aircraft during turbulence.
Keep your drone within your line of sight: We cannot stress this enough. The most surefire way to lose your drone is to let it fly out of your field of vision, even for a moment. The FAA actually mandates this, so taking your eyes off your drone for a prolonged period is not just remarkably ill-advised, but is also illegal.
Keep on checking the drone while flying: If your drone offers real-time FPV, you will likely be tempted to monitor each flight through its camera. While this is understandable, it should be avoided if you wish to prevent flyaway. Thus, always make sure to look up every couple of minutes to ensure you can still see your aircraft in the sky.
When it comes to what causes drone flyaway, it always boils down to how and where you use the aircraft. That is why it is important to read the instruction manual and product specs, as well as the proper areas where you should fly your drones.